Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I WORK!



                             
When I graduated HighSchool, I took a year off from college because I really had no plan or vision for my future. I was an above average student and knew how to please those teachers that I was interested in pleasing. My typing teacher was not one of them...haha she disliked me and visa versa, thus me having to look at the keys. I type pretty fast though and spellcheck is my savior! lol. Art and cooking are my passions and still love to write. It is cathartic and relaxing for me. I am the sort of person who stresses out about most things, but mostly finances and how low I feel when I am not contributing to the household and our non existent savings account. I find it degrading to my self worth when people say, "You don't work". I have worked very hard all of my life and I can wallow in the pity party, worrying about what others think about me, do something about which I haven't figured out yet or not let what others think about me get to the bottom of my soul and leave me feeling at rock bottom over and over again. After all, what people think about me really is none of my business!
My first job out of High School was at a discount retail women's clothing store called Loehmann's in East Brunswick, NJ. I loved working in fashion and they promoted me to Comparative Shopper. The retailer was known for having the lowest prices on designer clothing. We had to cut the labels out of the clothing before we sold them. Smart shoppers knew how to read the codes on the tickets though and the salesgirls such as myself got first pick and we left those labels in!  After a year working and still living at home, I applied and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, but I was not so thrilled about commuting to NYC with my Dad every day and frankly wanted to move out so badly, I could taste it. I wanted to move to California, where my brother, Glenn lived. So I planned a visit to San Francisco for a vacation and I never went back home to live again. During that Summer, a relative who lived in the Bay Area suggested the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in SF. I talked to my parents who so generously paid for my education and we decided it was a good fit for me. I spent the first year of school in SF. I worked as a "floater" for a very upscale department store in the heart of Union Square called I Magnin. I loved that job! It was probably the best job I ever had and I have had quite a few jobs in my 58 years on this planet. The second year of school, I had to move to Los Angeles to finish up my studies. I worked in the fashion industry for a few desk jobs and in the California Mart as a salesperson. I am not a very good salesperson. One must have better sense of self esteem to be able to sell anything to anyone. I am still not very good at it. I have to really believe in the product to do it well, I suppose. 
Los Angeles is where I met my husband. I was living in Glendale at the time, still attending FIDM when we met. He is the one and only reason I stayed in Los Angeles. I never really learned to love LA. The traffic, smog and the pretty fake people have no appeal to me. I didn't make much of my Fashion career and I disappointed my parents for having them spend the money on Fashion School. I felt as though I learned a lot about the business side of fashion and I unequivocally knew that I did not want to work in a buyers office with no windows and back then cigarette smoking was OK in the buildings, so, NO! In retrospect, I would have been better off financially now, if I had gone to University and waded my way through to get a degree. But, one must not live in regret of choices of our past, we move on...sometimes in baby steps, but the only direction is to move forward.
2 years after we were married,  I left the Fashion Industry and followed my heart and first passion in life  and got a job working as the night caterer at a well known stage rental studio in Hollywood. I prepared fruit platters, veggie platters, cheese platters, breakfast quiches, deviled eggs, pasta salads, croissants and prepped for the cafe for the next day. I helped make box lunches and prepared bases for soups. I was basically a sous chef, but all alone at night when the ghosts came out, and I am not kidding. That studio is notorious for it's apparitions. I only saw shadows and felt their presence and once my favorite tune went from low to blasting without my assistance. After about 9 months, I had to look for different hours of work because David and I were like passing ships in the night and I had to change things. In June of 1984, we helped my parents move across the country and I got pregnant! After that trip,I worked with a dear friend for a catering company in LA. That was a purely grueling job.  We worked 16 hour days and I had to be at work at 4am. I had a miscarriage, 2 months into my pregnancy. Tough times for me ensued. The loss of a child is overwhelming at least. It took me a very long time to emotionally heal. We always tried to look at the bright side though. We had no health insurance at the time and suppose it was a blessing in disguise. That never really took with me though and I reflect upon it still.
