Sunday Morning with Blueberry Muffins

This Sunday morning was warm and humid. It seems to be a weather pattern we will be in for the next week. Welcome summer! To start the day, I rode our exercise bike for 10 minutes and then did the Pilates Series of five before heading into the kitchen to bake a batch of blueberry muffins.

Since March when we purchased our exercise bike, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it. But knowing that cycling is an awesome calorie burn I decided that one more attempt to embrace the bike should be made. And it seems that the bike and I are finally getting along. My plan is to work up to 30 minute sessions first thing in the morning. It’s whisper quiet (unlike the treadmill) so I can watch the news at a normal volume level.

When my 10 minute session was over, I hit the mat for the Series of five. Series of five is a sequence of abdominal exercises that builds strength and endurance as well as aligns the spine and centers to body. The series consists of:

1. Single Leg Stretch
2. Double Leg Stretch
3. Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors)
4. Double Straight Leg Stretch
5. Criss Cross

Cycling and abs taken care of, I was ready for the day. And ready to bake up a batch of my favorite blueberry muffins.

Now, lets get to the food. It always makes me happy. These muffins are easy to whip up and delicious for breakfast or a mid-day snack.

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Blueberry Muffins Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, slight beaten
1 1/2 cup blueberries

Topping:
1/4 cup all-puropse flour
1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

Combine flours, oats, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, stirring until combined.

Combine yogurt, milk, canola oil, vanilla extract and vanilla extract, whisking until blended.

Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stir until just moist.

Fold in blueberries gently.

Spoon 2 rounded teaspoons into each of the muffin tins.

Prepare topping by combining all-purpose flour, nuts, brown sugar and butter. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees 14-17 minutes or until muffins spring back lightly when touched.

Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans.

Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Makes 12-18 muffins.

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Spring Is About

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Female Shih-Tzu

Male Shih-Tzu

open toe woman's shoe

Spring is about…

Flowers
Rain Showers
Freshly cut grass
Taking your workout outside
Open Windows
Open-toed shoes
Happy dogs
Birds
Pretty scarves
Long walks
Trench coats for those spring showers
Fresh starts

What does Spring mean to you?

Ten Tips To Gear Up For Your Slimdown

Over coffee I was asked what’s the secret to weight loss. I didn’t hesitate. There’s no secret. It’s just making the decision to make a change. I know, life interferes and throws obstacles at us at every turn. But if we truly want a change, it takes effort and planning.

Hmmm. Maybe planning is the secret.

While we finished our coffee, I started sharing some of the things that have worked for me and some of the things I plan on doing to lose a few pounds. And I thought I’d share them with you. Before we left the coffee shop I had come up with ten quick, simple things we can all do. Maybe you don’t need all ten, maybe you are already doing of few of these, and maybe you have some of your own tips you’d like to share. Here goes mine.

1. Set a goal – This is a biggie but it doesn’t need to be big. Setting small goals that are achievable will better serve you in the long run. Need to lose 20 pounds? Start with a small goal of 5 pounds. All those mini-goals add up to one BIG success.

2. See a vision – I’m not talking ghosts, I’m talking about visualizing yourself the way you want to look. Slender hips? Flatter stomach? Pumped up biceps? Taller? (Try Pilates then, you’ll feel and look taller). But be sure your vision is positive, don’t go into it by saying “I want to lose this big, fat belly”, that wouldn’t be very nice. Instead, try “I see a flatter, stronger and firmer mid-section”. Give it a try.

3. Write down you plan – You got your goals and your vision. Now write it down. Pen to paper. Old school.

4. Brainstorm recipes – You’ll want to have quick, easy recipes to go to when life gets crazy and you’re short on time. This way you won’t be tempted by the takeout menu.

5. Focus on your mini-successes – Be sure to celebrate when reach those mini-goals. Manicure, pedicure, facial, a new pair of jeans, whatever it is be sure it’s a pat on the back from yourself to yourself. We all know we’re our own worse critics.

6 – Get a buddy – A workout buddy can keep you accountable and motivated. But be sure to pick wisely. You want someone who wants to change as much as you do. And at any point you realize you two aren’t a good match for workout buddies, politely exit that relationship. Your first priority needs to be yourself.

7 – Invest in a good pair of sneakers – This is very, very important regardless of the workout you’re choosing. This month’s issue of Fitness magazine has great reviews of sneakers for all types of activities.

8 – Menu plan, menu plan – This will save you so much time shopping and cooking. And you can use all that extra time working out.

9 – Work with what you got – If you’ve planned on a 40 minute workout but because of life you only have twenty minutes, do a twenty minute workout. Don’t skip the workout, just make it work for the time you have. Twenty minutes, fifteen minutes, even ten minutes is better than no workout.

