Sunday, December 28, 2008

As Luck Would Have It… Happy New Year!!

Well, here we are at the end of another year and people all around the world will be ringing in the New Year by making resolutions and doing all kinds of interesting, crazy and silly little things in hopes of bringing luck and prosperity to their year ahead.

Go figure this… It turns out that good-looking men, lentils, no housework, and kissing are all good luck! Hmmm... there just may be something to this tradition stuff after all!

Everyone’s heard that eating Black Eyed Peas will bring general good luck, but there are dozens of other quirky traditions that you may or may not have heard of that could add a little fun to your "End of Year" celebration. You might just find one or two new ones that appeal to your sense of adventure. Or, if you’ve never had a New Year tradition at all, why not try out a few... and as luck would have it... maybe this will be your Lucky Year!

Here’s a conglomeration of Rules, Rituals, and Beliefs from around the world that are sure to ring in a “Lucky New Year” for someone!
  1. Eat 12 grapes at midnight. Each grape promises to bring you good luck during every month of the year.

  2. Wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. It’s not really clear where this tradition came from, but yellow is supposed to attract positive energies for the New Year. I’ve also read that you have to wear them backwards and then turn them around at midnight for the New Year!

  3. Walk around the block with a suitcase in hand. By doing this, you supposedly increase your chances of travelling during the year.

  4. On New Year’s Eve, every door and window should be left open at midnight to let the old year out.

  5. If you eat fish on New Year’s Eve, you’ll swim through the New Year like a fish. You’ll be able to move smoothly and easily and go beyond obstacles without effort in the New Year.

  6. There should be money in your pocket at the stroke of midnight. If the New Year finds you with money in your pocket, you’ll not miss it in the year to come.

  7. Make lots of noise at the stroke of midnight. Evil spirits attempt to come into the brand new year at this time – horns and whistles chase them away.

  8. Dancing around a tree (especially outside) on New Year’s Eve ensures luck, love, and prosperity.

  9. Kissing your spouse or significant other at midnight ensures that you will remain intimate with that person. To not kiss means a cold relationship for the year.

  10. A woman shouldn’t speak until a man says "Happy New Year." This one might be hard for some!

  11. The first words you hear in the minutes of the New Year will set the precedence for the entire year.

  12. Eat Lentil Soup on New Year’s Day because lentils are thought to look like little coins and will bring you prosperity in the coming year.

  13. Eat pork on New Year’s Day too because while poultry scratches backwards and a cow stands still, a pig roots forward, therefore eating it will ensure that you’ll be moving forward.

  14. Never ever eat Chicken or Turkey on the first day of the year because those birds scratch in the dirt all day for their dinner, meaning you’re certain to bring poverty to your year ahead.

  15. No sweeping or dusting the first day of the year. The good luck could be swept out. If you have to sweep, you should sweep towards the center of the house and use a dust pan.

  16. Nothing goes out on New Year’s Day, absolutely nothing... not even the garbage! Don’t shake out your rug or even bring out the recyclables to the bin. The flip version of this rule is that nothing goes out until something new comes in.

  17. No money should be spent either (that would be something going out).

  18. A first-footer is the first person through the door after the stroke of midnight. This person should be a good-looking, dark-haired man. He has to knock and be let in – not use a key to enter. He would ideally be carrying a piece of coal (meaning the house will always be warm), bread (meaning the household will always have food), money (for obvious reasons), and greenery (for long life). The first-footer brings extra luck if he happens to come on a horse. Under no circumstances can First-footers have flat feet, be cross-eyed, or have a Unibrow (eyebrows that meet in the center). A first-footer also can’t have blond or red hair either, and a woman first-footer would be disastrous!

  19. Wear something new on January 1st... and bring even more luck by wearing something Red. You don’t have to buy an entire outfit… it’s enough to have just one new item. It promises more new clothing in the coming year.

  20. No crying on January 1st or you will be crying all year long.

  21. Do something you are good or successful at on New Year’s Day... especially if its work related. This will tell you how the rest of the New Year will go.

  22. Any baby born on New Year’s Day has good luck the rest of his/her life. The baby also brings good luck to the family.

  23. In Puerto Rico, children enjoy throwing pails of water out the window at midnight. Some believe that this rids their home of any evil spirits!

