Saturday, December 28, 2013

P90X Hybrid Weeks 4 through 8

I’ve been continuing with my P90X hybrid workout.  Week 4 was the recovery week and I did a few Les Mills Combat workouts  like Kata 45 and I also ran a few days and even through in Focus T25 while I traveled to visit family for Thanksgiving.

I will say that I enjoyed Kata 45.  For some reason I didn’t have high hopes but what a workout!  I burned a respectable 241 calories.  It 45 minutes of punching, kicking, and wild Kata jumping moves.  I’m glad that I drank some Energy and Endurance drink that morning.  It got me through my workout!! If you haven’t tried it before, it’s great! Especially for morning workouts before you’ve had anything to eat.

Week 5 through 7 was brought in a new workout to the mix: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps.  Talk about push-ups.  I’m always saying, “this is my favorite P90X DVD” but really, I think this is my favorite.  I am sculpting some seriously sexy arms, if I do say so myself!
Some of the moves in this workout include: slow motions 3 in 1 pushups, chair dips, pike press, side Tri-Rise (poor triceps! You’re going to be sore), floor fly, overhead tricep extensions.  Some of these are tradition moves but then there are some like the Scarecrow, side to side pushups, throw the bomb, and plyo pushups that are a little different.
Week 8 was the recovery week.  I will admit, I did not follow the recovery week schedule.  I ran hard and did a few sessions of INSANITY and Les Mill Combat workouts.  I ate A LOT this week.  And it wasn’t good stuff.  I have a hard time saying no to the Christmas cookies and chocolate!  I needed to get moving in order to mitigate the bad eating!

I have one more month of this hybrid.  I am feeling stronger and I see that I have more definition.  It’s been hard to do this challenge during the holiday season but if I think about it, it’s probably the best time to do it!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

P90X/Les Mills Combat Hybrid Weeks 2 and 3

As a recap, I am doing a hybrid workout with P90X, Les Mills Combat and running.  I just finished week 3 and I feel strong.  The workouts have been easy for me but I’ve been slipping a little on the nutrition.  I’m using the P90X app on my iPhone to not only track my workouts but to track my meals.  It’s been helpful.  According to the nutrition guide I need 1,800 calories.  Without netting out the calories burned for my workouts that is about what I’m consuming.  I am trying to follow phase I, or the Fat Shredder Phase.  This is where I’ve been struggling.  It is tough keeping it to one carb a day.  I think on my running/cardio days I will allow myself 2 carbs and stick to the Fat Shredder option on my strength training days.  I’ll let you know how that works.

Here was my schedule during week 2


Monday - P90X Core Synergistics

Highlights: I did about 60 push-ups.  I’m mostly doing modified push-ups at this point. I love banana rolls!

Tuesday - 4 mile run at 5:15am.  It was a chilly morning at about 34 degrees.  I ran faster than normal at 9’53” minute mile. 

Wednesday -P90X Shoulders and Arms

I increased my weight for some moves and increased reps on others.  Each time I have to bring it.  I won’t see results unless I push each time and do the best I can.

Thursday – Les Mills Combat HIIT 1 

I’ll be honest, I was expecting punching and kicking but this 30 minute workout was interval resistance training and included moves such as dead-lifts, squats, power cleans, and power presses. It also included push-ups, burpees, plyo lunges, and jump squats.  Hmmm…not what I wanted to do the day before my leg workout.  However, it was a great workout.

Friday – Oh good thing I had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  I had to fast for blood work so no workout.  Rest day!!


 Saturday - P90X Legs and Back and Swimming

All I’ll say is I pushed too much last week so I didn’t want to push too hard again.  I like being able to walk the day after legs.  I also went to the YMCA and did some laps in the pool while my son had swim lessons. 

Sunday – 8.25 mile run.  It was warm and a little rainy and just a little hilly.  The P90X stretch later in the day felt so good! 

Week 3

Monday - P90X Core Synergistics

This week I did over 75 push-ups.  Again, I did mostly modified.  Next week I’ll try to do just regular push-ups.

Tuesday –  Combat 60 Extreme Cardio Fighter.   In this 60 minute workout you do a little Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Karate, and Kick Boxing.  The punches and kicks are the same as in the other DVDs but there is something about the order and combinations of moves that make this work out the best so far.  I never got bored!

Wednesday -P90X  Shoulders and Arms

I pushed it again and I felt great.

Thursday – Les Mills Combat  60 Live: Ultimate Warrior’s Workout

Another great Les Mills Combat workout.  There is an energy with the DVD that is catchy.  It might be that the instructors are pumped and working out in front of a live audience.

