Monthly Archives: May 2015

Weight Training: Just Do It

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Bonsoir, Mes Amis

I should probably be going to bed, well, 40 minutes ago, but my eyes aren’t quite ready to shut down for the night, so here I am. My body, on the other hand, is pretty darn exhausted. I went rock climbing this evening with Max – I hadn’t gone since Saturday, and whenever I take a larger gap the first day back is always a little rough. Entirely worth it, though 😉

Which sorta, kinda leads me into the point of this post. As you probably now, I work out. I rock climb as often as humanely possible, but I also weight train at my fitness gym roughly two times a week. Yes, I said weight train.

For some reason, people tend to have this silly idea that weight training can make women look like female mega-bulky buff machines. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I pretty much exclusively weight train and I am definitely not buff . Am I strong? You bet. Do I have muscles? Mmmhm. However, I do not look remotely buff. I look toned, thanks to weight training.

Too many individuals are under the impression that cardio is the way to slim down and look like models. News flash: there is this thing called photo shop, cardio only works a portion of your muscles, and to achieve even that you need to rotate machines frequently, and also, those models don’t eat. Like, at all. I eat whatever the hell I want when I want, and I’m pretty content with myself. Granted, I eat healthy things, but my food is delicious. Boo-yah! In my opinion, cardio is pedestrian, so I only use it for a warm-up, or if I’m feeling less enthused I will pop a squat on the stationary bike and read a book (two birds, one stone). That being said, it does have its place in the world; it’s just not the way to achieve results.

Okay, I’m getting a little off topic here. Back to selling you on resistance training. First of all, what is resistance training?

It is an activity that involved some form of resistance against a muscle contraction.

You can use many types of equipment for resistance/weight training, such as free weights, weight machines, cable machines, rubber resistance bands, or even the weight of your own body, as well as gravity.
I would recommend incorporating all of the above mentioned into your workout, for they all have their own unique benefits. For instance, machines allow you to slowly add weight, free weights help with stability, cable machines allow you to move in several different planes of motion, which can activate certain stabilizing muscles as well as core strength, and resistance bands are said to aid your central nervous system.

Now, let’s look into some of the benefits associated with this glorious thing known as weight training.

  1. Via weight training, you buildup body strength as a whole as well as core stability. This leads to a healthy spine (shoulders back, head up, chest out!) and a body that won’t behave in a dysfunctional manner.
  2. When you build muscle mass, you are promoting healthy and strong bones. Ladies over the age of 40 who are at risk for osteoporosis: this applies to you.
  3. Resistance training increases your anaerobic power, which is highly beneficial if you are an athlete, either competitively or in a recreational sense.
  4. Working out with weights works your brain! It makes your brain healthier and helps it function at a higher level, as well as increasing coordination and alertness; and who doesn’t love that.
  5. Your flexibility will also increase (believe me; I used to be atrocious in the flexibility department, and weight training has worked wonders), which leads to healthier muscles and a better range of motion. Please make sure you stretch regularly though, and preferably when your muscles are already a little bit warmed up.
  6. Lifting weights helps with a multitude of changes in body composition, such as decreasing body fat percentage and increasing lean muscle mass. What does this mean? You will be looking fabulous.
  7. Finally, overall you will just feel better! Working out releases serotonin, the happiness neurotransmitter, and you can’t hate that.

… Thus ends my spiel on why you should weight train. If anyone has any specific questions (or if you want me to woop yah into shape at the gym), don’t hesitate. For now though, I must be hitting the hay. Au revoir!

Glorious Gatherings

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Howdy Hey Beautiful Humans!

I’m sitting on URI campus waiting for my class to start, so I figured giving a quick hello would be a good use of my time. Over the last week or so, two amazing gatherings/festivals have been brought to my attention; naturally, I wanted to share. One is local to us Rhode Islanders, and the other is regional to New England:

Green Market Festival: I don’t know if this is happening again this year, but I sincerely hope that it does. Last year, the 3rd annual Green Market Festival took place (from 10 am to 5 pm) at The Farmer’s Daughter and Landscape Creations of RI, located at 715-716 Mooresfield Road (Route 138), South Kingstown, RI – conveniently, mighty close to where I am currently sitting.

Events of this festival included interactive events for the whole family, such as: Hands-on Demonstrations, Family Fun Activities, Learn from the Experts: Educational Presentations,  Exhibits & Vendors, Live Music, Green Businesses, Great Food, Big Nazo Puppets, Story Telling and BoldrDash Kids. In the “Learn from the Experts” portion, landscape professionals offered workshops on a variety of topics. Admission for an adult was only $10, ages 12-18 were $5, under 12 was free, with $25 maximum per family over 4. Not a bad deal, eh? 