I worked as the Manager of a pasta store in Beverly Hills. It was a tiny, little roach laden, upscale hole in the wall. That is an oxymoron! I learned a lot about pasta and making salads and how to gain 25 pounds eating the lasagna and the bread! The duck lasagna was my favorite. I was there long enough to pay for David's 30th Birthday gift to England!!!!!! That was the 2nd best vacation we ever had (Our #1 best vacation was 9 nights in Maui for our 25th Wedding Anniversary). We had 2 weeks in London, Bath and Stratford-Upon-Avon. We had a wonderful time together., even if we did get deathly sick. David spent his formative years in London and showed me the town and I loved the fact that I paid for most of that trip. And we made a baby! 
I didn't have a job outside the home when I was pregnant with Sarah. I wanted to take care of myself and the baby and I was lazy and ate a lot.  I gained 65 pounds and weighed 203 when I delivered our first born and a beautiful girl on December 28th, 1985 at 1:28 am. I was 28 years old and found my calling in life and the number 28 has been my lucky number ever since. I always wanted to be a mother and my dream came true! She had a hard time being born. She was a posterior baby and they call it sunny side up because her face was face up and labor lasted 13 hours. That meant a lot of bruising on her poor little head and my back labor just about did me in. Doctor's these days do not let you have a posterior delivery and a C-section is protocol.  My time was spent holding my baby for hours and hours to soothe her pain. My favorite musician, Sting came in handy, but I am not so sure our neighbors were so happy at 2 am with me blasting the stereo. They never did complain though! We lived in a 4 level townhouse back then and I sure got my exercise going up and down the stairs. I went on Weight Watchers and lost 60 pounds and felt wonderful again! Actually, better than ever since I was really watching what I ate. Nursing the baby made me voraciously hungry, all the time, but I still lost the weight. This was a sleep deprived and difficult time of my life, but it was also the happiest time of my life. Then, 2 and half years later, we had our second child, our beautiful Michael. I went into labor and took a nap and when I woke up, the contractions were 3 minutes apart and we rushed off to drop off Sarah with Grandma and Grandpa at midnight, got to the hospital and delivered Michael in 20 minutes! David didn't even get a chance to pace, so afterwards he joked up the nursing station a bit. Michael was born the day before my 31st birthday and on my birthday morning 3 nurses with angelic voices came to my room to sing Happy Birthday to me and I bawled like a baby. I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and then we went home, our little family of 4. Sarah was so innocently adorable when she thought that Michael would be staying at the hospital so we could go and visit him instead of bringing him home. Precious times ensued! I do not equate motherhood with working. I call it a labor of love. Being an at home Mom meant everything to me. I was there to watch my children grow up and I am a proud mother. My children turned out as perfect as one can get and I would not ask for anything more out of life. David was working quite a bit back then. He is a Prop Man in the Film and TV business and he works long hours. I had the kids to myself most of the time, with little help from anyone else and poor David rested when he could. The film business is not as glamourous as it seems. I have seem my husband get absolutely beat up by the business.
  A year later we decided that we needed to move out of the townhouse. It had only 2 bedrooms and little Sarah ended up camping out next to our bed to sleep at night because the baby made too much noise. All the stairs were dangerous too. I watched Sarah tumble down when she was just a baby. I cried harder than she did, I was so upset and scared.
And on moving day I fell down the same flight and broke my ankle. There I was sitting on the landing for 2 hours with ices packs before I could stand up and get out of that house! In retrospect, I wouldn't have rushed getting out of there, but our new home was waiting for us to move in. We had 1/3 of an acre and a huge backyard with a waterfall, gazebo, playhouse and a doughboy pool! Again, if I could go back in time to change some things, I would, but I cannot so, why dwell there? I do that a lot. I think about all of the mistakes I have made and it is detrimental to my health.

