Sink you teeth into em’ chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip CookiesThis chocolate chip cookie is the reason why I have to squat. It’s one of those recipes you pull out on a cold winter’s day to forget that the groundhog saw his shadow and is predicting more winter. I must be honest though, for a long time I hated making chocolate chip cookies. For whatever reason, my cookies always came out thin, and usually a little crispy. Then I started under baking them in fear of the cookies getting crispy as soon as they cooled and I would end up with cookies that had holes through the center. The center wouldn’t be done and just fell through the cooling rack.

Alas, I finally found the perfect versatile chocolate chip cookie recipe and more importantly realized that two utensils make cookie making that much easier.

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Warning: Flying Ankle Weights

Image Courtesy of Women's Health

This is one of my favorite quotes. Time will pass it’s just up to you how. Image Courtesy of Women’s Health.

Going to a new workout class can be a little daunting and intimidating. I always have some anxiety leading up to a new class. The usual thoughts run through my head… “what if I die? or what if I just can’t do the exercises?”

Going to the gym is even worse than a new class for me. I have mastered the treadmill and elliptical (I mean I can at least get the things turned on), but all those weight machines give me angst. I always contemplate if I’m doing it right or not. I mean there’s only so much help a little picture can give you. Then, in a new cardio class I tried last fall, I realized not knowing how to use a weight machine was not the most embarrassing thing I could do.

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Happy Planning

Sometimes planning meals can make you go bananas, but it doesn't have to!

Sometimes planning meals can make you go bananas, but it doesn’t have to!

If you’re anything  like me, the work week seems to fly by. You have so many things to do and never enough time and then before you know it the day is over and you’re packing your lunch for the next day searching the fridge for anything you can throw in your lunch box. I’ve been known to take a lunch consisting of beef jerky and a sweet potato (I don’t advise that one) or the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some random chips. Ultimately, when I just grab something and go with it, I end up not eating healthy and usually starving by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I only have 30 minutes for lunch, so going and grabbing some greasy burger is usually not practical. During my journey to a healthier lifestyle I have come to appreciate a little pre-planning.

Fitness article after fitness article discusses how important it is to have a meal plan and buy groceries according to your meal plan. Popsugar recently posted an article that not only gives you meal ideas broken down by meal, but also gives you a printable meal planner to begin creating a plan with. If you’re looking for a jump start to meal planning or want some assistance, I would suggest beginning there. They have some very tasty recipes that you may not even believe are actually “healthy.” I really like to make their Red Pepper and Lentil bake on a Sunday and portion it out for lunches the rest of the week. If it makes to much you can just freeze and pull it out later when you need something to eat.

You can find the printable Meal Planner from Popsugar here.

I Like to Move it, Move it!

Zumba rules

Always pretend you’re in the back and shake what your momma gave you!
(Photo from someecards.com)

It’s about that time of year when the euphoria of the phrase “new year, new you” starts to wear down and working out just seems a little bit harder to do for me. As I sat at my desk earlier today, somewhat dreading the evening’s  Cardio Pump (or as I call it it “Cardio that almost killed my husband [blog post to come]) class at the YMCA, I remember a Zumba class I took last fall.

As discussed in a previous post, I’m not so coordinated. Okay, I’m NOT coordinated at all, it’s sometimes a miracle if I can walk and talk at the same time. Doing Zumba outside of the comfort of my own home had never crossed my mind. Sure, I had seen the infomercials for the DVDs of people of all ages and sizes dancing away having so much fun, but I just knew if I had tried out for that infomercial no way would I get the part of sweaty Zumba participant. However, I found myself at a crossroads.

Immediately following the Kettlebell Amp’d class I took at the local church was a Zumba class taught by the same instructor. She tried a couple times to get me to stay and I politely declined, then one day I didn’t decline. I’ve realized the closer I get to 30 the less I really care about how I look in a Zumba class, or any class really, and besides it was in the church so I was practically doing the Salsa for Jesus.

