Category Archives: Get Ready to Get Fit

Real Food


It is officially the weekend! Hope that most of you are also having time off

from work. I do feel bad for those who are weekend ‘warriors’ or have to

go into a job, while others are off. It all balances out, I suppose. My oldest

daughter is one who works weekends, gets a couple of weekdays off, along

with my son. Both are busy parents and partners with someone who is the

one who is home over the weekend. While during the week, I may keep a

healthy eating balanced ‘diet,’ on weekends; I enjoy ‘splurges!’

My friend and I walked to Dairy Point, to get our ‘end of summer’ meal

there. Mine is a hot dog with onions, pickles, relish and mustard, fried

mushrooms with ranch dressing to add more calories and dip into and

a sundae. This place roasts nuts, they have what they call, “The Nut

House,” as part of their business. This will let you in on why I get so

excited to go there, (remember that I like butter pecan ice cream?)

I usually ask for their hard ice cream in the butter pecan flavor, a big

dose of hot caramel, real whipped cream, a cherry on top with roasted

salty pecans added over the top. This was my meal. No apologies, to

the ones who don’t eat animal by-products nor the ones who are possibly



I love this quote that is attributed sometimes (accidentally) to George

Carlin, the comedian. It is actually taken from the book, “The Vision of

Buddhism: The Space Under the Tree” by Roger J. Corless:


“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to

satisfy your hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”


In order to ‘redeem myself’ and make myself not feel too guilty about my

innocent ‘splurge,’ I am going to let you in on some healthy and yummy

foods to snack and enjoy over the weekend!


Here are some appetizing and delicious natural food products that can be

purchased in your local grocery store or Trader Joe’s may have another

equivalent, more fresh choices available, too.

1. Sabra.  Have you tried this brand yet?

I love the Classic Guacamole with healthy fat, fiber and Vitamin C.


2. Wholly Classic Mild (or you may try a spicier blend) of Salsa.

I like blue corn chips to dip into this and feel the tomatoes and

flavors are almost as good as homemade salsa. In this healthy

snack, there are only 10 calories in the salsa, but keep in mind

the word:  moderation when it comes to the chips!


3. Triscuit’s have a great line called, “Hint of Salt,” which makes

this a good one to add a slice of low sodium cheese or peanut

butter to make it complete.


4. Here’s another cheese to try on those Triscuits, woven crackers:

Kerrygold Reduced Fat Dubliner cheese. This is made from milk

from grass fed cows, smooth texture with 1/3 fat.


5. Another choice of cheese is Vermont Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese.

I love this natural, lower fat cheese with the flavor of sourness, like

it is made out of sour cream.


6. My youngest daughter and I had an antipasto box and added hummus

with sliced carrots and cucumbers from Opa’s Greek Restaurant, located

across the street from my apartment to watch a movie. We felt self-righteous

and healthier than our usual buttered popcorn and chocolate candies, we

usually buy to eat when we are sitting on a mattress in my living room floor.

We watched the movie that Beth recommended, so I must write a review soon

on the movie. Coming Soon at a blog near you!


7. A delicious and acquired taste that was shared with me by a friend, is the

Kalamata Olive Spread that supplies good olive fat and that tangy flavor of

olives. I enjoy this on pita corners, supplied by the Opa’s Greek Restaurant

or spread directly on a thick slice of cheese.


8. Planter’s Nuts has come up with a great new product called, “Nut-ration

Heart Healthy Mix.” This can be a great protein snack that meets some of

your salty taste buds’ needs! (Hint: 50% less sodium than their other cans

of mixed nuts.)


9. If you are one, like one of my old boyfriends, who likes to have pizza to

‘chow down on,’ you may wish to try Amy’s brand, which has a whole wheat

kind of crust or Amy’s Pesto Pizza, with has less saturated fat and sodium,

along with baking it will bring out the fresh taste, you can also add some of

your garden herbs and vegetables. You may find this brand either in the

general frozen foods’ aisle or you may need to look for Amy’s in the healthy

frozen foods’ section. In our local Kroger’s, I found several variations of

this name brand in a separate area of the store, close to the produce


10. Since I mentioned deep fried mushrooms, on my lunch menu today, I

should offer a healthy alternative: “Alexia Mushroom Bites with Roasted

Garlic and Olive Oil.” They are a non-greasy yet tasty substitute. I like to

add a low fat ranch dressing, which if you haven’t tried Cindy’s Kitchen

brand, their product line offers Fresh Buttermilk Ranch. Yummy!


