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Exercising in the Cold

Stating the obvious, Wisconsin winters are different than Southern California winters. During my first “real” winter, I quickly learned that if I wanted to exercise outdoors, proper clothing was essential. Back in California I never owned a winter hat, a scarf, gloves, ear muffs, or wool socks. Now I own a few of each. Remember, your clothes act as insulators by trapping warm air. Just be sure to choose materials that allow sweat to pass through. Why? If your clothes can’t provide a layer of “dry” air near the skin, they will increase the amount of heat your body loses as you exercise. Nowadays it’s easy to find many moisture wicking garments from socks to shirts. And don’t forget to protect your ears (earmuffs), eyes (sunglasses or goggles), and neck (scarf). So whether you’re shoveling the driveway, snow-shoeing, or having a snowball fight, stay warm and enjoy the winter.

Exercising in the Cold2010-04-20T15:38:30-05:00

Butternut Squash & Parmesan Dip

You’ll have your guests saying “Yummm” on Thanksgiving with this delicious and healthy dip. By the way, tell the kids (and big kids) it’s called “Sunshine Dip”, and you’ll be amazed at how much squash they eat :-)

1 butternut squash
1 Tbs butter
4-6 garlic cloves
2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3-5 Tbs heavy whipping cream (My wife, Heather, used low-fat milk)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a sharp knife, slice squash in half. Remove seeds and discard or try roasting them later. Dot squash with butter (optional). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in shallow roasting pan, seed sides down, with about 1/8 inch water in bottom of pan. Roast for approx. 30-40 minutes or until you can easily insert a fork right into the rind of the squash. NOTE: About halfway through cooking the squash tuck unpeeled garlic cloves around squash in roasting pan. Alternative method – if there is still a lot of water in the bottom of the squash pan place garlic gloves in their own vessel or use a toaster oven – about 10 minutes at 400°F. Garlic is done roasting if you prod the clove and find it soft.

Removed squash from oven and, using a spoon, scoop out flesh from shells and place in food processor or blender. (If cooked nice and soft, you can also blend in a bowl with a spoon.) Discard (compost) squash shells.

Slip garlic cloves out of their skins and add to squash. Process until smooth, adding all but 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and then the cream (milk). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and reserved cheese. Best if served warm with pita chips, Melba toasts or cheese straw. Serves four.

Recipe from February issue of Traverse Magazine

Butternut Squash & Parmesan Dip2012-02-28T18:19:21-06:00

Spicy Peanut Tofu & Vegetables

Let’s spice things up in the kitchen this Fall with a great vegetarian dish.

2 Tbs cooking oil (I used peanut)
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger (or you can use 1/2 tsp ginger powder)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4)
2 scallions (or green onions), white and green parts separated, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1 eggplant (prefer Asian style), medium diced
1 carrot, medium diced (I used 2)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 C peanut butter
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 pack of firm tofu, press out water and medium diced
1 C vegetable stock (I used plain water)
1 medium broccoli, cut into small bite size (I didn’t have any)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large wok or skillet. Saute ginger, garlic, white scallion (whites of the green onion) and jalapeno. Add eggplant and keep sauteing for 2 more minutes or until eggplant it wilted a bit. add carrot and keep sauteing for 2 more minutes. Add cayenne pepper, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and honey. Stir and add tofu and stock (or water). Keep stirring and slowly bring to boil. Adjust consistency by adding more peanut butter or stock (water). Finish by adding broccoli and adjust for taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallion greens. Serve with curry rice or steamed basmati rice. — Recipe by Paul Tseng, Willy Street Co-op Kitchen Sous Chef

Voila! And dinner is served.

Spicy Peanut Tofu & Vegetables2009-11-18T10:24:45-06:00


NEW e-Newsletter
To better stay in touch, share healthy recipe ideas and provide interesting health and fitness articles, I have a new e-newsletter format. Thanks to web guru Brett Farrey (www.BrettFarrey.com), it’s easy to read and will be a useful way for us to communicate. Please let me know what you think of the new format. I appreciate your comments.

Dane Buy Local Holiday Kick-Off event


As an active member of the organization Dane Buy Local, I’d like to announce their Holiday Kick-Off Baazar at the Edgewater Hotel on November 20th from 12-7PM. It’s a great way to view and shop some of the local merchants within Dane Buy Local. Free parking is available at the Edgewater. MORE INFO


Five Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you have a hard time falling asleep? Do you wake up too often? Do you wake up in the morning and not feel rested? Improve the quality and quantity of your sleep by following these easy tips:

  1. Develop a sleep ritual. Having a routine is very important. For our children, for example, we read them a few books, make sure they brush their teeth, use the bathroom, put on clean pajamas, and then we put them to bed. Hey, how about we do that for ourselves? Maybe you can add taking shower and listening to relaxing music.
  2. Calm your mind and body. Read a relaxing magazine or book. Thrillers and suspense novels will just wind you up. Try making To-Do lists. It’s almost impossible to go to sleep if you’re thinking about all of the things that you need to do the next day. So write your tasks down on a piece and set it on the kitchen counter or in your office. Out of sight, out of mind.
  3. Avoid eating or drinking late at night. Foods rich in carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar and keep you awake while drinking liquids will increase the frequency of getting up at night to use bathroom.
  4. Make your bedroom a calming place. This might sound like something from an episode of HGTV, but it really works. Start by replacing harsh lighting with gentler light bulbs. In place of vibrant colors on your walls, window curtains, or bedding try soothing neutral colors. Lastly, removing clutter will make your room feel calmer and even feel bigger.
  5. Sleep in complete darkness. Even a little bit of light can disrupt your circadian rhythms and your body’s production of melatonin.
Five Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep2012-02-28T18:05:44-06:00

