Camps, Weddings, Subs and Burgers

All eyes are on Rhinebeck, New York, this morning.  Today Chelsea Clinton gets married in that historical little town. Mitch went to summer camp in Rhinebeck (Boiberik) and that camp, has since, become the Omega Institute.  I went away to volunteer at a camp for kids with Muscular Dystrophy when I was 15.  That was also in Rhinebeck.  It’s the town my appendix ruptured in!  Needless to say, Mitch and I both have some attachments to that small town, where in 2000 the census reported only a little over 3,000 residents.  A beautiful town should make for a beautiful wedding.  Congrats to Chelsea, her soon to be hubby, and their families.

Last night I had enough uncooked veggies left from the night before to make another veggie sub.  I not only grilled the veggies directly on the grill (instead of on a rack) but also sprayed the cut in half sub roll with olive oil and grilled it for a few seconds, too.  Mitch threw together some wasabi and soy sauce for his 4 skewered shrimps, and he suggested I try dipping my sub in the sauce.  Good suggestion.  My simple sub morphed into a very tasty “Asian Grilled Veggie Supreme.”  YUM!

Here’s the recipe for the veggie/bean burgers I made Thursday night.  This recipe is courtesy of Guy Fieri.  He uses an egg to bind the ingredients.  I did not subsititute anything for the egg, I simply deleted it.  I did NOT have any problem binding the ingredients without the egg.  A bit more moisture might have been ok, perhaps adding just a drop of something like tomato sauce but once they were topped with lettuce, tomato and condiments, they were not dry at all, so if I were to make them again, I would do them the exact same way, again just deleting the egg.  They were enjoyed equally by the vegans and the non.  Try em and let me know what you think.  Though it looks like a lot of work, most of the ingredients are spices!  The beans and veggies mashed up very easily with my hands and the whole process did not take very long.

Morgan’s Veggie Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons diced red onion

  • 2 tablespoons diced black olives

  • 2 tablespoons diced red bell peppers

  • 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon diced artichoke

  • 4 ounces black beans, drained

  • 4 ounces chickpeas, drained

  • 4 ounces white beans, drained

  • 6 ounces rolled oats

  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage

  • 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs

  • 1 egg

Directions

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1-ounce olive oil and all raw vegetables except beans. Saute until translucent. Remove and cool.

Add veggies to beans and mix thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients along with the egg. Thoroughly mix all ingredients and form into 4 patties, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In saute pan add 1-ounce olive oil, and cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Reason 5643 that I Love Summer

CACTUS FLOWERS IN BLOOM

There are only a handful of days a year that I walk outside and see the cactus tree flowering–the bees buzzing, collecting nectar, doing their  bee thing…(I was once even stung by those bees, but I don’t hold a grudge–now I just respect that their space on these rare mornings and all is well)

Cactus flowers, just another one of the many reasons that summer is AWESOME!

Check back over the weekend, when I will posting the recipe for Morgan’s Veggie Burgers.  Mitch found the recipe for me while watching the food channel.  I made them last night and they were enjoyed by all!  For now it’s off to work.  Peace and …well, fitness, of course!

The Boys in the Band

Tonight the boys in the bands are back in town for vegan feast Thursday.  I am excited to hear their stories about their 5 shows that took them to Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Philly.  In speaking with Derek briefly last night, he told me a disheartening story of them getting pulled over in Virginia for going 72 in a 60 mile and hour speed zone.  Apparently the police officers judged the “books by their tattooed covers” or made some assumptions about a bunch of musicians  and suggested that they smelled marijuana in the van.  This is particularly upsetting and  ironic, as these young men are all “straightedge” meaning they don’t smoke, drink or do drugs.  (Where did they come from?)  While they were fine about having the van searched, they were not allowed to watch the officers search the vehicle.  Makes me think of a bad movie.  Thankfully they were sent on their way, without further event.  Hmmm and I thought “Virginia is for lovers.”

