Friday, February 3, 2012

Abby: Cooking For the Masses

This week has been a one of the lightest this semester (3 weeks in) thus far.  And yet, this week included 2 quizzes, 1 test, 16 miles of running, 1 massive art project, and 3 nights of cooking.  While I cook at home for myself all the time, this week I cooked for 3 different groups of people this time which is highly unusual for a single week.

On Wednesday I ended up filling in for Jen to cook for the Women's Resource Center.  As a group, we go each week to cook a healthy meal one night for the women staying at the shelter.  With so many cooks in the kitchen, we have been switching off weeks, but when something unexpectedly came up, I was happy to fill in. 
Emily and I made quick and easy chicken and vegetable stir fry, whole grain rice, mandarin oranges, and chocolate pudding. Sooo, technically we didn't make the mandarin oranges, but we try to use the supplies from the donations pantry as much as we can.  I must say, the pantry was pretty stocked! Which is wonderful to see and means people in our area are wanting and willing to help those in need.

 Thursday night, cooking night #2.  This was my week to cook for our "Family Dinners".  Sonny, Nicole and I get together every week and take turns making a home-cooked meal for everyone.  We are now in our 2nd year of this tradition, and what a fantastic one it is.  It is so nice to know that no matter what is going on, or how stressed out the week has been, one night a week you get to sit down to great food and friends.  If you are like me, it is also a lot of fun to try out new recipes or old favorites on new people.

We each bring a different spin and style of cooking to our dinners.  Nicole is usually the comfort foody, while I am the health-freak. This week I made Greek-style Turkey Burgers with yogurt sauce and a cucumber-tomato salad.

The weather has been so nice out this week that I was craving something fresh and mediteranian-esq.

 They tell me the yogurt sauce was great! Unfortunately I am going dairy-free this week so I did not try any.  (I have a hunch I might be lactose intolerant, but we shall see).    The burgers were made with extra lean ground turkey breast, diced onions, garlic, oregano, parsley, and a dash of salt-n-pep.
They tasted pretty good with hummus on top to me! Adding in some of the salad, even better!
I actually just got back (7pm) from my 3rd round of cooking.  Kristen called earlier in the week to ask if I wanted to join her in making a "Heart Healthy Meal" in honor of National Heart Health Month for her Alpha-Phi girls.  Of course I said YES! The girls showed up and we took them through a cooking demo, having them prep and cook all their food.  Most of the ladies live on campus and don't get to (or weren't aware how easy it is) to cook meals for themselves.  We had them ask questions while we cooked and hit on so many topics, from "what does organic mean?" to "how to test your frying pan".  I am so glad they wanted to know so much and felt comfortable asking us anything and everything.  My favorite part was getting the girls to try the array of root vegetables Kristen picked out to roast.  Many of them had never heard of (let alone tried) a parsnip, turnip, or beet.  Everything went so well and everyone was so nice! THANKS GIRLS!

I wish I had taken pictures, but maybe Kristen will post some and I'll add them later.  The rest of my week will just have to wait for another day's post. I need to get going on some homework, and yes I know it is a Friday night. :0 )

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Exercise, How Much is Enough?

Let's talk about exercise. How much is enough? Well, that depends what your goals are.
Getting up and getting moving is very important for your total body and mental health, and any amount is better than none.  The National campaign "Let's Move" encourages everyone to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  I agree, this is a great starting number for everyone to strive for.  But let's talk about why.

If weight-loss is your goal:

We have all seen those commercials on TV for workout programs promising to burn fat in only 10-15 minutes a day.  WOW! I am a busy person, that sounds fantastic! ...
While any movement is good movement, serious fat loss is not really possible here.  Here is why (warning, some science mumbo-jumbo about to start):

Our bodies have 3 main energy systems that they use.  these are your creatine phosphate system, anaerobic glycolysis system, and your aerobic system.  All 3 of these systems are active all the time, but to different degrees based on what type of activity you are doing and for how long. 
For fat loss, the system we want to focus on is the aerobic system which can use fatty acids (and thus break down fat) as an energy source.  The system becomes our dominant energy provider after about 3-5 minutes of continuous exercise.  However, fatty acids do not become a major contributor to the system until about 20 minutes of continuous exercise.  This means that if you are trying to burn fat, you have to maintain continuous exercise for at least 20 minutes before your body can even start that.  Sorry to the 10 minute workout DVD owner.  Good news is that if you love your 10minute DVD, just hit play again!

