photo by Natalie Senecal of Oh Shoot Photos.
What did you do with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Have a second helping? Freeze it? Or did you say “what leftovers”? This Thanksgiving I already had two leftover turkey dishes in mind: Turkey Salad Sandwiches and Turkey Rice & Vegetable Soup. Both turned out awesome! Why? As in the last few years, I prepared the turkey in a crockpot. A crockpot? Yes. The turkey is easy to prepare, requires no basting, easy to clean up and most of all the meat was moist and delicious. No dry white meat. And in case you are wondering, our crockpot is 8 quarts and snugly fit an 11-pound turkey. That was plenty for our family. Second, the broth/stock that came out of the crockpot was incredible. Better than anything from a can and not as salty. All this talk about food is making me hungry. So here are the two recipes to check out. Enjoy!
8 ounces turkey breast, shredded and chopped
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 organic Gala apple, diced
1 stalk organic celery, diced
1 cup walnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a large bowl, add the turkey, raisins, diced apple, lemon juice and celery. Mix well.
Spread the shelled walnuts evenly on a cutting board. Using a glass, metal or ceramic bowl, crush the walnuts. Be sure to press the bowl down at a slight angle away from you. Why do I crush the walnuts? To make them into smaller bite sizes and to extract a little oil. This will add to the creaminess of the turkey salad.
Next add the walnuts, mayonnaise and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Why did I add both mayonnaise and yogurt? I ran out of mayonnaise. Plus I feel that yogurt gives it a fresher and brighter taste.
Your turkey salad is ready to enjoy.
16 ounces turkey meat (shredded and chopped)
1 cup rice, dry
3 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks organic celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 cups homemade turkey stock
7 cups water
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pot on the stove top and set heat to medium-high. Add olive oil, onions and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute.
Next add the celery and carrots. Cook for about 5 five minutes, mixing frequently.
Add turkey, spices, stock and water. FYI my stock was super concentrated, very gelatinous and flavorful. So depending on your palette you may want to add more or less water at this point. This will also affect the consistency of the soup.
Bring to boil. Once boiling, add rice, lower heat to simmer and cover with lid. I let it simmer for about 90 minutes. The rice broke down more than I wanted to, but all in all I thought it was a success.
Middleton Co-op’s September/October publication has some great coupons and recipe ideas. Their Autumn Harvest Pizza was a definite winner. This past Sunday, Heather and Bruce rolled up their sleeves, tossed some dough and baked up a nice pizza pie. As always, changes were made to the recipe to suit our palettes and what ingredients were available. And guess what? It turned out great! As a matter of fact, our two older boys, Kyle and Bruce, said it was better than any take-out pizza they had before.
3 cups cubed and peeled sweet potatoes
1 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 tbsp Italian spices (marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil and savory)
1 1/2 cups smoked mozzarella cheese (instead of smoked Gouda)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp dried parsley (instead of 2 tbsp fresh)
Instead of drizzling olive oil and salt on the cubed sweet potatoes and baking them in an oven, they were microwaved minus the oil and salt. Also the day before, a few chicken breasts were coated with poultry seasoning, sage and olive oil, then baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. After the chicken cooled, one was set aside for the pizza recipe. It was then chopped. What about the other pieces of chicken? One went into my quinoa salad. The other two hadn’t made up their minds yet :-)
The original recipe called for a pre-baked crust. Instead Heather and Bruce followed a pizza crust recipe from Food Network’s Tyler Florence.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Into a small bowl, mix tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of Italian spices. Place pizza crust on a sheet pan and spread tomato paste mixture evenly on the crust. (We did not want it to be dry.) Next top the crust with chopped chicken and cover with mozzarella, walnuts and parsley. Bake for 20 minutes. Just a reminder, every oven is different so be sure to check that the cheese is bubbling and crust is crisp. Slice and ready to serve. Total prep time approximately 1 hour.
How would you like to spend less time working and still get in awesome shape? How would you like to stay active every day and remain injury free? How would you like to eat healthier foods and spend less money than you are right now? Then watch my 14-minute video and learn how to do more and get more with less.