I went back to work part time when Michael was enrolled in preschool. I worked for a Parent Education Program and was the Teacher's Aide. I worked with toddlers and loved my job. I would set up activities and crafts so the children could separate from their parents to talk about topics and issues that were current and apropos to their own lives. I was always there to pick my kids up from school in those early years.. When our youngest started Kindergarten, my hours increased and I had 2 jobs, I always volunteering the kids classrooms and even was the Art teacher for a year in 1st grade. That was a volunteering blast! We signed the kids up for AYSO and community basketball teams and were very active as coaches and team parent. I usually stood up to be team Mom and we loved making banners. I was involved in Girl Scouts as well. I was the childcare Mom who watched siblings while meetings went on and then became a leader for 6 years. We were a very active troop and my life was a bit overwhelmed by all that went into it especially when they guys felt left out...because they were and it took me away from my family life. That made me feel pretty guilty at the time. It was not easy being a leader. My feelings got hurt a few times and it was a challenging, but I stuck it out. There was a time when I thought all of the girls disliked me, but that is just a head trip I gave myself. Just a couple did that and they made it clear by screaming "I Hate You" in my face. How does one respond to that? I was silent, good thing, because it really didn't make them very loveable either!
in 1997 I got a job at the kids school. I worked in Special Ed as a one on one aide to a precious little girl. The job emotionally drained me and it was the year that my Dad passed away. That took a great toll on me and I took a leave of absence. I was also a lunch supervisor. That was a dangerous job, but often one of the boys from my special ed class would come to me and sit on my lap. If the teacher had found out about that she would have had a fit! The poor boy had no mother and was learning disabled. I was happy to give him my time and my heart. The teacher was very mean and one of the other aides abused her child right in front of everyone. I didn't report it though and I should have, most definitely. I guess I was not mean enough to work in that room, so they switched me to Kindergarten the next year. I loved that job. Working with the little ones again was very special for me and I certainly got tons of hugs every day. By this time our youngest was culminating out of 5th grade and the next year he would meet up again with his sister in Middle school for 6th grade. During all of this time I earned a certificate as a preschool teacher and I honestly found no luck with a school that suited ME! The very elite school I worked for was teaching math to toddlers and that was not my bag. Children need to just be kids while they can in my idea of a perfect world. I was very disillusioned by all of the illness that I couldn't shake, so I left the occupation all together. I still miss the kids though and thier inquiring minds.
I then found a full time office job and worked from 7:30 am until 3:30 pm. I made sure I would still be home for the kids. I was the Office Manager for a local electronic assembly company. That was different! The woman I worked for was a horrible racist who ran a sweat shop. I was there for 2 years because the pay was so good, but it took it's toll on my son especially. He was entering Middle School and it was a rough time in his life. When he was suspended from school, I managed to have him work in the office at school instead of staying home alone and they loved him because he is a great person who was the scapegoat for the principal at the time. He even admitted it to me and we were in shock!
I finally quit that job when boss lady demoted to to being a clerk because I wouldn't lie to our client. She also wanted me to lie on her taxes for her. I am sure glad that I wrote myself that extra vacation check before I left! HA! That was not a lie. She told me I wasn't going to get my vacation and then she signed the check :) Something happened to me when I worked there, before the bad blood between us. On a late afternoon day, one of our drivers ran through the front door, which he had never done before and was being followed by a gunman. I don't know what I was thinking when everyone ran and ducked, but I went up to the front door and told the guy to go away, and he did! I was so proud of myself for unleashing that from within. It took guts and absolutely no fear from me! That was a moment in my life that I will never forget. I could be dead right now, but I guess I looked pretty mean, lol.
I took a little time off of work and then found another horrible office job. that job re-defined the words "detailed oriented" and after 90 days, I got a call from my husband from England on my break and told me of our new business opportunity!
