About Eric Foxman

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Eric Foxman has created 345 blog entries.

It’s Blackberry Picking Time + Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Mulberry Cake Recipe

The other day, my 8 year old son, Roy,  excitedly grabbed his pail and ran outside to collect blackberries. We have blackberry bushes surrounding our vegetable garden and at the edge of our woods. A few minutes later he came back inside and showed me his full pail. “Try one.” he said. I did, and they were delicious. Blackberries are great on their own, on top of hot or cold cereal and in crumbles, tarts and cakes. Soooooo Heather whipped up a dessert in no time at all. She did add fresh mulberries from some of our mulberry trees.  It turned out great!

Enjoy this Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Mulberry Cake. (Recipe adapted and modified from Favorite Recipes of the Michigan 4-H Family)

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of allspice

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

3 tablespoons butter, cut it in

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces applesauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 cups blackberries

1 cup mulberries

 

 

Directions

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Cut in butter. Add honey, eggs, walnuts, vanilla, yogurt, brown sugar and applesauce. Mix well. Stir in blackberries and mulberries.

Spread batter in greased 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done.

Serve and enjoy.

 

It’s Blackberry Picking Time + Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Mulberry Cake Recipe2021-07-05T13:10:33-05:00

Street Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with Yogurt Lemon Sauce

Looking for an easy-to-prepare, healthy and delicious chicken recipe? Then try this Street Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with Yogurt Lemon Sauce. Recipe adapted from Backyard Poultry Magazine April/May 2020 issue.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

 

Marinade 

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp ground coriander

3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

 

For the Rice

3 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 cups long grain rice

2 cups chicken brother

2 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the Yogurt Lemon Sauce

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp clear vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

handful of chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions for the Chicken

Combine lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Place chicken in large bowl or casserole dish and add marinade. Turn chicken to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour and up to fours hours, turning occasionally.  Don’t marinate chicken longer than four hours or it’ll get broken down and will have a mushy texture because of the acid from the lemon juice.

Remove chicken from marinade. Chop into pieces. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and garlic from the marinade to skillet stirring frequently. Cook chicken until done. Approximately 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Instructions for the Rice

To a pot add rinsed rice, 2 cups of water and 2 cups chicken broth. Cook on high heat. Add butter, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly. Bring rice to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest until water is absorbed and rice is tender about 15 minutes. 

 

Instructions to Serve

Plate rice. Add a few spoonfuls of chicken on top. Drizzle with yogurt sauce. We served it with steamed broccoli and bruschetta.

Street Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with Yogurt Lemon Sauce2021-06-26T13:33:30-05:00

Go Take a Hike: Our Trail Adventure at Devil’s Lake

Two weeks ago, Heather and I hiked a portion of the East Bluff Trail at Devil’s Lake. We’ve been to Devil’s Lake a few times but haven’t hiked this section since my parents visited in 2004. Wow! How time flies!  Since it was going to be a warm and sunny day, we made sure to get an early start and arrive in the morning. . . and to beat the crowds. By the time we left, the beach, trails and parking lot were all full.

There is something energizing and peaceful about going on a hike. Nature, fresh air, scenic views. My mind relaxes. My eyes relax. My muscles relax. We didn’t have a set time to return to the car or specific mileage we wanted to accomplish or particular overlooks that we had to see. Just enjoying. Being in the moment. Step after step. Breathing. What’s around the next bend?  We took a break every now and then to see where we were and where we came from. Great views. As an added bonus to he hike, we ran into my sister-in-law and her family along the way. Unexpected and very cool.

In my industry, Personal Trainers have more than just a tendency to track workouts, monitor progress and evaluate goals. What you don’t hear often enough, if at all, is encouragement to just go for a walk or a hike or leisurely stroll. It’s always about getting your heart rate up, burning fat, counting steps, etc. Maybe that’s true at the beginning when you are just starting your exercise routine. But, in my opinion, the goal is to become intuitive and body aware. Train by feel. Outdoor activities like this hike remind me that lifting weights, stretching and doing cardio at a gym or fitness studio is great. But it’s just one component of the bigger picture of health and fitness.  Like pieces of a puzzle. For the complete picture, you need a sufficient amount of quality sleep, proper nutrition and a balanced diet, positive and supportive people and stress management skills.  And most of all, you need to learn to HAVE FUN. So where are you going for our next hike?

Up, up, up I go. It was a lot easier than going down.

Heather takes a little rest in the shade.

Getting to enjoy scenic views like this one was a big reward.

Go Take a Hike: Our Trail Adventure at Devil’s Lake2021-06-24T20:58:51-05:00

Clean Your Indoor Air with a Honeywell HEPA Filter

It’s 75 degrees F today, the windows are open and there’s a nice cool breeze blowing. Unfortunately, tree and grass pollen are blowing in too. Yup, it’s pollen time here in Wisconsin. If I look outside I can see the grass starting to go to seed.  Our lilacs are also blooming, changing from purple to white. They smell nice, but they give me a sneezing fit. Ever since I started lifting weights in gyms (36 years ago), I’ve paid close attention to indoor air quality. One gym where I worked out was unbelievably stuffy, relying on just two small windows for the entire space. It made it difficult to breathe, and I remember getting headaches halfway through my workouts. Another gym was overly humid with an inadequate HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. I saw moisture actually dripping from the ductwork onto the treadmills. It was so gross.  Another fitness club had absolutely filthy HVAC registers on the ceiling in the free weights and machines area. In the same gym, the HVAC register in the men’s locker room looked like some kind of science experiment gone wrong. Ick!  

