What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

While I plan to share more of my eats and the dishes that I throw together on a regular basis soon, I’d also like to share with you some of the recipes that I’ve cooked and have been enjoyed by others recently.

I didn’t start cooking until a few years ago, and at that point I was already eating a mostly vegan and mostly gluten-free diet, so my cooking skills aren’t exactly what you’d call “well-rounded.” I’m really interested in expanding my repertoire though so using my very brave boyfriend and friends as guinea pigs, I’ve embarked on a mission to learn to cook meat.

Ek!

Recently the MCLV kitchen has made…

Turkey and Bean Chili

Turkey & Black Bean Chili from Eat, Live, Run (recipe here, picture above): My parents live in Albuquerque these days so I’ve learned to appreciate chilis and HOT food. I thought I may have overdone it with the spices in this dish, but since I came home to find the Tupperware container of leftovers completely empty I think it was a success after all… 🙂

chicken

Stuffed Chicken Breasts from The Fitnessista (recipe here, picture above): Two of the BF’s favorite things to eat are chicken and goat cheese so when I saw this recipe I KNEW it would be a hit. I wasn’t wrong. Another bonus of this one is that it’s incredibly easy and quick, with virtually no prep work.

Pumpkin Chili from The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson (recipe here, picture above): While I take the 5th on whether or not I made this chili in the buff – a la Rachel – I can tell you that it was quite the success. It has the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor without being too overwhelming, but was still hearty and wintry.

Coconut Chicken Fingers Recipe

Coconut Chicken from Cooking Light (recipe here, picture above): Coconut anything (milk, flakes, water, oil, butter, flour…) is a major ingredient in my apartment these days and everyone I know loves it so when I read about Rachel’s experience with this recipe I decided to use it as inspiration and tweak it a bit. Rather than breading the chicken breasts with coconut flakes, egg, and flour, I decided to just use coconut flakes and coconut milk as a marinade w/ some serious chili sauce for the perfect kick.

Spiced Honey Chicken Thighs

Honey Spiced Chicken from Holly Would If She Could (recipe here, picture above): This is everything that I look for in a recipe – quick, easy & composed entirely of ingredients that I already have in my apartment! The verdict? Mikey likes it! 🙂

You may have noticed that I stole borrowed pictures from the recipe sites, well unfortunately my boyfriend seems to be in a constant state of starvation – I feed him, I swear – and tends to eat everything before I can get a picture of it. I’ll try to do better in the future, even if I have to invest in pepper spray!

Stay tuned for a new weekly MCLV segment on cooking and recipes – from Paleo-friendly eats to vegan, gluten-free and raw recipes. A little something for everyone.  

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Best of 2011

As I was doing my daily blog reading this morning I stumbled upon quite a few 2011 recap & “best of” type of posts. I found that they were really fun to read because it let me get the author’s opinion on things I may have missed over the course of the last year – which was especially fun when it came to the blogs that I only recently discovered.

So in that spirit I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from 2011:

Fashion

  • Best Red Carpet StyleZoe Saldana & Diane Kruger. Sorry, can’t narrow it down further, it goes against nature to pick between these two.
  • Favorite NewcomerAmber Heard & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. They share a certain poise and both favor glamorous, ladylike gowns on the red carpet, which I love. (And I am not at all upset or jealous that Rosie is dating Jason Statham. I swear.)
  • Go-to Fashion Blog – I hate to narrow this down to a single site since I’ve discovered some really great ones this year, but I’d have to say that the most entertaining one I read is Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated. I’ve had to outlaw it at work because I can’t stop laughing at their commentary.
  • Best Trend – Bright, minimalist Calvin Klein gowns
  • Favorite Collaboration – Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s Impulse

Fitness

  • Favorite Blog –  The Fitnessista is a great website with motivating posts & booty busting workouts, I’ve cited it a lot in my Gym Goddess series.
  • Favorite ApparatusMedicine balls! There are an endless number of great workouts that you can do to emphasize different muscle groups and you can even do them with limited space which is great if you don’t want an expensive gym membership or if you travel a lot.
  • Best New Workout You Tried – I’m going to have to go with CrossFit. My boyfriend is an instructor so with some not-so-gentle urging I gave CrossFit a try, and  I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven’t taken an intro class I highly recommend it. It can be intimidating at first, but it’s challenging, intense and a great atmosphere if you’re competitive and like to push yourself.
  • Best Magazine – I adore Women’s Health. They have creative ideas for workouts, pick great, inspirational women to feature and I love the fun little facts & cute workout gear they include every month.