Can you say delicious? This was a spur of the moment creation. I referred to the recipe on the back of the noodle package and also borrowed ideas from a few soba noodle recipes online. As always, I modified the recipe to suit my family’s tastes as well as what ingredients we had in our kitchen. Made for a light and tasty side dish. Enjoy!
Ingredients for dressing
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Ingredients for vegetables and noodles
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup mix of yellow and orange carrots, diced
1/4 cup snow peas
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 ounces buckwheat noodles
Heat 4-5 quarts of water in large pot. Once boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions. I like my noodles to have a little more chew to them, so I cooked them al dente. Noodles were then drained in a strainer and rinsed under cold water.
Heat peanut oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the chopped red bell peppers and yellow and orange diced carrots. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Then add snow peas. Continue to stir and cook for approximately one more minute. Remove skillet from heat and plate vegetables to stop cooking process.
In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, ginger powder, honey and sesame oil until combined. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil until the dressing is emulsified.
In a large bowl add the noodles, carrots, peppers and snow peas. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables and gently mix to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Ready to serve and eat.
Gone are the days of old fashioned sit ups. They have been replaced with safer, more effective and creative exercises like pelvic tilts, forearm planks, bridges and knee pull-ins. But don’t forget your abdominal rotation exercises. These are crucial in developing a strong core. Do you know how many muscles you use to do a rotation? 1? 2? 3?
Here’s a list of the core muscles used:
Now add to that all of the upper and lower body muscles you use when picking up a box, for example, and turn to put it on a shelf.
Your core is made up of numerous overlaying and underlaying muscles that go in different directions. Why? So you can do a variety of movements and be protected. To see detailed illustrations of muscle anatomy check out anatomybodydiagram.com.
Here are three of my favorite rotation exercises. Enjoy!
If you don’t have a barbell, try using a broom stick or pole.
If you are uncomfortable lying on the floor, use a mat or lie on your bed.
If you don’t have access to a cable machine, you can use bands or tubing.
My three boys either ran, sauntered or dragged themselves onto the bus yesterday morning for their first day of school. I’m not sure if I should open a bottle of wine, crank up the radio or just sit and think about what a great summer we’ve had. Yes, I think I’ll do the latter. Reflection is so important. Not trying to relive the past or dwell in the coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m talking about looking back at a couple or a few months and reviewing accomplishments and experiences.
How often have we heard someone (perhaps ourself) say “Where did my summer go?” or “Wow, summer blew by so fast.” In my opinion, that’s the type of person who didn’t make plans or write things down or track their progress. Granted, stuff happens that’s beyond our control. But I’m talking about setting goals and moving toward them. Yes, there are detours and obstacles along the way, but that’s all part of it.
Why did I title this blog Back to School? Because we need to get back to the basics when it comes to living a healthy and active lifestyle. I’m not talking about hitting the reset button now that your children are back in school and there’s structure again. There should always be structure. But that’s another blog all together.
For me the basics of health and fitness as well as living life are:
1. Having fun
2. Trying stuff
3. Being safe.
A coule days ago I attended a client’s retirement party. At my table a gentleman asked me what I thought was the “number one thing” when it comes to personal training. I answered clearly “Having fun.” He looked surprised and pleased. I went on to explain that, in my opinion, working out and preparing meals should be enjoyed. Because honestly, when we look at life, what is it but a lot of experiences and feelings? Shouldn’t we then have good experiences and good feelings that make us smile? I know that not everything is smile-worthy, but you get my point. At the end of a workout, when you leave the gym, field, studio, court or wherever, if you are not smiling and feeling good about what you did, then you’re doing it wrong. For most of us, the workouts aren’t a sacrifice leading up to the trophy. The workouts are the trophy. And even if you are training for a special event or competition, then what happens when that day is over? When you have crossed the finish line? You’re still you and hopefully you can look back at the work leading up to it and know that the reward was in the trying.
