Friday the 13th…(day of the ab challenge)

By the time we take our next rest day from the ab challenge, on Monday, we will mark the half way point, but it’s the really hard part that awaits us!  For today, day 13, we do 60 sit ups, 75 crunches, 40 leg raises and 50 seconds in plank.  I find once I get through the sit ups, I know I can make it.  Please be careful.  People are reporting some aches and pains which may be related to taking on too many sit ups at one time.  When your abs are not conditioned, your neck will get majorly involved in the work which can cause neck and back issues, so please be smart.  It’s great to feel some soreness in the area of desire, but it’s never good to be injured or in real pain.  Please continue to be smart as you tackle this challenge.


English: Pineapple on its plant, Costa Rica De...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mitch and I are having the thrill of some fruit ripening in the yard.  Mangoes are just beginning to ripen and we have been able to enjoy a couple of them.  They are great but get even greater as the season continues.  By next week I am hoping to be able to share some….Yesterday, we had a big thrill as we pulled our first (of four) pineapples off and will hope to make a mango and pineapple fruit salad over the weekend.  Or, then again, maybe some pineapple-mango drinks…hmmmmm


Here it is Friday the 13th and I hear that we will have a full moon tonight.  So enjoy, stay safe, watch out for all the crazy people.  Remember that Gardein products are BOGO at Publix (and though I am NOT a big fan of processed foods, these are a great go to product for those times you just want something quick and easy with the big bonus of knowing no animals were harmed in the making.

Have a great Friday …the 13th everyone.









Ditch the Itch!

Thanks to Jeff G for this one…I haven’t built ours yet, but I am going to get as many of these as I can and do it soon.  Will put it on the patio and hope it helps keeps those pesky biters away from me, without having to smell like bug spray all the time.  I say me, because they always seem to love my skin.  It is said that mosquitos love sweat and since I do sweat for a living, it just might be true!   I am guessing that the herbs don’t have to go in this exact order, but I am including it just the way I got it.  Looks like a good project for a Sunday.

Whatever you do with your day, ENJOY!  Happy birthday to JoAnn in Cali.  Keep on celebrating!

I Hear You Knocking….


The change in season, schedule and weather has me revisiting my own daily schedule.  As I sat down to blog in my usual early morning hour, I decided to use that time to go for a run, before the temps start hitting the every day 90s.  I am reading and listening to everyone’s tips and I thank you all.  I thought about pushing off my step, propelling forward, wearing more sunscreen AND covering my head with a cap, and did about 2 miles (maybe a little more) this morning.  For me, it is more about the mental than anything else and I believe that is the case for many of us.  One foot in front of the other. Keep the tips coming!


pineapple (Photo credit: derek7272)

Last night Mitch and I enjoyed some fruits (literally) of our labor.  I pulled off a pineapple from one of the plants in  our slowly growing pineapple patch and it was one of the first we have ever grown that was regulation size!  It was, as my mother would say, sweet as sugar and not only tasted great with, but looked beautiful beside the chunks of mango from one of our very own.  Instant fruit salad.  I have mentioned this before but it’s worth mentioning again.  Here in South Florida, all you have to do grow your own pineapples is plant the top of one you have bought from the store and wait….It will take a couple of years, but you will get a pineapple.  No maintenance, no nothing.  Just rain and sunshine and we have plenty of both, here!  If it feels great to eat foods that haven’t been harmed in any way, it feels even great to eat them when you have grown them yourself!


It was interesting to read an newspaper article a few weeks ago, which stated that until 3.4 million years ago, humans only ate leaves and fruits, just as most primates did.  At that point they added some new  foods to their diet, but the addition was in the way of grasses and grass-like plants.  So for those that argue we were always, from the beginnings of time,  meant to eat meat, apparently that is not at all the case.  In fact, it took another million or so years for man to start scavenging for meat and hunting for meat didn’t begin until much later.  Something to think about on this Vegan Thursday.


Something else to think about on this day, is that studies show that chickens exhibit intelligent behavior withing a few hours of hatching.  Given several tests, chickens showed definite mathematical abilities as well as being born with an understanding of physics and structural engineering.  Experiments proved that very young chicks understand that if something is moved out of sight, it still exists.  It takes babies about a year to grasp that concept.  They show basic empathy, show self-control and believe it or not, new born chickens are able to keep track of numbers, up to 5.


