Dog Days of Summer – August End of Summer Awesomeness

Happy National Dog Day!  Apparently this is a thing, an awesome end of summer holiday if you ask me.  I celebrated in the following ways:

  1. I took my Greyhounds, Lucie and Buddy, for a walk – and I even let Buddy lay in the sunshine for a little while before herding them back inside where I had work waiting for me.
  2. The Hounds will get a special chewy treat after their dinner.  And an extra belly rub.  And a few ear scratches.  A few more than usual.
  3. And finally – I registered for Race for the Rescues!

I signed up for the 1K, which is probably the shortest race I’ve ever registered for, but that is the right length for my 40-mile-per-hour couch potatoes:

photo(70)

The donations raised through Race For The Rescues will be used to help save the lives of once forgotten dogs, cats and horses and help them become cherished family members. As well as preventing cruelty to farm animals and providing important programs to the community such as veterinary care for the pets of low-income families and free spay and neuter clinics.  One of the benefactors of this event is Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest, the organization through which we adopted our second dog, Buddy and where I’ve donated both my time and money to support the wonderful work they do to help find forever homes for Retired Racing Greyhounds.  As I’ve mentioned before, Greyhounds make wonderful pets!  These sweet gentle giants are actually great apartment dogs and are VERY mellow.  We always get asked if they need a lot of exercise, and the truth is they don’t – my dogs sleep about 23 hours a day, which is why a 1K race will be perfect for them.  Please take a moment and check out my fundraising page and consider making a donation to this great cause.

Question for you:  Do you have a favorite animal rescue organization?

 

Nectarines – August End of Summer Awesomeness

Today I stopped by neighborhood Farmers Market and picked up a few things I don’t normally get, including a couple of nectarines, as I try to mix up my end-of-summer palette. In past week’s I’ve been loading up on berries before they are out of season. Today I decided to branch out – Nectarines are in their prime in late summer and they looked and smelled absolutely wonderful today. Here are 3 fun facts about Nectarines:

1) Nectarines are in the same family as peaches, but they don’t have that fuzzy peach fuzz.
2) They are loaded with antioxidants, with a higher concentration in the peels; this helps boost your immune system and promotes good cardiac health.
3) Nectarines aid digestion due to their fiber content and promotes detoxification.
@reni.health.coach

I still picked up some berries (blackberries to be exact!) but I’m enjoying a nectarine as I type this – yum! This luscious stone fruit may end up becoming part of my regular shopping list while they remain in season.

Question for you: Have you tried anything new from your Farmers Market lately?

Cheers³

Reni

August End of Summer Awesomeness – Zucchini

The Farmers Market’s are bursting with zucchini in August!  And if you’ve planted any in your home garden, it’s likely taken over by now.  This is a VERY easy zucchini recipe that you can use when you have plans to BBQ that is super easy, healthy, and quick to clean up!  But first here are some health benefits of zucchini:

  1. Zucchini is a great source of vitamin C.  Skip the orange, have the zucchini!
  2. Zucchini helps promote healthy insight!  It contains 2 phytonutirents:  lutein and zeaxanthin – they filter light as it enters your eye, helping to ensure that harmful rays can’t damage your eyes.
  3. It is low in calories –  cup of zucchini slices is about 19 calories.

Zucchini in Foil Packets on the Grill

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Nutrition Information:

image(1)

Directions:

  • Wash and slice the zucchini – nice thick slices
  • Put the slices on a long piece of foil
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Spritz with olive oil
  • Wrap up into a foil packet – make sure the edges are sealed
  • Gill over low heat for about 10-20 minutes – less time if you prefer your veggies a little crunchy, more time if you prefer them more cooked
  • This is a great side dish with whatever you are throwing on the grill, and doesn’t require much clean up other than pitching the oil

Question for you:  What is your favorite zucchini recipe?

Cheers³

Reni

August End of Summer Awesomeness – Back to School Shopping with Stitch Fix

Back to School Shopping used to be one of my favorite end of summer activities, and here are 3 reasons why:

  1. Dressing for Success:  It was absolutely critical to pick out the right outfit for the first day of school to make the right impression on classmates and teachers.
  2. School Supplies:  Picking out a new trapper keeper and day planner was so fun, and using new pens in fresh notebooks invoked a sense of zen-like relaxation.
  3. New shoes!  Perhaps a new pair of volleyball shoes for the upcoming season or a stylish new pair of ballet flats to wear with the previously mentioned first day of school outfit.