I ended up staying for Zumba once a week and really liked it, never mind I always seemed to be going left when they went right, and despite extra practice at home, I had to realize the “booty pop” move was never going to happen. Usually I could muster the energy to get through the hour and half workout that consisted of both classes, but there was one day I just was not sure I was going to make it through Zumba and debated on just going home and sprawling out on my couch. I am so glad that I didn’t go home.

You see, this particular Zumba class we had two new participants: two older ladies, both with white hair securely fastened out of their face with bobby pins, capri pants, and the standard white tennis shoes. They walked into class so excited to try Zumba. They reminded me of my grandma and aunt, the unstoppable duo. They  had the happiest smiles on their faces just ready to move. The instructor greeted them, made them feel welcome, and cranked the music.

minons zumbaWe danced it out to a couple songs and then there was our first water break. Another older lady walked over to check on the duo and see how they were doing. Oh man did they love it! Then the next round of songs started. Keep in mind, the Zumba songs we danced to were mostly Top 40 music, and there were a couple songs with some hip shaking, booty popping moves. At the end of the next round there was another water break. I walked back to get my water bottle, thinking how tired I was and how I should have just gone home, when I overheard the conversation between the two ladies and the regular Zumba lady.

“Are you all still doing alright?” she asked them.

“Oh yes! We are having so much fun. I’m just so glad I already had my hip replacement so I can move like this!” said one of the ladies as she swung her hips in a circle like she had a hula-hoop. Apparently the other lady had not had a her hip replacement yet so she couldn’t do all the moves.

It was right then and there I thought, “how stupid of me to cry that I’m tired when these ladies are twice my age with a hip replacement moving and groovin.” I finished out the class and just thought, as long as I have working body parts and I make it to the class I won’t allow myself the negative attitude. It’s funny how people can put things in perspective for you when you least expect it.

You never know where you might get inspiration for your next workout, that day my inspiration came from the lady with the hip replacement that was just thankful to be able to “move like that.”

Here’s to hoping whatever workout you choose, you move like you got a new hip!

If you live in the Lexington area and are interested in a Zumba or Kettlebell Amp’d class I would definitely suggest starting here.

It’s Getting Hot in Here…

I developed a love/hate relationship for my yoga mat during hot yoga. It seemed like it mocked me sometimes just laying there doing nothing.

I developed a love/hate relationship for my yoga mat during hot yoga. It seemed like it mocked me,  just laying there doing nothing while I tried not to pass out.

Oh winter, how I don’t really like you after Christmas has come and gone. It’s the last week of January here in Kentucky and it finally happened…we got a measurable amount of snow. As I froze my butt off this morning digging my car out to go to a self-defense tactics class (which I would recommend everyone take), I thought to myself how I might like to go to a hot yoga class again. Of course this thought only crossed my mind for a half-second.

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Zucchini Cupcakes

Zucchini CupcakesAfter a long week, and even longer weekend that involved finally sucking it up and taking down my Christmas tree (I thought about leaving it up and saying it was good luck for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team), I decided it was time to fire up my Kitchen-Aid mixer for the first time in 2015. Given that we are still in the beginning stages of completely forgetting whatever it was we vowed to stop/start eating/doing in 2015, I decided to whip up a batch of my slightly healthier zucchini cupcakes (but by no means “healthy”). They are one of my husband’s favorite, and after taking them to a cookout with a bunch of his work buddies last summer, I am now known for my zucchini cupcakes…no pressure when I make them now.

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A Lesson in Perseverance

If you're interested in the Kettlebell Amp'd class you can get more details here.

If you’re interested in the Kettlebell Amp’d class you can get more details here.

Some days after putting 8 or 9 hours in at the office the last thing I want to do is workout. And there are some days that I try to workout and it seems the universe is also telling me to just go home. My first experience with Kettlebell Amp’D was such a day. A long Tuesday (and if you know me you know Tuesdays are my least favorite day of the week!) spent at the office led to a strong desire to go home after work, but I didn’t. The kettlebell class was only 30 minutes and I could survive 30 more minutes. An old friend was teaching it at a local Baptist Church across town at 6, so I would just need to leave work, run by the bank to get some cash to pay for the class, and trek across town in rush hour traffic to get there in about 45 minutes. Totally possible.

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