BPA in womb linked to childhood behavior

In the last few years, I have included several articles about bispehnol-A, a chemical used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is found in a wide variety of common products including CDs and DVDs, electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, reusable food and drink containers, and medical devices. Because of its toughness and ability to withstand high heat, BPA is often used in protective liners of food containers, in water and infant bottles, and in other food packaging. Why are people concerned? Some animal studies report effects to fetuses and newborns that have been exposed to BPA. In the November 7, 2009 issue of Science News magazine, an article explains how prenatal exposure to bisphenol-A is linked with behavior changes in 2-year-old children. READ MORE

BPA in womb linked to childhood behavior2009-11-18T10:14:05-06:00

Meatball and Garbanzo Stew



1 tablespoon vegetable oil**
2 large onions, cut in thin lengthwise slices
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup ketchup or chili sauce
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
6 cups cooked* or 4 cans (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained
4 medium zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch slices

Meatball Mixture
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
(Mix all ingredients together.)

*2 cups dry makes 6 cups cooked.
**Omit oil if using non-stick cookware.


Roll meatball mixture into 24 equal balls. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs; cook, turning, until well browned. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. To the pan add onions and garlic; cook, stirring until limp. Add 2 cups water, bouillon cubes, ketchup, oregano and garbanzos. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Return meat to pan. Add zucchini and cook just until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Makes 9-1/2 cups. Recipe from California Dry Bean Board

Meatball and Garbanzo Stew2009-10-28T10:20:10-05:00

Chicken-Pineapple Stir-Fry

If you are looking for some new pungent fall flavors to warm you up, try this delicious stir-fry flavored with Chinese 5 Spices and Hoisin Sauce!


3 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spices spice mix
1 1/2 lbs. chicken – cut up in small pieces
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 green onion (chopped; separate green from white parts)
2-3 small carrots, chopped in small pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped in small pieces
1 red or green pepper, chopped in medium pieces or strips
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
2 cups pineapple, cut in slices or chunks 
Approx 1 cup water or can use chicken broth for more flavor
2 tsp rice vinegar (optional)

1. Combine first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut up all veggies and have all other ingredients close at hand.
2. Heat oil in wok or stainless steel skillet on high heat until it begins to “smoke”.
3. Stir fry ginger and white parts of onion for 30-45 seconds
4. Add chicken and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add hard veggies: carrot, celery – stir fry a minute or two
6. Add pepper, mushrooms, pineapple, and water or broth plus rice vinegar
7. Cover with a mesh screen and let steam for approx. five minutes. 
*If you don’t have a mesh screen, use a lid, but let some steam escape out the side.
8. When veggies are cooked to desired tenderness and sauce is reduced 
down a bit take from the heat and let sit for a minute or so to encourage the sauce to set up a little.
9. Serve over rice 
10. Sit back and savor the flavors as you admire the beautiful fall colors!

Chicken-Pineapple Stir-Fry2009-11-18T11:45:48-06:00

4 Exercise Myths

Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist.

Here are four exercise myths revealed:

Exercise Myth 1. Strength training will bulk me up. Getting “bulked up” is a function of diet (lots of calories), genetics (lots of testosterone), and heavy weight lifting (lots of grunting). As a matter of fact, strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Exercise Myth 2. If you’re not working up a sweat, you’re not working hard enough. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion; it’s your body’s way of cooling itself. Sitting outside on a hot and sunny day (that would be nice right about now) can make you sweat. It’s also possible to burn calories without breaking a sweat. Just try walking.

Exercise Myth 3. Exercise Is the best way to lose weight. Exercise is one way to lose weight, but alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight. Long term and safe weight management is most effective when coupled with proper diet and nutrition.

Exercise Myth 4. There is one perfect workout routine. In my opinion, it’s all about moving more. Whether you go to the gym, dance, walk your dog, garden, or chase your spouse around the house, the best workout is whatever activities you enjoy and will do consistently.

4 Exercise Myths2009-10-28T10:12:05-05:00

Autumn Exercise


Shorter days and cooler nights tell me that Autumn is here. It’s also reminder that we need to get outdoors as much as we can. Why? Well, there’s always yard work to do: raking leaves, harvesting veggies, and mulching trees. Second, outdoor activities are great exercise: the bending, lifting, lunging, hoisting, and jumping into piles of leaves. Third, the colors are beautiful! Lastly, it’s VERY important that we get sunshine. That’s how are bodies make vitamin D. And vitamin D helps our immune system stay strong. So be sure to get outside and enjoy this Fall.

— by Eric Foxman

Autumn Exercise2010-04-20T15:39:35-05:00
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