I continued by saying that eating healthy and working out should be about “trying stuff”. Then I smiled and I took a sip from my champagne glass. Not conforming to a workout that will be obsolete in three weeks or following a diet plan that will leave you craving a bowl of ice cream. Tennis, dancing, walking, gardening, lifting weights, swimming, playing soccer are all great activities. But Eric, how am I to excel at one if I am doing a little of all of them. My response? I didn’t know that you were a professional athlete. If so, cross-training is a great way to improve performance in your chosen sport and reduce injuries. How about that? This might tick some people off but going to the gym 3-4 times a week is a waste of time if that’s all you do. How about goofing off in the pool with your kids? Or going for a hike with your spouse? Playing ping pong with your dad? It’s about doing stuff and having fun doing it.
I finished by saying that “being safe” was crucial to adherence and long term success. When it comes to “trying stuff” I’m talking about trying stuff within reason and within your current abilities. If you use to play tennis thirty years ago, and today you decide to hit with a friend on the court, you’re not too bright. You may remember how it felt all those years ago, but if you haven’t been training for it, moving side to side, making quick stops, reaching over your head, then you’re putting yourself at risk. Eric, I’m talking about just hitting. No, I get it. That’s when injuries happen. Several years ago, a client of mine asked if I would play tennis with him. I asked him when he played last and he answered that it had been a few years. I politely declined and suggested he get some tennis shoes and begin by gently hitting balls against the backboard. He was not happy with that answer. Another season went by, he asked and I declined. And another. Finally one day, against my better judgement, I agreed. We started with some groundstrokes. My goal was just to rally and feed the ball back to him in the middle of the court. He got excited and hit the ball firmly to my forehand. I returned it a couple feet to his left. Abruptly he made a quick side step, yelped and then fell onto the ground. Oh shit! He said he felt something pop is his lower leg. He had pulled a calf muscle.
To sum up, going Back to School is not about buying the most expensive piece of exercise equipment or joining the fanciest fitness club or even learning the latest stretching technique. It’s about getting back to the basics: having fun, trying stuff and being safe. Find the activities you like to do and do them.
Making food fun, eye-catching and appealing isn’t always about the recipe but about the presentation and the platter on which the food is served. Recently Heather bought a chicken-shaped platter with indentations around the edges and a depression in the middle. With a tiny chip on it, the price was reduced by 80%. A good find. The indentations were intended for deviled eggs (or at least we hoped so), but we weren’t quite sure what food would go in the middle. Crackers, a dip, veggies? Ah, yes! Vegetables. Heather had just gone shopping at Willy Street Co-op and picked up some organic Brussel sprouts. They look like little cabbages and have somewhat of a similar taste. So that’d what she prepared. Deviled eggs and Brussel sprouts. Very simple, healthy and delicious!
So the next time you’re entertaining guests or are invited to a party or just want to make a family dinner more fun, serve up some whimsy with a clever platter or tray.
Ingredients for Deviled Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup total of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise mixed
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle with paprika to garnish
Cut hardboiled eggs lengthwise. With a spoon, gently scoop out yolks and place in bowl. Mix well with yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Then refill egg whites with mixture.
Helpful tip: Do not set your filled eggs on serving platter until after you sprinkle them with paprika. Less messy.
For the Brussel Sprouts, we simply boiled them in salted water until tender. We let the flavor speak for itself.
Watch my video and learn four similarities between getting in shape . . . and growing a beard.
Let’s begin with some Force and Velocity physics equations. Yay!
Force = Mass x Acceleration
Velocity = Displacement / Time
Power = Force x Velocity
Enter the medicine ball. It’s a great fitness tool that can help you increase your power with a few simple ballistic moves. How? With a partner or against a wall/floor you can pitch, toss, throw or slam the medicine ball. And don’t worry, you can’t hurt it. Just be careful though. The ball will come back to you pretty fast. Core, legs, arms, back, shoulders. . . pretty much your entire body is involved. Which sports benefit by these plyometric exercises? Volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and mixed martial arts are just a few.
Back to the Power equation. To increase your power use a heavier medicine ball and/or throw it faster. Simple as that!
Now watch my three video demos and learn how you can develop explosive strength.