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for this event popping up again, and of course I will keep y’all posted.

Epic Skill Swap: Okay, now this is genius. Of course, it takes place in New Hampshire (live free or die, duh). Basically, this event is amazing; it is a participatory weekend (it just ended – it was Memorial Day Weekend) festival at Camp Wilmot in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

At this event, you can learn new skills, share the skills you have and spend a couple days with some equally as awesome people. The cost depends on your individual situation. There are potluck dinners and a whole slew of other amazing things; click the link I provided to see all the full details. I need to attend this next year. It’s almost too good to be true, but it IS true! Naturally, I’ve already emailed them and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll get a spot for 2016. Now I just need to figure out what skills I want to share… Come join 🙂

I’ve got to run… class has begun! x’s and o’s.

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Hello Loves!

My summer classes have officially started, so I may not be as on top of my blogging game as I would like. Hopefully though, I can prove myself wrong.

I need to get back to reading (currently eyeballs deep in Economic Institutions), but I wanted to share a link to an article that I think everyone – but New Englanders in particular – ought to read. It’s wildly upsetting and depressing to me, so I hope if I can spread awareness maybe these atrocities will stop flourishing. It takes place in Massachusetts, and being a Rhode Islander, it hits particularly close to home.

Anyway, click here to read.

Some people just suck.

However! To lighten the mood after you read this, check out this bad boy. I think I know what I will be buying one of my sisters for her birthday…

Cat Carrierx’s and o’s, as always.

Cat Hoodies and Evil Zoos

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

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Bonjour!

I wanted to share with all of you a fabulously delicious recipe that I came across (here) the other day. It’s an amped up and slightly healthier version of the Italian classic: stuffed shells. However, instead of simply stuffing these shells with a cheese concoction, they are filled with ricotta, Parmesan, ground turkey, artichoke hearts and a few other tasty ingredients. I also whipped up an arrabbiata sauce to drench them with; it is divine.

Stuffed Shells w/ Arrabbiata Sauce

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

For The Shells

Ingredients
– 1 (12-oz) box jumbo pasta shells
– 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 pound ground turkey
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
– 1 (8 to 10-oz) can artichokes hearts
– 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
– 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce (recipe follows)
– 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (check the package instructions for times).  Drain the shells and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce.  Take a shell in your hand and stuff it with the turkey/artichoke mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell.  Place the shell in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining shells until the baking dish is full.  Drizzle the remaining 4 cups of Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and then top with the mozzarella.  At this point, you can freeze the shells for up to a month by covering the baking pan with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placing it in the freezer.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes for frozen shells or 20 minutes if you bake them immediately after prepping.

For The Sauce (makes about 6 cups)

Ingredients
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
– 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 5 cups jarred or homemade marinara sauce

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.

2. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Mmmmmm

Pretty yummy looking, right? Happy cooking, friends! 🙂

Breakfast Salad

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Hello Beauties.

Happy Monday! I’m currently posted up in bed after a busy day at work and enjoying the sunshine. It’s finally feeling like spring = happiness. I even treated myself to a tasty Eggs Benedict at the Breakfast Nook II while studying for the GRE’s this morning in celebration of the sun.

I have this recipe for a breakfast salad I have been meaning to share (and make myself again), so without further ado, here she is:

Ingredients:

– 1 medium sized sweet potato, diced
– 2 hardboiled eggs
– ½ small red onion, diced
– 5 strips of bacon, diced
– 1 avocado, diced (or mushed, depending on preference)
– fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

1. Boil eggs – 10 minutes will yield hard eggs.
2. While eggs are boiling, cook bacon in coconut oil.
3. After 5 minutes of cooking bacon, add your sweet potato and onion.
4. Cook until the sweet potato is a light gold.
5. Once eggs are cooked, peel and dice them.
6. Add avocado and lemon juice; mix ingredients together.
7. Divulge 😉

Simple stuff, right? It’s a fantastic way to start your day since it has the macro-nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) your body needs along with some colorful micro-nutrients, too!

My go-to breakfast that I make virtually every morning is 2 eggs over easy with cheese on some sort of bread that has either avocado, hummus or fresh salsa spread on it. I also add ketchup and hot sauce because I like the taste and we can’t always eat perfectly. This is quick and easy, but I think tomorrow since I have the day off I will get a little crazy and make this salad instead. Anyone have any good staple meals you eat to break your fast?

Until next time!