Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Cherries!

Yummy, but don't eat too many!

I really like cherries. The other day I got to thinking about cherries and why they crack sometimes after you rinse them. I know that the crack is no a big deal but it looks gross, so I either toss the cherry, or cut off the crack and eat the rest. Yea, I know it’s ridiculous.  Anyway, I decided to look into the cherry cracking matter, here’s what I found.

Basically a cherry has a skin (they call it membrane, but I don’t like that word) that covers the fruit. Evidently, during the late stage of development, there’s an explosive increase in growth, the size of the cherry increases at a rate of one square centimeter (a sixth of a square inch) per day, which is a large rate of growth in relation to the small size of the fruit. Apparently, the insides of the fruit grows really fast but the outside skin remains the same size and is expected to stretch to cover the inside fruit (like a balloon filling with air). When the cherry gets wet, it puts a strain on the skin, and sometimes it cracks. Very interesting, don’t you think?

Since we’re talking cherries, here are a few tidbits you might like.

  • Washington State produces more than 50% of all the sweet cherries in the United States. Washington cherry season is June – August
  • The Rainier cherry, is yellow with a red blush, was made from a cross between two dark red cherries, the Van and Bing
  • Each American eats approximately 2.6 lbs. of cherries per year and there are approximately 53-pitted cherries in one pound of cherries (I have already eaten my quota!).
  • One cherry has 5 calories. One cup contains about 90 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
  • Cherries are a good source of vitamin C.

Personal lessons from Kelley

  • Watch that you don’t eat too many cherries. Remember, they’re high in fiber, which can be dangerous (get where I am going with this?). Trust me.
  • Cherry juice stains your fingers and cloths. Just so you know.

Enjoy!

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Geezzz, it’s just not getting much better…

MedBerries

It started on Friday (the 13th), I was meant to fly to San Diego for a Celebration of Life “Party.” Being the Ding Bat, that ageing is turning me into; I drove myself to the wrong airport. After sustaining a panic attach while being informed of my mistake, I finally got myself to San Diego where I realized that I had forgotten to pack a single piece of underwear. Given that I had to wear a dress to the party, this new development tossed me into another frenzy. In the end, I managed to survive the weekend in spite of the fact that at the party a man I’ve known for years called me aside and said with immense enthusiasm… “So, tell me about your partner!” It seems that because I’ve never spoken of the men in my life to this character and the fact that I live in San Francisco, he assumed I must be gay. Normally I could care less but on this day it just added to my emotional exhaustion.

I’m home now and have learned (according to my horoscope in Sunday’s SF Chronicle), that if I can’t “partner up” now, with Mars and Venus in my one-on-one sector, then it’s never going to happen. That’s just f’ing great! I have today, Tuesday, May 17th 2011 to find the man of my dreams and “partner up,” if I don’t, it’ll be just my cat and me until the day I die.

At this point I’ve decided the only thing that’ll make me feel better is to make chocolate dipped strawberries. I want chocolate chip cookies, a three-cheese pizza and a case of wine but I figure I should maintain some control. Just in case “he” shows up.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries — Easy, take a strawberry and dip it into melted chocolate, let it sit on a wax paper lined plate or tray and put in the frig till the chocolate is set.  You can roll the dipped berry in coconut or other nuts before setting if you like but remember the calorie count.

One cup of sliced strawberries contains about 49 calories and 3 grams of fiber plus a lot of other wonderful nutrients. Chocolate covered strawberries contain about 30 calories each. Not as bad as a cookie for sure. In my book a good substitute for those days when having chocolate is simply a must.

That’s all I got for you, gota get busy and hunt a man down.

See ya tomorrow.


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Radishes, not just for garnish anymore!

Kelley's Roasted Radishes

Before you turn up your nose hear me out! I realize that most people view the radish as one of those things that’s put on a plate for color to make it look pretty. Not necessarily to be eaten. Well, I am here to ask you to give the radish a chance.

Did you know that radishes are a member of the same family as broccoli and cauliflower? They’re also full of fiber and one cup of radishes contains as much potassium as a banana. That’s impressive. Radishes also contain properties that help with digestion and liver function. All great things for those of us looking to drop a few lb’s or do some detoxing.

