Friday, May 15, 2009

Still here

Hello! I'm still here. Don't worry. I didn't keel over from my Boot Camp workouts. In fact, I've been blogging for my "drill sergeant."

So, I'm working out and still trying some new recipes. Last night's dinner was Chili-rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus and Lemon from "Healthy in a Hurry." You can also find the recipe at It was quite yummy and good for you -- but you don't have to tell anyone that. Serve brown rice or couscous with it to make it a little more filling or if you have an S.O. that must have a side dish besides veg.

I recommend this dish because it's quick and easy, as well as healthy. And it is quite tasty. Tilapia doesn't taste too strong, so it's a great way to add fish to your weekly menu without a lot of work.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Melting the muffin top

I'm sticking with the Boot Camp training and completed my fourth day this morning.

Summer is just around the corner, and I really want to be ready for it. Although I have no plans to put on a bikini this summer, I know it's impossible to keep completely covered up. With the heat come shorts, skirts and sleeveless tops. Plus, the significant other and I are planning to ride in the Elephant Rock Bike Festival, as well as try some backpacking this summer. So, I need to build my endurance, as well as try to look good in bike shorts (although very few people look good in Spandex!).

It isn't just vanity that gets me out to the park at 7 a.m. on a foggy Monday morning. I'm fighting genetics, in the form of heart disease, high blood pressure and an under-active thyroid. So far, I have been lucky and have kept my blood pressure low. I credit working out. Unfortunately, at a certain age, I began struggling with allergies, asthma and a lagging metabolism, worsened by my thyroid. And now, I find myself with a bit of a "muffin top."

So when Joe asked me this morning what I'd like to focus on, I told him I want to increase my endurance and whittle away at the love handles. I haven't really gained weight, but it seems to have redistributed itself around my waistline. I guess that's age for you. But like my dad always says, "It's better than the alternative."

Still, I have no intention of settling for a slow metabolism and a jiggly middle. Today, we did lots of exercises for the obliques, including side planks and V-sit tosses with a partner. We also did plenty of cardio exercises and work for our arms and legs, lest you think we only focus on one body part each day.

There's no boredom at boot camp. Friday, as I was running, pulling a tire behind me (nope, not a euphemism for my butt) a couple of women walked by with their dogs. "Were you bad?" they called out to me. "Nope," I answered, "This is the fun part!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Remembering the Cake Lady

Mom was always "the cake lady." Whether she was making cakes for her own kids' birthdays, graduations or weddings or creating elaborate cake concoctions for the celebrations of friends, neighbors and friends of friends, for several years there, it seemed like she was baking and decorating cakes 24 hours a day, seven days a week (she probably was!).

Sometimes the cakes were a source of fun and creativity. A lot of times, they were a source of headaches and annoyance. But everyone who knew Mom knew she was "the cake lady." And everyone always commented on how beautiful her cakes were.

This was long before Ace of Cakes and the dearth of fondant on cakes. Mom created scenes -- from roses to critters -- for the most part using buttercream frosting. Sometimes she would use royal icing, chocolate molds or marzipan when it was absolutely necessary.

Like so many of her talents, I didn't inherit the cake gene. I can bake a cake, but I can't make it look the way she did. She once made a cake that looked like a huge basket of strawberries -- the basket was "woven" with buttercream frosting, the handle was royal icing over wire, and the berries were made of marzipan. It was amazing.