I imagine their will be other stories about their shows and their travels that we will be shared  tonight.  We will also share a “smart dog,” beans and sauerkraut casserole.  Probably grill up some mushrooms, zucchini, squash and eggplant and make some big veggie subs.  (These look beautiful on the table and taste great even to some who have declared they never liked vegetables before.)  I may attempt some homemade veggie/bean burgers, too.   I am thinking of re-creating the deconstructed guacamole and making some hummus to go with tortilla chips for an appetizer and I see some soft bananas on the counter, so I am thinking peanut butter banana bread, too.  You can veganize any of your favorite banana bread recipes by using applesauce instead of an egg.  Some fresh fruit for dessert will round out and finish off the feast.  TGIVFT!

I continue to get great feedback from others who have designated Thursday as their vegan day.  Hey, sometimes just having a direction is a big relief in deciding “what’s for dinner?”

Before Blaze and I head out for our Thursday morning fitness walk, I’d like to leave you with this quote from John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and Food Revolution, as well as heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire.

“It is increasingly obvious that environmentally sustainable solutions to world hunger can only emerge as people eat more plant foods and fewer animal products. To me it is deeply moving that the same food choices that give us the best chance to eliminate world hunger are also those that take the least toll on the environment, contribute the most to our long-term health, are the safest, and are also, far and away, the most compassionate towards our fellow creatures.”


A Sound Mind in a Sound Body

Last night was a blast at the gym.  So many people out to exercise makes me so happy.  In this crazy (but wonderful) world, one thing we can control is our fitness program.  Since so many situations are out of control right now, it’s really important to feel in control of SOMETHING!

This was much of the theory behind Joseph Pilates discipline, that he called Contrology. Joseph wrote a great book called Return to Life Through Contrology back in the 1945 and reading it, he was right on the money about most everything (though we have learned a lot about the human body since then).  There are one or two lines in there that show you just how much we have learned since then, but for the most part, it is an incredible read.  It’s more like a large pamphlet than a book and for anyone enjoying the Pilates (Contrology) journey, I highly recommend checking it out!

One of the guiding principles of Pilates is control.  We can control our movements.  We can also control our breathing.  In doing both these things we can bring our bodies to a healthier, more balanced place.  Many of his movements are based on yoga postures, so clearly yoga, too, has the same effects.  I highly recommend practicing one or both of these disciplines in addition to whatever else your fitness routine includes.  It will benefit you in ways you cannot imagine!

In every part of life, people keep trying to reinvent the wheel.  Certainly in the fitness arena we have seen MANY trends come and go.  When I first became interested in Pilates, many suggested it was a passing phase.  I was pretty sure it was not only a passing phase, but one that had existed for many, many decades and was every bit as wonderful as it was for the soldiers and then dancers who learned it back in the early and mid 1900s.

Taking control of our bodies is not just good for our bodies.  It is equally as good for our minds and our souls.  As Joseph himself said so simply “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

Get physical–get happy!  I love it.

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Always Give it your Personal Best

In the world of personal bests, this morning I congratulate baseball’s Matt Garza and the Tampa Bay Rays for pitching  his/their first ever no-hitter game, last night against the Detroit Tigers.  It was very exciting to watch and now, with Kyle living in Tampa, I feel a certain attachment to the Rays along with my Florida Marlins.  Great job, Matt.  I am sure he is floating somewhere on cloud nine this morning, as he should!

As my students continue to spoil me with homegrown gifts from Mother Nature, I try to actually build meals around them!  Thanks to the gorgeous mangoes I received yesterday and the juice of a Persian lemon from a bunch that I received last week, I put together a mango black bean salad, last night.  Diced mango, rinsed and drained black beans, onion, tomatoes, fresh cilantro ( I love the taste and even more, the smell of cilantro) and lime juice was mixed together and then placed upon some greens.  With my grill working again, I made some whole portobello mushrooms, sliced vidalia onions and sliced eggplant and cooked them directly on top of the grill.  I marinated the mushrooms and onions in a mix of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh rosemary and some spices from the pantry.  One thing I have learned about eggplant is it will just soak up a marinade like a sponge so I just spray a little olive oil on the slices immediately before placing on the grill.  With a little of my already made brown rice from the weekend, I had a perfect (and quite beautiful) meal.