In April, I purchased a  Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter since I was only running my furnace occasionally (I’d open the windows just a crack during the day and close them up at night). What is a HEPA filter? It stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter and High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filter.  The Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter is a large, lightweight and portable filter that helps capture particles like pet dander, pollen, dust and smoke. It reduces up to 99.9% of certain airborne viruses, bacteria and mold spores, odors. It uses 3 HEPA filters and 1 pre-filter. I recently checked the HEPA filters and noticed they were no longer bright white but a light grey. That tells me it’s doing its job.

Here’s the million dollar question. Have I noticed a difference in air quality with the HEPA Filter running in my workout studio? The answer is YES. Not only does the air smell cleaner but I observe less dust on surfaces that require dusting. Also some of my clients own pets, and I often react with a runny nose within minutes of their arrival. I’m happy to report the nose is less runny.  Lastly, the HEPA filter circulates the air very well without being too noisy.

If you know me, you know that I am particular about my fitness studio. Safety, cleanliness and good air quality are top priorities.  I take pride in the fact that I clean all surfaces with disinfectant cleaning products in between client appointments. If the weather is being reasonable, I open a window, sliding patio door or a screen door to air out my studio.  Using the Honeywell HPA 300 HEPA Filter gives me peace of mind. It’s an extra level of protection for my clients and me. 

* One more thing. Heather reminded me that house plants like Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Snake Plant and Devil’s Ivy all help to improve air quality too.

 

 

 

 

Clean Your Indoor Air with a Honeywell HEPA Filter2021-05-26T14:50:44-05:00

How to Know if You Need New Shoes or New Socks

My feet are important to me, and they are involved in every activity that I do: training clients, lifting weights, going for walks, hiking, playing basketball and doing yard work.  Sometimes it can be difficult to know why my feet or legs or back are sore after a particular activity. Is it the shoe? Is it overuse? Or both?  Some people say that it’s age catching up to me.  That’s not very nice :-)

A close friend and I have talked about shoes, shoe inserts, socks, and general footwear for many years. We’ve had long discussions on the subject. Given that my friend, Dave, who works as a postal carrier, walks 10+ miles a day and is an avid runner, I feel that he is an expert on the matter.  What conclusions did we come up with? What are some solutions? First of all, we need to understand that shoes get compressed over time just by standing in them. I’ve had 6-month old shoes that outwardly look new with no visible signs of wear, but they feel like bedroom slippers when I put them on. And that’s not a good thing if you need a supportive shoe for certain exercises. Another thing Dave and I agreed on is that I am a sensitive person. Like Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea”, I fortunately or unfortunately notice small changes in the performance of my socks and shoes. These changes can result in foot and calf soreness. If I continue wearing those same shoes and socks, sometimes the discomfort will move up to my hip, back or even neck.

I’ve been told by long distance runners and have even read on shoe manufacturer’s websites that running shoes have a preset mileage built into them. Usually 400 to 500 miles. Is that just marketing so you buy next years’ model? Hmm. Whether it’s 400, 500 or 1000 miles, eventually the synthetic leather, plastic, knit polyester, foam and rubber will degrade with each footfall. Be watchful. Depending on how you walk or run, your shoes may wear unevenly. And that “unevenness” and imbalance may further contribute to foot, ankle, knee, hip or back soreness or injury.  

Eric, are you saying that I need to buy a new pair of shoes every 4 or 6 months? That depends on what activities you’re doing, your budget and how your body is feeling. I have a client who has worn the same athletic shoes for 13+ years and feels that they are supportive. He says that he only wears them to train with me, but I’m sure they are waaaaaay overdo. 

The same is true with socks. Socks can help wick away moisture (which reduces rubbing and blisters), add support to your foot and ankle, provide cushion under your heel and the ball of your foot and help regulate temperature. All this with a sock? Yes. As a matter of fact, I have almost entirely replaced all of my socks with Darn Tough Hiker 1/4 socks. I’m wearing them right now, and I can’t say enough about them. 

What are some ideas to add longevity to your shoes and socks?

