I hope Father’s Day was a special day for all you Dads. It definitely was for me. My folks were visiting from California, and I tried out my new Camp Chef Lumberjack Over-the-Fire Grill. Other than sitting by a fire, singing campfire songs and perfecting my S’mores-making technique, I had never grilled directly over my firepit. Measuring eight feet in diameter, my firepit can hold a lot of wood which creates a tremendous amount of heat. A lightbulb went off in my head. With all of those hot embers I could easily cook over the fire. So I bought a 36″ cooking grate with sturdy legs. It can handle direct grilling, skillets and even our cast iron dutch oven.
For Father’s Day, we picked up top sirloin and beef flank steaks from Black Earth Meats. They were immediately immersed in my home-made teriyaki marinade which is made up of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, ginger powder and apple cider vinegar, the secret ingredient. The vinegar tenderizes the meat and imparts a sweetness to it, so the longer you can marinade it the better. In the Foxman family, my mom is the queen of steaks and I learned my best marinades and rubs from her. She also taught me the key to a perfect steak. Prepare it medium-rare.
So I put the cooking grate in the pit off to one side and built a fire. A couple hours later, there were plenty of hot embers, and I raked them underneath the grate. I gently placed the meat on the grate and just a few minutes of grilling on each side and the steaks were done. It worked like a charm. I didn’t have a thermometer, but I’d guess the temperature in the pit was over 500 degrees F. We also placed some corn off to the side where the heat was more indirect. Those took around ten minutes.
Grilling over a fire gave me a whole new appreciation for cooking outdoors. This was a fun experience and I hope to try other recipes in the future.
Join me this Thursday, June 6th at 7:00pm at the Middleton Public Library (7425 Hubbard Avenue) for a FREE wellness seminar. You’ll learn easy-to-follow weight loss tips and stress-reduction strategies. I’ll also include meal-plans and recipes as well as diet myths, fads, and other misconceptions. The seminar will be held in the Archer Room downstairs through the lobby stairwell. I promise that you will come away informed, empowered and entertained. For more information or to register for this program, email email@example.com or call (608) 827-7403.
See you there!
You can support public television and get a great deal on my personal training sessions by checking out WPT’s 38th Annual Auction! The auction starts on Wednesday May 29th and concludes June 2nd. I have donated two packages of 2 personal training sessions in the Sports & Recreation Category. So tune in on Friday May 31st from 7pm to 12am. You can bid online or over the phone. Reserved for new clients only. For more info goto WPT Auction.
Eggs have gotten a bad wrap due to their fat content and cholesterol levels. As a result, carton egg whites and egg substitutes have become more popular in the last two decades. I remember eating quite a few of the refrigerated Egg Beaters during my body building years. Created in 1994, they were fat-free and had low or no cholesterol. Takes me back to the days of fat-free diets . . . and rice cakes. Of course, we could make rice cakes taste better by spreading on cream cheese or lots of peanut butter. Defeats the purpose, huh? That’s how I feel about real eggs. It’s real nutrition. One egg has 6 grams of protein, some healthy unsaturated fats and is a good source of choline (linked with preserving memory) and lutein (may protect against vision loss).
My boys love eating hard-boiled eggs. The yolk is prized above all things. It’s rich, satisfying and has many nutrients. The problem with many man-made low-fat foods is that we’re never satisfied. And where’s the taste? We’re always searching for it. So we eat more. In my opinion, a veggie egg white omelette may be lighter, but an omelette with real eggs is tastier and more satisfying.
Here’s a tip to long-lasting weight loss: Don’t deprive yourself. Include foods in your diet that are satisfying. Otherwise, you’ll keep searching (ie: eating and drinking) until you’re stuffed. Does that make sense? I’m not suggesting that you eat cheesecake, bacon or a dozen scrambled eggs every day. But a couple bites of richer foods will often nip cravings in the bud.
The question that often arises regarding eggs is “Are eggs bad for me?” Unfortunately this is the wrong question. Instead we need to ask “How many eggs are you eating?”, “How are they prepared?”, “What else are you eating?” and “What activities are you doing?” We need to look at the bigger picture of your health and fitness and not single out specific foods.
It’s exciting to wake up in the morning, walk out to my chicken coop and gather eggs. Free of hormones and antibiotics, they also free range. We’re trying to get closer to our food and be more self-sufficient. Below is a pic of our first egg and two of our chickens, Parsley (Speckled Sussex) and Sage (Buff Orpington).
Do you remember?
I’m a chicken hawk and I’m gunna get me some chickens!!!
I say, I say there boy! These here, I say these here, are egg-laying chickens.
How would you like to make a soup that is “mostly” homemade, healthy and prepared in under 30 minutes? Then check out my Asian noodle soup recipe. As you’ll see, the amounts and kinds of veggies you put in is up to you. Enjoy!
5 cups water
2-3 medium carrots, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (optional: bok choy)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots (cut into strips)
1 can straw mushrooms, sliced
1 can baby corn
In a pot add water. Bring to boil then add carrots, onions and celery. (These will take the longest to cook.) Cook for approx. 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Mix in seasoning packet and ground ginger. Next add noodles and lower to medium heat. After 1 minute add remaining ingredients. If you feel the need for more protein, you can crack an egg into the soup. Cover egg with the noodles and lower heat. Egg will be cooked in under five minutes and soup is ready.