  24. Switzerland believes good luck comes from letting a drop of cream land on the floor New Years Day.

  25. In France people eat a stack of pancakes for luck and good health.

  26. Belgium farmers wish their animals a Happy New Year for blessings.

  27. Armenian women bake special breads for their family. The bread is kneaded with luck and good wishes pressed into the dough before it is baked.

  28. In Northern Portugal children go caroling from home to home and are given treats and coins. They sing old songs or "Janeiro's" which is said to bring good luck.

  29. Romanians have a tradition of listening to hear if the farm animals talk on New Year’s Day. If the animals talk it was considered bad luck, so they are relieved when they don’t hear any talking animals.

  30. In Bolivia families make beautiful little wood or straw dolls to hang outside their homes to bring good luck.

  31. In Denmark, it is a good sign to find your door heaped with a pile of broken dishes at New Years. Old dishes are saved year around to throw them at the homes where their friends live on New Year’s Eve. Many broken dishes were a symbol that you have many friends!

  32. The Dutch are eating donuts on New Year’s Day. They say donuts bring fortune because they have the shape of the ring, which symbolizes the full circle, the year’s cycle.

  33. In Greece, St. Basil fills the children's shoes with presents at midnight.

Whatever you decide to do... Have a Safe and Happy New year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Skinny on a Few of Your Holiday Fave’s… Who Knew??

We all like to eat, drink and be merry during the holiday’s right? Well, according to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains around 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years because this time of year is typically filled with parties, holiday gatherings and even yummy treats at the office. The worst part is that people don’t always take those pounds off after the holidays either, they just keep adding to it!

Well, you shouldn’t deprive yourself from having some of your favorite holiday goodies. Just try to choose wisely, don’t have too much of a good thing and more importantly... enjoy yourself!

Here’s a really short quiz to test your knowledge on a few common holiday treats... Who Knew??

Which warm winter drink do you think has the least calories?
  1. 1 cup of Hot Cocoa
  2. 1 cup of Hot Buttered Rum
  3. 1 cup of Mulled Cider
If you guessed the Mulled Cider... you got it right, having only around 100 calories! Anything with the word "Butter" in it has got to be higher in calories... so the Hot Buttered Rum comes in with about 200 calories while the Hot Cocoa (with low-fat milk) comes out to about 150 calories!

One cup of Eggnog has as many calories as:
  1. 1 Dunkin Donuts Cake donut
  2. 1 Small bag of M&M’s
  3. 1 McDonald’s Quarter Pounder
Hmmm... I know what you're thinking! Nope it isn’t the Dunkin Donuts Cake Donut... guess again!! It’s the Quarter Pounder! The Eggnog which has about 400 calories is actually closer to the McDonalds Quarter that has a whopping 410 calories! Believe it or not, the Cake Donut only has about 280 calories and the M&M’s have only around 243 calories for a 1.67 oz bag!

Which dessert will do the “Least” damage to your waistline?
  1. 1 slice (1/8 of a pie) of Pecan Pie
  2. 1 slice (1/8 of a pie) of Apple Pie
  3. 1 slice (1/8 of a pie) of Pumpkin Pie
You may think the answer to this one would be the Apple Pie because apples are typically low in calories but, the right answer here is the Pumpkin Pie! A slice of Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie has only 260 calories... and you can cut off nearly another 100 calories by just eating the filling and not the crust! The Apple Pie would typically have around 400 calories and for the most part the culprit here is again the "double" crust! The Pecan Pie has around 470 calories because pecans are typically higher in fat and calories.

A regular candy cane has how many calories?
  1. 40
  2. 60
  3. 80

You guessed right if you chose 60 calories! A standard candy cane, the size that you normally put on a Christmas tree, has only 60 calories and zero fat and its best to have it after dinner because the peppermint aids in the digestion of that yummy meal you just ate!

So go ahead… eat, drink and be merry and have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It’s the Perfect Pair!

With all the talk about "Super Foods" these days, you won’t be playing games with this winning combination... It’s like a match made in heaven! This super easy, super quick recipe of "Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze" can be fully prepared and served in just 30 minutes. Pair it up with a little "Whole Grain Brown rice" or "Long Grain & Wild rice" and a green veggie like Asparagus or maybe Broccoli or Spinach (both are on the super foods list) and you’ll have a super healthy dinner ready in no time. With the vitamins and super antioxidants in the pomegranate, and the omega 3’s and protein in the salmon, you really can’t lose with this one. Not only is it delicious... it’s a perfect win-win!