Our Brother in Law owned a British Greeting Card Company and he wanted us to Rep the line here in the States. David left the Film Business and acquired over 70 accounts and I did all of the paperwork, accounting and ordering. It was a 24-7 job and we really tried very hard to make a go of it. Unfortunately all of this coincided with 911. All of the anthrax scares in the mail and we were trying to sell greeting cards. It was wonderful that we were getting paid to do this and in 2001 we went to NYC for the stationary show at Javitz Center. We had a small, kind of tacky booth that was designed for us. We didn't get many orders and disappointed our Brother in Law. We did see a Giant Rat run between booths though and at one point David was so bored that he layed under the curtained table and shouted out, "Hey, You with the Shoes" to passers by while I tried to keep a straight face! It was so funny, like laughing in church funny. Boy, I needed that. At the end of the day the powers that be decided to change the booth entirely and we still had meager sales and we figured out that we should have been located on a different floor with the newcomers. Here I go again with the shoulda, woulda, coulda stuff. Oh well! I just wish we had a better outcome and I don't really know what we were thinking when we ordered stock. The cards were not different enough to be popular and the only ones that were, were mechanical and had a short shelf life. that made is look a bit weak. David entered back into the film business shortly thereafter when our insurance went into that COBRA situation. It was costing us $800 a month for the family instead of nothing, so his first love was that business anyway. I continued selling to the established accounts until it fizzled out in about 5 years.We had stock on our shelves for many years and then donated most of it to a local church. I still have quite a few cards here. I think they are beautiful!
What should I do next was my conundrum. I took some serious time off of work. I became obese in the meantime from boredom, depression and lack of motivation. My kids made it through high school and when Sarah came home from her first year of BU, she quietly encouraged me to start taking care of myself. She helped me change my life with the help from David and Michael. I was pretty defensive when people told me I needed to lose weight. Of course I know that! It has always bothered me when other tell me what I "should" do especially when I am trying hard to do it. Well, I joined the gym and in one year I lost 75 pounds. Big Woop! I don't think it was such a big deal. I did what needed to be done and I loved every minute of my gym time. My daughter had worked there during her high school years and got me a good deal, so I took it and flew with it. I went from 210+ pounds and a size 16+ to a size 6 and 135 pounds. I made some "friends" and was having a great time and I looked better than ever at age 50! I inspired myself to become a Certified Fitness Trainer. I studied hard for 8 months and got a 97 on my test. My first job was at a tiny studio. I worked for them instead of being independent. It was a good start for me. The boss tried to micro-manage every client and it didn't set well for me at $10 an hour. BAM 3 months I was gone and on my own. I developed 4 steady clients and I was paying half the mortgage! I took some time off when I developed diverticulitis and just when I was going to sign up at my gym as a trainer, my client dumped me. Big advice sermon from me in the near future regarding Never working with a "friend". I then offered my services to the new owner of the cafe at the gym and worked there for 9 months. It was a terribly abusive job and I ended up being completely blindsided (another word for stabbed in the back) by someone who volunteered their time. My pride couldn't take it anymore and I quit. That was 4 years ago. With all of the jobs I have had, I have quit most of them. I dislike thinking of myself as a quitter though. I just have never found the right fit. I continue with my studies as a Fitness Trainer and I will not quit that because it helps me personally. I haven't trained since March 18, 2015 because my hip needs replacing from all of the training and my predisposition to osteoarthritis. I have nursed it back to about 80% and am so much better off than I was a year ago.
I now work on the house, our beautiful native garden, take care of my husband and 2 dogs that are pretty high maintenance and I feel as if I am unhireable due to my disability and my age. I have experienced true age discrimination in the fitness business which was not even a thought when I studied. All I wanted to do was help others reach their goals and to teach them to rely upon themselves, not me, the trainer. I figured out that most people can do it on their own and they are needy of a psychologist instead. I listened to all of their problems and tried to help. Be very careful doling out advice. It will most definitely backfire on you. I never cracked the whip. I was the kinder, gentler trainer and it got me nowhere.
So, my first love is cooking. I have a creative mind and love to make up new recipes, so I started this blog 6 years ago. I am a writer now and I hope to get published someday soon...or maybe as soon as I hit publish on this article will do, If only more people would read it. That is my new Quest in life! the struggle is REAL!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hiding Kale