Given the info in the above paragraph, it’s no surprise that good ole’ Micky D’s is unhappy with the publicity about the chickens used in their fast food.  99% of the eggs used by McDonald’s for their Egg McMuffins come from chickens who are subjected to cruelty by having their beaks cut off so they wont peck each other to death from the insanity caused by being in way too small, cages.  While Burger King, and even McDonald’s in Europe, have announced they will do away with this practice, McDonald’s here in the U.S. says this is still standard practice. One being’s Happy Meal is another beings insane asylum. Making my leftover fruit salad look even more beautiful.


And while I am on a roll, with absolutely no disrespect intended, while it is very sad that we lost another one of our television icons way too soon, is it THAT shocking when any rather overweight man in his 50s has a heart attack?  While we don’t yet know what caused the massive attack, I can’t help but think it was a typical case of disease of affluence. My heart goes out the family of James Gandolfini, who leaves behind his wife and family, including their baby daughter born in October of 2012.  The world will always remember him as the one and only Tony Soprano.  What a great job he did with that character.  While he will be missed, I know this will be a wake-up call for many.


Game 7 tonight.  With it all tied up, it’s the best out of one.  One and done.  Let’s do this thing Miami Heat.  Whoever emerges victorious, this was one great series!

Enjoy the last of spring.  I can hear summer knocking, now….





Food, Family and Friends

Passover marks 2 years since I went from vegetarianism to a heavy, heavy lean into veganism.  I always say leaning in, because I brake for an occasional slice of pizza because it is so good, and am trying to eat some salmon once and a while because they say the oils can help prevent Alzheimers and I will do anything in my power to help prevent the one that seems to get the women in our family.   I can say without a doubt, that these 2 years have found me more at peace with my eating, than the previous 52 years.  My weight rarely fluctuates much anymore, my health is great and in general I feel really good.  Cooking for a holiday like this one, does get tricky as I never, ever force my eating choices on anyone else, and I like to make everyone happy when I am the hostess.  I made a brisket last weekend, and hope that it will be decent.  I used a combination of everyone’s mom’s recipe.  We’ll see how that turns out.  Dad and Ellie will bring a lot of chickens and I will make a couple of Tofurky roasts, and the main course will be taken care of.  Of course there will be a cocktail hour and of course there will be gefilte fishlets and chopped liver.  There will also be veggies (including string beans from the garden—if you want to feel successful as a gardener, I definitely recommend beans as they grow very quickly), hummus and maybe even some “tuno,” which is mashed (or food processed) chick peas, celery, red onion, sour pickle and faux mayo.  I was mashing by hand until Liz suggested a similar recipe and said she uses the food processor.  I tried it yesterday and used a pulse to get the perfect texture.  It was quick, easy and yummy and I will probably make it again for tomorrow night.  Along with the main dishes, I will make a lot of roasted brussel sprouts/sweet potatoes/zucchini and a lot of roasted potatoes….white, red and purple.  We don’t do a seder in our family, which keeps it pretty easy.  We are more the drink, eat and see the family and friends type…and Mitch and I look forward to seeing some family members we haven’t seen in too long.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Kathy Freston arrives at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

I saw Kathy Freston on TV this week and she made a great dish and shared her recipe for  faux Philly steak sandwiches.  After sauteing the sliced peppers and onions, she added some spices,  shredded seitan (available in most grocery stores) and topped it with some vegan cheese that actually melted.  She used slices of cheese, but when I try it I am going to use the shredded Daiya mozzarella from Whole Foods as I find it the meltiest!  Once it was all placed on a sub roll it looked delicious.  She had 3 meat lovers taste and they all loved it.  At least that’s what they said!  She also made a very natural facial masque/exfoliator with rice flour and soy milk.  She mixed them together to make a paste.  Of course, I had to try it.  So all natural, what could be bad?  I will make it a little thicker the next time.  Anything that natural, inexpensive and easy to make can’t possibly be bad!  She claims the rice flour will help draw oils from oily skin but will NOT dry already drier skin.  Sounds perfect for everyone.  Look at the ingredients in your store bought exfoliator and you may want to try this one, too.  Additionally, if this is what Kathy does for her skin, I am on it.  I have no clue what else she does, but her skin looks fabulous.