Friday – P90X Legs and Back. 

Once again, I didn’t want to push it but I did stay focused.  Oh, single leg wall squats and the calf raise series.  I don’t think I like you.

 Saturday – Kenpo X and Swimming

I love the Kenpo X workout.  There are lots of blocks, punches and kicks.  But they are done in sets rather than in a routine like Combat.  As a result I don’t think this workout is as intense but it is a great workout nonetheless.

If you want more information about P90X or Les Mills Combat, leave me a message.  Let's chat.  To order these fitness programs, visit my site:


Monday, November 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Chickpea Sauce and Whole Wheat Spaghetti

When I was a vegetarian, this was one of my staples.  It is delicious and very different from other pasta sauces and most important, it has a good source of protein. 

I was in the mood for pasta tonight but I didn't want a boring red sauce.  I wanted something different.  There was a recipe I used to make all the time when I was a vegetarian but hadn't made it in a long time: Spaghetti with Chickpea Sauce.  It might sound kind of strange but it is tasty and has a good amount of protein and is satisfying.  I modified the original recipe found in Jane Brody's Good Food Book.  I love this cookbook.  You should see my copy.  The cover is missing, the book is split in half and the pages are splattered.  I cook a lot and this book shows it!


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion cut in half and then thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 tsp rosemary, crushed
2 Tbs parsley, minced
1 pound spaghetti
fresh ground pepper
1/4C parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions.  In a food processor, puree 1/2 can of chickpeas with a little of the pasta water.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil and cook onions and garlic until they begin to brown.  Add the tomatoes, rosemary, chickpea puree and the remaining chickpeas.  Cook the mixture on a low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the parsley and pepper and 1/4 C of parmesan cheese. 

Toss the hot spaghetti with the sauce and add more parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes to taste.

Both my boys ate all of their dinners so this is a kid friendly, protein packed Meatless Monday dinner that is a little different than the traditional pasta dish! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

P90X- Les Mills Combat Hybrid Work Out Week 1


P90X is an "Extreme Home Fitness" program designed by Tony Horton and Beachbody.  If you are serious about getting in shape, this is a great tool.  There are a few "programs" to choose from -- Classic, Doubles and Lean.  I opted for the Lean program because I wanted a workout that developed muscle but also included a few more cardio workouts.  Don't think this is the "easy" program.  It is geared more toward getting lean rather than building big muscles and is just as extreme!

I did one round of P90X before: in January through March 2013.  I got pretty good results:

Weight: lost 12 pounds

Waist: lost 2.5 inches

Hips: lost 4.5 inches (yippee!)

Chest: lost 2 inches

Arms: no change, but I have more definition

Legs: lost 1.5 inches (each leg)

This time though I am going for great results.  I don't need to lose weight but I am looking to see just how much definition and toned muscle I can build.  It will be a challenge considering this is the WORST time of the year for me – Halloween through New Years!

P90X is excellent as it is but I am looking to keep things fresh and mix them up a bit so I decided to do a hybrid program this round.  I will be doing a P90X/Les Mills Combat/Run hybrid.  On the cardio days (day 2, 4 and 6) I will be doing a Les Mills Combat workout or go for a run.

This was my first week of the P90X/Les Mills Combat hybrid workout.  I've missed P90X and I'm pumped to be doing it again.  My week included the following workouts:

Monday - P90X Core Synergistics

So what exactly is Core Synergistics you ask?  This routine works your entire body,  but it emphasizes your core.

Tuesday - 4 mile run at 5:15am with headlamp on with a group of local moms rockin’ it!

Wednesday -P90X Shoulders and Arms

This is one of my favorites, with a lot of traditional moves using hand weights or resistance bands such as shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep kick backs, chair dips, flys, etc.  They might be traditional but they are Tony Horton style – extreme!

Thursday - Les Mills Combat 30 Minute Kick Start

30 minutes fly by with this routine.  Great music and fun moves with lots of punches and kicks! 

Friday - P90X Legs and Back

This is a killer workout.  I love this one.  I do lat pull downs using my Bowflex instead of doing pull-ups.  You can use a resistance band to do this exercise if you can’t do pull-ups.  Maybe one day soon I’ll get there.   Lots of different moves for the legs too so it doesn’t get boring.

Saturday - Les Mills Combat HIIT 30

Another 30 minutes fly by.  This incorporates some high intensity punches and kicks and some weight training.  What a perfect combo to get your heart rate up and burn some calories.