When I mentioned that my youngest daughter and I viewed a movie,

while eating the antipasto and hummus with vegetables, I would also like

to include in this post a recipe for:

“Spiced Chickpea Yogurt Dip”

Serves 12 people.

a. Rinse and drain 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas.

b. Add to food processor, with 6 T. of 2% plain Greek-style yogurt,

2-3 T. of fresh lemon juice, 2 T. of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp.

minced garlic and 1 and a 1/2 tsp. Moroccan seasoning (McCormick

has this, along with other shops sell different variations).

Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

c. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

(Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.)

Serve with pita chips, corners or crudités for dipping. Or as I

mentioned, we chose to add carrots and cucumbers.


Which, by the way, the fun walk and lively conversation, along with the

tasty treats, were ‘way’ worth it the calories and ‘danger’ to our arteries!

Yet, definitely not ‘worked off’ on our 1 mile walk home.  My friend chose

a chili dog, a peanut butter shake and also a side dish of French fries. No

ranch, just ketchup.


Have fun any way you can this weekend!

Closing with a ‘real’ quote from great comedian/philosopher, George Carlin:

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.”




Get Out and Walk!


Nature and Parks are the best places to be when it is cold and there

is snow on the ground. Bundle up! Wear layers and boots, sometimes, if

they are not waterproof, I will wear two pairs of socks and a bread

bag on each foot, inside my boots! This really insulates and protects

your toes. Even the “best quality” boots can be water permeable, unless

you have the proverbial ‘rubber boots!’ Andrea Cambern, a former news

and television broadcaster initiated a Central Ohio program for the

parks here, aptly titled, “Commit to be fit!” hope this post will serve

you well, in its inspiration and getting you in an active frame of mind.

I went for a walk on New Year’s Day with someone I had not seen for

awhile. My schedule opened up after I dropped my granddaughters off,

and I had buoyed spirits, full of ‘bon vivant’ and jovial feelings.

Extra energy was pouring out of my pores! I answered the cell phone,

somewhat with trepidation, half with excitement. Yes, I would meet

at a park, half distance from his place to mine. We met at the Genoa

Township Park, walking fairly quickly, admiring the fact the temps

were in the ‘double digits’ and the sun was shining! What a great

sign of a wonderful new year in each of our separate, but somehow

connected, lives.

Conversation bounced from grandkids to work schedules, veering off

into our ongoing, continued friendships and relationships with the

opposite sex. I had not been able to see Bill today, I said, due

to his college football scheduling conflicts. He had promised me

“dainty treats at Starbucks café” and was going back on his word!

I was making sure the other party did not think I was ‘desperate’

nor lacking entertainment. I also mentioned I was going home with

an appetite later for my son’s pork roast, daughter in law’s baked

three cheese and macaroni casserole and the requisite sauerkraut.

All, to me, the best meal to begin one’s new year and give you a

bit of good luck, too. After walking, I would not feel guilty about

the large meal. I would be ready to consume it all, deliciously,

lounging on the sofa with a pile of movies rented from the library.

This man is in a relationship, not married nor engaged, but tied up

none the less, waiting for morsels of her time over the holidays.

Her ex-husband provides housing, you see, for her sister and brother

in law, therefore the fun after holidays game playing period, ends

up at his house. Also, for New Year’s Day, all had some kind of

dinner planned, again excluding the present boyfriend. I ‘tut-tut’

and give a few sympathetic ‘too bad’s’ but am secretly a little bit

happy, is that kind to say? I mean, we were broken up by this said

woman, now he did what my Dad would declare from time to time:

“You made your bed, now lie in it!” (By the way, one must not use

the word “lay,” since that is the word meant to be used as “to place

an object” somewhere, not a body! I learned this from my frequent

error of saying in front of my mother, the English grammarian and

teacher, “I like to ‘lay out’ in the sun!” Horrors! My Mom would get

all wound up with a lecture about that one, even to this forgetful

and feeble minded day! Huge smiles at that memory!)