Food

  • Favorite Recipe – Vegan Mac n’ Cheese made from butternut squash & ANY of Evan’s desserts over at The Wannabe Chef. Seriously, check out his site, he has any type of recipe you could want – vegan, paleo, gluten-free…
  • Best New Ingredient – 2011 was the year of coconut milk! Not only is it high in phosphorus, potassium and iron, its delicious in everything from smoothies to veggies to curries. Yum. (Yes Sean, you were right)
  • New FindLollihop (which I promise you a full post on in the next week or so!)
  • Favorite BlogHungry Hungry Hippie & Oh She Glows
  • Best Books – I can’t pick just one! The Kind Diet, Peas & Thank You, I Am Grateful and Clean were some of the bests though.

What are you favorite new finds of 2011?

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more new and exciting in 2012! 🙂

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MCLV’s Non-Resolution 2012 Resolutions

You know what I hate? New Years Resolutions. And not just because I can’t get any time on the elliptical for the month of January while everyone whose New Years Resolution was to get into shape wears themselves out and rethinks their life choices. No, I dislike them because for the most part you just spend fifteen minutes on January 1st spitting out a list of grandiose plans for the year and then you forget about them around the time your hangover wears off.

But hey, I’m as guilty as most when it comes to the charade that is New Years Resolutions. However, this year, this year I have a plan. A good plan. I’m going to set goals at the beginning of each month, small goals, just some aims to keep in mind for the upcoming four weeks

This is inspired by my friend Holly of Holly Would If She Could who embarked on the Look Better Naked Challenge in November of 2011 and has been writing about her progress each week. Reading her posts I realized just how beneficial it is to approach this sort of challenge a week at a time – its less intimidating, its more manageable. And for someone with the attention span of a 2-year-old, I figured even I could maintain a set course of action for seven days at a time.

Overarching 2012 Resolutions:

  • Buy a house
  • Take no money out of my savings accounts (other than to buy said house)
  • Publish something (this goal is a LONG TIME coming, I’ve been writing since I was a child and I’ve still never let anyone read my writing. It’s time. Past time.)

January Goals:

*Little update on my health – I was diagnosed with a host of spinal issues about a month ago. So while exercise isn’t feasible for me right now and my January goals will not include fitness, you will see them later on in the year as soon as I’m able.
 
  • Start back rehabilitation when I get doctor sign off & be diligent about my exercises
  • Finish decorating my new apartment
  • No taxis – Walk to and from work 5 days a week and run all errands on foot

See? Baby goals. Nothing I can’t do. Just a few things to keep me on track for January. Curious what everyone else is saying and doing?

Miss Rachel of The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson takes a different stance on New Years Resolutions. Each year she picks a verb and molds her goals and ambitions for the year around said verb. Before you do anything in life, you must select a verb. You can begin, or quit, or change. You can choose, share, trust, try, think, relax, open, hope, serve, speak, write, save, flee, organize, believe, commit, or give.” I think that this is an incredibly creative and personal way to set goals for the year. For 2011 Rachel chose “invest” as her verb and for 2012 her verb is going to be “push.” What would you pick for your verb for 2012? I think that I might have to choose “evolve.” In 2012 I would like both myself and my life to evolve. Maybe this will be the year I become a grown up… Who knows! 🙂

Justyna at Chameleonic is approaching the New Year in a sanguine and entertaining way in her post: 2011 & These Are My Thoughts. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a happy, optimistic take on life and the future. And while I’m not always able to stay positive and idealistic in my daily life, I always appreciate and look up to those who can. Are you a glass half full or half empty type?