  1. Alternate shoes. We often put new socks on every day, but we put on the same shoe. That shoe may still retain moisture from the previous day and is still recovering. So wear another pair.
  2. Wear the right shoe for the job. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT wear old athletic shoes for yard work or going for walks or taking the dog out or anything. Remember different activities require different footwear. I remember training a client who was complaining about ankle pain after participating in some outdoor bootcamp classes (with another fitness trainer) at a nearby park. Looking at her running shoes, I asked if she was wearing those same shoes at the park in the morning on the dewy grass. She said Yes. The soles of her shoes were worn down so she would have no grip on the grass. I added that doing any side-to-side movements in running shoes wasn’t a good idea either since running shoes provide no lateral support.    
  3. Don’t let your feet get cold. Have you noticed how your car performs differently in the winter? It takes longer to warm up and the tires may feel harder on the road. That’s because of the cold. If your feet get cold and you go for a run, for example, your footfalls, propulsion, ankle extension, etc will be abbreviated. That may lead to poor technique, reduced performance and/or injury.
  4. Stretch your legs and feet. We are usually pretty good about stretching quads, hamstrings and calves, but don’t forget to stretch your ankles and feet. 
  5. Take a break and get off of your feet. If possible, give your feet a rest. I have joked over the years that since I stand and exercise for a living that I can sit for a loooong time. . . and watch TV. . . and nosh. When you are in a standing position, blood flows down to your feet. If blood pools in your feet, they may swell making your shoes and socks feel tighter and uncomfortable. Muscle contraction in your feet and legs send the blood back up.  Blood pooling can even happen when we are sitting.  So sometimes it’s a good idea to kick off your shoes and put your legs up when you get home. 

 

How to Know if You Need New Shoes or New Socks2021-05-20T12:34:28-05:00

Indian Butter Chicken with Chickpea Tikka Masala

Let me begin by saying that I love Indian food. I love the flavors, the aromas and the spices. As a matter of fact, we make some kind of Indian dish every week.  Here is one that Heather made the other day. It’s an Indian Butter Chicken recipe with a side of Chickpea Tikka Masala. Just writing about it makes me hungry. I think there’s some leftovers in the fridge. Enjoy!

The Indian Butter Chicken recipe was adapted from an article in the magazine Slow Cooker Favorites Volume 7.

The Chickpea Tikka Masala recipe was  born of Heather’s culinary experience.

 

 

Ingredients for Indian Butter Chicken

3 Tbsp butter

2 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

 1 Tbsp garam masala

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup chopped onion

 

Directions

In a large skillet heat 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker. 

Add ginger, garam masala, garlic, cumin, salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Toss to coat. Stir in tomatoes and onion. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or high 3 hours.

Serve over rice and with a side of warm naan.

 

Ingredients for Chickpea Tikka Masala

1 15 ounce can organic garbanzo beans (aka: chickpeas)

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

8 ounces cauliflower, chopped

2 Tbsp cow ghee (clarified butter)

1/2 15 ounce jar of Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce (from Aldi)

 

Directions

In a skillet, heat clarified butter over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add cauliflower. FYI we used cauliflower that we had previously chopped and frozen. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add chickpeas and mix ingredients thoroughly. Then add simmer sauce and stir to coat. Set heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until dinner is ready.  Enjoy!

 

Indian Butter Chicken with Chickpea Tikka Masala2021-05-04T13:52:41-05:00

Top 3 Exercises with a Triceps Bar

The triceps bar was one of the first pieces of exercise equipment that my brothers and I used 36+ years ago. When we first started weightlifting, we focused on the fundamentals, and we saw results quickly. Over the years, I made adjustments to my different workout routines. It seems, however, like I have come full circle and arrived back at the beginning.  Basic movements.  The fundamentals.

With the triceps bar there are many exercises that you can do. Here are three of my favorites. Enjoy!

Top 3 Exercises with a Triceps Bar2021-05-02T18:26:06-05:00

48 Birthday Push-ups

How did I celebrate my 48th birthday today? With 48 push-ups of course. Watch the video.

48 Birthday Push-ups2021-03-25T13:53:02-05:00

Pumpkin Chicken Curry Recipe

Looking for an easy to prepare and tasty chicken curry recipe? Here’s one from Costco Connection magazine that we tried yesterday. How did it turn out?  It was nice, but compared to my Mom’s chicken curry recipe that uses chicken thigh meat and drumsticks, it was not quite as rich and flavorful. And remember that you can make adjustments to this recipe based on what ingredients you have in the kitchen and your own personal tastes. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp canola oil, divided (we used grape seed oil)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

3/4 cup chopped yellow onion

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced (we used 2 cloves)

2 Tbsp yellow curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (we used homemade pumpkin puree)

1/2 cup coconut milk

 

Directions

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Add chicken. Cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from skillet.

Lower heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp oil, then add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.  

Stir in the curry powder, spices and salt. Cook mixture 1 minute. 

Add chicken back to skillet. Stir in pumpkin and coconut milk. Once sauce is simmering, reduce heat to low and let cook additional 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or another grain. Makes 6 servings. 

 

Optional: Garnish with shredded coconut, peanuts, raisins, diced apple and sliced banana.

My Recommendation: For more flavor, use chicken thigh meat and cook in cow ghee (clarified butter). 

Also, remember that curry powders are not all the same.  I like to kick it up a notch and add more chili powder.

Pumpkin Chicken Curry Recipe2021-03-24T10:54:02-05:00
Go to Top