I recently did a little “Back to School” shopping myself (even thought I’ve been in school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition since January).  Since I work from home, my day-to-day outfits involve mostly yoga pants and tank tops, but now that I can start working with clients as a Health Coach (more information about that exciting news in an upcoming post!) I realized I needed to invest in a few new pieces.  I wanted a couple of outfits I could wear when meeting with clients, hosting a cooking class or leading a nutrition discussion that would look professional and inspire confidence.  However, I didn’t have much spare time to spend scouring the mall for new clothes that fit well and presented the image I was looking for – working full-time, going to school, building a business, training for my upcoming race and taking care of 2 big furry Greyhounds doesn’t leave me with much extra time!  So I decided to give Stitch Fix a whirl….

Stitch Fix

According to the Stitch Fix website, “Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!”  I filled out a profile, picked a date for my Fix, and waited by the door for my delivery.  And when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised!  It included clothing I wouldn’t have picked out on my own, but they fit perfectly and they worked with my personal style.

In my first Fix, I kept a pair of skinny jeans and a blue and white tank top and in my second Fix, I kept a cute little black dress, a green peasant top, blue cropped pants, and a black and white top (not pictured above).  The items I returned included a jean jacket (I already had one), a top with brass/gold accents (I only wear silver jewelry), a dress with super skinny straps (I refuse to wear strap-less bras), and a blue print top that was just too similar to the other blue and white tank top I kept.  I was able to provide feedback on the items I returned so my stylist could make better choices in the future – and clearly it worked as I kept twice as much in the second fix compared to my first one.  I was amazed how well everything fit;  I’m tall with an athletic build, so I have a hard time finding clothes that fit right even when I do spend hours trying things on. Each Fix also includes a little card with suggested outfits for each item, so you can see different ways to mix and match with clothes I might already own;  this was super helpful seeing as I seemed to forget how to put together an outfit after too many days wearing yoga pants!

Questions for you:  Do you need a “Back to School” outfit to make a great first impression?  Or maybe you are looking to spice up your style and you don’t have a ton of time to shop?  I highly recommend Stitch Fix!  Let me know if you check it out – I’d love to see pics of your new clothes.

Cheers³

Reni

 

 

 

August End of Summer Awesomeness – Heirloom Tomatoes & Caprese Salad Stacks

As we roll into August, my local Farmers Market now boasts pints and piles of tomatoes of all shapes and sizes.  My favorite are definitely Heirloom Tomatoes because they are so flavorful and come in many different shapes and brilliant colors.  I recently learned there are many varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes growing all over the world.  Some of the broader types you may have heard of include Brandywine and Yellow Blush. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind when selecting your Heirloom Tomatoes from your local Farmers Market or Grocery Store:

  1. Heirlooms are more fragile than other varieties of tomatoes, so they are more difficult to grow.
  2. They ripen faster,  so don’t buy in bulk – only buy enough for a few days.  If they are really soft, they are likely over-ripe.
  3. Do not store them in the fridge;  this will soften them and make them mushy.

I recently enjoyed some heirlooms in a tasty twist on the Caprese Salad:

Caprese Salad Stacks: 

caprese salad stacks - pic

Ingredients / Nutrition Information:

Caprese Salad Stacks - Nutrition Info

Directions:

  1. Slice the heirloom tomato into horizontal slices and slice the fresh mozzarella cheese.
  2. Beginning with the bottom slice of tomato, layer mozzarella cheese, a fresh basil leaf, fresh ground pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Repeat the layering process until you’ve reached the top slice of tomato.
  4. Garnish with 1-2 additional basil leafs, one last olive oil drizzle and pinch or pepper on top and secure the salad stack with 1-2 toothpicks.
  5. When you are ready to dig in, slice vertically and enjoy!

Questions for you:  Are you growing your own tomatoes this summer?  How is the harvest?

Cheers³

Reni

August End of Summer Awesomeness – PiYo Results

I recently finished my 30 day PiYo Challenge and I’m psyched:  I lost 1 pound and 5.5 inches total, including 2 inches from my waist! 

PiYo

Let me tell you a little more about my PiYo journey;  there were 3 main factors that lead me to undertake my challenge:

  1. Two weeks before starting my PiYo challenge, I completed a Half Marathon, running much faster than I did last year, so I was feeling great but I wanted to take a break from running so much and wanted to build strength and increase flexibility.
  2. I had quite a bit of travel planned during July, so I needed extra structure to ensure I stayed active and had incentive to focus on healthy eating habits since I tend to spurge too much food-wise when I’m on the road and out of my normal routine.
  3. Finally, I want to add Fitness Coaching to the Nutrition Counseling I am learning about at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I figured I’d learn so much by going through a Group Program as a client first.