zumba

The Fitnessista focused on the great moments and highlights of 2011 – From family time and sweaty workouts to delicious recipes and fun trips that she took. At the beginning of a new year do you like to think about the amazing moments that the year before held for you or do you prefer to immediately let go of the past and start planning and hoping for the future? Or a little bit of both? 🙂

image

Rather than set Resolutions for 2012 Gena of Choosing Raw has a hope for the year – “I hope people will stop setting short-term dietary goals for themselves.” Gena is a vegan and raw food enthusiast who is a clinical nutritionist currently attending medical school. Her blog is an important and educational site in both the vegan and raw food worlds and she receives requests, questions, suggestions, ideas and pleas regarding food, healthy eating and diets. “I cannot count the number of emails I get each year at this time, detailing the fasting, calorie restricting, food group eliminating, and wacky beverage drinking that people intend to start their new years with. And it makes me sad, because these “plans” are not nourishing, they’re not always pleasurable, and most of all, they’re just not sustainable.” As a reader of her site I would say that one of Gena’s ultimate goals is to encourage people to really think about their food choices and to ultimately make healthier decisions. And that’s a huge part of her New Years Hope. “Instead of flirting with diets that promise you a new beginning, but deprive you of pleasure in order to get there, try, for a change, to greet the new year by being generous with yourself. Envision a way of eating that will feel rewarding–not just this week, or this month, but for years and years. Remember that finding pleasure in the way you eat is just as important as being healthy, because without the former, the latter won’t last.”

2012 goals

Jenn from the Fit Bottomed Girls has a list of 5 goals for herself to tackle in 2012. Including “make fewer goals.” As you’d expect from a contributor to a blog titled Fit Bottomed Girls, her goals for 2012 are primarily health and fitness related. When you make resolutions do you focus on career, health, family, friends, fitness or something else?

Happy 2012 and I hope this new year brings you everything that you hope for!

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Happy New Years

 

Happy 2012!

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Gym Goddess – Part V

Welcome to How to be a Gym Goddess Part V, if you’re new to this series feel free to check out Part I, II, III & IV at your leisure.

Source

The goal of Week V was to increase Liz’s endurance further with longer cardio bursts, more HIIT and additional rounds & repetitions to lengthen the workouts.

 

*Note: Discuss changes to your fitness regime with a doctor in advance to avoid injuries.

 

Day 1: All HIIT, all the time.

10 minute cardio warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

Change machines and do an additional 15 minutes of intervals (if possible you should use three different machines for the warm up, first 15 minutes and second 15 minutes, or you can jog in place or outdoors).

This ended up being the perfect start to the week, we were both suffering from a severe case of the Mondays and battling through headaches and knew that as awful as the gym sounded we’d be more well-adjusted individuals if we went. And we were!

Day 2: Play time! This workout was inspired by two articles that I read in Men’s Health (15 Minute Ski & Snowboard Workout and The Immortal Workout). What? My boyfriend just left it lying around… Couldn’t let it go to waste!

10 minute cardio warm-up

3 Rounds:

  • Bosu medicine-ball twists – 10 (one twist left + one twist right = 1 rep)
  • Bosu 180 jump – 10
  • Lateral medicine-ball hop – 10 (one left + one right = 1 rep)
  • Bosu Medicine-ball goblet squat – 10
  • Bosu medicine-ball swings – 10

10 minute cardio warm-down

This workout was really fun once Liz got the hang of the individual moves — I suggest that you take some time to play around with them after you check out the Men’s Health descriptions, it’s a perfect little warm up.

Day 3: Mini workout – The goal with these smaller workouts is to get your heart rate up, so head down to the gym even if you only have 20 extra minutes. You’ll thank me afterwards. Promise. (And if you have more holiday traveling to do, why not try airplane yoga?)

10 minute cardio warm up

5 Rounds:

  • 250M row
  • 15 squat jumps
  • 30 mountain climbers

10 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

 

Day 4: Shorter HIIT workout

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals, change machines and do an additional 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

 

Weekend Goal: Before the weather gets too cold, get outside for some exercise. Go for a jog, take a long walk after dinner, walk to run your errands instead of driving, go for a hike. Do something outside and aim for at least an hour’s worth of exercise.

fave workouts

Looking for some new ways to spice up your workouts? Why not take a look at The Fitnessista’s Favorite Workouts of 2011 – From Bodyrock to fitness DVDs to dance classes, there’s something for everyone!

Need a little inspiration and entertainment before hitting the treadmill? Check out Modelinia’s Cardio Boot Camp with model Julie Henderson and trainer David Kirsch.

Happy almost Friday!

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