Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting Bigger

Posted by PicasaYes my goal right now is to get big, really big. That doesn't mean I want to get fat, although a certain percentage of my gain will certainly be fat.

I can see a big difference from the picture I took only a week ago, under the  post "off season eating right". I realize it was posted a couple days ago, but the picture was a week before this one.
Arms are looking ripped, I like that!  My weight is slightly down too, which is even better. I am at 126. I went back on creatine the day after my competition on October 2, so a good amount is water that I will hold on to.

Back is getting wide, in fact you can see in the picture below that I am about busting out of my favorite Lululemon Hot Class Bra!
I am not sure when I will stop, I like this. I felt so strong this morning (Saturday), and the turn excites me. Even though I moved up on most everything, it was easy, no struggle at all! That means that my next leg workout, I go up again!
I respond well to the basic moves, the hard ones that most people don't like to do:
Front Squats
Back Squats
Chin Ups
Pull Ups
I have been moving up on my weights for the large muscles every session, SC taught me that I need to charge, I need to increase weights and/or volume and doing the same weights every time is not doing me any good.
Saturday I did:

Front Squats 5 x 8 135
Back Squats 5 x 10 165
RDL's 4 x 10 155
Leg Press Drop Sets 20@405/ 30@315/ 50@225
Leg Extensions 5 x 10 97.5
Pistol Squats 3 x 5 each w/ 12 kilo bell
Walking Lunges 5 sets 30 seconds on/ 30 seconds rest with 2 25 lb dumbbells
20 minutes walking on the Nordic Track climber at 30% incline.
2 hours and I was done. Then home for a big breakfast.
I will be training with someone again soon, if all goes according to plan. BN is a big guy, really big. He trains football players, is RKC certified and a beast. I believe he is something like 6' 3", 265 and 5% bodyfat...a beast like I said.
I told him I want to get big, I do not want to do all that silly jumping around that I see all the trainers at my gym do with their clients. They spend a great deal of time jumping around, or engaging in cardio workouts, that's fine if they like that and cardio is their goal, it is not mine.

I don't need a "perceived" tough workout, I need a "real" tough workout. I know that I have trained hard enough when I sweat even though my feet are not moving. That's heavy squats and deadlifts, you go nowhere yet everywhere.
I want weights, and heavy weights. Basic moves. Squats. Deadlifts.  Kettlebells. And a program that is guaranteed to get me big. Some cardio will be thrown in of course, but not too much or it defeats the entire goal of adding mass right now.
He has planned a program with only four days a week lifting. That means it will be hard and heavy requiring lots of rest. I can do my cardio on the other days, and a few ab exercises too I guess.
Not sure when we start, you will certainly hear all about it though, I guarantee it!
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gummy Bears

Posted by PicasaI don't think I have ever met anyone who doesn't love, or at least like Gummy Bears. I love the texture the most, they start off soft and actually become firmer and chewier as you chew them (I know because I just put one in my mouth to describe this!)

Gummy bears, like so many things in life can play tricks on you! Who would think that little, innocent, unassuming gummy bears could be deadly to a diet?  


You betcha!

See that cute little .99 cent bag above? Well, flip it over and look at the back.

 In case you cannot read this, 17 gummy bears (yes, 17) have 140 calories, 31 grams of carbohydrates and 21 grams of sugar.  YIKES!!!

This is more carbohydrate than I eat in any meal (other than post training) and way more sugar, the calories are about half of one meal for me.

All in 17 little gummy bears.....

I caution you to choose wisely and given an option, I would say "don't even have one" 

However, I do feel that gummy bears have a place in life, and can be extremely beneficial. 

Here is my son, Cooper holding a bag that is well over one pound of gummies, I just bought it at Cosentino's.

He doesn't look thrilled only because he doesn't want to be in the blog, but he loves gummy bears!
I encourage him to eat gummy bears.

Active teens do not ingest enough carbohydrates to keep them going. I mean REALLY active teens and young adults, not just your average kid.

Cooper plays lacrosse, and sometimes he is playing several hours a day.  It is proven that everyone needs carbohydrates for energy, and often, young adults or very active people just cannot eat right before or in between events, so they need quick acting sources of energy.

Enter the Gummy Bear!

They are a great quick energy source, kids love them and will eat them. If you have a child or teen that plays sports and you worry about them not eating enough to sustain them, give them little bags of gummies to take with them on the sidelines, they will eat them I guarantee it!

Cooper had several friend doing the same thing  last year in outdoor lacrosse, they started feeling tired and popped a few of those colorful friends and everything was back to normal.