Pomegranate Glazed Salmon


4 Salmon filets (6-8 oz.)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper

Pomegranate glaze:

2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 cup 100% Pomegranate Juice
Orange Zest (From one orange)


Pomegranate glaze:

In saucepan over medium heat, reduce glaze ingredients until a syrup consistency, 12-15 minutes. Keep warm.


  1. Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  2. Season salmon filets with salt and pepper.
  3. Sauté filets on both sides for about 5-7 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  4. Place the cooked salmon on a serving dish and brush with the pomegranate glaze.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who’s Afraid of a Little Pomegranate?

It’s that little red fruit that we have trouble figuring out what to do with! I mean really, getting it open is a challenge in itself, right? Well, don’t be afraid of it! This cool little fruit is packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Potassium, and Polyphenol Antioxidants and in fact, drinking pomegranate juice daily will improve your health in lots of ways.

Even though studies have been going on for many years, it seems that this little fruit has just recently gained its popularity with reports of its health benefits. There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the pomegranate plays a role in promoting cardiovascular health and the benefits of its super antioxidants in neutralizing free radicals. For men, it was also reported to promote improved prostate health and proper erectile function. It also has been reported to aid in reducing Systolic Blood Pressure, may inhibit Viral Infections, and it may have antibacterial effects against Dental Plaque of all things. Many studies have shown improvements with drinking as little as just an 8oz. glass of juice daily. If you’re not into drinking the juice straight, you can mix into a variety of beverages and also use it in many recipes. You can even eat those juicy little seeds as a snack, on your morning cereal or in salads!

While no one food can guarantee complete protection from any disease, you should fill your diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, exercise at least 30 minutes per day, and follow up with your doctor recommended health screenings.

One of the most popular brands in bottled pomegranate juice found in almost any food store is “POM Wonderful” offering 100% juice. It's one that has been backed by $25 million in medical research, in fact, they claim to be the only one backed by any medical research at all. While there are lots of pomegranate juices on the market, keep in mind that some of the blended varieties have very little pomegranate juice in them at all and are filled with sugars. Be sure to choose one that is 100% pure juice with limited amounts of sweeteners to get the most of its benefits.

When it comes to fresh pomegranates, most of your local food markets offer fruits that are already fully ripened. They should be about the size of a large orange, heavy for its size and have a blemish free reddish-pink skin. Inside there is a bitter white tissue called the pith that surrounds the hundreds of little juicy sacs filled with seeds. The seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you’re up for it, try using this simple technique to open a fresh pomegranate and remove the seeds. It’s really not that hard... you’ll see!
  1. Fill a large bowl with water.
  2. Cut off the crown and end of the pomegranate.
  3. Score the thick skin from top to bottom in quarters.
  4. Place the pomegranate into the bowl of water and allow it to soak for 5 minutes.
  5. Break apart the pomegranate underwater. (This keeps the juice from squirting all over you and staining everything in its path, including your kitchen counter and your clothes.)
  6. Carefully wrestle the little seeds out of the pith with your fingers. The pith will float to the top of the water and the seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Skim the pith and rind off the top and toss it in the trash, then pour the seeds into a colander, drain and carefully pat them dry. Now they’re ready for whatever your imagination has in store!!
If you just want juice from the pomegranate and not the seeds, there’s a couple of ways you can do it, but you better suit up first! That little thing loves to squirt and remember it will stain everything it hits! You can store the squeezed juice in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Use one of these two ways to get your juice:
  1. For one, you can simply cut the pomegranate it in half and using a regular hand citrus juicer, squeeze and press the fruit in a circling motion until no more juice comes out. Line a colander with a cheese-cloth and strain the juice.
  2. Or, you can just press the fruit against a countertop, rolling back and forth to break open the little sacs that contain the juice. Puncture a hole in one end of the pomegranate and squeeze the juice out. You might also need to strain the juice using a cheese-cloth to remove any little seed particles that may have come out.

