Wednesday Words – 10 Great Reads

Hey guys!

I had an awesome workout to post for you all today, but haven’t had time to take the pictures to show you how to do the moves…so it will be up Friday!

High Side plank

So today, I thought I’d share 10 links that I love! Happy reading!

FIT TIP – How to save 900 calories a week

COOL DOWN – Chocolate & Almond, yes please!

TAKE THE NEXT STEP – Should I start Strength training?

GET FIT – Try this workout…while you are waiting for mine of course 🙂

GO RAW – these recipes look delicious for a hot summer day

FERMENT – I’ve been making this at home since May, and it is SO EASY, healthy, and delicious

BE A PART – Loving this couple’s heart for Jesus, and their journey to training Christian leaders in Romania

SHOES – I always wear chacos…but there is no reason why you can’t build a cute shoe wardrobe on the cheap

SPECIAL OCCASION – I can’t wait to have a reason to make this

BURN BABY BURN – Legs day? Burn up those hamstrings & quads

Have a great Wednesday, and see you Friday with a workout!

Best,
Liesl

Healthy Vegetarian Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of those foods that I like, a lot actually, but I never order it when I’m out for Chinese, even though it always sounds good.

I know that a small side of brown rice with my entree is a much healthier choice. And while I’m all for the theory that small indulgences here and there are good, and can possibly help us stick with our healthy lifestyle longer, I would rather save my “indulgences” for goodness like ice cream or anything smothered in peanut butter and chocolate.

So, when Pete said he was in the mood for something Asian, fried rice immediately came to mind. We’ve been in the land of no grocery store for almost six weeks now, so the veggie supply is running quite low, and the few I do have left, were definitely fried rice material.

This “healthy” version of Vegetarian Fried Rice is tasty and would make a great family meal. We enjoyed it eaten with chopsticks in front of one of our favorite movies on a stormy night.

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Healthy Vegetarian Fried Rice

3 tsp. sesame oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt & Pepper

1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 carrots, whole sliced
1/2 zucchini, halved and sliced
1/3 small head green cabbage, shredded thin
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I used canned, it was all I had)
10 basil leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. braggs liquid aminos, or tamari
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. siracha hot sauce
1/4 tsp. ginger
3 cups brown rice, cooked (I like Trader Joes brown basmati rice)

Heat 1 tsp of the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Sprinkle in some pepper and salt. Once the oil is hot pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and cover. Let cook until the eggs are starting to set in the middle, like a large egg pancake. Taking a spatula, slide it gentle under the egg pancake and flip it. Cook through. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside on a plate.

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Heat the remaining 2 tsp. of sesame oil in a large skillet. Chop the onion, garlic, and carrots, and add together to the hot oil.

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Stir fry for about 6 minutes until they are getting tender. Meanwhile chop the cabbage and zucchini, and then add them to the pan with the onion mixture. Stir fry for several minutes, until all the veggies are tender. (Yes..that is mold on the cabbage. I cut it off, I assure you.)

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Next chop the mushrooms (if using fresh add them to the mixture with the cabbage). Also chop the egg pancake into bite size pieces.

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Finally add the canned mushrooms, egg pieces, braggs, coconut aminos, siracha, ginger, and basil. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until everything is hot.

Then add the cooked brown rice to the skillet with all the veggies. Mix well. Cook another 2-3 minutes until everything is hot and well coated with sauce.

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Yum, it looks so good I want to make it again!
Serve with chopsticks and more siracha for those whole love spice.

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Question:
What is your favorite ethnic food to eat out? What would you order?

My favorite ethnic food to eat out would probably be Indian or Greek.
If I was out for Indian I would order Bangan Bhurta or Channa Masala and if I was out for Greek I would have stuffed grape leaves…yum!

Weekly Eats & Fitness – 7/28

Hope you have all had a fabulous week!!
We have had internet problems like you would not believe for the last few days, so I’m going to make this post quick, and try to get it up before we lose signal again. 🙂

Here’s what’s on the eats and fitness menu over here at Fitnessinthekitchen:

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Meal Ideas:
Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili
Feta & Millet Patties
Lentil Herb Salad
Healthy Vegetarian Fried Rice
Garbanzo Sprout Burgers

Fitness:
Monday – Run (HIIT) + Isolation Inferno
Tuesday – Full Body Combo Workout (post coming later this week)
Wednesday – Run (tempo) + Upper Body HIIT
Thursday – Legs Day – (think I’ll pull out an old friend, Jillian Michaels)
Friday – Run steady + Core/Cardio Workout
Saturday – Yoga
Sunday – Wild Card…you never can tell. 🙂

High Side plank

Question:

What are you eating this week? What kind of workouts are you going to be dominating?
If you have nice weather, get outside and try this running/strength workout on your favorite running trail. 
* Don’t forget, modify if you need to. 