Again, if you are a weekend warrior, Figure competitor or general fitness buff- stay away from the gummies, leave them  to your kids.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Off Season Eating Right

It's been four weeks since my last competition and I have been focusing in on building as much lean mass as possible, and I am not even ready to slow down yet.
I am relaxed in the picture, no sucking in the stomach or flexing the muscles, it's me! As you can see, the completely cut look is gone, but I still look great, I am 7 pounds heavier and it's right about where I will most likely stay. I feel I look better a couple pounds lighter, but that isn't going to help me gain the muscle I am looking for.
I am able to maintain a low body fat consistently because I learned how to eat properly year round from my nutritionist.
Although I do like some great junk food now and again, I am not a snacker, I don't care for nachos, chips don't do much for me, and I have my health and my goals in the back of my mind at all times.
I am just about adjusted now, emotionally I mean to my bigger size, which in most people's books is still tiny and slim. I can see my arms are really looking better, unfortunately it's my legs I am hammering!
This morning at the gym as I walked downstairs after my workout a woman I know from our children's school events turns and looks at me and says "Just when I was starting to feel good about myself and you walk by..." with a smile of course.
I thanked her and said it helped me to hear it, as I still wasn't quite adjusted to the weight gain. Her eyes rolled waaaay back in her head and I laughed and had to explain the whole thing about competing....
Then at the grocery store (not my usual one)  near my house the produce manager asks me where I train. " Courtside" I said, and he replied "Cause I can see you train, a lot"
I told him I just had a Figure competition too and would love to try bodybuilding but I just can't get big enough. He said "Well whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it works and you look great."
These are comments that help get my head on straight! I needed those for that last push over the "feeling fat" stage, I am over it!
My diet has been relaxed although I have stayed loyal to my macro nutrients at most every meal (making sure I have 4 ounces lean protein, 3-4 ounces complex carbs and lots of vegetables). I have 5 meals some days instead of my usual 6 if my calories have been higher than usual, and have been adding fruit to my oatmeal on occasion.
A few drinks here and there, and eating dinner with the family  once in a while. I can maintain this weight and low bodyfat without a struggle and life is fairly normal.
I have been really pushing hard in the gym, lifting as heavy as I possibly can, less reps but heavy, heavy weights. My cardio is 20 to 30 minutes three times a week in the gym after lifting, and 2 to 3 times a week I hit the bleachers across the street and run through some plyos, never more then 15 to 20 minutes.
I believe in eating, eating a lot! Unfortunately to prepare for a Figure competition, many women starve themselves and it doesn't work in the long run. Drastically reducing calories is not only unhealthy, but it sets them up so that as soon as they have reached their goal, they will blow up and gain a huge amount of weight. They have never learned to eat properly, so they cannot ever maintain a reasonably low bodyfat percentage and weight. To prepare for another competition they must launch themselves into a horribly restrictive diet for several months again.
If they learned to eat properly, prepping for a competition wouldn't be as difficult, it wouldn't require so much weight loss, they shouldn't be fluctuating so much.
I was listening to a podcast today on the elliptical and the fellow talking said something that really made a lot of sense about Figure and Fitness competitors.
He was actually talking about the extremely low calorie diets some people live off, and unfortunately, there are " a few, very well known and popular who are  leading many" with the concept of starving themselves, instead of feeding themselves."
Figure is a sport, just like any other physical sport, yet it is one of the only ones that thinks starvation is the way to achieve their goals. I think you see this in gymnasts and ballerinas, but no other sport do they starve themselves, and it just doesn't work for long.
He likened it to a concentration camp.
"You can put many people in a concentration camp and not feed them, some will survive longer than others, some will die sooner than others, but eventually, they will all die of starvation." 
Don't starve yourself.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheesecake Factory

"R" and I were heading out for a little shopping and we needed lunch first. I picked her up at the club and off we went to Valley Fair with our first stop the Cheesecake Factory in the mall.

I had never set foot in one before, but I had heard the name countless times. I think it must be the most popular place for Figure competitors immediately after a competition.

I had a copy of the nutritional facts in my hand and I was astounded by the calories in their foods. 

I needed protein and some greens, and a little carbs too, shouldn't be difficult but the Cheesecake Factory is an evil, evil empire.

Don't get me wrong, I had a great lunch and a fun time with "R" but only because she and I are wise to their tricks and we know how to select a healthy meal.