Yesterday I did a very eclectic home workout.  17 laps in the pool…assisted (toes on the back of a chair)  pull-ups with hands in 4 different positions…push-ups with hands in different positions…lunges in different directions…ab work, 1 part P90x, 1 part Physique 57 and 1 part Pilates…and few minutes of yoga stretches.  It kept me from getting bored and pushed me to do some exercises that I cannot do in group classes.  I am pretty sure I will NEVER be able to do a pull-up without assistance, but I always feel the work in my back the day after I do them, even though at the time, it feels like my leg is doing most of the work.  Thanks Kyle, for leaving that awesome pull-up bar with me.  I try to use it just once a week, but I also try for every week.

With temperatures soaring into the 90s every day here, (and a good chance wherever YOU are, too) we must all remember to hydrate more than ever.  No Lisa, that doesn’t mean an extra bottle of wine 🙂  Drink lots of water, and do it often!  Also, keep your animals comfort in mind.  I am, as I leave NOW for my walk with Blaze, before the pavement gets any hotter.  We are taking a BIG trash bag with us today.  As I walked him last night, I noticed how much garbage was once again lining the streets of our neighborhood.  Its been a couple of weeks since we did garbage pick-up, Blaze and I.  It amazes me that Coral Springs was voted the 44th best city in the country to live in.  I love “my town,” but at #44 I would think it would be just a little cleaner.  Anyway, I am not one to really b*tch and moan, so this morning, we are on a mission to clean things up. Off we go, walking, bending, cleaning and enjoying some time together before the day gets in our way.  Its just one way we get our PEACEANDFITNESS.  What will you do to get yours?  Whatever you do, do your very best!

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A Wonderful Deconstruction

Yesterday I made “deconstructed” guacamole.  Instead of mashing ingredients together, I simply chopped them.  2 avocados, 2 tomatoes, red onion and cilantro.  To those I added fresh lime juice, salt and pepper.  It was easier to make then traditional guac, and it was wonderful right on top of a bed of greens.  Mitch said it was also wonderful rolled up inside some turkey breast.  We originally saw it as a side salad for “shrimp tacos” which Mitch would have made, if we hadn’t run into a snag with our gas grill last night.   Additionally, my veggies were not nearly as tasty in the broiler as they are on the grill.  I admit I am spoiled and perhaps part of the reason it is so easy to enjoy a plant-based diet is because of the grill.  EVERYTHING tastes better cooked on there.  Anyway, I highly recommend the “deconstructed” guacamole.  Try it, you’ll like it!  And it looks pretty on the table-while it lasts.  I was pretty sure I made enough for 2 nights, but there wasn’t even a drop left over.

I made a pot of brown rice yesterday.  Bob Harper says everyone should find a way to eat just a few spoons of brown rice, daily.  Good for lots of things like keeping insulin from spiking and scrubbing out the bad cholesterol, it is also rather filling.  I used just a few spoons as a base for my veggies last night and having it already made, in the fridge, makes it easier to incorporate into today and tomorrow’s meals as well.   Speaking of Bob Harper, I saw Jillian Michaels on a rerun of the Bonnie Hunt show the other day and they flashed a picture of her when she was teenager.  She was 175 pounds (5 feet tall) and she also mentioned it was before her nose-job.  All I can say is WOW.  While I think she would probably look incredible even without the nose-job, there is no arguing she has done an incredible makeover with herself!  Talk about a before and after success story.  And while we are talking BL, my NBC contact, Erica, tells me the new season premieres Tuesday, Sept. 21.  Though I hate summer coming to an end, (that very day) at least there is a light at the end of summer’s tunnel.  Thanks, Erica, for letting me know about the vegan dinner of red beans, rice and soy chorizo that you shared with Jeff this weekend.  This is something I definitely want to try soon.

With my 10am client, Jane, back in town today.  That means walking Blaze and P90x are booted back off my schedule.  Hopefully the weather will hold up and I will be able to do my laps in the pool and then ab ripper x, this afternoon.  Though I enjoyed some time off and revisiting P90x while she was away, I am really excited to have Jane back in town.  She is so much more than a client to me!  She gives me so much youthful energy and since she got a new Boxer puppy, Percy, recently, we look forward to training him to join us on our outdoor runs.  For today I will get her busy on her brand new elliptical, and we will do some muscle overload work, some core work and more.  She is serious with her workouts and her body sure shows it!