Have a great week!

Liesl

Fit Focus: Revealing those Abs

For those of you who came to read the Fit Focus post yesterday, I’m sorry. I wasn’t able to post due to a busy schedule and some internet problems. So here is your Friday Fit Focus post on a Saturday, hope you enjoy it!!

Recently a friend asked me, “how do I get rid of this tummy fat?”

Source: Fit Sugar

Now, I’m not a personal trainer or educated fitness expert, but I decided I would do a post on what I know, and what has worked for me. Everyone is different, everyone’s body responds differently to certain types of training and diet tweaks. However, I hope something that you read here helps you, or at least inspires you to learn more about your body, and how you can feel better, have more energy, and live a fuller, healthier life. Okay…now on to abs.

I hope you don’t think I’m insane…but I would have to say that my abdominals are one of my favorite muscle groups to train. Yes, I know…cray cray over here. 🙂 When my core is strong, and my tummy feels flat and tight, I just feel good. I feel fit. And heck, I feel confident even if I’m wearing a baggy t-shirt, and capris that I bought a size too big at Savers. (Which is pretty much what I wear on the daily basis here.) When I go back to the U.S. anyone volunteering to help style me? Maybe I’ll just wear workout wear everyday…

workout wear

Nike yoga pants and sweatshirt, the evening outfit of choice.

Do you ever feel like you are exhausting yourself, crunching your life away, and the muffin top and love handles are still there? You are putting in the time, doing the training, so why no results? Because it is about so much more than just training.

There are many factors to obtaining and sculpting a tight, toned mid-section. In fact, having flat, tight, and toned abs has much more to do with the absence of abdominal fat, than it does with well sculpted stomach muscles. That pouch that stores the extra cookies, yep, your abs live behind that.  Ever heard the saying “Abs are made in the Kitchen?” It’s true. And that kitchen doesn’t have a cookie jar.

So…what does it take?

1.) Cleaning up what we EAT
Evaluate what you are putting into your body each day. Food is fuel for our workouts, and fuels our daily energy level to take care of our children and families, to do our jobs, and it is what either makes us feel healthy, or sluggish.
Focus on eating healthy sources of protein
Protein helps your body recover and build lean muscle, which is a non negotiable when it comes to sculpting your abdominals. It is recommended that a person needs anywhere from 1g-2g of protein per kg of body weight per day. So, a person weighing 60kg would need between 60 -120g of protein per day. Personally, I aim to eat around 70-90g of protein per day.

 Source 

~Fish, chicken, seafood, eggs, quinoa, beans, edamame, lean red meat, and greek yogurt are all great, healthy protein sources. Another protein option is protein powder. Make sure you look for one with no added sugars, and ingredients you don’t know what they are. Do your research.
I recommend Sunwarrior, Energyfirst, and TrueNutrition proteins.

– Focus on eating healthy fats
We’ve been taught that fat is bad. Which can be true. Too much fat in our diet can be problematic, especially if it’s the wrong kind of fat. However, for optimal health, and to develop sculpted abs we need to be eating “good” fats.
~ Avocado, nuts, almond butter, tahini, olive oil, all contain monounsaturated fat which should be part of our regular diet. Also, a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats should be eaten. Try hemp, it is a perfect balance of these fats. Hemp seeds are a delicious topping for yogurt, or salads, and taste yummy added to a smoothie.

Focus on eating “quality” carbs
Carbs are not bad. Like fats, you need to be choosing the right carbs to put into your body. Give high sugar foods and desserts, processed foods, refined carbs like white bread, white rice, and sugary drinks the boot! Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, and high fiber foods. Also, focus on your portion sizes. People tend to overload their plates with refined carbohydrate rich foods that are low in fiber, and you end up eating more because they don’t help you feel full or satisfied. They are empty calories with little to no nutritional value.

When I feel my mid-section getting a little “squishier” than I would like I cut out all sugar, and try to eat my whole grain carbs like brown rice, millet, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal at breakfast or right after I workout. I try to keep my evening meal to proteins and fiberous veggies.
This works for me, but everyone is different. Try keeping a food journal of when you ate certain foods and how your body responded. This is the way you learn what works best for you.

Focus on drinking more water
Water helps to flush toxins from our body. Whenever my system feels off, I chug like nobody’s business, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Enough said.
I aim to drink 80-100 oz. of water per day.

Focus on eating smaller meals more frequently
This strategy works for many people. Eating around 5-6 smaller meals per day versus 3 larger ones.  Personally I don’t practice it day in and day out because my life is too “unscheduled” to keep up with it. Some days I do, and some days I don’t. It just depends.
For me eating a healthy snack, between meals helps me keep my other meals light and I feel satisfied throughout the day.

