Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Links - In Transition

Fork in the Road
Image credit: Antony
Note: if you read this post prior to June 3, 2013, you may have noticed a different image above.  I cam across the prior image of a cool Warrior III on a friend's Facebook page and used it here.  I have since learned that it was not credited correctly there, and after several attempts to credit it correctly here, decided the safer road was to return to using either my own images or ones I know are ok to use in this setting.  Apologies to any who were offended.

I'll admit that I haven't had much time for leisure in the past few weeks.  I am getting ready to move my law practice over the weekend to become truly independent after four years of semi-independence (yay!) and, needless to say, putting those plans in motion, plus the usual keeping up with the kids, has taken the vast majority of my energy!

But here are a few goodies I have managed to enjoy!

For You:
- If you happen to be in/near the ATL and need a bite to eat, check out this local Spring Dining Guide (one of the contributors is a friend of mine and I've yet to disagree with anything she said was try-worthy!).

- I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a fan of the Duchess of Cambridge a.k.a Kate Middleton.  These shoes at Target are a great CopyKate of the wedges she wore during the London Olympics.  I'm debating between the tan and black.

- Discovered a new-to-me YouTube trainer, Amanda Russell and have been enjoying her very effecient circuit-style workouts!

- This quick, easy, and non-toxic microwave clean really WORKED on a mess Daddy M made warming some soup without a cover!

- A delightfully fun, refreshingly honest adventure in cooking!

For the Kiddos:
- Moose has begun the "tell me a story" phase, and I'm loving it!  My sister discovered and ordered these Story Cubes for him - I can't wait for them to arrive!

- Fifty amazing tree house ideas!?  Yes, please!

- This Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese was supposed to be my quickie lunch the other day but ended up being Mouse's first table food.  I strongly suspect I've ruined her and the regular boxed stuff is out of the question now!

Happy Weekend to you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fitness Friday: My Favorite Myth

Barbell Pushup Smoke

In the quest to drop a few pounds before an (eek!) black tie event in a couple weeks I've been revisiting one of my favorite fitness "myths" in my own training: if I am doing weight training and cardiovascular training in the same day, I do the weight training first.

But does it work?

The Google search for "cardio or weights first lose weight" yields over 3 million hits!

The cardio-first camp claims that burning sugar first is the better approach if you are trying to get lean.  On the weights-first side, the argument runs that your body won't burn fat during weight-training (because your heart rate doesn't get high enough) so that if you burn through the sugar first with your resistance training, the only fuel left during cardio will be your (presumably) unwanted fat.

I experimented with this in my pre-lawyer, pre-kid days (i.e., when I had more time to work out than I knew what to do with).  I found that, for me, it seems effective when I'm trying to lose weight to do my scheduled weight training first, even where the cardio is a relatively short add-on.

I'm absolutely not an expert on the subject, but here are some of my thoughts on why (other than the what-fuel-are-you-burning discussions in the above articles, which I will leave in the capable hands of trainers and doctors):
  1. Doing resistance training first helps me warm up - both physically and mentally - so that I'm primed and ready when it comes time to kick it up with some cardio.  (This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm a morning exerciser.)
  2. Doing cardio first exhausts me and I don't feel like I perform my weight training with the mindfulness and precision it deserves.  I am not a heavy-lifting gal, but if I were, I think there would be a safety issue here in addition to the effectiveness issue.
The bottom line: I truly can't tell you what the answer is, but for me, weights first helps me lean out.

One thing I think we can all agree on: Just doing it is better than loafing on your couch!

So I want to do an experiment!  Below is a great, 12-ish minute cardio segment from the Blogilates YouTube page.  If you have the time and inclination, and if you're trying to lean out, tack it on before or after your resistance training (be that weights or Pilates) over the next few weeks and let me know if it works for you

Image Credit

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{Wednesday} Links: CSA Special

Photo of Tucker Farms Lettuce at the Marietta Square Farmers' Market
{Oops, I meant this Weekend Links post to go up on Sunday morning, but I must not have used the scheduler correctly! So enjoy a little Wednesday Links this week!}

Last year, we joined a CSA for the first time and did as best we could to embrace the challenge of more spontaneous seasonal meal planning.  I intended to do a CSA wrap-up post of favorite recipes we discovered at the end of the season, but that ended up falling about the same time as Mouse's arrival, and I never got around to it. 