There will be no vegan feast Thursday tonight as Mitch and I will be preparing food and setting up for tomorrow night so that I will be able to train and teach tomorrow.   Next Thursday we will resume our VFT and I think I am going to make  the noodles stroganoff  with mushrooms…or the Philly cheese steaks…or…..??  One thing I know, whatever decision I make, no animals (or arteries) will be harmed in the process.

One more note about food…and this is a big one.  I found out yesterday that thanks to the efforts of Lesley and Richard and everyone who helped make their fundraiser so successful, the soup kitchen is gearing up to start serving 2 meals instead of one.  We all know how important breakfast is for everyone and breakfast is coming soon!  If you had even the smallest part in making this happen, give yourself a huge pat on the back and know that you have made a big difference.


Get Your Spring On.

Spring has sprung Daffodils in Southchurch park
Nothing says Spring like daffodils. Maybe ours will show themselves soon.....

Get up and get your Spring on!  Even here where winter never really happens, signs of spring are everywhere.  For the first season, we have about a dozen (still very small) mangoes on the tree we planted in memory of my brother, Mike, who we lost to pancreatic cancer 5 years ago.  Like my brother, the tree posed some challenges, but now stands strong and we look forward to the day (hopefully this season) that we can eat the fruit!  The gardenia bush in the front is very busy budding for next’s months blooms and the string (rhymes with Spring!) beans and squash I planted from seed is growing beautifully.  The pool is heating up with each passing day and tonight when I finish work at 8pm, there will still be a hint of the last of the day’s sunlight.  I just love this day and hope wherever you are, whatever your day holds, you, too can celebrate the beginning of this season where barren turns to blossom, brown turns to green and everywhere in nature we are reminded that we can always start fresh, again.

Tonight on BL, the final contestants will find themselves amongst much blossom, green and beauty as they hit the shores of Hawaii, where aloha means hello and good-bye.  While 8 of them will get a hello aloha, one will get a goodbye aloha, as well.  Just a few more weeks till makeover!

Yesterday donations came in the mail at the gym and I thank you.  Carole, your generosity and words definitely brought tears to my eyes.  Thank you for 54+ years of friendship and support.  Thanks to my co-worker, Ellen for your generosity ( it is such a gift to be back together teaching with you!) and thanks to everyone who continues to support my efforts.  While the class is this Friday night, I will continue to take donations till next Thursday and will put up a direct link to the Soup Kitchen so that people, should they desire, can contribute directly to the Mission.

I simply have no clue why I can’t seem to get the photo from my site to appear on FB, but one thing I know is I won’t set myself up for frustration!  This morning I am off and ready to get outside and bond with Mother Nature so we can celebrate Spring, together (with bigred, of course).  Blaze and I are keeping good thoughts for BC our K-9 relative as he begins recovery from his lifesaving surgery, yesterday.  Remember, BC, in Spring, all things are possible.

Watching Our Gardens Grow

Lettuce Cultivars by David Shankbone, New York...
This isn't our garden, but I am happy to say, it looks close!

Over the past couple of months we have planted some tomato plants, carrot seeds, some herbs and 3 kinds of lettuce.  It’s amazing how the first few weeks everything looks like it will never amount to anything that  you can put on a table and actually thrive from and then all of a sudden, there it is.  This past week I have been able to go outside daily and pick  lettuce for the base of our dinner salad.  While romaine tends to be tricky here in South Florida (it gets too hot and the lettuce “bolts” or begins to flower and it gets too bitter) we have had some success with ours as well as with the butter crunch.  While I could see no way the iceberg was going to actually grow into heads, there they are, 2 on each plant.  The highlight, however, is the red leaf lettuce which is plentiful as well as beautiful and delish!  We haven’t harvested any of the tomatoes yet, but we have quite a few of them in the green and growing stages.  Carrot tops look lush as we built up the soil as per Green Thumb, Ted’s suggestion.  Admittedly, I did not put much effort into this year’s garden but am pleased to see that between Mother Nature, remembering to water most days and some homemade compost mixed in the soil, the gardens are kind of doing their thing on their own.  For many reasons, it is an awesome feeling to eat the food you grow!

