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raspberry lemon cake

It was a great Saturday!  A weekend at home to get a lot of random stuff done!

One of my new years resolutions was not only to keep up my running, but to start lifting weights again and get stronger.  The past 1.5 years I have been so involved in my running, that I never had time to lift weights (or the motivation after running 40-50 miles a week!).  My goal is to lift weights three times per week, alternating between the different parts of the body.

After doing some research, I have decided to split my 3 days into these sections (performing them on non-consecutive days):

1. Shoulders, Chest and Triceps

2. Legs

3. Back and Biceps

Gina at The Fitnessista put together an Intro to Iron Pumping workout for Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, and I really like how she set it up.  Working out those 3 different muscle groups above on non-consecutive days will give my muscles ample time to rest and repair themselves to form into lean muscle.  It is important to keep up the cardio as well in order to burn fat and calories, but weight lifting will tone me much more!  I am not going to follow the plan exactly, I will make up my own routine, but I just like the concept of it.  I plan on adding core work after each weight session (or just fitting it in 3-4 days per week).

So, today I started this plan with Shoulders, Chest and Triceps.  I did my cardio first – 35 minutes on the treadmill (32 min running for 4 miles, 3 minutes walking).  Since I am also training for a half marathon, today was a 4 mile pace run.  I kept my pace very well and kept the incline at 1.0.  Then came the weights, then core work and then I cooled down with 10 minutes on the stepmill and stretched.

Weight Session – Shoulders, Chest and Triceps

  • Overhead press with dumbbells (3 sets of 12, 10 lb weights)
  • Triceps dips (3 sets of 12)
  • Front raise (3 sets of 12, 7.5lb weights)
  • Triceps kickback (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • Dumbbell upright rows with 15lb weighted bar (3 sets of 12)
  • Stability Ball pushups (3 sets of 10)
  • Chest press on Stability Ball (3 sets of 12, 15lb weights)
  • Lateral raise (3 sets of 12, 7.5lb weights)
  • Cable triceps extension (3 sets of 12)

Core work – this set will work all of the ab muscles!

  • Crunches (3 sets of 15)
  • Reverse Crunches (3 sets of 15)
  • Bicycle Crunches (3 sets of 20)
  • V-ups (3 sets of 15)
  • Frog Crunches (3 sets of 12) – these are hard!!
  • Planks! (3 minutes: 1 min straight, 30 sec left side, 30 sec right side, 1 min straight)

Overall, a great workout today!  It worked out to be about 30 minutes of weights and 15 minutes of core work, so hopefully this will fit into my schedule nicely with me doing a shorter, more intense cardio session on weight days.

Before the gym, I snacked on some new chocolate greek yogurt that I found at Whole Foods and a banana!  You can imagine how excited I was!!!

I still prefer plain yogurt with my own add-ins, but this is a great treat.  It would be perfect for a dessert if you just need something a little sweet.

The ingredients and nutrition facts are not so bad, but I could have used some fat to power through my workout!  I was feeling pretty sluggish during my cooldown.  Next time I would add a little peanut butter to my banana.

Once home from the gym, Brant and I needed lunch asap!  I whipped up another delicious smoothie while our leftover BBQ Chicken Pizza heated up.

In the mix this time:

Strawberry-Banana Blueberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • 10 Frozen Strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon Flaxseed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raw Cacao Nibs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Handful of ice
  • Water as needed

Raw Cacao Nibs – super healthy and delicious!

Throw all of the above in a blender and blend away!

I took an exciting trip to Price Chopper today for grocery shopping to check out the NuVal scores in action.  They rank foods that are more nutritious throughout the store.  It’s pretty cool and I was shocked at some of the scores!  Check out more about NuVal on Tina’s new blog!

Once home, I whipped up some dessert for some friends tonight!