In a way, I think this turns out better, since I am able to share some of my favorite CSA recipes as we gear up for another great season.

We had a lot of radishes last year.  A lot!  As in, every week.  Unlike my dad, I don't care much (or at all) for raw radishes, but as it turned out, these quick pickled ones are great (on a salad, a sandwich, etc.)!

We also had a lot of leeks and while I ultimately started using them in lieu of onions in other recipes, these recipes for braised leeks with lentils and quiche stood out.  The hands-down best were these braised leeks and apples!  We put them over a grilled flank steak and it was out of this world!

I love zucchini simply steamed or cut thick, brushed with olive oil and grilled, so there were really no challenges using these lovelies.  In addition, we had made lots of zucchini muffins (most of which never made it to the freezer)I also enjoyed these zucchini "noodles" in Thai peanut sauce (although mine were mushy since I used a box grater; this year I'm armed and ready with a mandoline).  This cheesy zucchini rice was also a huge hit (we substituted brown rice).

Summer Squash
Our family loved this summer squash mushroom casserole in addition to wonderful steamed squash and raw squash rounds dipped in ranch as an afternoon snack.

It was great to get outside the lettuce "box" with some different varieties.  Over the summer, I found this great article on preserving lettuce that virtually eliminated waste from spoilage.

Early in the season, we had an abundance of joi choi and I discovered this great choi slaw recipe (because one can only have so much stir fry).

We love tomatoes like we love zucchini, so other than sheer volume, we did not have any problems coming up with ways to enjoy the tomatoes (from heirloom cherry ones, to lovely beefsteak ones).  My one attempt at tomato sauce was somewhat uninspired, so I'll need to work on that again this year.  But my very always definitely favorite tomatoes are Heidi's oven roasted tomatoes (you can use cherry/grape or chopped larger tomatoes - any variety). 

What recipes are you looking forward to making with your CSA basket this spring?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fitness Friday: Extreme Family Workout!

Last week, with the sun shining (at last) and the pollen count at 8,000+ (no joke), I had some rare one-on-one time with Moose.  In our pre-Mouse (and pre foot injury) days, we used to love running together (him in stroller, me doing all the hard work) three times a week, so I offered him a run.

No, he informed me, he did not want to go in the jogging stroller.  "I'm fast.  I want to run with you."

So we did.  We started at a nearby park and ran into a large adjacent subdivision (no big streets to cross on that route).  We did about a half-mile before he wanted to turn back and he got to play at the park afterward.  Win-win.

We tried again over the weekend, with the addition of Mouse in the jogging stroller.  Other than some logistical kinks as Moose learned to share the sidewalk, we had a great time.  However, our second outing as a threesome did not go as smoothly, and leads to my innovative idea for a new fitness challenge (or, me making lemonade out of what was, to be honest, a very frustrating outing).
Friends, are you ready for the next fitness challenge? Tired of paying for CrossFit and boot camp classes, or registration fees for extreme races?

Introducing the Moose & Mouse Survival Run!
Don't be fooled by the short, 1.2-mile course! This run includes the following:
  • HIIT/interval training of at least 1/2 mile (Moose doesn't know what pacing means; also you will be running full-out and come to a screeching halt so he can wave at garbage trucks, school buses, etc.)
  • Agility training (Moose cannot run in a straight line)
  • Resistance training (not only will you be pushing 18-pound Mouse in a 25 pound jogging stroller at the start, but after you cross the half-mile mark, Moose will throw a fit because you won't let him go in the creek and will sit down on the sidewalk and refuse to move; in order to complete the course, you will need to carry Mouse the rest of the way and wrangle 38-pound Moose into the stroller and simultaneously push him and carry her for the remaining 1/2 mile; on yeah, the last 1/2 mile is all uphill)
Best of all, it is FREE! Comment below to reserve your time! 
How does working out with others (friends, kids, spouse) challenge you?  Is it worth it?