We saw some birds take off in the woods, heard and saw some scampering

squirrels, along with my special bird of choice, several male red

cardinals, along with their yellowish, brown mates on our walk.

We breathed deeply, listening to the crunching sound of our boots

on the path, giving pauses in our lively conversation.

Anyway, here are some interesting historical facts about the parks

and recreation areas that make us all so lucky to be in our fabulous

United States!

In June, 1864, almost 150 years from this time, Abraham Lincoln signed

into effect, a bill creating the “world’s first public, government-run

park!” This was, of course, the beginning of the Yosemite Park.

Then, eight years later, (1872), Yellowstone National Park became the

first National Park! (It apparently was not government funded totally,

and the name National Park was added to Yellowstone.)

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed into legislation the federal organization

known as the National Park Service.

Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize winning author, called this, “America’s

best idea.” Another great author and screenwriter/producer/director,

Ken Burns’ documentary, “The National Parks” can be rented and seen in

your home on several discs.

A couple of years ago, for only $80, one could purchase an annual pass

(or an even better purchase, for a person over 62 years, only $10 will

buy you a lifetime pass!) This pass will get you access to 395 national

parks and cultural highlights of our nation.

I watched, “Miss Potter,” an excellently written, portrayed and amusing

movie again recently. If you have not seen it, it’s a charming movie that

tells all about the naturalist, conservationist, author and illustrator.

Renee Zewelleger and Ewan McGregor do admirable jobs in portraying these

real people.

Beatrix Potter made a lot of money selling her books with her darling

drawings, with watercolors. This was rare for women in her day. You may know

her more from her drawings of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel

Nut-kin. The movie also has some whimsy, in that the drawings become moving

and wriggling animated creatures that Beatrix talks to. Loved this aspect of

it! After all, we all kind of coax our living animals and talk like they are

people, along with talking to our characters in our stories.

She also illustrated all varieties of nature, including mice, bats, insects,

and fungi. She left, when she died in 1943 her inheritance to the National

Trust, hundreds of acres of land to be kept as nature preserves in England.

These are located in the Lake District National Park. For years to come,

they will protect the land from construction and other forms of ‘progress’

ruining it.

I know every country, in the world, has beautiful landscapes, parks and

historical features to be seen and treasured. The birds and wildlife can

be observed, the paths usually kept walkable, so if you are not from the

U.S. go out, discover and explore your parks! Tell us about your favorite

locations, if you would like.

There is not many things one can do to get that exhilarating thrill of a

speedy, quick paced walk with a friend, sharing and catching up on each

other’s lives. The cold air on your face will not freeze it off, you may

even get some sun on it, so put protective lotion on with SPF in it!

I have only three books to recommend in this post today, I hope that by

taking them out at your library, purchasing them online, at a local book

store or one of my favorite ‘bargain places,’ Half Price Books.

1. Lonely Planet’s “Discover USA’s Best National Parks,” (500 pages). This

is a fantastic guidebook and a great coffee table book. It includes full color

photographs and important details, including costs, lodging and other neat,

helpful information.

2. “Ranger Confidential: Living, Working and Dying in the Parks,” (265 pages).

The author, an actual Park Ranger, Andrea Lankford, tells in both a humorous

tone and a serious one, all about her experiences. This non-fiction book also

gives you a scary statistic; that a Park Ranger has fifteen times more chances

of dying in his/her position than an FBI agent!

3. “Ansel Adams’ in the National Parks,” (344 pages). The famous black and

white iconic photographer, is featured with his pictures of the parks, dating

back from the 1940’s. You have seen the most famous photographs of Yosemite Park,

Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Tetons, but the ones that will be also

fascinating to you, will be ones of over forty other parks that he photographed.

Hope this post and its facts, books and thoughts about nature will get you

moving towards the great outdoors! Communing with Mother Nature may be the way

to keep a few of your resolutions and keep your sanity, too.