We were seated and a young, college age waiter come over and started to tell us about the specials. 
Waiter: "We have cream of chick" 
Kristy: "No" I said, "No cream, thanks", so he went on 
Waiter: "Breaded and fried...."
Kristy: "No, no fried. I know what I would like. What is in your Chicken Caesar salad?'

Waiter: Romaine, chicken, Parmesan, creamy garlic Caesar dressing..."
Kristy: "Chicken breast right?"

Waiter: "Yes, chicken breast"

Kristy: "I would like romaine lettuce, chicken breast, Parmesan cheese on the side, no croutons, no dressing"

Waiter: "Oh, right, I forgot the croutons.."

R: "I will have the same"

Waiter: "I'll bring the bread"

Kristy: "No bread, thanks"

Waiter: "Looks like I have some healthy eaters today!"

Most people think a salad is healthy, most salads are anything but healthy. In the link below you can see Cheesecake Factory's nutrition charts, the Chicken Caesar is 976 calories, that is almost half my daily caloric intake. They show the saturated fat, but not all the fat....

The calories and fat are coming from the salad dressing and the croutons, a bit from the cheese but dry cheeses are low calorie and not a huge cause of concern. So that is why I told him to leave them off.

He delivered the salad dressing on the side in two gravy boats, it appeared to have been about 1/3 cup each!  On top of that, their food is served on serving platters, the portions should be illegal.

Unfortunately is it quite clear by looking around that many of the patrons frequent this place often.

I brought my own dressing (I was prepared). This is great dressing, low cal and wonderful flavor.

Here is the back, and in case you cannot read it, the nutrition is as follows:

1 Tbsp
15 calories
1 gram fat
115 grams sodium
1 gram carbs
1 gram sugar
1 gram protein

You can see my salad at the very top, and my container that I transported the dressing in. It made a great salad, and a healthy one as opposed to the impostor they attempted to serve me.
As we ate the waiter came back, rested his hand on my shoulder and asked how everything was, "R" and I both froze. "Fine, thanks, everything is great" I said.

'What was that?" R asked..."I have no idea, I have never been touched by  waitstaff at a restaurant before..." It made the entire event even more surreal.

He came back with the bill and said based on what we ordered, he knew that dessert was out of the question.

Not only was he cute, but darn smart too!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yam Noodles

Posted by PicasaI have written about Shiritaki noodles already, and these are similar, but they are made with yam flour and no tofu. They come in white or "black", although black is really brown as you see here above.
I didn't notice much difference in taste or texture and bought these because they were a bit thicker and I wanted some variety.
I was looking for a low to no carb meal and a quick one, so I made some chicken soup and it was good, not stellar but filled me up on a cold rainy day.

1 package yam or shiritaki noodles
4 ounces cooked ground chicken
2 cups Chicken broth
I  chose the ground chicken because I had it in the freezer and wanted to use it up. Cooked, cubed chicken would be just fine. I used chicken broth in a box, but homemade would be best, I don't always have homemade in my freezer though. Any kind of cooked vegetable would be great thrown in, but like I said, I was really, really hungry and needed food fast.
End result:
I will make it again, but allow myself a little time so I can add some more ingredients. Chopped green onion, slivered jalapenos and basil, maybe some sliced carrots, almost anything and it will become almost pho-like.
What was the breakdown?
Calories: 190
Protein: 27 grams
Fat:8 grams
Carbs: 7 grams
Basically the noodles are free food, hardly any calories or carbs...
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New EPO Like Drug

I think you can tell that I am pretty anti-drug. I just find it hard to believe that people would jeopardize their health for a trophy, or a photo-shoot, a paycheck, it's crazy.

It is one thing if people are stupid enough to mess with their own bodies, but when they bring it into a competition or sporting event, it makes me angry.  What right do they have to cheat and steal from the people who are really working hard to achieve their lifetime dream?

 Runners have been one of the most notorious drug abusers over the years, and I am not just talking about Olympic level runners, but National and even recreational level. Their drug of choice? EPO. Mild mannered little "Susie" probably does all sorts of drugs so she can run so far and so fast, and no one even guesses.

Here is an article I found particularly interesting that just shows how cheaters will continue to do whatever they can to get what they want.

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer Eddie Pells, Ap National Writer Wed Sep 22, 1:22 pm ET
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A drug that mimics EPO as a way to help patients with kidney problems is in the late stages of development, one in an long list of new pharmaceuticals that anti-doping authorities are monitoring as they struggle to keep sports clean.