Sunday - P90X Stretch

Ahhh…what a wonderful workout!

I came out too strong and now I'm paying for it.  My legs are still sore.  Next week I'm still going to give it my all but with Legs and Back I am going to bring it down a notch so that I can actually go for a run next Sunday. Plus I have to keep in mind that this is the first week and I have 11 more weeks to go and grow!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick Enough for Weeknights Carnitas

Late last week a colleague sent me a recipe for carnitas and it sounded so good that I knew I needed to give it a try.  Carnitas, meaning “little meats" are a type of braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine.  I call it yummy goodness. 


Typically this wouldn't be considered "healthy" fare since it is often braised after being fried but this recipe doesn’t fry other than to brown the meat and I was able to make delicious substitutions to cut down on the simple carbs. 


This recipe uses pork shoulder or Boston butt.  Boston butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg.  It is commonly used for "pulled pork," which is prepared by smoking at lower cooking temperatures and is then pulled from the bone and served with or in a barbecue sauce.  This recipe is way better than typical "pulled pork."


Just a little fun fact, why is it called butt? Long ago, shoulder roasts were packed and shipped, often from Boston, in a barrel that was called a butt.  I learn something new every day. 


Pork can be a good source of protein with 24 grams per 3 oz serving.  Pork shoulder may not be the leanest cut so you don't want to eat it all the time but you certainly don't have to cross it off your list forever.  For this recipe I cut most of the visible fat.  I left some of the fat on since it does help keep the meat moist and gives it some flavor (and I’d be there forever if I tried to get everything).


The recipe is from:  We Call Him Yes! Chef!

 Pressure Cooker Carnitas

Makes 8 servings

Total Time:  about 1 1/2 hours


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ancho or chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat part of a knife
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick (3 inch)
1 1/2 cups strained fresh orange juice
1/2 cup strained fresh lime juice


Whisk together oil, salt, cumin, chile powder, and pepper.

Toss pork in oil-spice mixture.  Brown the pork in pressure cooker over high heat. Stir in onion, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon stick.  Add orange and lime juices.  Cover pressure cooker, lock on lid and bring to high pressure over high heat.  Cook pork at high pressure, 25 minutes. 


Remove cooker from heat.  Allow pressure to release naturally.  Remove lid and transfer pork to a baking sheet.

Preheat broiler to high with rack 6 inches from element.

Degrease liquids from cooker in a fat separator; discard fat.   I must say I was never good at doing this but I picked up a fat separator from Target and it worked wonderfully.  This is my new cool kitchen gadget!

Shred pork with two forks on baking sheet.  Pour 1 cup strained cooking liquid over pork.   Here is the part that makes this recipe super yummy: broil pork until it starts to crisp, about 10 minutes.  Stir and broil 5 minutes more.  Oh, this is out of this world good.

I just wish you could smell how good my house smelled while this was cooking.  My husband and 8 year old son came home while the meat was still in the pressure cooker.  My son was practically drooling.  The sweet and savory smells from the orange juice and spices teased everyone until it was ready.  But really this didn't take that long.  It was really easy to make and the pressure cooker makes it reasonable for a weeknight since it cooks the meat in no time at all.  I love my pressure cooker.  Another wonderful kitchen gadget!

Typically these are served with tortillas, avocado, salsa Verde, queso fresco and remaining cooking liquid.  This is how I served it to the boys, although I added some diced tomato because I had some. However, to keep this even healthier I had mine with 1/2 cup brown rice and a green salad, no tortilla. 

This was a winner that we would absolutely make again the next time I get pork shoulder in my CSA farm share.  The family loved it and I'm still thinking about it.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The infamous P90X program from Tony Horton is on SALE! It's the perfect time to take on this proven program.  Or do you want to try it's follow up P90X2?
P90X + Shakeology + a nutrition plan + free one month Team Beachbody Club Membership = Success!  
Plus you save $90 on the whole pack!

 Connect with me so we can get you started!
or visit
My website for P90X or P90X2

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Butternut Squash with Sausage and Quinoa

**Blogger is not behaving and I cannot get the fonts to cooperate!**
I've been trying to serve more whole grains to my family.  As I'm sure you've heard, whole grains have many health benefits.  They have lots of nutrients including protein, fiber, vitamin B, antioxidants and minerals.  Eating whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer.