2.) Lift heavy weights
 Doing heavy weight bearing exercises a few times a week in conjunction with a clean diet and cardio will help us to not only build lean muscle, but to burn fat at the same time.

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This is what The Metabolic Effect has to say about pumping heavy iron:

“Lifting heavy weights to the point of muscle failure, in general, enhances the release of testosterone, which when increased naturally through weight training will increase fat-burning in women (one of the reasons men are leaner than women).  Lifting heavy enough to generate a strong burning in the muscles enhances the release of human growth hormone, which also aids in fat burning and has anti-aging benefits.

Finally, adding lean muscle mass will enhance your fat burning potential while you are not working out.  A pound of muscle burns 15-30 calories per day at rest, while a pound of fat burns 2-5 calories; it’s a no-brainer of which composition is more desirable.  More muscle makes us more metabolically active. Furthermore, a pound of fat takes up more physical space than a pound of muscle.  So, burning fat and increasing lean muscle will NOT create bulk, but instead strip inches creating a lean, tight, defined physique, not to mention your clothes hanging off you.”

Fantastic site by the way, lots of great articles and fitness advice for women. Check it out.

3.) Vary the intensity of our cardio routine
When we spend day after day on the elliptical or treadmill just chugging along reading the latest health mag or watching our favorite sitcom on television we are doing nothing for our ability to burn fat while maintaining muscle. Our body will soon get comfortable with our ho hum cardio routine and settle in for the long winter…which is why we plateau with our weight loss goals and muscle toning goals.
While a day or two per week of low intensity cardio exercise is good, (working at bout 70% of your maximum heart rate) varying our cardio workouts to incorporate higher intensity intervals for shorter amounts of time is essential to fat burning and muscle maintenance.
Plus, we get more bang for our buck with quick and intense cardio workouts. We burn more calories in less time by making ourselves work harder (85-90% of our maximum heart rate) for an interval with a recovery interval immediately after.

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High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are some of my favorite, and they don’t have to subsist solely of cardio exercises. Check out my 31 Tabata workout for a mix of cardio+weights in a higher intensity interval form.

Also you can make your treadmill session or outdoor run into a HIIT workout. Try warming up at a steady pace for about 5-8 minutes, then run fast for 30sec, recover running steady for 1 minute, run fast/30sec., recover steady/1min.
Repeat for 20 minutes, then cool down at a steady pace or brisk walk for 5 minutes. Your heart rate will go sky high during this workout, and you will burn tons of fat, and set your metabolism to burn calories like crazy for hours after your workout is done!
Here is another great workout for varying your intensity during cardio.

If you are committed to sculpting a tight, toned tummy, focus on these things. Put them into practice and I know (from experience) if you are faithful you will see results. It takes dedication, motivation, and will-power, but I know personally that when I am eating clean, lifting weights, and pushing myself in my cardio routine consistently, I feel tight, toned, healthy, and full of life. My mind even feels clearer, and I’m able to focus better in all areas of my daily routine…including learning my third language, which is like my full time job right now.

I know this post is wordy, and has a lot of tough stuff in it, but I hope it has also motivated you to get out there and push yourself towards overall better health.

As always, contact me if you have any questions, I love hearing from you, and have an awesome weekend!

~ Liesl

Peanut Butter Protein Steel Cut Baked Oatmeal

As much as I love smoothies in the summer months, some mornings just call for a hot breakfast.

I have made many versions of baked oatmeal, but this steel cut version is by far my favorite of the bunch. The fact that I’ve made this recipe into an overnight version makes it possible to have a “lazy day” breakfast on a busy morning. Just pop the oatmeal in the oven, go shower and get ready for the day, and 35 minutes later…walah, breakfast is served!

Hope you like this oatmeal as much as we do.

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PB Protein Steel Cut Baked Oatmeal

Dry:
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1 scoop protein powder *optional (I used vanilla pea protein)
2 tsp. cinnamon
dash sea salt

Wet:
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup lowfat milk (can use whatever milk you’d like) + 1/4 cup later
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 flax eggs (2Tbsp ground flax+6 Tbsp. water…let sit 10 min.)
1 small banana, sliced thin

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First, you’ll want to mix the oats, protein powder, cinnamon and salt together in a medium size bowl.

Next add all wet ingredients, and stir until mixed well.

Grease a 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil, or whatever you like best to prepare your pans for baking. Slice the banana and lay the slices on the bottom of the dish in an even layer. If you would rather you can just mix them into the batter as well.
Pour the oat batter over top of the banana slices and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When you take your oatmeal out of the fridge it will be quite thick. Add 1/4 cup more milk to the oatmeal, just pour the milk over the top. Take a spoon and slowly stir in the milk, making sure you don’t upset your banana slices at the bottom.
Bake at 375 for about 33-35 minutes, until the middle is set. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.

