Homemade Bread

To me there is a distinct difference between being “fit” and being “healthy”. Working out regularly is very important, and will lead to being fit, but not necesarily being healthy. Being healthy is a full time, full body commitment, both inside and out. In order to take a step towards a healthier lifestyle for my family as well as myself, I have been trying to cut back on the preservatives consumed in our house.
Ever read the ingredients on the “healthy” bread? Take a look and try not to be shocked, but our healthy bread had a lot of the unhealthy ingredients I try to avoid otherwise like this. Also check out this link here about bread having the same ingredients as yoga mats.
The solution was to either buy the really fancy, expensive bread from the bakery, or learn to make our own. Being heavy on time and short on money, we decided to start making our own. Coming from someone who is not a baker, and can really screw up simple things like cookies (nobody likes my blackened, crispy sheet cookies, how can butter and sugar taste that bad??), learning to bake bread has been surprisingly easy.
From beginning to end it takes about 3 hours, which seems like a lot of time, but the actual time spent “working” is only about 15 minutes, the rest is rising time and baking time.
The benefits are that the homemade bread definitely tastes better if I do say so myself, the house smells awesome for hours afterwards, and I know exactly what the ingredients are, and it is a much shorter list than on the store bought bread.
I make the recipe out of a cookbook but have “perfected” it a little bit. There are tons of recipes out there so I won’t bore you with a recipe, just play google roulette with “wheat breat recipe”.

Until next time…Ryann

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Quinoa Comfort Food

What is quinoa?
qui·noa
ˈkēnwä/
noun
1. a goosefoot found in the Andes, where it was widely cultivated for its edible starchy seeds before the introduction of Old World grains.
2. That funny looking grain stuff from health food stores that everybody has heard is healthy but nobody knows exactly what to do with or how to cook.

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I believe the first definition, but fall squarely within the second definition. Ever since Costco started carrying bulk, organic quinoa I have been buying it and adding it to at least a couple meals per week. When I say “adding” it, I mean cooking it like rice as a side dish. My husband likes it because he “adds flavor” with salt, pepper, butter and cheese, but that kind of defeats the purpose of including a healthy grain with our meal. So, with that in mind I am always looking for new quinoa recipes that incorporate it into the meal, not just a side dish. I came upon this recipe and wanted to give this one a try.
People who know me really well, know that I love my comfort food, especially during the colder months. I figure this quinoa meatloaf would do the trick and decided to give it a try:

I found the meal filling and flavorful. However, I made a few tweaks:
-I made one cup of quinoa and only added a half cup into the meatloaf
-Instead of tomato paste I used ketchup
-Did not use hot pepper sauce; that can be optional
-The recipe says to cook some of the other ingredients. I just cooked the quinoa, got a separate bowl and added the other ingredients as is, mixed it all well together with my hand and put it in a bread pan to cook.

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Did you know quinoa has the highest percentage of protein than any other grain?

What’s your favorite quinoa recipe?

Cook it Up

When it comes to food, my husband thinks I’m a “picky eater”. He says I don’t eat my greens (I do eat my veggies, but I don’t have to like it). As I have become more interested in fitness and nutrition, the more i learn that leafy green vegetables (the ones i don’t really like) have major health benefits.

If Popeye isn’t a good enough role model, just google the “health benefits of leafy green vegetables”, and there is no shortage of web pages extolling the virtues of kale, chard and spinach (everything on the Internet is true, as we all know).

The main idea is that kale has vitamins like vitamin K (who even knew vitamins went that far down the alphabet?), iron (good for everything) and even omega-3fatty acids. The list of benefits is basically a list of all the health issues that have become alarmingly common over the past few years, like high blood pressure and even Alzheimer’s.

So, back to my original point of not liking kale, but realizing that I need to eat more of it, I found a recipe that actually tastes good and is really easy as a plus. I call it “kale with onions, garlic and bell peppers”, and that is all there is to it. Just brown the onions and bell peppers and garlic in olive oil, add a large handful of coarsely chopped leafy green veggies, and cook until the greens are wilted.