If you are looking to improve performance:
Winning the race is going to take a little more than just desire.  The key, your VO2max.  That is the amount of oxygen your body can take in and use.  The higher your VO2max, the higher your performance capabilities.  Elite athletes like Lance Armstrong are famous for having outrageously high numbers.  In fact, Armstrong's max is subhuman (genetically higher than almost any human's), but it is still something to strive towards.  Great thing is, your VO2max is easily increased just with training! And for those looking to just get into a more active lifestyle, within 7 days of consistently working out (even for just 30 minutes), your VO2max will improve.

well i think that's enough to get yall started today! plus i have to get back to studying for my Metabolic final (tomorrow)!  look out for more on the topic though, coming soon: (fuel topics)

  • refueling on the run (are you someone who needs goo?)
  • eating before and after
want to read about something in particular? suggest it!  write a comment and I'll try to hit it asap

~Babs  :0 )

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Abby: We are sorry! and super busy :(

So much for blogging more often.  These first few weeks/months of school have been so jam packed I can barely find time to work out.  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving all of my classes (our classes) and surprisingly I've been getting "normal people" amounts of sleep!  Continuing being a morning person is my goal for the semester.  Trying to avoid old habits of being nocturnal. 
 just to wet your appetite and prove that Kristen and i still are cooking, eating, and snapping picts.  These are probably bad examples since one is a doctered soup from ABP, one is a SIAB (smoothie in a bowl), and the other is popcorn, but you get the point.
 I am right now studying for our Foodservice and Meal Management Test (Thursday) and our Food Science Test (Friday).  Did I mention we have Metabolic homework and a Metabolic quiz on Friday too?  Busy busy. 
On a brighter note, I am very excited to get to go cook at the Women's Shelter for my first time tonight! hmmmmm wonder what we are making. 
Kristen, If you want to study together late tonight let me know :) and everyone else, HAVE a WONDERFUL DAY/week/LIFE!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Abby: thursday morning pancakes

On Thursdays I don't have class till 2pm.  granted, that doesn't mean I have nothing to do till then, but it does mean that I get some time to make breakfast a little more special than the usual grab-no-go granola bar or quick bowl of oatmeal.
 I had roasted my pumpkin in the oven last night so this morning I was thinking pumpkin oatmeal.
but then while looking for a recipe I stumbled upon a KERF recipe for pumpkin oatmeal pancakes and realized I already had ALL the ingredients!
 while the recipe made more than is in the pictures...not all of it made it from pan to plate, some went straight onto my fork :) they were sooo good.
 a perfect 8am start to the day. Then did some homework that turns out isn't due till next week. Isn't it great when that happens.  And now, meetings, class, hw, study....let the crazy begin!

Abby: Back in the Black (Blacksburg)

Surprise surprise! Just because we are back down at school doesn't mean we have all the free time in the world. BOooooo!!! I honestly did think that this semester would be ...relaxing isn't the best word, but a little less crazy busy than our summers were. But hey, gotta do whatcha gotta do.  And luckily Kristen and I are in 3 classes together and a lab!

So here is what I had written the first weekend back. Sorry it took so long to get up here.

I love being back down here.  There is no other way to put it.  People who say there is nothing to do here or that it is “the middle of no where” just don’t get it.
(not my pic)

Last weekend I reconnected with friends for a jam packed Saturday.  I went on a short run at 7am (3 miles) to the Dixie Chicks playing in my ear while seeing cows munching in the field next to me.  It was heaven. 
A little breakfast then woke up the roommate for a trip down to the farmers market.
I was hoping to run in to you Kris, but not this time.  I had to stop myself from buying the whole market as usual.  But I did manage to pick up some great produce. 
 Nicole was planning a pizza for later in the week so she got a hunk of local cow motzerella to go with the tomatoes from her mom’s garden and the fresh basil I picked up.

When we finally pulled ourselves away and walked home, I made lunch to test out my new cherry tomatoes.  
Weird combo, but a great taste.  Tuna, tomatoes, carrots, and lime juice.  I made a jar of homemade lemonade to go with.  I am now addicted to using this old mason jar.
We then called the guys to join us for some local free wine tasting over at the Vintage Cellar. 

  While waiting to step up to the bar, we met some lovely ladies who were just finishing their tasting.  Lynn was from Floyd, just down the road and we bonded about the amazingness of Friday Nights at the General Store.  The streets are filled with live bluegrass playing and flatfooting (similar to square dancing).  I can’t wait to get back there when I’m not staying in to study on a Friday night.
Nicole and Sean each bough a bottle of their sweet red moscato wine to make sangria with.  I am eagerly waiting for that day!