Serve your steaming squares of baked oatmeal with fresh homemade plain yogurt, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw honey. If, you like you can also top with dried fruit.

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Other ideas**
This oatmeal would be fabulous with dried fruit mixed in – apricots, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.
If you want you can also mash 2 bananas and mix in with the batter. If you do this omit the applesauce.
As always you can substitute two farm fresh eggs for the flax eggs.

Nutrition Stats**
Per piece  – 242 calories, 10g fat, 10g protein, 6g sugar

Questions:

What is your favorite hot breakfast? What is your favorite fruit in oatmeal?
When I make hot oatmeal on the stove I love it with apples and raisins. I also love a good bowl of pumpkin pie oatmeal.

~ Liesl

Creamy Tahini Salad Dressing ~ 3 Ways

Growing up I was never a ranch dressing fan. Actually now that I think about it, my Mom hardly ever bought ranch dressing, so the only exposure I had to it was at friends homes, or out to eat at restaurants. And lets just say, French had my heart. Ugh, nasty…what was I thinking. Do you have Red 40? Sure I’ll take some of that.

Now, that I’m all “grown up” I stick mostly with a tasty balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil. However, on occasion I get a taste for a creamy dressing and some salads just call for something with a little more substance. Plus homemade dressing is SO easy to make, and not full of sugars and artificial ingredients.

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For today’s dressing –
The star ingredient: Tahini
What is it: Tahini is a ground sesame paste that is similar to a nut butter. It is creamy and oily and very rich in calcium.

This is my “go to” creamy, homemade dressing made 3 different ways for variety. Try one of them, or create your own! Happy salad making!

Creamy Tahini Dressing – 3 ways
(makes about 1/2 cup of dressing, store leftovers in the refrigerator)

Earthy & Sweet

2 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. almond oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tsp. horseradish mustard
2 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a small glass jar. Add water at the end until you achieve your desired consistency.

Taste of Asia

2 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. braggs liquid aminos, or tamari
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tsp. spicy mustard
2 tsp. raw honey
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
Dash of cayenne
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Follow the instructions above.

Tangy & Sweet – my favorite!

2 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

*Follow the instructions above.

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Tips –
*Once the dressing sits in the fridge you will have to add more water to it the next time you want to use it. Start with a tablespoon, until it reaches dressing consistency again.
* The thicker version makes a fantastic veggie dip, or sandwich spread…just sayin.’

Questions of the day –
What is your favorite way to use tahini? What is your “go to” salad dressing?

Cheers to a great week!

~ Liesl

Fitness & Eats for the Week – 7/21

When I was a little girl my Mom used to make Dutch Apple Pancake on the weekend for our family breakfast. She made it in a big cast iron skillet in our wood burning stove. No, I did not live in a little house on the prairie…well actually…it was kind of close to that. But, I remember smelling the sweet apples browning with butter and brown sugar and sitting at the table sipping orange juice or a little coffee, (more milk and sugar than coffee) and waiting in anticipation for the big, fluffy pancake to be placed in the center of the table. We would thank Jesus, not just for the food, but for family, and for life, and then dig in!! Oh…that pancake tasted SO good.

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I haven’t had a Dutch Apple Pancake in years. So when I saw a recipe for it on Love & Lemons I knew I had to get nostalgic and enjoy it with Pete over some steaming French press coffee. And that is what we did this morning, and it was delightful.

What are you up to this Sunday? Any fun plans?

I ground wheat & spelt yesterday so I’ll be making some bread today, and hopefully doing some yoga and relaxing a little with my man before another busy week starts.

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Looks like it will be a chill day.

So, what’s on the eats and fitness menu this week??

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Meal Ideas –  

Falafel – I love it, but I’ve never made it…this is the week!

Salmon & Summer Squash on the grill

– I’m dying to try out my rice paper and make some of these Spicy Lentil Rolls 

Fresh & cool Quinoa and Hempseed Tabbouleh salad

Egg & Veggie Tart 

Spicy Fish Cakes w/stir-fried cabbage

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Fitness – 

Monday – SPRINTS! + Chest/Back/Shoulders with drop sets

Tuesday – 6s Leg Burner + Ab Circuit

Wednesday – 4 mile Run + Upper Body HIIT

Thursday –  Lean Legs w/weights + Cardio HIIT

Friday- 3.5 mile tempo run + Plank +Cardio Circuit

Saturday – Bodyweight circuit

Sunday – yoga!

In  workout rut? Try this full body circuit sometime this week:

Cardio & Strength Home Circuit

What do you have on your meal and fitness plan this week? Let me hear ya! 

Happy Sunday!!

~ Liesl