Many people think they are eating whole grains but aren't.  I read that most Americans eat less than one serving a day and about 40% (Web MD) don't eat whole grains at all!  Are you confused with all the different labels like multi grain, 100% wheat, stone ground?  Many products that have these labels are not whole grain!  When reading ingredient lists, look for the word "whole."  Your wheat bread might actually be refined wheat flour.  Sure, it is 100% wheat but not "whole wheat" and that is what counts.

 Here is a list of whole grains that are easy to incorporate into your meals:

  •    Whole-grain corn
  •     Whole oats/oatmeal
  •     Popcorn
  •     Brown rice
  •     Whole rye
  •     Whole-grain barley
  •     Wild rice
  •     Buckwheat
  •     Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  •     Millet
  •     Quinoa
  •     Sorghum
  •     100% whole wheat flour

There are many ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet beside bread.  Some whole grains are harder to cook than others but many only take a little more time than any other side dish you'd prepare.


It is easy to fall into the time crunch trap during weeknights when trying to get something on the table while doing homework or getting ready to go to scouts and say, "I don't have time!"  But I found that cooking whole grains don't have to take forever.  I'll make a big batch of brown rice or quinoa and have it for a few meals during the week so I don't have the excuse of no time. 


This recipe is perfect for the fall since it uses one of my favorite squashes - the butternut. Yum.


It also uses sausage.  Now you may be thinking "sausage isn't healthy."  And I'd have to agree that processed meats are generally not healthy.  However, I was able to get ground pork from my local farmers market..  More farmers’ markets have vendors selling local, if not organic, meat.    The sausage I used doesn't use nitrates, which is what makes processed meats so bad. I also found that a little goes a long way in this recipe so you don’t get as much fat.  
I’ve adapted this recipe from the Liana Krissoff’s recipe in Whole Grains for a New Generation .
Butternut Squash with sausage and quinoa
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 shallots
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
8 ounces of mild Italian sausage, casings removed (preferably nitrate free)
2 sprigs of fresh sage, chopped
1 cup quinoa (cooked*)
2 cups of greens (I used tatsoi but spinach would work nicely)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel, seed and cut the squash into 1 inch cubes, place in a large mixing bowl.  Peel and quarter the shallots and add them to the squash.  Drizzle veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and mix to coat well.  Put veggies in baking dish and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
As the squash cooks, add 1 Tbs oil to a pan over medium-high heat and cook the sausage, breaking it into small pieces.  Cook until browned and cooked through.  Drain off excess fat.  Return to high heat and add the sage, 1/2 tsp salt and greens until almost wilted and then add the cooked quinoa.  Cook for about 5 minutes until quinoa is heated through. 
Transfer quinoa and squash to the sausage and gently fold to combine.  Taste and season as necessary with salt and pepper. 
*To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold water for a minute or two.  Add quinoa to medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  The water will be absorbed and quinoa “uncurls” when cooked.






Saturday, October 5, 2013

You've always wanted to try P90X!

You've heard about P90X and you might have even seen the infomercials.  Did you say to yourself, "it's too hard" or "that took longer than 90 days."  Well, I did P90X and in 90 days I had great success:
Weight: lost 12 pounds
Waist: lost 2.5 inches
Hips: lost 4.5 inches (yippee!)
Chest: lost 2 inches
Arms: no change, but I have more definition
Legs: lost 1.5 inches (each leg)
I continued to lose 5 more pounds in the next month by continuing to eat right and exercise. 
Not only did I fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again but (after 3 years of dieting and going to the gym with no success) I gained energy and felt good about myself.

When I started P90X the first time, I didn't get very far.  Maybe it was about 2 weeks.  I got sick or one of my kids got sick, I'm not sure.  But I didn't start up again for a while.  The next time I started, the same thing happened.  This happened 1 more time. I pretty much gave up. 

Then I saw my coach posted on Facebook that he was starting a P90X accountability group and he was looking for a few people to join.  I jumped at the chance.  It was just what I needed.  Knowing that others were doing P90X at the same time as me helped me get up each morning.  He answered questions and provided motivation.  And before I knew it I made it through all 90 days of P90X!!

I want to help you get through 90 days!  Join my P90X Challenge Group on November 4, 2013.

P90X is on SALE in October.  Get it now to reserve your spot in my challenge group!!  Comment below, I'd love to chat to find out your fitness goals!

Sale code:



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

5 Day Slim Down

I'm holding a FREE Hot For the Weekend group. We start Monday, October 7th and end Friday October 11th!
I will provide a complete meal plan & workout plan! You of course can do your own workouts if you choose. If you want maximum results, you can opt to do 5 days of Shakeology as well, but that is not a requirement!
Come join, I'd love to have you! Comment below if you want in, space is limited!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free Thin Kitchen Cookbook!