Since my goal was to increase my strength and flexibility, PiYo was a great match.  I’ve done yoga and Pilates in the past and found them challenging while yielding great results when done consistently over a period of time.  There were other workout DVDs available but PiYo was the best match for me and my goals at this time.  The three main components of my PiYo Challenge included:

  1. 10 PiYo workouts on DVD with a 6-day-a-week fitness schedule to maximize results while working out at home.  The workouts included lots of  lunges, downward dogs, tricep push-ups, and even a few burpees.  Some workouts focused on specific area, for example Upper / Lower Body or Core.  They range in intensity from pretty tough (the workout called Sweat) to VERY tough (the workout called Drench).  I followed the plan and added 3 days of running each week. 
  2. Shakeology, a super-food-protein shake.  When blended with a healthy beverage (i.e. water or almond milk) and fruit and / or veggies, a ShakeO Smoothie can be used as a meal replacement or healthy snack.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first, having recently tried a different meal replacement shake that tasted very chalky with fructose (sugar) as a top ingredient.  ShakeO won me over:  It tastes great (Vegan Chocolate was my favorite) and the ingredient list is full of healthy foods and supplements that I can pronounce and confirm the health benefits because I’ve learned all about them at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, like quinoa and chia.  I now have one ShakeO Smoothie every day, for breakfast or a post workout snack.
  3. A private Facebook group lead by a Coach to keep the group accountable and supportive band of women who were looking to improve their health with fitness and better eating.  Our Coach had us post daily about our workouts and food plan and kept things fun through questions of the day and having everyone post workout photos (aka “sweaty selfies”) and pics of our healthy snacks and meals.  It was extremely motivating for me to stick to my workout plan when I saw my “virtual workout buddies” working out every day and it was a good way to get ideas for new healthy meals to try by seeing what others were eating.  Here is a collection of my collages of “sweaty selfies” and healthy food:

30 Day PiYo Challenge

My goal was to “tone up,” not necessarily lose weight, so I’m thrilled with my progress.  It was fun to shake up my workouts and leap out of the plauteau I hadn’t even realized I was sitting on with just running with no cross training.  My clothes are fitting more comfortably and I think I see the faint outline of some ab muscles trying to come out of hiding, so that is encouragement enough to keep up PiYo as part of my regular workout routine. 

Question for you:  Are you interested in getting some real fitness results with the support of a Coach to hold you accountable while you connect with others who are working to accomplish their health and fitness goals?  I’m developing my Challenge Group plans now and will be launching several programs this fall;  Contact me to get added to my Challenge Group email list so I can keep you up-to-date on all the important details!

Cheers³

Reni

July Grilling Wrap Up – DIY Dry Rub

Confession time:  I didn’t post many recipes for the grill in July.  I spent more time doing PiYo (blog about that coming soon!) and traveling (to Walla Walla, Washington for the 4th of July wine tasting, to Manzanita Beach for running and relaxation, and most recently to Chicago to visit family) and less time blogging in July.  So here is one last recipe for the grill and the top 3 reasons it sizzles:

  1. This is a DIY Dry Rub from my husband Matt, inspired by Chef Bobby Flay – the ultimate Grill Master.
  2. No need to buy expensive rubs at the grocery store!  You probably have all the ingredients you need in your spice rack already.
  3. This tastes great with steaks (sirloin, New York strip) and pork chops.

DIY Dry Rub

DIY Dry Rub - http://cheers3.wordpress.com/

Ingredients – 2 tbsp (or equal parts) of each spice:

  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chilli powder
  • cumin

Directions:

  1. Measure out the spices in a bowl and mix together evenly
  2. Provide a good coat of the rub to the meat you want to grill
  3. Store any left over rub in a tightly sealed glass container – I re-use an empty spice jar
  4. Let the rub “sit with the meat” for about an hour prior to grilling
  5. Fire up the grill and cook your meat!

As August begins, I feel like there is so much I want to do still to enjoy summer despite all the back-to-school ads I see on TV.  So the theme for August will be End of Summer Awesomeness!

Question for you:  What is one awesome thing you want to do before the end of summer?

Cheers³

Reni