Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

Not just any boeuf bourguignon--Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.  Ever since I saw the movie Julie and Julia, I've been curious about this beef dish.  Then, last November, my husband and I were at a local restaurant, and Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon was on the menu.  My husband ordered it and it was incredible.

Fast forward to Monday.  I was at Sam's Club and I noticed they had beef chuck in the meat case.  I remembered seeing that cut of beef in the recipe.  It was a sign that my menu for the week was about to change.

I have the book Julia's Kitchen Wisdom and the recipe is in it, but just to make sure, I went online and found the recipe from her original book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  In comparing the two recipes, there were a few minor differences, so I decided to go with the original recipe.  (One difference is that the original calls for tomato paste and the other one calls for tomatoes.)  To get the recipe, click on

This recipe is time consuming.  You'll want to make it on a day that you are going to be home.  The baking time alone is 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  You can make it the day before, which is what I did, and reheat it when you want to serve it.

Just a few notes, the recipe from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom said the bacon was optional, so I left it out.  Also, that same recipe called for 1 cup of sliced carrots instead of 1 carrot.   I used whole baby carrots and added quite a few, since I really like them.  Also, I cut the recipe in half (except for the carrots), since I was only cooking for two.

Be sure to dry the meat with paper towel before browning it.

I used a lot of baby carrots.

The finished project

If you still have questions, there is a YouTube video of Julia cooking this dish on her show.

This recipe is well worth the effort. You will hear multiple yummy sounds from everyone at the table.

(After writing this post, I can finally spell bourguignon without looking.  Now I just need to figure out how to say it.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Eat or Not To Eat

Before a workout, that is.  A common belief is that you shouldn't eat before a workout so that you'll burn fat reserves instead of the food in your stomach.  This is not true.  A recent study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (that's a mouthful) found that people who ate before they exercised experienced a bigger boost in metabolism.  In other words, they burned more fat.  The study theorized that your body uses more oxygen when you eat before exercising, and that results in a metabolism spike and an improvement in fat burning.

All I can say is WOOHOO.  Another excuse to eat.

So, what is a good snack?  Preferably, you should eat something with a little protein, carbohydrate and fat about a half hour before you workout.  Experiment with different things to see what works best for you.  If I'm exercising indoors, I usually have yogurt with Kashi Go Lean.  If I'm going for a run outside, that combo seems to get my digestive track moving and it becomes a problem about four miles into my run (that's probably TMI).  A little peanut butter on toast seems to work better.  Also, if you are exercising for more than 90 minutes, you should eat (or drink) some carbohydrates during the actual workout.  Again, experiment with what works for you.  Nothing like a little food to motivate a good workout.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Breakfast Wrap

On days that I work, I like to have a hearty, well-balanced breakfast (carbs, protein, and a little fat).  Since we have back to back classes from 7-12, we don't get a break.  Breakfast needs to hold us for almost 6 hours.  Well, actually, we do have some snack food tucked away under our work area--pretzels, almonds, and food gifts our patients bring in to us.  We are never starving.

These wraps only have 90 calories but pack a whopping 13 g. of fiber.

Yesterday, I opted for scrambled egg whites with veggies rolled into a wrap.  I love the combo of tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.  (Since I'm usually in a hurry in the morning, I separate the eggs, slice the mushrooms and cut up the tomatoes the night before.)  I saute the mushroom and tomatoes in a pan coated with cooking spray until softened.

I apologize that this is blurry.  It looked fine at 5:45 a.m.

I then add spinach (frozen if I don't have fresh on hand), the egg whites and once it's all cooked, I add a tablespoon of feta cheese.  Yum!  It's so good.  With a little fresh fruit on the side, it's a perfect breakfast.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snowplow War

We live at the end of a cul-de-sac and therefore, the snowplow usually doesn't get to our street until a day or two after it snows.  Then, he waits around the corner until we get our driveway cleared off, and just as we finish, he comes by and dumps several feet of snow at the end of our driveway.  (I'm using the term "we" loosely here.)  It's SO frustrating.  It's like he's just toying with us.  Also, if you don't put markers at the edge of your property, he takes half of the yard with him.

This week, he went above and beyond his usual antics.  He took out our mailbox.

Our mailbox on Saturday

Our mailbox on Monday 
My husband did the handy work of putting it on a saw horse.

I had noticed on my runs this past fall that people had been putting up protection for their mailboxes in anticipation of winter and the coming apocalypse.  (We obviously aren't the only ones at war here.)

There is a mailbox behind here.

Of course, this wouldn't have worked for us since the snowplow backed up over our mailbox.  In fairness to the city, they did come out this morning and put up a generic mailbox.  We'll see how long it lasts.
However, once winter is over, we're going to have to put some serious thought into our defense for next year. I've got a few ideas, thanks to the internet.

This model takes a little engineering.

This one dares the snowplow to hit it.

This one shouts, "Just try it!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I was getting ready to hop in the shower the other morning when I noticed the bar of soap was almost gone. As I grabbed a new one, something on the wrapper caught my eye.  Prior to this, I had never actually noticed the packaging on soap before.  But now, the word "drug"  stood out, even without my reading glasses.

Hmm, soap has drugs in it?  Sure enough--the antibacterial agents.  Not only that, the wrapper has directions for use.  Really?  Someone needs directions to know how to use soap?  I couldn't believe it, but there they were.  "Wet bar with water....."

As I chuckled to myself, I had to wonder what else has directions.  Sure enough--deodorant.  "Apply to underarms only."  Where else would you apply it?