The drug, called Hematide, is in Stage 3 development, meaning it could be on the market by 2012. Anti-doping authorities say there's a chance some version of the blood-boosting drug could already be available on the black market.
"It speaks to the length people will go to try to cheat," said Larry Bowers, the lead scientist at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. "You get drugs with perfectly beneficial health purposes and it gets diverted for use by people who shouldn't be doing it."

Almost every drug on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list, including human growth hormone and steroids, have legitimate medical purposes.
Hematide's arrival is the latest development in a long-running cat-and-mouse game between the drug police and the athletes who find ways to use drugs to improve their performance. Cases involving track athletes Marion Jones, baseball players Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and an investigation into seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong have centered around whether they used human growth hormone, EPO or designer steroids, all of which have proven more difficult to detect than traditional steroids.
EPO (short for erythropoietin) is a hormone that boosts the body's production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen — and more oxygen helps athletes perform better, particularly endurance athletes in sports like cross-country skiing and cycling. In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration approved EPO for legitimate medical purposes, mainly to treat anemic conditions in patients with kidney diseases and cancer.

Before Hematide, the most significant development in the line of EPO products was CERA, a version of EPO that stays in the blood for longer periods of time. There was no test available for CERA at the Beijing Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee holds onto doping samples for eight years so it can analyze them later if new testing methods become available.

Using a new test in 2009 is how the IOC retroactively caught five Beijing Olympians for using CERA. This year, the IOC said it was retesting some samples from the 2006 Turin Olympics — strong indicators of how patient anti-doping authorities are willing to be to catch cheaters.

One of the newer drugs on WADA's radar, Hematide essentially does the same thing as EPO — helps produce more red blood cells — but, much like CERA, it stays in the body longer so patients don't have to go through as many treatments.
Still, Hematide is not EPO, and so it must be detected using different methods than were used for the original blood booster. Anti-doping authorities are strategically vague when talking about whether a test is already in place for developing drugs, not wanting drug cheats to know what solutions have been found or perfected. At an anti-doping conference last year, WADA said it was studying a new method that would allow wider testing of EPO.

And in yet another attempt to counter possible new EPO-like substances — as well as all other developing drugs that haven't hit the market yet — WADA recently added a category of "non-approved substances" that covers developing products that are not included in other sections of the list and not yet approved for use.

Hematide, however, is already specifically named on the banned list, said Gary Wadler who leads the WADA committee that determines the banned-substances list.

Earlier this year, WADA signed an agreement with a group representing pharmaceutical companies that gets the companies to voluntarily share information with drug police when they're developing new products. It was considered a breakthrough, giving anti-doping authorities a window into what's out there. In return, WADA has to agree not to share proprietary information between competing companies.

"The mission is to be good citizens here," said Anne-Marie Duliege, chief medical officer at Affymax, the company developing Hematide. "We clear it with the professional agencies who know how to do this. The idea is not to replace WADA. We're just delighted to work with WADA, so they can see what's out there and what they might need to prevent down the road."

It's too early to tell how big a factor Hematide

"We work with the people involved with it. It's not like it came out of nowhere," Wadler said. "We all follow the literature on what's being developed. Something like this does not surprise you at all."
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Calorie Free Caramel Dip and Peanut Butter

Posted by

My favorite peanut butter, it's full of little crunchies from the peanuts and the flax seeds, this is tops in my book.
It was like the old commercial many, many years ago when they showed how the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup was invented.  Someone's chocolate smashed into someone's peanut butter.
Well, my calorie free caramel dip from Walden Farms smashed into my Trader Joe's peanut butter and it was a match made in heaven.  I didn't bother with a rice cake, I went straight at it with a spoon.
I can see this may become a problem for me...

Do you remember this commercial? (Email subscribers will need to go directly to the blog page to see the embedded video, just click on the Ready in 5 (weeks) link above.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

CSA Delivery

Posted by PicasaWhen my friend gave me her CSA delivery, there were other wonderful things in there besides the Ratatouille in a Box!

The main reason why I enjoy a delivery or a seasonal option, is that it encourages me to eat things I may not pick up at the store. I hate waste, so it all gets eaten!

Most people stick to the same old foods, day in and day out. Even people who are not on a diet have their favorites they generally stick too, it's our nature.

But eating the same old thing gets boring, and when you are bored, you stray....

Eating seasonally also ensures you are eating what is ripe and best at that time of year, so you are getting the best supply of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep your body healthy.

I love to combine all sorts of different vegetables together,  it makes familiar vegetables something special.

Above I have carrots, pimientos de padron, chard and kale.