A "Superfood" is defined as a nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well being. I like that definition. I have been concerned about the foods I consume since I was 14 years old when I decided to become a vegetarian, much to my parents chagrin. The question was always put to me by most people I came in contact with was, do you do it to save the animals or do you do it for your health. My reply was, both. And then I got criticized for wearing leather, but my Earth Shoes were Not leather! HA HA!
Kale is a superfood that I had to really get my taste buds to accept. It is bitter and stalky and there was a time that I would never eat this green, chewy, yuck. Then, my husband told me he was having baby kale salads on the set. He works on TV shows and movies in Hollywood and the catered lunched are so fabulous, so I decided to give it one more try. I knew I disliked it raw and cannot imagine putting it a shake..but I will try, because I have a sense of adventure still. So, I call it "Hiding Kale" because I use it in recipes where you cannot really taste it. My first try was on a "Fancy Pizza"


I chopped up about 2 cups of organic tuscan kale for the first layer and then topped it with whatever I had in the house that would be suitable for pizza. The pizza shown has roasted turkey, zucchini, red bell pepper, provolone cheese and fresh oregano and basil. It's a small pizza so I usually eat 3 pieces and 5 go to my sweet DB.

Then I tried a quick chicken soup and it came out so savory and delightful. It was one of those rare rainy days here in Southern California and it warmed us up for lunch. I always make some sourdough toast to go with it...because I can 


Just saute some onions, celery, carrots in a tablespoon of grass fed butter, add salt and pepper until tender. Add 2 cups chopped kale and simmer until tender. Add 1 quart defatted, low sodium (because I like to add my own salt) chicken broth and heat for 5-7 minutes Add cooked, chopped chicken breast and simmer for a few minutes and add sliced zucchini at the end since it takes just a few minutes for it to cook. Use any veggies that you like. I added dried thyme and sage from my garden.
Another time I added chopped kale to my turkey meatloaf! It came out so wonderful! I forgot to take a picture of it, but I will for next time.

I would have to say that my favorite use of kale has been when I made braciole (Stuffed flank steak). I am saving this recipe for one of my next articles. It was so very simple to make. I would make it more often however, I do not eat much red meat. It destroys my stomach. I see that as proof of the "blood type diet" as being bogus. 




Moral of this story for me is try everything once, (well maybe not everything, unless I really had too, like if I was in prison or something...lol), but twice if I like it and make it my very own. I made Kale taste delicious! Most of my recipes are Italian in flavor. I must switch it up and diversify, but why should I. No one has complained yet!
The top secret to my weight loss success is hands down: Portion Control. And the only "diet" that I think is realistic and successful is "Weight Watchers".  I lost 60 pounds 30 years ago after having my first child on WW. That was when everything had to be weighed out and it taught me how to "eye" the portion after a while. I hated the meetings though. I found them to be humiliating and corny. It is different now, I hear now that Oprah has taken over. The poster child for yo-yo dieting!



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Scrumptious Chicken Salad


Ever since I became a gym "Goddess" (because I refused to call myself a Rat), I have used boneless, skinless chicken breasts as a mainstay in my diet. I was hooked on protein when I was training in beast mode, and I have stuck with it, because just in case you didn't know, I changed my life Forever! ;)
When I cook chicken, I usually make twice as much so I can use it as a second meal in chicken salad. I always use organic, full fat mayonnaise and measure it out as to watch the fat levels that I consume. Low fat mayo taste pretty awful, as most low fat or non fat alternatives. It is important to eat the right fats in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and for optimal health.
In this recipe, I placed the chicken salad on a bed of organic baby spinach. You can use the greens of choice, just make sure they are dark green in color. Iceberg lettuce serves it purpose of hydration because it is mostly water. The dark greens deliver the most nutrients. I sincerely feel so much better than when I was so out of control with food and I love to write up my recipes to share. If this helps one person, I know what my purpose is on this earth.

Ingredients:
2, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (leftover from the night before), chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium apple, sliced and doused with lemon juice
1/4 up roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
2T organic, whole fat mayonnaise
1/2 Tsp fresh or dried dill
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1T extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
1T raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar
Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper
Method:
Combine first 6 ingredients
Place on top of baby spinach leaves
Drizzle with oil and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste
Voila!

Quick and Easy Fruity Crustless Pie

I make this dessert quite often and quite often I manage to each most of it, so be careful!I usually use frozen fruit such as pineapple, mango, blueberries and this one I used organic cranberries that I had left over from the holidays with the pineapple and mango. This could easily be a Vegan dish, but I used KerryGold Irish Butter for the topping and the flavor is unmatched in my opinion. Try it with coconut oil for a Vegan alternative.