Well, that’s it and it wasn’t even that big of a deal... anyone can do it and there’s nothing to be afraid of! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Organics – Is it really all that?

We’ve all heard the phrase "All Natural, All the Time" right?

Well, "Going Organic" is becoming a very common term these days and not something that was widely talked about in past generations. It was usually something you would expect to hear about from someone who was a vegetarian or a naturalist. Even the term Vegan wasn’t common knowledge and kind of still isn’t in some circles. With all of the reports of chemicals and byproducts causing laundry lists of issues in humans and animals, it’s no wonder more and more people are making the switch. While I’ve done a bunch of research and a lot of reading about organics, I’m still not an expert and I’m learning new things about it every day. With that said, I really don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so I’ll only get into the basics in this post and then I’ll follow up with other posts on more specific products that I’ve heard about.

So what does "Organic" really mean anyway?

Well, according to the Organic Trade Association, "Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and sales that assures consumers that the products maintain the organic integrity that begins on the farm. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food." The Organic Trade Association also maintains that the "U.S. National Organic Standards" are stringent standards that are in place to certify that specific practices are used to produce and process organic agricultural ingredients used for food and non-food purposes."

Ok, so how do you know that pesticides really weren’t used in the growing process for those "Organic" items that you purchase at your local grocer or from other retailers and merchants? And is this just some kind of media hype and a way for merchants to sell the same products at a much higher price?

The answers to these questions are... well, you really can’t always know for sure. While it may seem like a Media Hype, it really isn’t. It’s just that more and more people are trying to get the word out to make people aware of the benefits of organics, and they’re using the media to do it. When it comes to the cost of the products, those that are organic actually do tend to cost a little more than products that are not. All you can do is try to buy from reputable merchants whose integrity you feel you can trust, and know that they truly are looking out for your best interest.

With the economy in the condition that it’s in, and as people struggle to make ends meet, buying from a roadside produce stand from someone who has put up a sign that says "Organic" can also be a little risky and questionable, because some people will use the term to capitalize on the latest Buzz Word just to make a buck. I’m not saying that you should never buy from a roadside stand, but when it comes to genuine organics, you really have no way to know for sure what you’re buying from them. More and more you will find that many cities and towns now have Farmer’s Markets where you can find a huge variety of genuine organic and all natural foods and products of all kinds.

The U.S. National Organic Standards also states that "Farmers, handlers and retailers who sell organic agricultural products, must meet all certified organic grower and handler requirements to maintain the organic integrity of the organic products they sell. Anyone who knowingly sells or mislabels as organic, a product that was not produced and handled in accordance with the regulations, can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation." You can look for the "USDA Organic" seal or some other approved labeling, and for the name of the certifier on the label of the products you want to purchase. Producers and processors can voluntarily use these labels, and may even use organic ingredients without being required to label them. It’s more or less a personal decision on your part, whether you feel you should buy from them or not.

So, to sum it all up, the answer to the original question of "Is Organic really all that?" is... Yes, I think it really is all that! It truly can make a difference in your health and in your life. While the process of changing your lifestyle to an all organic one may seem a little overwhelming and difficult because some products are still not available as organic, it may be easier if you slowly start adding new products into your daily habits.

With more and more reputable merchants along with the amount of publicity on organics and the importance of eating and using healthier products, it’s getting a lot easier to convert your lifestyle into an organic one. I honestly think that at some point in the future, the world we’re accustomed to, will eventually become all organic.

So if you’re wondering if you should make the switch or not, well... that’s up to you. All I can tell you is that once you’ve made the decision to go for it, and as more and more new products become available, start to include them on your shopping list, and before you know it, you’ll be "all organic all the time"... and a much healthier you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Line Up!!! … It’s Black Friday!!

Thinking about taking advantage of those “Black Friday” Super sales? Well you better put on your suit of armor and line up! If you’re up for it and well prepared, you can get everything on your holiday shopping list done in just a few hours and literally save a bundle of cash. Are you up for the challenge?

Known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, retailers all want to get in on the action and will offer some of the best deals you’ll find all year, each trying to out-do the other to get you into their store. Some stores will actually open as early as 3:00 or 4:00 am and offer “Super Saver Specials” for a very short time, maybe even for just an hour or two, and that’s when things get really crazy!

