Workout Wednesday: ladies, stop fearing the weight room!!

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I know that really big buff guys with their equally enormous weights can be really intimidating. So intimidating, in fact, that it causes you to avoid the weight room all together and modify your workout to use lesser amounts of weights that can be found in the “stretching” area. But it’s time to overcome this fear. In order to get an awesome and diverse workout, you’ve got to start hitting up that heavy weight area.

NOTE: lifting weights or doing exercises with weights will NOT make you big and bulky. That seems to be every woman’s number 1 fear but it will just make you more defined. Women don’t have the testosterone to build up muscle the way men do. Also, you would have to be lifting REALLY heavy weight to see results even close to that. So don’t be afraid of the bulk. It won’t happen.

Anyway, yes I realize the weight room is intimidating. I go to University of Arizona and we were just rated the number 1 campus recreation in the nation. Aaaaand cue all the really large meat heads and weight lifters… So trust me, I know it’s intimidating. But once you get over that fear, it’s a piece of cake and you see that most of those “meat heads” are large freshmen who don’t really even know what they’re doing anyway.

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I recommend starting off with the smith machine. It’s a guided bar that allows you to do squats with the extra weight and form but without the instability of a free bar. It’s a good first step. It looks like the picture above (with me performing a squat on it). I would recommend adding ten pounds to each side first and then do one set of ten reps of squats. If you feel like you can, add five more to each side and do two more sets.

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The benefits of the extra weight of the squat rack are immense. It’s a totally different workout and you’ll start feeling yourself getting more toned, faster!

Don’t be afraid. If you need support, take a guy friend and have him show you how it works. Go during a time when it isn’t busy and that’ll help your nerves also. Maybe go when your school has chapter for the Greek life because that seems to eliminate a lot of the surrounding gym go-ers.

Good luck and have a happy workout Wednesday!

Trying something new: Celery Root Fries

Every seen Harry Potter? Do you remember the Mandrake Root? The little plant that when you pulled out of the ground it would scream its head off? Well, celery root almost looks like that. Just in the fact that they both look so gnarly and inedible. It doesn’t scream when pulled out of the ground though, so no need to worry.
Celery root is actually very edible and rather tasty. Plus, with fall approaching, it’ll be in season so you’ll be seeing a lot of it at your grocery store. The first time I cooked with celery root was three years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara with a house full of five other girls. I don’t remember how I came across it or even how I knew what to do with it, but I do remember my roommates acting very intrigued.

“You’re going to EAT that thing?!”

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They all sat around and watched while I removed the outer layer and started slicing the root into fry sizes. Once I had finished cooking them, the little fries were unrecognizable from the original form it took. I offered my roommates to try some. Needless to say, they were a little wary to try it after seeing the original gnarly, root-y shape, but once they got up the courage to try it, they ended up taking seconds, thirds, and fourths!

Try something new this fall and buy a celery root! I swear, it’s waaaay tastier than it looks!

Celery Root Fries

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 celery root (you lose a lot while trimming off the outer edges, so try and get a larger one)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional–for those who like a little spice in their life)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the top of the celery root off. This will be used as your starting point for cutting off the outer edges.

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3. Using a sharp knife, slice off the fibrous-y outer layer until it resembles a peeled potato.

4. Cut the root into thin, french fry shaped strips and put onto a cookie sheet. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until each fry is coated.

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5. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its reached your desired crispiness. Serve with a chicken burger or maybe even a steak! I paired mine with a nice big steak and some green beans :)

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Some days, you just need a little bit of pasta… garlic veggie pasta over whole wheat spaghetti

Does anyone else have the extreme issue of attempting to make pasta for just yourself and ending up with enough pasta to feed a family of five? It happens. Thank god for tupperware. Or hungry roommates.

I’m not a big pasta eater, mostly because when I eat a lot of it, I start to feel bloat-y and overly full. But every now and then, a nice big plate of pasta is the only thing I can imagine eating. An occasional carbo-load never hurt anyone.

I especially like this pasta dish because there’s no cheese and it mostly just consists of vegetables. I like to imagine the pasta as a grain replacement (like quinoa or rice) and it makes me feel better about it. That, and when it’s whole wheat, organic, nongmo, etc….

For those days when you just need to fill your belly with some comfort food… try this out!

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Garlic Veggie Pasta over Whole Wheat

serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes

3 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

OPTIONAL: a tablespoon of parmesan (for a little extra flavor)

**Note: for this recipe, it’s easiest if you have the pasta already cooked and all the vegetables chopped before you start.

1. Put a pan over medium heat and add 1/2 teaspoon. add in the cauliflower and saute for about 5 minutes. After five minutes, add in the zucchini and tomatoes. Sprinkle the salt on top of all of the veggies and saute for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the veggies and add in the garlic and the rest of the olive oil. Saute until you can start to smell the garlic or until it starts to turn slightly golden. Sprinkle in the chili flakes and add the cooked pasta. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta until it is fully coated in olive oil. Add the vegetables back in as well as the thinly sliced basil. Toss to combine everything. Add parmesan on top at the end if you like!

Enjoy!

