Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bake Eggs the Easy Way

Did you know you can BAKE eggs--whole eggs, in the shell--in the oven?  

I'm on an egg kick.  Always for eating, recently for blogging.  I've already talked about why eggs are awesome and why you should Eat The Yolks.  Today, I share my favorite way to prepare eggs for easy consumption all week.



My go-to way to cook up eggs is a scramble or omelet, but I also like to hard-boil a bunch of eggs on Sunday for a quick and easy breakfast or snack during the busy week.

Now, I concede that hard-boiling is not rocket science, but it does require a few separate steps, regular attention, and the stress of knowing something could boil over.  However, there's an EVEN EASIER way!  Did you know that you could BAKE eggs right in the oven?  No need to get the water going, no need to watch or listen or smell or wait or add vinegar or not add salt or or or... just bake them.

Here's how you can hard-bake your eggs:

Heat your oven to 325°F. 


Place the eggs into a muffin tin, so each sits on its own. 

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process.




After 10 minutes or so, remove from water.  Peel and enjoy!  

These are a regular in my weekly food prep.  You may need to tinker with the timing or temperature depending on your oven, but then it works perfectly.  I find these come out just as good as regular ol' hard-boiled eggs, and are SO easy to peel, too!

Store your eggs in the fridge to last you a few days' worth of snacks and breakfasts. It makes getting some quality and tasty nutrients so simple.


Could it BE any easier?


Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Features

Happy Friday, and Happy SPRING!  Spring is here, and I hope that Mother Nature catches up soon, because I'm over this bitter winter.

Hey, you know what "winter" sounds like?  Winner! 

The WINNER of last week's Eat The Yolks giveaway is Betty Jo!  She commented and tweeted about the giveaway.  Betty Jo, email me to claim your prize!   For the rest of you, don't worry!  If you didn't win this time, you can find Eat The Yolks by Liz Wolfe on Amazon.  Dare you to check it out.

I also dare you to check out some of my favorite reads lately.  Today, it's a mixture of health, happiness, and just plain fun.


Just For Fun

As my sister tweeted, "Stop what you are doing and read Buzzfeed's 77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True."

"If Google Were A Guy..." Part 1 and Part 2.

Watch Ellen Take a Buzzfeed Quiz to test the accuracy of the results determining which queen of comedy she is...

Did you know how dogs really drink water?  This is awesome, take a look!

Last fall, I dared you to See Disney's Frozen, and the movie and leading song have exploded in popularity since then.  This "Honest Movie Trailer" hilariously and fairly pokes fun at the film; watch and see.


For Your Health

Mark's Daily Apple answers: Are Body Weight Exercises Alone Enough?

One classic bodyweight exercise is the pushup, but are you making common mistakes?  The Angry Trainer shows us How to Perform Pushups Correctly.

A thorough analysis of the latest anti-animal protein studyWhy I'm Not Dismissing the Latest "Animal Protein is Bad" Study (But Not Losing Sleep Over It, Either), by Denise Minger.

Kimberly Snyder's blog reveals Five Ways You Are Ruining Your Digestive Health After You Eat.  Don't worry; she has tips to fix the problems.

Itz Linz opens up to discuss Body Image During Pregnancy.

GiGi talks about bad words -- both the movie AND the ingredients, in her hilarious video.


For Health & Beauty... aka an ode to oil. 

I've done coconut oil for cooking and for lotion, and now Carla Birnberg has finally convinced me to try it for my teeth!  Check out post: Coconut Oil Pulling: 2 years later.

While we're on the subject, the folks at Refinery29 recently tested out coconut oil for all different beauty uses!  Watch to see how it went.

Liz Wolfe wrote about the best oil treatment for your hair (hint: it's as natural as it gets), and I'm definitely going to try to pull off this sock bun.


For Your Appetite

This Garam Masala Salmon by Julie at PBFingers.com is on my recipe list.

My friend Rachel shows us how to make Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries on Little Chef Big Appetite.


And with that, it's time for dessert.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stretch

Psst!  This is the LAST DAY to enter the giveaway for a copy of Eat The Yolks!  Seriously, this is the one nutrition book you must read now.  It is educational, inspiring, and hilarious.  It's less about how, and more about why.  Why are today's nutrition myths failing us, where did they come from, and where do we go from here?  To learn more, go enter to win HERE

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Dare you to... STRETCH!  I don't just mean after a workout, and I definitely don't mean before a workout (before a workout, do dynamic stretching!).  Today, I'm talking about stretching for stretching's sake, stretching on a recovery day, stretching to feel good!