As Derek turns 28 tomorrow, gulp, we look forward to celebrating tonight, with whichever members of the VFT posse are in town.  It’s one celebration after another around here this time of year.  Does it get better than that?  I think NOT.

Just as we have watched our gardens grow so beautifully, so have we watched our boys grow into wonderful, men.  Just one more reason to celebrate.

I’ll be at Tamarac Fitness Center today to sub Ellen’s 10 am SilverSneakers class.  Tomorrow, at 11:30 and Monday we are back to our regularly scheduled classes. 



Morning Weigh In it was a bit on the late side, and too late to impact this season, I was none-the-less saddened to hear that Miami Dolphin coach Tony Sparano was given the axe.  What good is a new coach without a quarterback?  Who will be the new coach?   This past Sunday I managed my best of the week’s sleep through the entire second half of the game.  After the first half, there was just no way I could keep watching.  Mitch has always told me it’s not at all easy being a Dol-fan.  I understand.  There’s always next year.

Saw the cupcakes that Lesley had Liz of the Conscious Cupcake make for our dentist, (we love him) Jeffrey Kritchmer.  With little teeth, toothbrushes and paste, those things looked so adorable.  Great job, Liz.  If you are local, you can check her out at this Sunday’s Parkland Farmer’s Market.  If not you can find her on Facebook.

Lettuce and tomatoes are doing pretty well in our home garden.  There is one tomato plant that actually was from last year, ended up in the compost which ended up as soil around our mango tree.  When I saw what looked like a  little tomato  plant  growing beneath the tree,  I let it get strong enough to transplant and this season it is leading the tomato pack.   In the lettuce garden their are 3 types growing and they all seem to be doing pretty well.  I have been able to pick a variety of leaves to add to our nightly salad.  In no time at all the lettuce for our nightly salads will be coming from there…and the tomatoes, too.  One of my favorite things about winter in Florida.

Speaking of favorite things…twice a year I get to go totally crazy over the finale of Biggest Loser.  Tonight, for the first time in many season, the guys rule.  John, Antone and my boy Ramon will fight it out on the scale for the grand prize of a quarter of a million dollars and bragging rights to the title of Season 12 Biggest Loser.  Any of the 3 can easily take this win.  With Ramon’s youth on his side and his incredibly infectious smile, I am holding on to hope that he is the last man standing when the confetti falls tonight.  For more inspiration and motivation than you can find ANYWHERE (at least regarding weight loss and personal change) tune in or set your DVR (as I am doing) for NBC, 9pm eastern time.  I am not sure what time I will be watching but if you hear some screams of either joy or disappointment late tonight, they will probably be coming from me.

With just 2 more Tuesday night’s of class before the new year, expect lots of peace at the 7pmer.  I am going to use the CD Jon gave me last week (of his own flute playing) and next week he should be back with us live and in person as we have one final session of stretch reduction before all the holidays and the changing of the years.  Is it really that time already?

One thing I know for sure.  A few years ago I made a resolution to feed more hungry people.  That resolution evolved into Vegan Feast Thursday, surely an example of how  when you give, you get so much more in return.  We have had the opportunity to not only see Derek every single week, but form bonds with the people in his life and keep a pulse on what’s happening with them and their generation.   To take all this a big step further,  I will be organizing a fund-raising effort to help with a much bigger effort that our good friends Lesley and Richard have taken on.  Stay tuned for more about the Soup Kitchen, and how YOU can help, after the new year.

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday!  As always, I thank you for stopping in for a little peaceandfitness weigh in.


Garden 1, Season 2


Keeping in mind my garden mentor Ted’s greatest advice, Mitch and I added lots of homegrown and store bought compost and garden soil to vegetable garden #1 this weekend.  There is nothing like dumping over that garbage bin and adding the rich black homegrown compost that was, only a short time ago, the waste from my kitchen.  To think that the vegetable peels, fruit rinds and morning coffee grinds have mixed with leaves to become the food that will help nurture the herbs and vegetables we will eat this fall and winter, is definitely an awesomely “organic” feeling.  While there is much planting ahead, I couldn’t resist starting the garden with some fresh herbs and several different types of tomato plants.  If I learned one thing from last year’s virgin garden, it’s that tomatoes not only do well in our yard, but are extremely easy to grow and we love eating them.  My goal is to have enough to share, this year.