I roasted the carrots. Cut them up, lay them on a large cookie sheet, pop them in a 375 degree oven and stir around once in a while. I roast them about a half hour or until they are soft and starting to get a little caramelized.

The chard and kale get washed and roughly chopped, then boiled in salted water, chard about 3 minutes, kale about 6 minutes. Drain well.

The pimientos (or any kind of pepper) gets chopped, I leave the seeds in for extra heat and flavor. Then I add a small amount of coconut oil to a large skillet and saute the peppers on high heat, turn on the fan, the heat may hurt your eyes!

Once the peppers are browned and softened, I add the chard and kale and carrots into the pan, saute a couple minutes together and then it's done. 

I will use this mixture for a "bowl", and add 4 ounces chicken and 4 ounces rice. For flavor, some fresh lemon or rice vinegar is great.

I also got some beautiful beets, so here I have the finished product

These are washed, then placed into a small roasting an and covered with a bit of water, about a half cup, then tightly covered with foil. I roast them at the same times as the other vegetables, they can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour depending on size. You need to check them by poking with a sharp knife, the knife should slip easily into the center if they are done.

Let cool a bit then the skins scrape off easily, quarter them and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Let this marinade until you use them.

Beets are great in salads, or as a side vegetable.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Place of Pain

Posted by PicasaThis is my credenza at work. A co-worker bequeathed the DIVA sign to me, and I brought in many of my trophies, I just don't have that much room at home for all of them. There is also a very cute little sign in front of the DIVA plate that my last Director, Susan Hansen gave me. It says "Do it now for tomorrow it may be illegal". Sounds like a great boss huh?!

I was looking at these trophies thinking about them, and what I will do with them soon, as I cannot just keep them there forever. It also made me think about why I started competing, and I realized that I embarked on this journey out of pain.

My mother died at home of lung cancer on February 2, 2009 after a very long struggle and many years of chemotherapy. I met with my nutritionist, and changed my life forever on March 9, 2009.

I believe that the battle my mother fought with her children by her side caused me to re-think my life and prioritize everything. She taught me to never have regrets, never wish I had done something, never feel sorry that I missed out in life.

I think that many people who compete come from a place of pain. It may be an eating disorder, years of being overweight, or years of being underweight. Divorce, abuse, drug addiction, you name it.  It's a way of focusing all of your energy into something that requires an unlimited amount of time and energy, constant balance and is not usually self destructive unless you start getting into drugs, which many do unfortunately.

It  allows you to shine and realize that you are in power of yourself and the world around you, you are not a victim. The feeling of power is really amazing when you start getting very lean, overcoming the urge to eat garbage and you can see your body change every day. You can actually see changes in skin texture, water balance, hardness and softness in a matter of hours.
Competing is not easy, in fact, it may be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It's not just a short event that you attend and is over, it is really a life long commitment to health, nutrition, training, and at many times, deprivation. It could almost be compared to a religion, you need to be that devoted to succeed.

Then after a competition, you have to be emotionally strong enough to handle the weight gain, when you get to a normal weight  but feel you are fat. I am a still struggling with that right now, it seems to be lasting longer than it has in the past.
I look at these trophies and think that I need to do something else with them, yet I am proud of my accomplishments, and they are all I have to show (other than a great body), so here they sit a little bit longer.

I enjoy it when people come in my office and they say "you're still competing!?", and I think they mean at my age, that's great I am still doing it. The funny thing is, I just started! It's only been a couple years! Then they say "wow, you must have been doing this for a long time" because they see so many trophies, but again, it's only been two seasons.

I am now facing another parent with cancer, my father. He seems so resigned to the fact that he will die sooner or later, which is true, but later would be better than sooner, and certainly anything would be better than cancer.

I realize he is the one gong through this, yet I wonder how I will handle it all this time, a second time around?

I guess I will soon see, I may launch myself into a more rigorous training program than ever.  I may do something very different and start lifting only three days a week, and do cardio the rest...I don't know what I will do, it is not a conscious decision I will be making, it's a decision out of pain and from the heart and soul. I won't really be in control at that point.

It is making me think again, think about my future, my life, what am I wasting time on? what am I missing out on? Am I doing the right thing? Am I hurting anyone? Am I being true to myself?

Time to think about all of it. I guess I can do that in the gym.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Slow Cooker Turkey Lasagna

Posted by PicasaI love lasagna. I rarely eat it though as it is not unusual for a serving to contain well over 1000 calories, not to mention all the saturated fat.