Lotion...I love how they tell you to use it then you'll need to buy more.

These companies must think we're idiots.  Either that, or it's the same idea behind McDonald's putting "Caution:  Contents may be hot" on their coffee cups.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It Snowed!

I walked out to get the paper this morning and this is the scene that awaited me.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Workout!

Due to my ACSM fitness specialist certification, I often receive professional catalogs for workout gear .  Last week, as I was perusing the most recent one, I noticed the Gliding Discs workout.  Since I'm feeling a little bottom heavy after the holidays, I decided order them.  In two short days, they were sitting on my doorstep.  For $15, I received a pair of discs suitable for use on hardwood (you can also get them for carpet) and an instructional DVD by Mindy Mylrea.


Yesterday morning, I was more than excited to give the workout a try.  I slipped the DVD into the player and I was ready to go.  The workout was tough.  It lasted about 45 minutes and worked the legs, core, and a bit of the upper body.  I was sweating bullets about 20 minutes into it.  I definitely had "the burn" going in my glutes, quads, and hamstrings.  It also really worked the leg adductors and abductors (the inner and outer thighs).  It was somewhat aerobic at times and had a few yoga moves, too.  When I finished the workout, I added some upper body strength training to get a total body workout.

I have to say, today I am sore in areas I haven't been sore in maybe ever. I will definitely incorporate this into my routine--maybe once a week.  I measured my waist, hips and thighs before beginning this and will give an update in a month or so.  Between this, P90X, and my normal cardio routines, I'm hoping to see some results.  I only hope the gliding disc workouts don't give me speed skaters' thighs.

Here's a video to give you an idea of some of the moves on the DVD.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You Know It's A Bad Day When...

Have you ever had one of those days when you have to ask, "Okay, Lord, what are you trying to teach me?"  Today was one of those days.

  1. I was behind a slow car on my way to work.  I noticed this car had a bulldog on it's license plate (as if that doesn't tell you something.....actually, I'm not sure what it tells you, except that they were slow).  I decided to take my "shortcut".   (I whipped down some side streets to avoid a couple of busy intersections.)  I turned onto the main road and who did I end up behind?  You guessed it--the bulldog car.
  2. While taking a patient's blood pressure after class, he stated that he felt a little dizzy.  I got him over to the recliner we use for just these types of situations and he said he felt nauseated.  I quickly got him the nearest garbage can I could find and was just in time.  After getting him all set, I did a quick scan of my clothing and thought I had escaped unscathed.  When I got outside a little later, I saw the light of day.  I had yellow-green spots on my white cords that looked a lot like bile.
  3. I stopped at the store to pick up some groceries.  While in the checkout line, I noticed the man behind me only had a gallon of milk.  I motioned for him to go ahead of me.  A minute later, some woman with a number of items barged in and said she was with him.  And to make matters worse, they paid separately.  Then, he struggled with the debit card process and she dropped her money.  Aargh.
  4. I was just about to pull into a parking spot at the mall when a car did a pull through and took the spot.  Actually, she apologized when we both got out of our cars.  We laughed together about it.
So, I decided I must need a little more patience and today helped to develop it.  

As it turned out, we had record setting temperatures today.  I actually had my sunroof open on January 11th in Michigan.  The sky was bright blue and that is enough to make anyone have a great day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Energy Bars

These bars are great and a real satiater (I don't think that's actually a word, but these bars really stick with you).  My husband loves them and he usually doesn't like anything that smells of "healthy".  You can whip these up in 30 minutes (including baking time).  I put most of them in the freezer and pull one out when I get the urge.

Oatmeal Energy Bars

1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup fat-free sweetened, condensed milk
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut butter into brown sugar with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Stir in oats and next 5 ingredients.
Combine egg whites, peanut butter, and condensed milk in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Add egg mixture to oats, and stir well.
Press mixture into a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; cool completely.  Cut into 28 bars.

Calories:  130, Saturated Fat: 1g,  Dietary Fiber: 2g, Carbohydrates:  22.5g, Protein:  3.5g

Side note:  While I was making these, I found a couple of things in the refrigerator that had expired.  I know I've cleaned out the fridge in the past 6 months.  How did I miss these things--especially the sunflower seeds that expired in 2002!  Hoarders is going to be knocking on my door if they get hold of this.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Breakthrough...Or Not

Today's Workout:
Ran 6.3 miles
Time: 58 minutes, 39 seconds

New Year's Eve was sunny and 40 degrees out.  A great day for a run outside.  I decided to wear a stopwatch and check my speed.  Amazingly, I shaved over six minutes off my time for 6+ miles.  I was shocked.  For years, I've run a ten minute mile.  Since I've hit 50, I've gotten even slower (if you can imagine that).  So what's happened?

Back in November (the 19th), I blogged about a treadmill workout I had started doing.  I walk for 2 minutes and run for 4 minutes (at a faster than normal pace) and repeat it 10 times for a total of 60 minutes.  My pace when I do this is 7.3 mph or just over 8 minute miles.  I can maintain that pace because I know it's for only 4 minutes.  I do this workout about once a week.  I thought it might help me increase my speed, but I didn't think it would make that big of a difference.  Surprise!

I'm going to keep it up and see how I do this summer.  It's one thing to do it when it's cool outside.  Heat and humidity are another animal.

Of course, it could be an illusion.  My watch batteries could be low, making the stopwatch slow.  I should probably check that out.