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Besides eating healthy green vegetables this week, on Monday I had a really good session of Brazil Butt lift, and Tuesday I drug myself through a turbo fire workout (just one of those days when I wasn’t feeling it, probably should have popped a handful of spinach!). Otherwise, I am feeling good and enjoying this phase of pregnancy when I don’t feel like puking all the time.

If you have any favorite recipes for any of the leafy green veggies I mentioned, please share!

Homegrown Goodness

There’s nothing like having fresh vegetables from the garden. Every year my husband and I team up to get the garden going. He loosens up the soil by hand with a shovel, digs in compost, sets up the drip system and figures out where to plant everything while I supervise (we are such a good team!).
The other tradition is the annual post planting storm where cold wind, freezing temperatures and even snow blast, freeze and shred our carefully nurtured seedlings. This cold snap ensures that our garden boxes are not overcrowded with any of those delicate vegetables we try every year, like watermelon. But, this year, like every other year, the pictures of luscious red watermelon in the seed catalog looked too good to pass up. Maybe this year we will finally get one watermelon!
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First kale and chard of the season
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Our garden

This is the time of year all of “our” hard work starts to pay off when we can finally begin to harvest the cold tolerant, fast growing veggies like kale and lettuce. My favorite part is that I can go right outside and pick out what I want to include with our meal. Soon the peas and beans will start to produce, then with any luck the tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini will follow right behind. In the fall carrots, parsnips and pumpkins will be ready in time for fresh pies and stew.

Besides the hard work, heart breaking storms and dirty fingernails, the other perks of our garden are:
1) the veggies aren’t sprayed with chemicals
2) we save money (hopefully, never have done the math – seeds plus water bill plus hours weeding plus everything else has to be less than Safeway, right?)
3) I can procrastinate meal planning even more since i can step right outside and grab what i want!
4) vegetables from our own garden taste way better than store bought (that is the rule, and anybody who says otherwise will be unceremoniously removed from the premises if they don’t agree)

On a side note, here’s an update with pregnancy and workouts: I had a doctor appointment last Thursday and everything is going great. 16 weeks along and got to hear Baby Ford’s heartbeat! next up is the big ultrasound on July 3 to find out the gender!

Workouts this week have consisted of TurboFire, Brazil Butt Lift and lifting weights. I’m still getting used to modifying my workouts, but thankfully i am not at the tired hippopotamus stage yet, so the modifications have been minor, mostly listening to doctors orders and not over doing it! It will all be worth it in the end.

Until next time…Ryann

Eating For Two

Since I am eating (and doing everything else for that matter) for two, I have become much more aware of my overall health, and exactly what I am putting into my body. Long gone are the foods I used to enjoy; the morning cup of coffee, occasional glass of wine, sub sandwich, fancy cheese and sushi (ok, I didn’t eat sushi or soft cheese very often, but I am pregnant and can get away with complaining about things). Searching through the large number of baby sites on the internet before making a single food choice has gotten old, so I was excited to find this site: http://www.canmommyeat.com, where I can search any food and instantly find out if calamari dipped in honey is ok (weirdest example I could think of, ok).
So, cold turkey on the caffeine and cold cuts, but I still want to be eating food that tasts good and isn’t boring. This is a lofty goal and I have had to get creative, searching new recipes and trying new things. One simple recipe we tried this week was maple glazed salmon. A simple fish recipe that I actually liked (well, more than usual).
Here it is, and it is definitely worth a try, even for fish haters like me…maple salmon

Work outs for this week include TurboFire (three times), lifting weights on the other days and a few short walks.

Until next time…Ryann

What’s That in My Food?

Those of you that know me well know how much I love cereal!  It’s my favorite thing to eat for breakfast.  I always eat at least a couple bowls in one sitting, or even a box given enough time and skim milk. While sitting at the kitchen counter Sunday morning after a good cereal eating session, my husband came home from a run and was looking for something else to eat for breakfast.  He spotted my box of “health cereal” sitting right next to his plastic container filled with oatmeal.  He likes to give me a hard time about the chemicals I am eating since I have been bugging him about some of his favorite unnatural food choices. Anyway, he pretended to read the ingredients to me, and started spouting my list of pet-peeve food additives to me me…,”hydrogenated oil, corn syrup, soy lecithin…etc.”.  I am used to this, so I laughed and snorted, “there are none of those bad things in MY cereal,” acting as if I am a “cereal expert” and know all the ingredients that are being put into my cereal choices.
I asked him for the box and read the ingredients!  He was right.  There was one awful ingredient in this “so called healthy” cereal – soy isolate protein.