Ingredients:

Topping:
2 Cups Organic granola of choice. This one had almonds in it for that extra crunch
2 T Butter or Coconut Oil that has been solidified in the fridge

Process in a food processor, the granola until it is the consistency of  (largish) breadcrumbs
Add the butter and pulse a few times until mixed
reserve for later

Filling:
3 Cups Frozen Fruit
2 T Raw Sugar or Honey
1T Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ginger

Mix together and add to a buttered glass pie dish

Top with Topping

Bake for 30 minute or until juices are bubbling on the bottom of the dish

Let cool and serve with Coconut Cream or all by itself

Serves 8


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mango-Ginger-Citrus Chicken



Food and cooking are my first passion in life. My mom taught me how to cook when I was 10. Olive oil was always a staple in my house, thank goodness and my mother was and still is at the age of 92 a fabulous cook and cooks for herself most of the time. I learned so much about mostly Italian cooking. My mom grew up in Texas, the second daughter born to 8 children . Her parents were wheat farmers during the great depression of 1929.  Mom met dad who was an Italian boy from Brooklyn at a USO Dance in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1943 when she was 19 years old. Dad went off to war overseas in England and they kept in touch with each other with writing letters back and forth and on June 4, 1945 they were married at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. My mom learned how to cook Italian food from my father's mother, Anna, who was an incredible cook apparently. Mama Joy is also a wonderful baker and she cooked up a storm every night of the week. She gave us the best of both culinary worlds as kids growing up and boy did I love to eat! I was pretty chunky most of my life. I started "dieting" at a very young age. It truly is my love of food that kept me overweight and I still struggle with my obsession with food. I did change the ingredients to healthier versions, just to feel better and I do believe you are what you eat and I am no longer a giant portion of pizza and a meatball sub!
When I began my fitness journey in 2005, I was compelled to change my diet and do that for the rest of my life. I was tired of losing the same 20 or 40 pounds and regaining it plus some. So, when I was 47 in the body of a 54 year old and a size 16+, I took drastic measures to change myself. As I reflect upon how strict I was on myself, I wouldn't do the diet any other way. It was necessary for me to cut way back on carbohydrates. My quick trick for weight loss to this day is, "No Carbs after 3". It really works for me. 

Chicken, rice and veggies became a mainstay in the house and I have come up with probably at least 50 versions by now. I always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I love to have a couple of big bags in the freezer and dinner is done in no time and the poultry hasn't a chance to go bad waiting to get cooked. I usually choose brown rice (I love the microwave brown rice that cooks in 3 minutes, even though it may not be as nutritious as the stove top rice) and in this recipe, I used frozen green beans. Dinner was done in 30 minutes! hmmm...sounds like a popular cooking show!

Ingredients:
3 T olive oil,divided
2 T shallots, minced
1/2 C chicken broth
1.5 C fresh or defrosted mango puree
2 Tsp ginger powder
2 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat medium skillet on medium heat
Add 2T olive oil and heat up
Add minced shallots and saute until clear, add chicken broth to deglaze the pan and reduce a bit
Add mango puree and stir and simmer for a minute
Add frozen chicken and cover pan
turn frequently and stir sauce over chicken to keep moist
cook 20-25 minutes until chicken is fully cooked, basting frequently
Add the lemon juice and zest and simmer for another minute.

In another heated skillet, add 1T olive oil (or coconut oil)
add cooked rice to heated pan and stir
Add cooked green beans to the rice and heat through.
Add some fresh herbs such as dill or a mixture of spices to taste
Serves 2



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

One Day Cleanse


Cleansing one's body means more to me than just fasting and drinking water. It is a combination of mind clearing and digestive cleansing as well. It is a time when all social media is shut off and time spent outdoors to enjoy nature. My husband and I turned our backyard into a small nature preserve with native plants that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. I do stay at home near a restroom when I cleanse, so the backyard is my resting and meditation spot.