While radishes can be grown year round, those harvested during winter and spring tend to be more sweet and tender. So, now’s the time to dig in!

While I like to eat radishes raw, I also like to roast them. (Bet you never thought of that!)

Kelley’s Roasted Radishes

2 bunches medium radishes (any color you like, the more colors the merrier)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut washed and dried radishes in half and toss in olive oil and sea salt. Place radishes cut side down on baking sheet and roast until they’re crisp and tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.

I like to serve roasted radishes as a simple side dish or: spread rounds of toasted bread with goat cheese and place radishes on top. Sprinkle with chopped radish tops for extra value!

Come on, everyone deserves a second chance. Especially the radish!


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Green goodness

Kelley's Rescued Favas

Fava beans are yummy. Ever have any? Problem is they’re a pain to prepare.

Traditionally, before you can eat a fava you have to shuck the green goodness from the pod, blanch them in boiling water and then shock ‘em in an ice bath.  After that you strip the tough outer skin off the bean, reducing it to the size of flat a kidney bean. I’ve always found this to be way too much work for a few beans.  You’d have to shuck for hours to get enough beans to feed more than a couple of people.

In Sunday’s Chronicle Food section there was an article about roasting fava beans. The article stated, that by roasting the beans you’re able to cut way down on the prep time. This sounded like a dream come true to me so off I ran to the farmers market where I filled my bag with favas.

Basically roasting a fava bean is just like roasting any other bean. You toss the clean beans (whole bean/pod) in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven at 450 degrees until tender.  According to the article you can eat the entire fava like you would a green bean, or you can treat them like you would edamame and shuck the bean from the pod post roast.

My review — Well, I did exactly as the recipe directed. I roasted the beans for 25 minutes, which turned out to be a bit too long.  A little disappointed but still excited I bit into one of the favas as if it were a green bean. Uck! I found the fibrous shell to be stringy and mushy so I scraped the notion of eating the pod/bean combo and took matters into my own hands.  I stripped beans from their mushy pods, tossed them on a plate, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of pecorino cheese. Saved! They were pretty good. Not as good as the blanched ones that take forever to prepare, but good. Certainly worth a try.  I’ll prepare favas this way again for certain.  The roasting method would be especially good if you wanted to mush the beans up with some garlic and spread the mixture on crostini with a little dusting of cheese.  When in doubt, add bread and cheese, you can’t go wrong.

P.s. According to the National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked fava beans contain about 187 calories, 13g protein and 9g of fiber and are an excellent source of iron, among other things.  Pretty good for a little bean.


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Spears of green

Asparagus Season

I figured I should talk about something less shocking today with all the butt crack business yesterday, so I decided to chat about Asparagus.

Asparagus is not my favorite vegetable but and after looking into it I found that there are some pretty interesting things about asparagus that I bet you don’t know.

The basics — Asparagus is in season from mid April through June and is mostly grown in Michigan, California and Washington State. It is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence and leads nearly all other produce in a wide array of nutrients. Asparagus contains only 20 calories per 5.3 oz serving and 3 grams of fiber. It’s very low in sodium and an excellent source of potassium, vitamin B6 and folacin (folic acid).

Did you know — Asparagus is a member of the Lily family? So are onions, leeks and garlic.

Strange but true — An asparagus spear can grow as much as one inch (or more) in an hour, and can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period, when weather conditions are just right. Not that’s crazy!

White asparagus — Is achieved by growing the stalks under mounds of earth so the sun does not strike them to produce chlorophyll. White asparagus is considered to be slightly milder in flavor and a bit more tender than green asparagus.

Why does your pee smell funny after you consume asparagus? — From my research, nobody seems to be able to agree on this.  All you need to know is that if your pee smells after eating asparagus (and not everyone can smell it) you are not alone and it’s natural so don’t fret.

How to store it — To maintain freshness, trim the ends and wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water and cover with plastic. Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days.

How to pick the best asparagus — 
Look for firm, fresh, spears with closed, compact tips. Larger diameter spears are more tender according to my research but I always found the skinny spears to be better. You can decide for yourself.