Hundreds of people will actually line up as early as Thanksgiving night or earlier at stores, hoping to be one of the first to grab an otherwise higher priced item at nearly rock bottom prices. That’s where your suit of armor comes in! Obviously I’m just kidding about the suit, but I’ve been out shopping on that day and honestly thought I could have used one.

I’ll never forget the first time I ever decided to get in on the fun, or what I thought was supposed to be fun! I was up bright and early and on the road with one of my sisters at 5:30 am, thinking I was going to be one of the first in line at a popular store that was to open at 7:00 am. Wake up Call!!!! When we got to the store, there were at least a hundred or more people already there with shopping carts in hand, none appearing to be in any line formation, waiting for the doors to open. When I started to take a cart I thought was unoccupied, someone actually threatened to shoot me in the leg if I took one step closer to it!! I laughed a little thinking they were only joking, but they made it very clear that they were serious and I had better leave it alone and get to the back of the line! Hmmm... at this point we hadn’t even gotten started and now I wasn’t so sure I was even ready for “Black Friday”! Well we decided to stick it out and just before 7:00 am, the store manager came out to make some announcements, reminding everyone that this was the “Holiday Season” and it was supposed to be a “Happy and Fun Occasion”. He continued to let everyone know that there would be “no pushing or shoving” and absolutely “no running anyone over with the carts”! Can you imagine the need to actually have to stand up there and tell this to grown-ups? It was beyond my belief! I mean... Come On!! It wasn’t like we were going on a hunt for a million bucks or anything... it was only shopping!!

When the doors actually opened, the race was on... sale ads and shopping carts in hand, and it was every man, woman and child for themselves! It seemed like some people morphed from an otherwise friendly human being into an aggressive shopping beast letting nobody or anything get in their way of grabbing that special item on their list, and despite the announcement made by the store manager, running you down with a shopping cart or a little body bumping was certainly not out of the question. It was absolutely the craziest thing! I came home a little bruised up, but still in one piece and still couldn’t believe the experience! All and all it was worth it though. For the first time ever, I had finished all of my Holiday shopping in just a few hours and saved more money than I could have ever imagined and I got everything on my list.

So are you going to brave it, suit it up and get in on the “Black Friday” action? Well, you can always take the easy way out by ditching your suit of armor, staying in your PJ’s and doing all of your “Black Friday” shopping online, where an equal number of retailers are offering deep discounts and free shipping.

If you have a “Black Friday” story that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear all about it. Whatever you decide to do... just stay positive, be prepared, and have a bunch of fun with it!

Gobble Gobble!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

From this “Extreme G-Ma” to All of You...

I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Boot Camp – Day 1

Well today was my first day at Fitness Boot Camp and I survived... Barely! It wasn’t as bad or ugly as I imagined with being called a “Boot Camp”. Instead, it was a lot of fun and much more than I was expecting. The funny thing is that when I first got there and after hearing an explanation of what we were going to do, my immediate thought was “Hmmm... I already workout regularly and this is going to be a breeze, and it might not even challenge me at all”! Well... was I in for a very rude awakening!! What sounded so simple and easy turned out to be a seriously intense workout that pushed me pretty good! When you walk away out of breath, with rubbery arms and legs, you know they did their job!

This 45 minute session started out with a pretty vigorous warm-up to get the heart rate pumping. Then, the routine was set up with 4 different rotating exercises.

These are my descriptions and may or may not be their official names:

* Squats with raised arms coming up, using a resistance band from hands to feet
* Reversed Arm press with extended legs using a bench
* A Stationary Plank
* Climbing Lunges

Since everyone works out at different levels and at their own pace, each exercise set lasted for 30 seconds and everyone was to do as many reps as they could within that time, then rotate onto the next exercise and do the same thing.

After all 4 exercise sets were complete, everyone took about a 1-2 minute rest, and then did all of the exercises over again. Sounds pretty simple right? Think again! The first round went ok, but things started to get a little more difficult after round two, and by the third round, I found myself really pushing it to get through them all, but I made it.