I saw a recipe on Facebook from Recipes for Gals in Figure and Bodybuilding, Jen posts all sorts of recipes that are simple and usually really low calorie. I decided to give this a try and I was really pleasantly surprised!

I will make a few changes and adjust a few things next time. First, I am not a slow cooker kinda gal! I actually got a beautiful, huge one for Christmas in 2009, and I just opened it today. So that means I have had it for 10 months and never even opened the box.  I need to use it a few more times to get used to it I think.

Some of the edges of my lasagna were extremely dark and crispy, I guess you might say "burned" but as long as I chucked out those pieces, the rest was fine. The recipe said to cook 4 to 5 hours on high, I set it for 4 1/2 and I guess 4 was sufficient! I would suggest that you just check it periodically.

Also, I think I might saute my onions and garlic first, then add the turkey. This way the onions can get a caramelized, sweet flavor. I also realize as I type this that I forgot the nutmeg...and as far as "cooking wine"- never cook with anything that you wouldn't drink!

I must caution you, this isn't going to satisfy anyone who loves lasagna.It does not have the silky, tender pasta or rich, meaty sauce with the melting cheese running throughout.  But, I love a lean body, and the thought of eating all those calories just puts me off, it would undo everytihng I work so hard for.

So, given my goals, and the fact that I need to make a choice and also like some variety in my life, I enjoyed this.
What did the family think? My husband David didn't say much, (his mother taught him that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all), and he didn't finish it .

My son Cooper said it was OK, but then said "this is turkey isn't it?! Lasagna  needs beef!" and he ate almost all of it, but only because he was hungry.
Maybe the fact that I slightly burned it had something to do with this, I have never prided myself on "slow cooker cooking" because I don't consider that cooking at all, so maybe it was my lack of technique.  I mean I can whip up a souffle, a cassoulet, a tart, but this dumb as a doornail slow cooker recipe seemed to get the better of me.
I will make it again (for myself) though!

Here is the recipe as she gave it:
Makes 10 servings (10 average servings or 8 large ones)

6 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles (basically enough for 2 layers)
12 oz 99% fat-free ground turkey (precooked on the stove top)
1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (could sub for fat-free, but I didn't have any one hand)
8 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
6 oz low-fat part skim mozzarella cheese
6 oz can tomato paste
29 oz tomato sauce
1 cup chopped white onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tbs dried parsley (divided)
Mrs. Dash to taste
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg


Saute turkey, onion, and garlic til browned and tender. Add tomato paste, sauce, 1 tbs parsley, and Mrs. Dash to meat mixture. Simmer for a few minutes on low. Remove from heat. Stir in cooking wine and set aside.
In another bowl mix all cheeses along with 1 tbs parsley and nutmeg.
Spoon one layer of turkey mixture into bottom of slow cooker. Add one layer of dry lasagna noodles (you'll have to break them to make them fit). Add layer of cheese and then turkey mixture. Repeat again with noodles, cheese, turkey. Top lasagna with a pinch of parsley, cheese (optional) and 1-2 more tbs of cooking wine.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for around 4-5.

Calories: 266
Total Fat 7.4g
Cholesterol 36.7mg
Sodium 868.8mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.85g
Dietary Fiber 3.38g
Sugars 10.51g
Protein 23g
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

You are a Champion!

Posted by Picasa I believe it is extremely important to surround yourself with positive role models. People you can strive to emulate, share with, learn from, and ask for (and receive) honest feedback.
This is Maegan Swain and me, at the San Francisco competition in October, she looks great huh? Curves in all the right places. She works very, very hard for this too.
Maegan, and so many of the other women I have met competing, knows what she wants, and she will do whatever it takes to get it.

I also know just what I want, I know how to get it, I will do whatever it takes, and if I don't get it, it doesn't mean I have failed, nor is it the fault of anyone else, it means I need to evaluate my methods, incorporate some changes and realign myself, then keep moving forward until I succeed. Sometimes it may take a while. Sometimes it may take a longer while.
I am not talking about a monetary thing, or an object, I am talking about having a goal, and the mindset to do whatever we must to achieve that goal and remain focused despite adversity or setback.
It means believing in yourself, believing you are powerful, believing you are capable, believing you are worthy, believing you are a champion!