I don’t know about where you are, but where I am there is a gorgeous, low lying, full-moon hovering just above the palm trees along the canal in my backyard.  What a beautiful gift from Mother Nature on a Monday morning.  I am out to begin a day filled with fitness and hopefully lots of peace, too!  Make sure you make time for both, today and most every day!

Free Hugs and Ki–ttens

This is not the first or the only FREE HUGS video on youtube.com, but it is the one I viewed most recently.  My visions of a perfect world include peace on earth, daily fitness, compassionate eating and amongst some other things, a world of people offering up some love.

Enjoy the following link which you may have to copy and paste to your browser:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN8CKwdosjE

May I also introduce the newest member of Rita’s family.  What a lucky little kitten Ms. Ginger is to have been adopted by Rita and her animal ADORING husband, Ted.  I apologize if you are unable to open the photo–some can, some can’t.  Not sure why– If you can’t, trust me, this is one cute kitty!

Have a peaceful, healthful, rejuvenating Sunday for tomorrow it begins all over again 🙂

Play After Every Storm

For those of us in Broward county, tropical storm Bonnie, came in like a lamb and went back out like a lamb and for that I am thankful.  Nonetheless, she was a storm and since I ended yesterday’s entry with a short poem by Mattie Stepankek, I will begin today’s by reminding all of us that Mattie believed we should “always remember to play after every storm.” In memory of a very special boy who was both a poet and a peacemaker, I dedicate today’s entry to Mattie, who crammed more wisdom, spirituality and living into 13 years than most do in countless decades.  While an extremely rare form of muscular dystrophy took Mattie and his 3 siblings from this earth, he left a behind a legacy and will always be one of my heroes.

Mattie and I had a lot in common.  We both shared a love of writing, an undying wish for peace on earth, a deep curiosity about how muscles work (or don’t) and a need to just let the world know that “love IS the answer.”  What productivity his disease took away from his muscles, was multiplied exponentially in his ability to express what most of us think about, but never say aloud.

On a side note, I am excited to report that the GOOGLE ads that now appear on this  site are 100% legitimate and should be rather targeted to most things peaceandfitness!  I have checked and double checked and they are safe links that come directly through those geniuses at Google.  As Kyle continues to work on his own very creative website (details when it’s up and running) I am appreciative for his help in keeping me up-to-date with the ever changing technological times!

I had posted a link to a fantastic video of  people giving out free hugs in Italy.  Unfortunately the link isn’t opening today.  I will try again  during the week.  In the meantime, have a great weekend.  Remember to play after every storm, and hold in your heart that love IS the answer!  If you have muscles that let you move, use them to keep yourself healthy, strong and fit…and don’t forget to workout your hugging muscles!


The Colors of Hope and Peace

Interesting article in today’s Sun-Sentinel about bloggers being offered cars to drive and blog about.  Chevy did this with a few different models.  I am personally pretty happy with my own car, but if the people at Mini-Cooper offered me one to drive around, I would be happy to blog about the experience!!!  I am not too picky about the color, and I’ll take one with leatherette instead of leather, for obvious reasons.  A nice ream, but for now, it’s back to reality.

Just recently I was mentioning how growing up I never knew another Bonnie.  When I met my “first” here in South Florida, we not only shared names, but also the same profession and between the 2 of us, we had 5 children, all boys.  We even worked in more than one gym, together.  I would go on to meet a few others through the years and now find out that Derek’s girlfriend Mishell’s mom’s name is also Bonnie.  Funny coincidence.

A storm named Bonnie, though?  It’s a bit troublesome for a pacifist like myself.  Rita, you shared names with a full-blown hurricane.  I am sorry for the Ritas and the Wilmas and especially for the Andrews and the Katrinas.   While I only anticipate lots and lots of rain today here in South Florida,  my hope is that Bonnie doesn’t wreak too much havoc on the clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico.  What a mess!