At the end, there was one last routine using the bands that got everyone into pairs. Each person, stands facing away from each other, with the band across their midsections. The trainer calls out for one to run out away with high knees as far as they can, stretching the band, while the other stands stationary and holds with resistance. That person then returns to the starting point and it repeats with other person doing the same thing. After several sets and by the end of this routine, I was seriously worked out... it was a pretty cool exercise! A little bit of stretching afterward for a cool down and Boot Camp Day 1 was finished... Whew!!

This awesome Boot Camp is called “Not Your Average Boot Camp” and is owned and run by Personal Trainer Leanne Ellington. Leanne is really knowledgeable, fun and very cool, making this Boot Camp a blast and worth every minute of the hard work it brings! I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good challenge!

With a few weeks to recover, I’ll be back for Boot Camp Day 2... Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Come On Out and Play!

Remember when you were a little kid and going out to play was the most important thing on your to do list for the day? It got your creative juices flowing, your adrenaline was up, you had a smile on your face and you were full of energy and just couldn’t wait to run out the door and get right into it! Whatever it was!

Well, playing isn’t just for kids and it should still be on your to do list! Playing a sport like Tennis, Golf, tossing around a Frisbee, or playing Ball with one of your G-Kids, or whatever it is that you love to play, will keep your inner child happy, and also boost your energy level. Staying active and playing will not only energize you with a youthful spirit, it will also keep your heart healthy and put a smile on your hot little G-Ma face too, which will lead to a long and happy life.

Make yourself a challenge to get involved in at least one sport activity within the next month. Get out there and play with your G-Kids... they may be impressed at how well you can keep up and how competitive you are!! Maybe try something new like joining a Meet Up Group It’s free to join and there’s an endless variety of fun things to do in your area with other people. Do something that you’ve always wanted to try but always came up with a million reasons why you couldn’t or shouldn’t! Don’t procrastinate! Be bold! Step up to the plate and just do it, knowing that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to!! You’ll be amazed at how much it will invigorate you! Whatever it is, put your game face on, and go out and Play... you’ll love yourself for it!

If you have a favorite thing that you do with your G-Kids, a game that you play, a group that you’re involved in, or a sport that you’d love to share, I’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, I’ll be on the hunt for new and fun things to keep you on your G-Ma game and I’ll keep you posted. Till next time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

It’s time for Boot Camp!

Fitness Boot Camp that is and it has nothing to do with boots!

I’ve just joined a Fitness Boot Camp to challenge myself and from what I hear it’s definitely not designed for your average lightweight G-Ma! Well... we’ll just see about that! Bring it on and put me to the test!

Not Your Average Boot Camp is a 45 minute carefully planned resistance training routine, that allows you to complete a total body workout in a short amount of time because the intensity is greater than what you would normally achieve in a longer, more drawn out, lower intensity workout. It’s 45 minutes of Total Body Fat Blasting exercises with great tunes, great people, and great vibes in the great outdoors.

Follow my progress to see how I’m surviving. My first Boot Camp session will be on Saturday morning November 22, 2008 and I’ll post back to let you know how I did... Good, Bad or otherwise... Ugly!

Friday, November 14, 2008

First comes chicken, Then… A Ring??

Hmmm... I’ve got one for you! Engagement Chicken!! What’s up with that! There’s been so much hype about this chicken that it’s totally piqued my curiosity! I’ve seen so many stories and read a ton of articles about women serving this dish to their men, and just like magic, he pop’s the question!

Well... it doesn’t happen exactly like that! While some women have claimed that they’ve gotten a marriage proposal within a couple of days or weeks, others claim that it did nothing for them at all. So, the jury is still out on this one! I’ve always heard that the way to a guy’s heart is through his tastebuds, but this is way too crazy!

Although I haven’t tried it, I’d like to hear from those of you who have, and did it work for you? And for the rest of you who are feeling just a little bit bold and have been secretly dreaming of that June wedding, don’t “Chicken Out”! Try it and put it to the test... then let us know if wedding bells are going to be in your near future! It’s pretty simple to prepare and healthy for you too! I can’t wait to hear how many of you have actually gotten a new ring and a man out of this!

Here’s the Recipe… Good Luck!!

Engagement Chicken
Adapted from "Marcella Hazan's More Classic Italian Cooking"

1 whole chicken (approx. 3 lb.)
2 medium lemons
Fresh lemon juice (1/2 cup)
Kosher or sea salt
Ground black pepper

Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Wash chicken inside and out with cold water, remove the giblets, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes). Pat dry with paper towels.

Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside). Season with salt and pepper.

Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity. (Tip: If lemons are hard, roll on countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.)

Place the bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up (use wooden spoons!); return it to oven for 35 minutes more.

Test for doneness - a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180 degrees, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

Continue baking if necessary. Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving. Serve with juices.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Moooove over Milk!

Do you love milk but don’t drink it because whole milk isn’t good for your waistline and the reduced fat or skim varieties just don’t offer the taste that you love?

Well, move over milk, there’s something new in the house that tastes great and is heart healthy too! Smart Balance has a new line of Milk Products available with Omega 3’s, more calcium, protein and vitamin E, essential for supporting cardiovascular health, healthy brain function, and overall health maintenance. There are 4 varieties… Fat-Free, 1% Lowfat, 2% Lowfat and a Lactose-Free. I just tried their 1% Lowfat Milk this morning and couldn’t believe how wonderful the flavor was! It tastes just like a full fat milk and was just as rich and creamy in taste. My tastebuds were jumping for joy!!

Smart Balance is so sure you’ll love their delicious taste that they are offering a money back guarantee on all of their products, so you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out. You may soon be moving milk back into your diet!

Check out their website for more product information, coupons, and to sign up for their newsletter.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Heat is, well … Off!

As we welcome fall, gone are those hot humid days of summer, leaving you no excuse to get outside and well... smell the roses and take in some of that crisp fresh air! Do something that gets your blood flowing and your adrenaline running high. Pump up your cardio routine with a long bike ride on one of your favorite trails, or try to break your previous jogging milestone, or, if you’re not up for either of those, at least go out and do a little speed walking. For an added challenge, and a little one on one bonding with your G-Kids, try doing your run behind a jogging stroller, or take one for a ride in a Baby Cart attached to the back of your bike. I’m sure one of the older ones would love to challenge you to a little bike race! Go for it! You might just surprise yourself and win! Not only will they love spending time with you, but you’ll also benefit your workout with that extra little push. You owe it to yourself to set a goal and work hard to achieve it. The heat may be off, but being the super G-Ma that you are, you’ll soon be looking Hot, Hot, Hot!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let’s get to the bottom of things!

A “Boy Shorts” bottom that is! Hmmm... boy shorts bottom? Are you kidding me? I don’t think so! Well don’t go selling yourself short... no pun intended. Want to wear that String Bikini bottom or those Boy Shorts or even those little G-string panties you were drooling over in the latest Victoria's Secret catalog? Well, being the G-Ma “Hottie” that you are... you can!! There’s still time to add these sexy little items to your Wish List for Santa this Christmas. You never know... you may even get them “Special Delivery” from Santa himself! So let’s get started!! The challenge is on!

Try putting one or more of these simple exercises into your regular workout routine and you’ll get right to the “bottom” of things... and be on your way to Santa’s lap, in no time!

These moves will build and sculpt the glutes and inner thighs, tone the quadriceps and hamstrings, and improve balance. Don’t let them intimidate you... they’re not as difficult as they seem. Just start off slow and work your way up.

One Legged Squats (With light hand weights - 3 lbs each)
(1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions)

Stand on one leg, lightly resting only the toes of your other foot on the floor. Lower yourself as if you are going to sit in a little chair, as far as you can, while still maintaining your balance. Return to the standing position by pressing your heel. Complete one set then alternate to the other side and complete another set. Repeat until you reach your desired number of sets.

Alternating Reverse Lunges (With heavier hand weights - 5 lbs each)
(1 to 3 sets of 16 to 24 Repetitions)

Stand with your feet together. Take a giant step backward with your left foot, lowering your left knee toward the floor as you bend your right knee. Keep your hips straight and facing forward. Lower yourself until your right thigh is parallel with the floor and your left knee is 1 to 2 inches from the floor. Return to the starting position, pressing your weight into the heel of your right foot as you come up. Repeat this step with the other leg. Alternate sides until you complete one set. Repeat until you reach your desired number of sets.