Workout Wednesday: Reverse Crunches

Having a strong core is essential when it comes to fitness. Your core is what keeps you balanced while doing every day activities. People with strong cores not only look great, but they have less moments of instability. This is key for when you’re out drinking with your friends, wearing heels that are five inches too tall and starting to lose your sense of balance. A strong core will prevent you from those embarrassing drunken falls! Oh, and you know, just help stabilize you with every day things like walking. That too. 

Anyway, a strong core is really important. I like the reverse crunch because it implements a more unstable environment causing your body to engage it’s proprioceptors (balance center of your body). Regular crunches are good too, but you need to have workouts that challenge your balance as well. This makes the exercise more functional and useful for your every day activities. 

Basically what I’m trying to say is that no matter how nice your six pack is from infinite crunches/sit ups, it’s not hot to fall on your ass in front of everyone. So do this exercise and you won’t have to worry about it!

 

Fall time treats: cinnamon apple crisps

Apple pie and fall go hand in hand. Unfortunately, apple pie also goes hand in hand with love handles. Just the thought of the cinnamon-y, apple-y, crispy flavor of apple pie just makes you want to cuddle into a warm blanket by the fire with you’re very own slice while you watch the red and brown leaves fall from the trees outside. As romantic as that sounds, it’s also how you start to gain that winter weight. Now, I’m not trying to take away that sweet, delicious pleasure, but I am going to make it a little more friendly to your figure!

I bring to you, chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps! It only has 4 ingredients and it completely satisfies that apple dessert craving. Plus, it only has 78 calories per serving!!! So crunch away and enjoy your sweater wearing, leave changing, and apple picking season that is fall!

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Chewy crunchy cinnamon apple crisps
serves 4

ingredients
2 apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cut the top part off of the apple and carefully cut thin slices of the apple. When you’re done slicing, cut out the middle core of each apple.
3. Combine the remaining three ingredients by stirring together until it is all combined into a semi liquid form.
4. Put the apple slices on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Gently rub the cinnamon mixture onto each slice using either a knife or a cooking brush.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let the apples sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. The longer they sit after cooking, the crispier they’ll get.

Enjoy your fall treats!!

Sassy, Slimming Zucchini Avocado Tacos

There are only two weeks or so left of summer (even though it doesn’t feel like it because I’m back in school for my last semester), so it’s time to take advantage of green vegetables and taco season.

These tacos are under 200 calories each but they still satisfy your taco craving. People always ask me if I’m a vegan/vegetarian because the recipes that I post mostly contain veggies. To answer those people’s question: no, I’m not a vegan/vegetarian. I just like to eat a lot of food. I LOVE vegetables because you can flavor them any way you like but they are so low in calories that you’re forced to eat more! I like to eat. I also don’t want to be enormous. Eating flavorful vegetables is my solution! And trust me, you won’t miss meat in this recipe. You won’t feel icky and full after this. You’ll feel so refreshed and happy that you could stuff your face without feeling guilty! 

So eat up! Only a few more weeks of green veggie and taco season!

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Sassy, slimming avocado and zucchini tacos

makes about 6 tacos, serves 2

Ingredients:

6 corn tortillas

1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup sliced red onions

1/2 avocado, sliced into 6 pieces

1 handful of cilantro

1 tablespoon and 1 tsp olive oil, separated

1/2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

 

1. In a skillet, pour 1 tsp olive oil and heat to medium. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and salt and saute for another 5 minutes. Lastly, add the peas and corn and saute for another minute. Turn the heat off.

2. Combine the tablespoon of olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic clove in a food processor until smooth.

3. Warm the tortillas on a dry skillet by quickly moving the tortillas around while the pan is on medium heat. Do this for 10-15 seconds or until the tortillas are warm.

4. Put about two tablespoons of veggie mixture on each tortilla. Drizzle with the dijon sauce and top with a sprinkle of cilantro. Lastly, add an avocado to each. Do this for all of the tortillas. Enjoy!

Garlic-y Goodness Hummus

WARNING: Make sure to only eat this hummus with family and friends who won’t judge you for having garlic breath! Or at least make sure that everyone is eating it with you so that everyone has the same garlic breath! :)

 

You will never buy store bought hummus again after making this recipe. Most people don’t even realize that you can make hummus. My friends are always pretty impressed when I make hummus for them because they imagine it to be some extremely strenuous process. Little secret… It’s probably one of the easiest things that you can make. As long as you have a food processor or a blender, you put together home made hummus in a matter of minutes. The awesome part about making your own hummus is that you can make it whatever flavor you want as long as you have the base down. Once you have the basic recipe, you can add sun dried tomatoes, artichoke, cayenne… whatever you feel like. I prefer super garlic-y to keep away the vampires. If you don’t like garlic/want to hang with the twilight folks, just don’t add in the garlic to this recipe!

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Garlic Hummus 

serves 6

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid)

2 tablespoons tahini

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

a sprinkle of paprika for garnish

1. Combine all of the ingredients (other than the reserved liquid and paprika) into a food processor and blend until smooth. If the consistency isn’t right, add a little bit of the reserved liquid until the hummus is the right texture.

2. Sprinkle the paprika and about 1 teaspoon of olive oil before serving. You can serve hummus with cucumber, carrots, pita, or even pretzels.

***YAY FOR HEALTHY SNACKS!!!***

with carrots