Instead of making this into a lecture, I have decided to break down a few ingredients that are in most of the supposedly healthy foods, even ones that are associated with healthy living and working out. I’m sure you all eat and drink: cereal, energy bars, protein shakes (I wont mention any brands, but Shakeology doesn’t have any of this stuff), granola bars, pudding, yogurts, teas (yes, I have come across soy lecithin in hot/cold tea), crackers, chips, the list goes on. Here are the four ingredients that I try to be aware of I am making food choices: Soy Lecithin, soy isolate protein, sucralose, and aspartame (sounds and looks like arsenic, need I say more).
I encourage you to do your own research and form your own conclusion based on something other than what I have to say (even though that would be fine with me…)
Here is a brief summary of what I have found, and we all know EVERYTHING you find on the internet is totally true, so I am sure this is all 100 percent correct (that is why you should do your own research).

– Soy Lecithin: Comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containingsolvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid.

– Sucralose: Artificial sweetener commonly packaged as “Splenda”. Sucralose is made by chemically altering the structure of sugar molecules by adding chlorine atoms in place of hydroxyl groups. Sucralose is therefore chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Chlorocarbons are poisonous.

– Soy Protein Isolate: Contains chemicals that are associatedwith the development of Alzheimer’s and cancer. Also contains phytoestrogens which have been shown to cause rapid growth of breast cancer cells.

I hope this helps my loyal readers to avoid some chemicals that can be detrimental to your long term health. By no means am I suggesting turning to a crazy diet of only raw, uncooked, organic, wild grains, but take a second look and try to avoid these designer chemicals as much as possible.

Does anybody have any other harmful food additives that we should all be avoiding?

First of many…

It was 2007 when I saw the P90X infomercial for the first time. The one armed pushups caught my eye, I mean who doesn’t want to do one armed pushups? Ever try to do a one armed pushup? I immediately dropped down and tried, but ended up doing a one armed face plant… It was clear that cool exercises like this would turn my boring workouts into something lot more fun! As tends to happen, motivation faded between ordering it and finally getting it in the mail and I must admit that stack of P90X DVDs sat on my shelf and gathered dust. It wasn’t that I sat on the couch and ate potato chips from a bag carefully balanced on a growing gut, but I had good intentions attempted doing other work outs, including, but not limited to bootcamp with friends (aka gossip hour), classes at a gym (wow, boring…and the looks when you show up late…), making up my own work outs (yes, as productive as that sounds…) and I even joined a gym (hoping that the steep monthly dues would act as motivation – not even close, it became a nice place for an occasional walk and shower). Needless to say, none of those things worked (shocker!).

There are always excuses for not working out (I have a list in case you need any), and the inevitable consequence for those excuses is rationalizing the result. See if any of these fit: just “getting older,” just slowing down, stupid metabolism….

Finally, I stopped paying to drive to the gym to take a shower, and decided to give P90X a shot. On May 23, 2011, I pressed play and that one little click was the start of new and great strides I made for my fitness and health. Just between friends (promise not to tell anybody??) the first few workouts were REALY HARD, and the day after soreness was even worse (ever have it hurt to wiggle your little toe?). Despite my better judgment I kept at it, and it wasn’t long before I started to notice toned arms (which way to the beach?) and even some abs (six pack here I come)! The bottom line is that I never thought I could get into great shape by doing a work out from the comfort of my own home (it doesn’t seem fair), but it has happened and I love everything about my new body! It sounds cheesy, but there is no caption here, no fine print about “being a paid actor”, but P90X worked for me, and it can work for anybody with a TV and a few spare minutes every day.

What’s your favorite work out?

Check out my website
beachbodycoach.com/ryannford

Until next time…Ryann