10 – Believe in you – Never doubt yourself, never give up on yourself. Believe that you can make the change you want to make because you can.

See, 10 quick and easy tips for your slimdown. It’s not going to be that hard but you will have to do a little work. But then you’re worth it, right?

Do you have any other quick and easy tips that have worked for you or that you are going to try? Come on, share.

A Birthday & A Blizzard

We got a little snow here in Connecticut.

See. Our view from our back door.

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Pancakes was a perfect meal for a blizzard morning.

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Pizza for dinner.
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Billy.
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Susie loves the snow.
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Susie didn’t want to go in. Love her hair swinging as she turned her head.
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Susie with her birthday present. She turned 9 today.
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Healthy Living Survey

While visiting some of my favorite blogs, I came across this Healthy Living Survey over at Carrots n’ Cake. Tina had stumbled upon it at Lindsay’s List. It looked like fun and I decided to take the survey and here are my answers.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Two egg whites, half an egg yolk with spinach on multi-grain bread.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

Around 48 ounces a day.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

My treadmill. I’m totally into walking these days and I get to watch television. That’s a two’fer I can’t pass up. I look forward to my walks and I’m using the incline feature to help power-up my time walking. But the best time I have when walking is when I’m out with the pups.

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4. How many calories do you eat a day?

I don’t know. I stopped counting calories and now eat based on hunger.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Depends on the season. I have an apple every afternoon with plain greek yogurt. But now, I’m enjoying clementines.

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6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

These days I’ve been eating sandwiches. Honey-maple chicken with a slice of American cheese.

7. What is your favorite body part to train?

Legs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

I really don’t have a least favorite body part to train. But I think the upper body is the most challenging part for me to train.

8. What are your “bad” food cravings?

Great question. These days I’m not eating a lot of Frankenfood (processed foods loaded with chemicals to make them tasty) so I don’t have a big list of “bad” foods. In fact, what I am reaching for these days is pretty much healthy. Now for cravings? I usually like salty when it comes to cravings. So, it would be potato chips.

9. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

I used to. Religiously. Then a report came out about the potential dangers of taking a multi-vitamin and I watched a Dr. Oz show. I’m confused about vitamins and supplements. It’s something I want to figure out so that I’m making a knowledgeable decision.

10. How often do you eat out?

Does take-out count? Maybe twice a month. We really don’t go out much. I like to cook.

11. Do you eat fast food?

Rarely. I can’t remember my last fast-food meal.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband. The G-Man.

14. Do you have a gym membership?

No.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

7-8 hours. Sleep is important.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?

You mean days I eat things like this? My cheat days are when I bake.

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17. Do you drink alcohol?

No. Sometimes I’ll have a glass of wine if I’m using wine in the recipe. Why let it go to waste?

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

No. I’m pretty much a workout loner. Though I am apart of an online community of exercisers and I get great tips and new workout suggestions from them. Shout out to VFer’s.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your since committing to a Healthy Lifestyle?

There are so many things, but I think the best thing is that at over forty I’m moving without any creaks or aches.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

A yoga workout yesterday.

That was fun!

Debra

Bye-Bye Twinkie

Yes, Twinkies were a part of my childhood just like those chocolate cupcakes with the white swirl design and cream filling. Wonder Bread? It was what my peanut and butter sandwiches were made of. And over the past few days I’ve found out that a lot of other people have the same story.

So it looks like Hostess was what a lot of childhoods were made of.

But I have to admit I haven’t had a Twinkie or a slice of Wonder bread since I was a kid. So I’m not rushing out to stock up my pantry like the people that were interviewed on my local news station. If I’m going to eat a cupcake or any other baked good it’s going to come out of my oven and it will be made with ingredients I can pronounce. One of the secrets to being a healthy chick is not eating processed-baked goods that have a shelf life.

Bye-bye Twinkie.

Debra

Happy to Be Here

So many people are looking for the secret handshake to losing weight or keeping weight off.

The reality is that there is no secret handshake.  Yes, I learned the hard way.

To lose weight you need to move more, eat healthier and take it a small goal at a time.

To maintain weight you need to move a lot more, eat healthier and accept that there will be times when you’re not perfect.

The Secrets of a Healthy Chick is my fitness journal, where I share my workouts (what works, what doesn’t), my food (the good, the bad and the totally decadent), my obsessions (they vary month to month) and sometimes a great fashion find. Oh, you’ll also find a cute dose of my two little Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy. I like to keep them active. A game of ball is great cardio – for all three of us!

For my next post I’ll share my first Pilates class. Can’t wait for it.

Debra