Today, September 30th only!
  Get this awesome cookbook with lots of great recipes if you order any flavor of Shakeology on Home Direct!!

 It's the most delicious and nutritious meal replacement on the market. Curb cravings, lose weight, gain energy.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Corn Fritters

Usually in August and September everyone is hiding.  They do not want to run into that neighbor that tries to unload all of their zucchini!  But that is not me this year.  My zucchini grew but only a modest amount and then actually died early.  I did plant them late since I started some from seed but those seedlings didn't survive a cold night in May. 

I am still getting a zucchini or two from my CSA share and I got lots of corn in my share so I froze some.  I've said it before, I am not a big corn on the cob fan so I use it other ways.  Zucchini-Corn fritters are a perfect way to use them up and I know both my boys love them.


1 large or 2 small zucchini
1/2 onion (I used red)
2 cloves garlic
2 ears of corn (mine were grilled)
1/2 cup of corn meal
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
olive oil
salt and pepper

The first thing you need to do is grate the zucchini and wrap it in some cheese cloth and squeeze the liquid out.  If you don't have cheese cloth, put it in a calendar and let drain. You can put a plate on it and a heavy jar or can on top of the plate to help press the liquid out.

While the zucchini is draining, sauté the onion and garlic for about 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the flour, corn meal, baking soda, about 1/2 tsp of salt and a few turns of fresh pepper.  Add the zucchini, corn, onion and garlic mix and one egg (its best if you scramble it in a little bowl before adding it to the flour mix.  Gently mix the ingredients.  Pour in the buttermilk.  I start with 1/2 cup and see what it is like.  This will be different each time you make it depending upon how much liquid is still left in the zucchini.  I like my fritters a little on the thinner side rather than chunky so I'm looking for a batter that is almost like pancake batter.  But if you like thinker fritters don't add all of the buttermilk.

I use a griddle and heat up some butter.  You can use oil.  I eat healthy and watch what I eat so that I can actually use real butter for this.  I like the way it tastes better but these are very good using oil.    I like to use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to slowly pour the batter on the griddle -- just the way you would make pancakes. 

These make a great side dish or a light lunch with a salad.  I like to eat them with apple sauce but today I used the rest of the buttermilk to make a buttermilk dressing that we drizzled over them.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apple Season! Muffins, sauce and butter!

It's fall.  The best time of the year!  Around here, it is apple season! I live between two orchards so we go apple picking a lot.  Usually I pick enough for the week since we can stop by every weekend to pick up more.  The last two trips however, I picked up a bit more so I can make a few recipes.  My youngest some requested apple muffins and apple sauce and I loved the idea of an apple butter where I can control the sugar.

These all came out delicious.  The only problem is I didn't make enough!  The apple sauce was so good my youngest had three servings.  I served it as a side with a pork roast for dinner.  My youngest was able to use it as a dip!  He's three and he dips all of his food into apple sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, you name it.

Here are the recipes for all three.

Apple Muffins

 1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C Oats
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Apple Pie spice or just cinnamon
1 C milk
1 egg
2 Tbs butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
2 apples
1/4 C walnuts (chopped)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and add the milk, vanilla and meted butter.  Add the liquid ingredients into the flour mix. 

Peel and core the apples.  I grated the apples since I was making it for my kids and they don't like chunks of fruit in muffins.  Chunks of chocolate are a different story.  Fold in the apples and walnuts. 

Pour into 24 regular sized muffin tins/stone bake for about 16-18 minutes (more or less depending if you are using tins or stones).

The apple sauce and apple butter recipes are from Put 'em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Cookbook by Sherri Brooks Vinton.

Apple Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
4 pounds apples (or 2 pounds apples and 2 pounds pears)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Pour water and lemon juice into a large nonreactive stockpot.  Roughly chop (no need to peel but you should cut out the core) the apples (and pears in using), adding them to the pot with lemon water as you work to prevent browning.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer, covered, until the fruit is tender, 10 to 20 minutes.

Pass mixture through food mill (or a mesh strainer) to remove skins.  Return the sauce to the pot and add the sugar and spices, (these are optional but I highly recommend using them).  Simmer, stirring, until the mixture is thickened- about 20 minutes.  

If stopping at sauce, remove from heat and cool.  Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.

Apple Butter
If you are continuing to make apple butter simply continue simmering over a low heat for about another 40 minutes (may take a little more or a little less).  The mixture should be really thick and rich.  Be careful, this can burn easily so keep stirring.