I read the sports page every single morning as I drink my shake before I go to the gym and I saw an article about two young women who believe in themselves and what they want. They are quite inspirational and I think they must be super gals! I would love to meet them because I can imagine they are quite unconventional.
Here is their story:

The dating game can be tough. Sometimes you have to fight for what you want, especially if you want a Chinese warrior princess. Meet Xiao Lin, 22, and her sister, Yin, 21. They will be holding a three-day kung fu tournament in China with the winners having a chance to marry them. First, the guys must excel at archery, carry a heavy weight over sharpened bamboo spears and then beat one of the sisters in full-contact combat, the British news website reports. The lucky winners get to remove the girls' masks and propose. "They can choose open hand or any weapon they wish, but we won't be holding back," Xiao said.

"If they can't beat us, they aren't worthy." The sisters tried dating services, but the men "were all too weak," Yin said. "We could beat them easily."

These gals are champions.
How do you beacome a champion? Start by telling yourself that you are a champion. Believe that you are a champion. Feel that you are a champion. Know that you are a champion.

It will become a self full filling prophesy.You will become a champion.
Here is a great video in case you need a little affirmation that YOU ARE A CHAMPION!

(Email readers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view this video, click on the readyin5(weeks) link at the top).

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Zuni Cafe

Posted by Picasa Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, one of our favorite places! The chef, as so many of the great ones in the United States have, once worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

The Zuni has a great wood burning oven in the middle of the small restaurant, they cook many things in there, pizzas, pork, and their famous whole chicken with bread salad. I have never had it at the Zuni, but I have their cookbook and I have made it numerous times at home, it is simply to die for. 
My lunch above caught my eye for two reasons, it had fresh shell beans and chicken wings, two of my favorite foods. Many people have never had fresh shell beans and are not familiar with them. The beans you buy in a can were once fresh shell beans- cannellini is what I have here. And the wings? Well, they are an item that I rarely eat as they are covered with skin...

The chicken wings? Not your "hooters" style, thank you very much, but tender, spiced, falling off the bone wings that had been slow braised.

The dish was actually called: Chicken wings braised with carrots, prosciutto, cinnamon, tomato and clove, fresh cannellini beans and chard. 

I love all the fresh vegetables, spices and juices.  There is no thick gravy like sauce, only a broth that warms the soul, and keeps the bread moist that I shall dip in it!

David had: Devils Gulch Ranch rabbit salad with frisee, fennel, watermelon radishes, hard cooked egg, creamy mustard vinaigrette, and fried capers.

I love food, and this food is quality, not quantity. I savor each bite. The restaurant is funky, it has small tables, situated very close together. The menu changes daily, but there are a few things that are never absent, and that is the roast chicken and their fabulous burger. They grind the meat there, make their own buns, pickles and ketchup. It's always a struggle for me, "the burger or the??"

And in the end, I had the Gateau Victoire, a flour less chocolate cake inspired by Julia Child that has been on their menu everyday since 1982. You can find the recipe online, or even better, visit the Zuni.

They take reservations on open table, but a little known fact is that they hold aside 1/3 of their tables at all times for walk ins!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I gained weight over night!

Posted by PicasaThis is me and Phil Heath, the night of my competition in October, shortly after he won second place in the 2010 Olympia, we make a pretty good looking couple huh?
We both have very full, round, healthy looking muscles don't you think? There is a reason, and it's what we ate.
I have heard so many times from friends "Oh I went out last night and I had pizza (or pasta, or fries, or cake, the list is endless) and I now weigh three pounds more than yesterday!!!!
They really think they gained weight!  Oh I fall for it too, it's that nasty scale! Stay away from it!
You cannot gain three pounds overnight, sorry, it ain't gonna happen, ever! You may weigh more, but it's a temporary situation, honestly.
You must ingest over 3,500 extra calories to gain one pound. So...thinking about what you ate in one day or night, do you think you ate enough to gain three pounds? Nope, didn't think so.....
There is this sneaky little thing called GLYCOGEN and it can make or break you!

Where does it come from? Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates can be thought of as molecular necklaces with carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms strung together in chains. These necklaces are broken apart during digestion by digestive enzymes and converted into individual beads or molecules of blood glucose, also known as blood sugar. Assisted by the hormone insulin, blood glucose is ushered into cells to be used by various tissues in the body.

Several things happen to glucose. Once inside a cell, it can be quickly metabolized to supply energy, particularly for the brain and other parts of the nervous system that depend on glucose for fuel. Or it may be converted to either liver or muscle glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrate.

When you exercise or use your muscles, the body mobilizes muscle glycogen for energy. Blood glucose can also turn to body fat and get packed away in fat tissue. This happens when you eat more carbohydrates than you need or than your body can store as liver or muscle glycogen.
You can generally store about 1600 calories of glycogen in your muscles and liver. On average, about 1,200 calories of glycogen are stored in your muscles, and 400 calories in your liver.