Thinking about how many of you have come forward and mentioned that you make Thursday your vegan day, makes me very excited!  Perhaps we are, together, on the verge of starting a world effort.  It was only Mitch and I last night.  A simple pot of whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, a side salad and some grilled vegetables was easily and inexpensively a feast for two.   With substantially more fiber and nothing but whole grain in the ingredients, making a switch from “traditional” pasta to whole grain or whole wheat pasta, is a healthful way to “have your pasta and eat it, too.”   Most who think they wont enjoy the taste, actually find the whole grain version much tastier.

To all my local friends and readers, please stay safe and dry!  If you regularly take SilverSneakers classes with Carol midday, today, I hope you will consider taking a rest day instead of driving in the mess that is anticipated by then.  Mitch has some dental work scheduled at 12:45 so I will be transporting him back and forth.  Thankfully the dentist’s office is just a few blocks away.   If anyone local needs a new dentist, we have the best one in town and I am happy to share Dr. Jeffrey Kritchmer with you.  He is a wonderful dentist and human being.

Wishing everyone near and far a safe and happy Friday.

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Shades of Life


The color of sky
Is blues and grays
The color of earth
Is greens and browns
The color of hope
Is rainbows and purple
And the color of peace
Is people, together.

~By: Mattie J.T.Stepanek

NOTE:

I have no idea how the google ads got on the homepage…gotta check in with Kyle on this one!

Let There be Peace–and Falafel!

I must first and foremost thank my SilverSneakers students for being some of the most awesome people I have in my life.  Your generosity, kind spirit, open minds, experience and caring hearts make my work, play!  Yesterday was a wonderful day at the gym, thanks to you.  Thanks  to Sheila for the constant gifts of fruits from your trees.  This week adorably sweet mangos, followed gorgeous Persian limes.  Martha, thanks for the Trio bar (which I haven’t yet tasted, but it looks perfect) and for sharing your stories of improved health.  Thanks to Sylna for your sage words, which I take very much to heart and appreciate greatly.  I will always remember the line you shared with me yesterday about “the truth.”  Thanks also, for sharing this site.  It was great to hear from Ginny last night.  I miss your incredible energy and look forward to seeing you in class again!

No crowd for Vegan Feast Thursday.  Derek and basically the rest of the “usual suspects” are on the road.  Peter’s (my “adopted” adult son)  band, Remembering Never,  has 5 gigs between Georgia and Pennsylvania and they return on Monday.  Via their music, these guys have seen most of the world.  The best part of that, being that they get to do it together.  These are a group of guys who have an incredible bond and friendship, forged by their passion for music and living a vegan, rather “straight edge” lifestyle.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all find commonalities to bring us together?  Many of you have asked me to keep posting recipes.  This morning I was thinking about middle eastern food and how it brings together both sides of the “strip.”  In my house, it also brings Mitch and I together.  While a meal of hummus, pita and falafel is entirely plant-based, it is also one that Mitch enjoys without feeling any deprivation.  Though I rarely fry ANYTHING, my halo is not so tight that I can’t be decadent once and while.  Here’s a simple falafel/tahini recipe, thanks to the girls who wrote “The Garden of Vegan.”

MO-MO’s FALAFEL

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped

2 tbsp fresh parsley

2 tbsp water

1 -1/2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp olive oil

NOTE:  This particular recipe does NOT call for parsley, but most do and I would add about 1/3 cup!

In a blender or food processor, blend chickpeas, garlic, turmeric, salt, onion, parsley, water and lemon juice until well mixed.  Add flour till well mixed, again.  Roll mixture with wet hands into balls (of your desired size choice).  Makes 10 large or 18 small falafel balls.  Serve with Tahini.  Make sandwiches on pita bread!  YUM

MO’S TAHINI SAUCE

1/4 cup tahini

5 tbsp. lemon juice

2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2-1 tsp salt

1/4 – 1 cup water

In a blender or food processor, combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Slowly pour water in and blend until smooth.  Makes approx. 1 and  1/2 cups.

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ENJOY!!!