I must say that I do not do this a lot and I have only gotten through it once, but the next day, I did feel so much better. I recommend trying this on a Sunday, or your day off and only once a month to start

Cleansing with food is a hard task for me as well and I am working on making it through just one day without  processed carbs (bread) or protein. Sometimes I make a "slimming water" made of 1 gallon of pure water, and slice the following to add to the water and let brew overnight: 2 lemons,1 cucumber peeled and sliced, fresh ginger, peeled and sliced,  a few sprigs of fresh spearmint and fresh peppermint. This drink only lasts for 1 day and it is a diuretic. Drink 64 ounces of plain water if you don't have the slimming water.

Take the time for yourself at least once a week to stretch and meditate. Listen to soothing music, breathe deeply and visualize on all of your body parts focusing on your core.



For the cleanse, first thing in the morning, drink 1 cup of lemon water, slimming water, strong coffee or green tea to get things moving. I prefer coffee. It does the trick!

Prepare a very large fruit salad (the night before so you don't have to wait to eat)
Example:
1 pineapple, quartered and sliced
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
2 papayas, peeled, remove seeds and slice
4 apples drench with lemon juice after sliced
4 oranges, peeled and sliced
2 cups blueberries
2 cups strawberries halved
1 pound grapes
1 melon, peeled, seeded and sliced
4 ripe peaches, nectarines or apricots (in season) sliced
Stir all ingredients with 2 cups fresh squeezed organic orange juice and 1Tbs cinnamon
Eat approx. 1-2 cups every 2 hours until 3PM. You may alter this plan to your own specifications and use the fruits that you like the most. The key is not to let yourself get hungry and if you feel a little weak, it is OK to have 2 protein shakes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon using fruit juice and vanilla whey protein as the base.




3PM- Prepare a very large raw veggie salad *Organic is always best*



Eat @ 4PM (It takes a while to cut up all of your veggies)

Example:
Mixed dark leaf lettuces
Carrots, sliced (the only high carb veggie that I think is OK ;)
Cucumber
Sprouts
Tomatoes
Bell peppers-all colors 
Broccoli Florets
Cauliflower Florets
Celery, sliced
Onion
Garlic
Green beans-blanched
Mushrooms

Again, use the veggies that you enjoy the most. There are so many to choose from, be creative!

6PM 
Eat a large portion salad. You may use balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or your favorite salsa for dressing. Also fresh herbs are a great addition for flavor.

8PM
Eat another large portion salad


9PM
Drink chamomile tea or any non caffeine herbal tea.

Relax and take a hot bath or shower, give yourself a facial, soak your feet and Sleep for 8 hours if possible.

DAY AFTER CLEANSE DAY DIET

NON-WORKOUT DAY PLAN
Breakfast
½ cup oatmeal with 1 scoop whey protein powder
½ cup blueberries or fruit of choice
Coffee or Green Tea

Mid morning snack
1 small apple
2TBS Organic Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
OR
Fresh Fruit Smoothie w/Protein Powder

Lunch
6 oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Baked with ½ tsp. olive oil and ½ lemon juice
½ cup organic brown rice
2 cups steamed broccoli

Afternoon Snack Example
Celery sticks, Unlimited
1 cup low fat Cottage Cheese blended with fresh basil, 1T apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

Dinner Example
Large Green Salad with up to 8 oz baked wild salmon or boneless, skinless chicken breast
Use 2 tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette (Use only low-carb veggies at night)

DRINK AT LEAST 8 GLASSES OF WATER EVERY DAY

WORK OUT DAY PLAN
Add 2 Protein Shakes.  Must be within 30 minutes before or after your training session
Add egg whites to your breakfast if you workout in the morning.

If trying to lose weight, No carbs after 3pm is the golden rule. Otherwise only eat good carbs such as whole grains and veggies.