The amount of glycogen stored in your muscles is directly related to how much carbohydrate you eat and how well trained you are. Diets containing 60 to 65 percent or more of carbohydrate allow for the greatest storage of glycogen in the muscles on a daily basis.
The more glycogen you store in your muscles, the longer you can train or work out. So to maintain an active lifestyle, your diet should always be high in carbohydrates (the RIGHT ones though).

Back to why you weigh more though. For every gram of glycogen your body stores away in the muscles, it also packs away 2.6 grams of water!
Just sleeping for several hours can deplete your stored carbohydrates anywhere from 140 to 260 calories (depending on your size and fat free mass).
What exactly counts as a carbohydrate?

Fruit, Vegetables, Breads, Cereals, Milk, Soda, Fruit juice, Grains, Pasta, Legumes, sweets. Maye we should name what is NOT a carbohydrate!
So, look at what you ate the day or two before the "weight gain", was it high in carbohydrate?  You may just be packing a little extra energy and water. It will go away as you deplete the stores and/or reduce the carbohydrates in the next few days.

If you are a competitor and are carb cycling, don't go getting freaky on me! Your weight WILL fluctuate as you cycle through the carbs. 
 What's the best way to figure out what is going on with your body? Write down what you eat, everyday. Everything. Be honest, if you aren't, the only one you are cheating is yourself.
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Monday, October 18, 2010


Posted by PicasaMy good friend belongs to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Hers is the typical setup, you sign up for a certain length of time, say 6 months and every week, ya get what ya get!

Mine, I get a choice if I want to buy it each week, either I say yes or no, and it's at work, easy to walk over and get it, so I have the best of both worlds.

My friend is also quite the jet setter, she is always going here or there, often out of town for a few days. I love it! Why? Cause she needs someone to eat her veg!

She gets her delivery every Wednesday, so when she is  planning a trip, I get an email from her with her itinerary and I get the food. A week ago I got the delivery and when I opened it up,and took stock, I had eggplant, tomatoes, basil, onions, peppers and squash, why it was ratatouille in a box!

I pulled out my Chez Panisse cookbook and got to work, you can see most of it all diced up in the picture above. That's what takes the most time, the dicing and slicing. Once you do that, it comes together quickly.  

Ratatouille is best served cold, odd I know, but it is and that makes it even easier to prep ahead. If you have never had it, it is a French vegetable stew, not lots of liquid, but a creamy, rich texture that goes great with fish, grilled meats or chicken.  

Don't let this recipe, or ANY recipe scare you. Cooking is an art, which means you create it with what you have. If you don't have one ingredient, it does not ruin the dish, it merely changes the dish. The absolute only time you must have all ingredients is in baking, and baking is a science.

I have never been very good at baking, I think I am more artistic!

1 large eggplant
3 onions
3 red bell peppers (or any color)
4 summer squashes
5 tomatoes
10 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Hot pepper flakes
1 large bunch basil (about a 1/2 pound)
Set aside a handful of the basil leaves for garnish and make a bouquet garni with the rest by tying kitchen twine (cotton only!) all around it like a bundle.

Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes (leave skin on), salt liberally and leave it to drain in a colander.

Peel and cut up the onions, the peppers, squashes, and tomatoes, keeping them all separate. Everything should be cut into pieces about the same size as the cubed eggplant.

Smash and peel the garlic and chop it coarsely.

Press down on the eggplant to extract more water and dry it.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat some of the olive oil and gently fry the eggplant until golden. It will stick, and get a little mashed up, don't worry. Drain and reserve the eggplant.

Add more olive oil to the pot and over medium low heat start sauteing the onions. When they are soft and translucent, add the garlic, the hot pepper flakes and the bouquet garni. Stir for a minute.

Toss in the peppers, cook for a few minutes. Add the squash, cook for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes.

Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally then add the eggplant and cook another 15 to 25 minutes until everything is soft and the flavors have melded together. Remove the bouquet garni, pressing on it to extract all the flavors.

Adjust the seasoning with fresh chopped basil leaves, salt, pepper and a little extra fresh chopped garlic if you like.

Serve warm, cold or room temperature.

I have mine with a piece of fish, David and Cooper spoon a large helping on their plates, drizzle with extra olive oil and have it with grilled Italian sausage. 

Ratatouille is a wonderful, earthy taste of Provence, give it a try you may have only a week or two left for those wonderful ingredients as winter is soon upon us.
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