Last week, I neglected my sleep in favor of broadway shows and visiting family.  Undoubtedly connected, this week, I got hit with something that left me with a cold, a very sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.  I wanted to rest and recover before it got worse, not stress my body even more.  Instead of working out, I turned to stretching.  I stretched to get my blood flowing.  I did a bit of a more intense yoga mid-week to wake up my muscles.  I stretched to feel good. And it did feel good!

Image courtesy of Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net

Even when I'm at my healthiest, I'm always amazed at how a few minutes of simple stretching can really turn my day around.   I aim for at least 5 minutes of focused stretching each day, but also sneak them in during dull moments in the day.  Calf stretches are super easy to inconspicuously do out and about, while the full-body routines I do at home.  Stretching provides me with both short term benefits (feeling awesome) and long-term benefits (my flexibility and posture both attest!).

If I did it, then so can you!  Stretch when you wake up.  Stretch before bed.  Stretch when you have a few moments in your day!  Yes, stretching is great for muscle recovery, but even if you're a sedentary person, adding a lot of stretching to your week can help improve your strength and endurance.

Most of us may already know that stretching increases flexibility, but did you know that stretching can contribute to your wellness in other ways?

Image courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net
Benefits of Stretching:
  • increased circulation
  • reduced muscle soreness and tension 
  • stress relief
  • mental and physical relaxation
  • reduced severity of period cramps in women
  • better posture 
  • enhanced coordination 
And more!  The only way to learn what stretching has to offer is to try it for yourself.

Aside from post-workout, my favorite times to stretch are in the morning and right before bed.  I find that in the morning, a few sun salutations (borrowed from yoga) really get my blood flowing, awakening my body and mind.  It sounds cheesy, but it really feels like I'm greeting the day!

At night, I'll often just stretch out as I feel fit to, loosening up and releasing any strains from the day.


Some Stretching Tips:
  • Start by warming up a bit with light movement.  Even if you're not working out, you may want to get the muscles warm before you go about stretching them.
  • Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, or up to a minute if a muscle is particularly in need.
  • Don't bounce your stretch; this can cause small muscle tears.  You should ease into it, perhaps pulling back before stretching again to see greater flexibility, but each stretch should still be held rather than bounced. 
  • Breathe; don't hold your breath!  Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth.
  • Do one stretch at a time.  Don't multitask; take this time to relax your mind. 
  • Stretch both sides!  Don't sell one side short. 
  • Don't stretch so that you feel pain.  You should feel tension, but it should not be painful. 
  • Image courtesy of imagerymajestic
     / freedigitalphotos.net
  • Be consistent.  Sure, it may take you a while to get into the habit, but if you want to experience the benefits listed above, don't just stretch once or twice a week.  Stretch every day!  

Getting Started:

Stretching was not always part of my daily routine, but now it's second nature.  I got started by using the Lift App to adjust to my new habit. Now, I no longer need the reminder!  Use Lift, or simply set an alarm on your phone for 5 minutes after you wake up or 10 min before bed to remind you it's time to stretch!

Another way for beginners to get into the habit is to begin with distraction.  Incorporate stretching into existing sedentary parts of your day, like watching TV or listening to podcasts.

As for specific stretches, I learned most of my stretches from yoga (like this AM and PM DVD) and other group fitness classes.  I just kind of go with the flow and do what feels right to me.  I like to twist my torso (alleviates any stomach upset), stretch my legs (don't bend from your back; hinge from your hips!), and reach to the sky and into a backbend.

A great way to start in the mornings is by doing sun salutations; the movement of the vinyasa make it interesting and really get the blood flowing!  This video demonstrates for beginners:


At night, I do more static stretches, holding each for 20-30 seconds while I breathe and relax for bed.

Some FitFluential Ambassadors demonstrate other stretches!  Click below to watch their videos:

The team at Greatist also has great tips for stretching:

Dare you to start this weekend so you're ready to build it into your routine by Monday!

Do YOU stretch?  If so, when?  How?  What benefits have you noticed?

Resources
http://web.mit.edu/tkd/stretch/stretching_5.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931
http://web.mit.edu/tkd/stretch/stretching_3.html
http://ministryhealth.org/MinistryHealth/HealthConnection/HealthConnectionSpring2009/Thisspringstretchdontstrain.nws
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/new-ideas-on-proper-stretching-techniques
http://greatist.com
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21489011/ns/health-fitness/t/stretching-may-offer-extended-benefits/#.UyDmV1FdW6w