For my full diet plan, please contact me at fitness4life57@gmail.com


Thursday, May 5, 2016

5 Minute Tomato~Avocado Salad


Yes, I can easily say that tomatoes have always been a staple in my diet ever since I can remember. My parents grew them in the back yard, we had them on our Italian sandwiches which included mortadella, capicola and provolone cheese. I reserve this for Christmas Eve now and the cold cuts that I buy have no preservatives, nitrates or nitrites used in processing. How things have changed in my life, and it was all me that did it :)
This easy salad is full of fiber from the perfectly ripened avocado. After slicing the avocado, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice. The acid prevents the fruit (yes fruit) from turning brown. Tomato is theoretically a fruit too so I guess you could call this a savory fruit salad. 

Ingredients:
2-3 organic, vine ripened tomatoes
2 avocados
1T each fresh or dried basil and oregano 
2 T extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Slice tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on a decorative platter
Top with sliced avocado
Top with herbs and salt and pepper
Sprinkle with oil and vinegar

Serve with thin sliced sourdough toast topped with kerrygold butter and a touch of parmesan, slightly toasted



Homemade Tomato Sauce


I love making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. Sometimes I peel them by cutting a small x on the bottom of the fruit then dunking in boiling water for about 30 seconds then into an ice bath. The peel comes right off. The sauce is thinner when the tomatoes are peeled, so it has to cook longer than if you leave the peel on. The benefits of leaving the peel on are greater with a better fiber value to the meal and also most of the nutrients are in the peel. The photo above was taken after my dear husband brought home a 3 beautiful cases of organic tomatoes from work. We gave away 2 cases to a neighbor and a friend because there were just too many and we like to share.

Ingredients:
2 pounds organic tomatoes
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 medium onion
2 stalks organic celery
1 T olive oil
Fresh or dried basil, oregano to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Wash and slice tomatoes, set aside in a bowl to reserve the juices
Chop up garlic, onion and celery 
Heat up pan and add olive oil. Add garlic, onion and celery and saute for a few minutes until the onion is clear.
Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat, uncovered until sauce is thick, stirring often. This may take up to one hour of tending to. Remember cooking it longer on a lower heat means the flavors will be better and bolder. 

Serve over 1/2 cup of penne or pasta of choice (3/4 of a cup if you are maintaining your weight loss) with steamed broccoli or a vegetable of choice, ground turkey or chopped chicken breast that has been browned and drained. I cook most everything in my iron skillet. It cooks everything to perfection!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Breakfast Sausage-Brown Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes



When I don't want to food shop, which is often because we are living frugally these days,  I usually can come up with "Something from Nothing" and often it is a big hit with my sweet, dear husband. And if it isn't a hit, he always says, "I went to Seaford College!". Seaford College was a boarding school in England that he attended during his teenage years and often served grey eggs and once there waseven a band aid in the food! Ah..my food is Never that bad! lol
I usually buy organic ingredients. It doesn't cost more when you eat less and the flavor of the food is so much better, it is better for your health and better for the environment.
So, What do you make when you have a frozen package of chicken breakfast sausage, leftover brown rice and some beautiful tomatoes from Whole Foods? I feel like I should go on chopped except I do work well under that sort of pressure. Cooking is cathartic for me.

Preheat Oven to 400 and oil a baking dish
Serves 3 for a meal and 6 for a snack


Ingredients:
3, large firm tomatoes
3 T extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil, divided
½ cup purple onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 package chicken breakfast sausage, casing removed
2 tsp dried (or fresh) basil
Sprinkle of garlic powder
1 cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup toasted oat bran


Method:
Cut tomatoes in half; take out the core and scoop out the insides with a grapefruit spoon. Reserve for cooking and place the halved tomatoes in an oiled baking dish.
Place 2 T olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium
Add the onions, celery and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent
Add the breakfast sausage and cook until browned. Do not over cook.
Add the basil and garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste
Add the scooped tomatoes and simmer for a minute
Add the brown rice and mix thoroughly.
Turn off heat and fill the tomatoes with the sausage mixture.There will be enough of the mixture to fill up the baking dish.
Sprinkle the top with toasted oat bran and 1 T olive oil
Bake at 400, uncovered for 1 hour

Let rest so the liquid can be absorbed (I had to drain it and heat it more)

Serve with a leafy green salad with balsamic vinaigrette