Plie` Squats (With one heavier hand weight – 5 lbs or more)
(1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions)

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding the hand weight vertically in front of you with both hands, with your palms facing up, cupping the upper end of the weight. Turn you feet so that your toes point outward and align your knees in the same direction as your toes. Stand up straight and contract your abs. Then while keeping your body upright and your knees directly over your toes, slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Use your glutes to slowly come back up and return to the starting position. Repeat until you reach your desired number of sets.

Dead Lift (With light hand weights - 3 lbs each)
(1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 Repetitions)

Stand with your feet together, holding the hand weights horizontally in front of your thighs and with your palms facing toward you. Contract your abs and your lower back. Keep your head up and bend forward at the hips while sticking your butt out and keeping your back straight. While holding and running the weights down your shins, lower your body as far as you can without having to bend your knees and try to get parallel with the floor. Return to the starting position by pushing up on your heels, keeping your back straight, running the weights up your shins, and squeezing your glutes hard. Repeat until you reach your desired number of sets.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It’s all about Attitude!

Attitude Really Is Everything!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say to either one of my daughters who are now 30 and 31 years old, while we were hanging out together, “Oh my God... That’s your Mom? I thought she was your Sister or one of your Friends”! Or, while taking one of my 2 adorable G-Sons out for a little one on one fun, someone saying to me after one of them calls me G-Ma, “You’re his grandmother?!! You look like you could be his Mom! I can’t believe you look like that! How do you do it?” While I'm certainly far from perfect, compliments like that will always make my day, and more importantly, they let me know that I must be doing something right! It’s really nothing more than getting out and being active, being bold... not old, doing things I’ve never done before, trying to eat right, having a regular exercise routine, and always trying to stay positive and knowing that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Some of those people will usually say to me “It must genetics, right?”, or, ”How do you stay so physically fit and young looking?”, or maybe they’ll say something a little negative like “I’ll never look like that when I’m your age, heck, I don’t even look like that now!” And someone will always say “I’m always so tired, I don’t have the energy or the time”. This kind of thinking has got to stop! It’s time for an attitude adjustment!! You have to remember that you really can do anything, if you think you can. Think about who you want to be, then, make it happen. You have to be confident, and willing to make some good changes in your life, and there’s no better time to start than now. It’s never too late!

While you’re probably not going to get from point A to point B overnight, getting rid of that negative thinking and putting some positive energy into your life will make all the difference... take it from me! It’s definitely changed my life! Remember, If you always think you can’t, you never will. I always tell people to be bold and try something different, to set a goal, and try not to look at the “Big Picture” all at once, because sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when that distance from A to B looks way too big or even a little scary to accomplish. Don’t be intimidated by trying something new or out of your comfort zone. Take a deep breath, and just do it! Take baby steps, keep moving toward your goal, and before you know it, that “Big Picture” really isn’t that “Big” after all and soon those compliments will start coming your way!

Life can be like a roller coaster sometimes, full of ups and downs, and lots of thrills, it can even be a little scary, but just know that attitude really is everything! So jump in, throw your arms up, don’t let anything stop you, and just know that in the end... it’ll be well worth the ride! Whooo Hoooo!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Life as an Extreme G-Ma…. She’s definitely not your textbook Grandmother!!

As you were growing older and starting to inch your way to those milestone ages, did you ever wonder what you were going to be like when your first grandchild arrived? How were you going to be? Were you going to have enough energy and strength to keep up? What about your health? And Hmmm… was everyone going expect you to be staying home, wearing aprons while baking apple pies and pot roast, and sporting one of those little white-haired beehive do’s?

Well this is the 21st Century and it’s time for a “Wake Up Call”! I’m here to tell you that not all grandmothers are created equal anymore! I’m on a mission to redefine the image of the typical grandmother, now known as a G-Ma, and set the stage for the “Extreme G-Ma” Generation!”

So what’s an ”Extreme G-Ma” you ask and what’s so un-typical about her? She is the new Pre-Geriatric Diva! The middle-aged “hottie” that works out, rollerblades, rides bikes, is computer savvy, has a full time job, keeps up with her grandkids, (otherwise known as G-Kids) and still wear’s Victoria's Secret and String Bikini’s. It’s all about staying active, eating healthy, living longer and most of all having fun!! I’m not saying that extreme is everybody’s thing, but if I can inspire just a few of you… then my mission will have been accomplished!