Raspberry Lemon Cake

*adapted from Super Natural Cooking

Makes 1 loaf of bread

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups natural cane sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raspberries
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In large bowl, use mixer to beat butter until smooth.
  4. Add the sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides a few times to end up with a nice, even, creamy blend.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg fully before adding the next.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and lemon juice until well incorporated.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  Do not overmix!
  8. Fold in raspberries.
  9. Scoop half of the batter into a buttered loaf pan, then add half of the jam staying clear of the sides of the pan.
  10. Add the rest of the batter on top and smooth until level.
  11. Plop remaining jam on top of the cake, then drag a butter knife through the jam so that it creates a marbled effect (mine did not come out correctly!!)
  12. Bake cake for 50-60 minutes, until it bounces back a bit when you puch the top with your finger.
  13. Let cool in pan, then slice and serve at room temp.

We served our cake with vanilla bean ice cream and a homemade raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Heat all ingredients over medium heat until hot and bubbly.
  2. While cooking, break up raspberries with your fork.
  3. Serve while hot.

The cake was very moist!  So moist, that is caved in the middle. 😦  But, that did not ruin the taste – it was delicious!  Everyone enjoyed it! 🙂

bbq chicken pizza

I love Friday nights at home!  It is great to just be able to eat dinner and relax after a long week.  Last night, i celebration of our first Friday night at home in months, we decided to make some homemade BBQ chicken pizza for dinner.

We started with store bought whole wheat pizza dough, since we didn’t decide on our plan early enough to make our own.  It is tough to find pre-made dough without tons of ingredients in it, but surprisingly the dough I picked up at Hanaford’s only had 4 ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast!  Perfect!

Brant stretched out the pizza dough to perfection. 🙂

Regular old tomato sauce from a can was added to the dough, after it was pre-cooked a bit.

I like a lot of cheese on my pizza, so for this creation I sprinkled on some cheese before and after the toppings!  First up, was some shredded mozzarella.

Next up were grilled chicken and caramelized red onions.  The chicken was seasoned with essence, grilled in our stove top grill pan, and then cut into small stips.  The onion was chopped up and sauteed in a little olive oil and a teaspoon of cane sugar.

Then came more cheese!  We used a mexican blend, along with more mozzarella to sprinkle over the toppings.  Ok, so it may have been more of a sprinkle!

We then drizzled Annie’s BBQ sauce on top.  I like Annie’s because they use all natural ingredients.  Many of the bottled BBQ sauce on the shelves has bad oils in it.

Then, it was ready for the pre-heated oven.  We placed the pizza onto our pizza stone, and popped it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400°F.

While we were waiting, we enjoyed some cocktails!  Brant stuck with an ice cold beer, while I tried out our new Sweet Tea vodka!

Mixed with seltzer water and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Tasted just like ice tea with lemon.  Not too sweet at all.  Yum!

After 20 minutes, our pizza masterpiece was done!  The cheese was hot and bubbly and the crust was perfectly browned.  We enjoyed a few slices each.

I wasn’t sure about the amount of BBQ sauce, but it was perfect!

Delicious!

The great thing about homemade pizza is that you can use whatever toppings you want!  I made sure to buy an extra dough and more toppings for a veggie pizza sometime this week!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pizza dough (store bought, or make your own!)
  • 1/2 small can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1-1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup mexican blend cheese
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 medium red onion, carmelized
  • 1/2-1 cup Annie’s BBQ sauce (or any brand you desire)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Roll out pizza dough on pizza stone; brush edges with a little olive oil.
  3. Pre-cook crust for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, season chicken with herbs, salt and pepper and cook.  Once done, cut into strips.
  5. Chop red onion and saute with salt, olive oil and sugar to caramelize.
  6. Once dough is pre-cooked, remove from oven and cover with tomato sauce.
  7. Add 1/2 of mozzarella cheese, then chicken and onion.
  8. Cover toppings with rest of mozzarella cheese, then mexican cheese.
  9. Drizzle BBQ sauce over cheese.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!

Pizza is such a simple and delicious meal to make!  I could eat it all the time because I love it so much, but I try to plan special nights like this in order to enjoy it even more!