Cooking asparagus — Trim stem ends slightly and cook fresh asparagus for about 5 minutes in boiling water for a crisp and tender result. Or, trim ‘em toss ‘em in olive oil and roast in the oven for a few minutes till tender. That’s Kelley Style.

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus — (Now this sounds hella good!)

1-pound fresh asparagus
8 to 10 strips bacon

Wash and trim asparagus spears. Cut bacon strips in half crosswise. Wrap one-half strip bacon around each asparagus spear, leaving tip and end exposed. Lay on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bacon is cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature.

There you have it, the low-down on asparagus. Enjoy…


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How many colors is it?

Good eats!

I love Rainbow Chard! Okay so it’s not pizza, but you can put it on pizza if you we’re so inclined. I’ve done it. No sauce just sauté the chard in olive oil, add lots of garlic and lay tons of chard on a Gruyere covered pizza crust with a few pine nuts on top. Yum-a-saris!

I’m talking about Rainbow Chard today because it occurred to me that since it’s “rainbow” it might cover more than just the “green” vegetable color category. You know how I’m always telling you to eat 5 colors a day? Well, I wondered if Rainbow Chard got to claim more than one color. While I couldn’t find any hard, written evidence that “Yes, Rainbow Chard is allowed to claim a rainbow of colors” I’m guessing it can.

Here’s why — Because each color category represents different nutrients and antioxidants. That’s how each piece of fruit or vegetable gets its color. So, it would make sense that the yellow-stemmed pieces would be high in carotenoids and flavonoids (good sources of vitamin A), and the red & pink pieces would contain more Lycopene, like in tomatoes. While all pieces get to claim green which contains lutein, a substance that can maintain healthy vision. The different colored pieces can’t be the color they are, sans the above chemicals, or phytonutrients. Hence my conclusion that Rainbow Chard counts for 3 colors. Green, yellow/orange and red/pink.

Either way it’s yummy, Rainbow Chard’s pink, orange, yellow, and red stalks are sweeter than light or white varieties. Pick a bunch with deep green, crisp leaves and you have just chalked 3 colors off your list for the day (in my world anyway).

Here’s how I like to prepare my Rainbow Chard

  • 2 bunches Rainbow Chard
  • Lots of olive oil (I probably used 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Lemon zest (I used about 1/2 lemon)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Sauté chopped chard in olive oil and garlic till tender. Garnish with lemon zest, S&P. Serve as a side dish as is, or my fav — toss into pasta or gnocchi with a little pecorino cheese on top.

Like I said, yum-a-saris!

P.s. Chard is in season through April so now’s the time!


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Egg me

Best source o’ protein

You already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (you do know that right?). Did you also know, current studies show that you should eat 25- 30 grams of protein for breakfast? Protein first thing in the morning not only will jump start your metabolism, it’s more filling and takes longer to digest, so in theory, you’ll eat less as the day goes on.

Here are my suggestions for some mighty fine high protein breakfasts.

Oatmeal – 1 cup only has 6 grams of protein but it’s full of fiber. You’ll need to add some nuts and milk to get closer to your 30 grams.

Brick of dough – if you are not willing to give up that bagel remember the average bagel has about 350 calories and 13 grams of protein. Replace the cream cheese and top with cottage cheese. It’s not that bad! Toss some tomato slices on top for color. (I’m talkin’ to you Mike!)

Greek yogurt – add low fat granola and fresh berries. Try blue berries and raspberries that way you get two of your daily colors taken care of.

Breakfast Burrito – Whole-wheat tortilla, 2 eggs, veggies of choice (remember your colors!), a bit of cheese and salsa. Yum!

Protein FYI’a

  • 1-cup milk 8 grams protein
  • ½ cup low fat cottage cheese is 16 grams
  • 1 cup non fat yogurt 13 grams
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 20 grams
  • 1 egg 6 grams
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese 7 grams
  • ½ cup tofu 10 grams
  • ½ cup most beans 7.5 grams
  • 6 grams per 1-cup soymilk
  • 14 walnut halves 4 grams for
  • 20 Almonds 6 grams
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter 8 grams

Don’t forget to have some fiber with your protein to keep it moving along its path. You know how I feel about that.