I’ve been interested in suspension systems for a while. They are cost-effective, portable, take up little room and offer a variety of exercises using bodyweight. Words like “core strength” and “stability” immediately come to mind. With systems like LifelineUSA XT Jungle Gym, a pushup, plank or inverted row, require the whole body. And unlike most workout machines, there are no chest pads, back rests, seats or foot boards. You create the stability. To adjust the amount of weight you push or pull, all you need to do is change your body angle or position. A pushup, for example, can be performed by both beginners and elite athletes. A beginner might position their body at 60 degrees while an individual with a higher fitness level might position their body at 20 degrees.
Installment of the LifelineUSA XT Jungle Gym is straightforward. There are easy-to-follow directions and excellent customer service. Anchors attach firmly to a wall or ceiling using four screws and washers. Remember, you need to drill them into the studs. My Jungle Gym XT is suspended from the ceiling. There is also an instructional video describing the product (I learned that each anchor is rated to handle over 300 pounds.) and demonstrating a few beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises. The other day I played around with the suspension system and found it challenging. It’s similar to the difference between exercise machines and free weights. I was surprised how shaky I was with some of the exercises, but like anything, this was new to me. By changing up my body angle, foot stance or arm position I was able to make adjustments safely and quickly. Soon I’ll demo a few Jungle Gym exercises for you.
Ankle sprains are a common injury. We typically think of them occurring on the basketball court, tennis court or soccer field. However, they can also happen by just taking a wrong step. As easy as it sounds, wrapping or taping your ankle can significantly aid in the healing process. Watch the video demo.
We can all learn from kids when it comes to exercise. How? They can go outside for a couple hours, run around, climb trees and just play. They don’t calculate the amount of calories burned, count reps or estimate mileage. They have fun. So why shouldn’t we? Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. Meal preparation shouldn’t be a big production. Health and fitness should be fun. Just like life.
The other day, I was about to exercise in my fitness studio when my 5-year old asked if he could join me. Absolutely, I said. Bruce and I have “worked out” before. This usually consists of him jumping on the BOSU, pushing the ab wheel around the room and punching me with his Spiderman boxing gloves. We started with some dynamic stretches (leg swings, wrist rotations, shoulder rolls, etc), and he reminded me how loose and flexible kids are. My arm rotations didn’t look like his. Plus we did some Papa calisthenics. We call my dad, Papa, and for many years he’s had a routine of exercises that he does every morning. They’re pretty old-school, but they work for him. In between my back exercises (rows, pull-ups and back extensions), I watched Bruce “exercise”. He even grabbed a 3 lb dumbbell and did one-arm dumbbell rows like me. Good form. We finished with some focus mitt boxing. Our workout lasted 30 minutes and we had a great time. My back is actually pretty sore . . . in a good way. It’s funny when we deformalize exercise and make it fun (and safe), it can be extremely effective. That’s why I joined a tennis league. We’re all out there to have fun, move around and compete.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of impact I’m making on my kids when it comes to health and fitness. Then I read this letter (see pic below) that my 2nd grader left on my bench. I read it and smiled.
I’m not going to cite the latest studies about the benefits of music on your workouts. Why? Because you have already experienced it. You know how it feels to get pumped up or “in the zone” with your favorite workout music. It brings out emotions and experiences. You also know how certain music helps you to relax after you exercise. Your respiration slows down and you feel a sense of calm. For some people, light classical music or jazz does the trick.
Back in college, my third-year roommate made me an awesome workout tape. Notice, I didn’t say CD. Mostly hard rock and heavy metal. Metallica anyone? Hey, I was a 20 year old college student. It would help reduce distractions in the gym and I could focus inward. The fact that the volume was on high helped drown out any noise. The tape was 60 minutes long so I knew exactly where I was in my workout when a certain song came on. For those days when I was going to have a more moderate workout or go for a jog, I’d choose lighter rock music or something with a consistent beat. As I ran, I’d try to land my footfalls with the beat. I’d get lost in the music and sometimes find myself running farther than I had anticipated. When I got back to my car or home afterwards, I’d listen to something light. I wasn’t comfortable with pure silence. I needed something to help slow me down. Otherwise, it felt like hitting a wall. Wham! Workout done and music off.
The video below features O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. The first time I heard it was at a bodybuilding competition twenty years ago. The defending champion, Dorian Yates, used it for his posing routine. The music is powerful and will give you chills.
My love of cooking good food comes from my mom. As a young boy, I would stand on a step stool in the kitchen and help my mom wash fruits and vegetables, measure out ingredients and stir whatever was simmering in the pot. When I grew up, I realized that Mom’s cooking was hard to come by, so it was up to me. One of the first things I did was to pick up some herbs and spices. With most people, salt and pepper are all that reside in their spice drawer or cupboard. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of foods that can stand alone and have incredible flavor by themselves. However, foods like chicken need some assistance. That’s where herbs and spices come into play. A dash of this and a sprinkle of that can turn bland and boring into fragrant and flavorful. If you’ve perused any of my recipes, you’ve seen some of my favorites like curry powder (a combination of nine different spices), oregano (Mexican and Italian), basil (fresh and dried), paprika (Hungarian and Spanish) and thyme.
My suggestion to you is to pick up some herbs and spices the next time you’re at the grocery store. What kinds? Any. Then build a meal out of those ingredients. Need ideas? Check out my recipes or go to your favorite cooking website. Remember, you can easily grow your own herbs. It can be an herb pot on your kitchen counter, a larger container on your patio or a plot in your vegetable garden. FYI many herbs come back in the spring. Heather’s garden is full of perennials like mint, chocolate mint, sage and oregano. If you let cilantro, dill and fennel go to seed, plenty of seedlings will come up on their own. Time to get cooking!
We have over 60 herbs and spices in our kitchen cupboard
and more in the pantry.