Since I devoted Saturday afternoon to this project, I also spent time starting the new compost bin.  A second goal of mine is to put more kitchen discards into the compost and less into the garbage disposal or garbage pail.  I have taken back out the Gardening Bible that Ted and Dolores sent me, and am “digging deeper” into it to learn more.

When Saturday was all said and done, the hour and a half I spent at the gym in the morning didn’t compare with the workout that gardening provided that afternoon.  Carrying and pouring out bags and bins of soil, pulling weeds, planting seeds and plants, watering, working on the compost and cleaning up from everything was an awesome workout for the body and of course for the soul, as well.

Thanks to Mitch, without who’s help it would have been all I could do to just get those bags of soil home from the Depot!  We have a few more weekends of planting ahead of us including getting that second garden built up, planting various types of lettuce, finding the rest of the herbs I like to have at my finger tips when cooking and deciding what new veggies to try this season.

As I think about saying goodbye to my very favorite time of year, I am looking forward to watching my garden grow.

Maybe the Dolphins will grow as well.  Gotta have hope!

Body and Mind

This morning I was trying my best to put a picture of my friend and gardening mentor’s weekend harvest.  Carrots, squash, assorted potatoes and so much more filled his arms and buckets, but I forgot how to get the picture from my Ipad to this site…OUCH!  In any event, I am once again inspired to get busy in the garden.  I am also inspired to get with my webmaster and learn more about managing my site!!!

The good news is, being forced to learn new things really helps build new neurons/brain cells.  You know what else builds new brain cells?  30 minutes of daily exercise.  Just one more reason to get that body moving TODAY and every day.   Thanks to Dorothy, for that great article on just this topic—aging and keeping fit in both body and mind.

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a Happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little better for anything else.”
John Locke

Monday Morning Says: once and a while, the very least I can do is send a shout out to Janet, Joy and Renee, the 3 woman who came together to form STOPPNOW, a grass roots efforts to eliminate the Florida prescription drug pill mills.  Their incredible devotion to this cause has resulted in tons of media attention and ultimately helped in shutting down many of these.  Their next peaceful rally will be held this Friday, July 22nd from 9a-12p Fort Lauderdale Health Center 3267 Davie Blvd in Fort Lauderdale.  These ladies who have dedicated themselves to making change happen in order to save the lives of their and our loved ones, are facilitating very positive changes and have my greatest respect.  If you know anyone who would like to participate in this, or future protests (always peaceful) please share this link or for more info they can contact them directly at

It was great to have an impromptu happy hour (or two) with the friends on Saturday.  The weekend in general was pretty lazy which was exactly the way we planned it.  I did get a jump start on this weeks pool lap and did 20 yesterday. Also got a chance to say hi to my “grand-coatimundi,” Lulz.  What an interesting guy he is!

Derek’s friend Nicole dropped some small spaghetti squash off at my doorstep and I tried baking them different ways.  She participates in an urban farming group and apparently the squash are quite abundant right now! Last night I kept one whole and just pricked it with a fork a bunch of times before sticking in the oven as I was already roasting trays of cauliflower, eggplant, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes (which turned out to be a really good mix once cooked).   I cooked all the veggies for about an hour and then I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds and topped it with some Earth Balance and ate it along side the roasted veggies.  I also roasted some cubed tofu and Mitch grilled a piece of salmon.   The best part of dinner, however, was the homegrown pineapple that came of age in our front yard, yesterday.  I cut that up and served it with some mango from my students tree and some cherries from Publix.  Mitch said the pineapple was the best one ever!  We’ll be planting it’s top for a another generation of this fruit rich in magnese and vitamin C, and filled with so many other nutrients.

Eating a dinner like that on Sunday night always jumps starts my body for the week ahead. Highly nutritious, hydrating, very filling yet easy to digest, I feel happy, healthy and terrific this morning.  I am ready to tackle my classes, my walk with big red and weather permitting, try for 25 laps after work is over.  I will, once again, try for 100 laps this week.  As long as I can get in the pool between storms, I will do it!

What’s in store for you this week?  I am always curious!  Much love