Tag Archives: health

The Apple Cake That Thinks it’s a Pie

18 Oct Slice of marcellarousseau apple cake.pie

Sometimes even the health conscious crave a sugary treat. The recipe below is not very sugary and it has a lot of healthful ingredients in it. It’s great for breakfast or dessert with a cup of coffee or tea or even a glass of milk. I would not say it is an easy recipe for a novice baker but if you take your time and read the directions carefully, you may find yourself rewarded with a very delectable cake. Frankly, I have trouble calling this a cake because you slice it like a pie if you bake it in a pie pan. However, the crust is not really like a pie crust. It is like a cake! Whether you call it cake or pie, it’s delicious!

 

The interesting thing about this recipe is that you can put the dough in a cake pan OR a pie pan! I opted for the pie pan. The dough is a “basic” dough that you could also use to make doughnuts or crullers. I won’t be recommending those because you have to fry the dough and that would not be good for your health!

 

What IS good for your health is the milk, eggs, cinnamon, and apples that go into the cake. Butter also goes into this recipe and I’m not one to say butter is bad for your health. You need some fat in your diet! As for the amount of sugar, most cakes call for at least one cup of sugar. There is only ½ cup of sugar in this recipe. You can even feel good about serving your kids a slice.

 

I know your kids will love it but this is a cake fit for company. This is an invite your in-laws for dinner cake. It’s an invite your boss for dinner cake. It’s fancy. If you want to impress someone, this is the cake to do it. It would pass inspection by Julia Child herself. Just so you know!

 

NOTE: The recipe makes enough dough for two cakes. So, only use half of the recipe for the cake, OK?  I missed that point when I made the dough so I ended up freezing the half of the dough that I didn’t use. I’ll be making the cake again with that dough and although my recipe doesn’t say anything about freezing this dough, I think it will be all right.

 

Ingredients for Dough:

 

1/2 cup scalded milk

1/4 cup soft butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten briefly

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 package dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

 

Additional ingredients are listed in the directions below.

 

In a bowl, mix the scalded milk, butter, sugar, and salt. When dissolved, add the beaten egg and vanilla. When ingredients are lukewarm, add the dissolved yeast. Then add the flour a little at a time and form a soft dough. Turn out dough onto counter and knead for several minutes with a little extra flour until it does not stick to hands . Place in a well greased bowl and brush the top with melted butter. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Then, turn the dough out again and knead again one minute. Again, place in a greased bowl and brush top with melted butter and allow to rise until doubled.

Dough rising in my microwave

Basic dough rising

 

Decide if you want to use a 9-inch pie pan or square cake pan and then grease it well. Divide the dough in half, take one half and stretch it to fit the pan bringing it up the sides about 1 inch. Reserve the other half for another pie or save it for another day in the freezer.

Slice apples uniformly for best appearance

Slice apples uniformly for best appearance

 

Pare and core about 3 medium-sized apples. Slice them very thin. Arrange as shown in the photo or in a circular pattern. Take special pains to do this because the better you do it, the prettier your finished cake will be. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. See photo.

Cinnamon-sugar mixture on apple pie

Cinnamon-sugar mixture on apple pie

 

Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 slightly beaten egg yolk. Make sure the melted butter is not too hot. You don’t want to scramble the egg yolk! Pour over the apple slices. Let it cake stand about 15 minutes before placing in the oven.

Butter egg yolk mix on cake/pie

Butter egg yolk mix on cake/pie

 

Bake at 350 degrees 45 – 60 minutes or until crust is brown and apples are soft.

 

You can use apples, peaches, apricots, or plums for this recipe. I think you could also use nectarines or pears. I used Jonamac apples. Jonathan or Winesap would also be good. I used Quick Rise yeast. I bake everything now in my convection toaster oven so I have to adjust the temperature and the time. My cake was browned at 40 minutes but the center was still a little loose. I turned down the oven to 325 degrees. Then at 50 minutes I turned the oven off and left the door ajar. If you know your apples are going to be very juicy, you can sprinkle 3 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs on the stretched out dough before you lay in the apple slices. I didn’t because I like a juicy pie.

My baked apple cake/pie

My baked apple cake/pie

 

This cake tastes best warm. I stored it in the refrigerator covered. When I wanted a slice, I put the slice in the microwave for 20 seconds. It was like it just came out of the oven. You could serve it with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream but I wouldn’t. It would detract from the delicate flavor of the cake.

 

The down side of making this cake is that you have to let it rise 2 times. I’ve made other apple pies that were a lot quicker to make but not as delectable as this cake and not as good for you. Good things come to those who wait!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Quinoa Makes a Good Cookie: Biscotti – New Food Friday Flash

17 Oct https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/biscotti-garden-tomatoes-nectarines.jpg

When everyone began talking about quinoa, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. So, I bought a package of Bob’s Red Mill quinoa flour. My mistake. Everyone was talking about the grain and I bought the flour. Undaunted, I found a recipe using the flour. It was terrible. I had to throw it out.

 

Month’s later, while riffling through cookbooks at my local library, I came across a recipe using quinoa flour that sounded good. It was for quinoa biscotti. I had never made biscotti before and it was on my bucket list to do. With those thoughts in mind, quinoa is the new food for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

The original recipe came from the book, Eating in Color. The one alert for this recipe is that it called for 1 3/4 cups quinoa flour. That was not enough flour. Either the author forgot to add another flour to the ingredient list or she got the measurements wrong. I knew right away because the directions said to shape the dough into a loaf and there was no way you could shape this blob of a batter into a loaf. I added some white flour and then some whole wheat flour to the tune of approximately 3/4 – 1 cup additional flour. I had to keep adding flour until I could shape the dough into a long loaf. The whole wheat made the recipe more nutritious. I wouldn’t add more quinoa flour because it has a strong flavor and needs another flour to mellow the flavor a bit in my opinion.

 

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups quinoa flour

3/4 – 1 cup white and whole wheat flours combined

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup raw almonds toasted, chopped

1/2 cup dried currents (I used golden raisins)

1/2 cup dried cherries (I used frozen sweet cherries and dried them myself, it’s cheaper!)

1/4 cup dried cranberries – optional (I had them in the cupboard and thought, why not?)

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350. (I used my convection-toaster oven.) Place parchment paper on a baking sheet so the biscotti cookies don’t stick and for easier cleanup. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine. Stir in almonds, cherries, raisins, and cranberries. Flour your hands and separate the dough into two halves to form each into an 8″ long loaf on the baking sheet. This is a little messy. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet then remove to a cutting board. Slice cookies 1/2″ wide on an angle. Using a spatula, carefully transfer biscotti back onto baking sheet, cut side down and bake again 14 minutes or until tops are dry to touch and hard nearly all the way through. They will further harden when cooling.

 

These cookies are hard and that’s the way biscotti are supposed to be. Biscotti cookies are for dunking in a beverage to soften them up. The usual dunking beverages are either coffee or wine. I tried dunking them in coffee but preferred them dunked in wine. I had a rather sweet wine that was a blend of red sweet wines by Barefoot. I like wines that are on the sweet side but this wine was even too sweet for me to drink with a meal. However, it was perfect for dunking the biscotti. So, I recommend a sweeter wine for dunking your biscotti. You could try dunking them in tea, milk, hot chocolate, etc. Experiment!

 

We’ve had a lot of rainy weather and the humidity has been high so after 2 days, my biscotti were not hard anymore and were edible without any dunking. This was when I enjoyed them even more.  I froze them after a few days and they keep well frozen. I have four left. They are a delicious cookie, nutritious and good for you! I hope you try them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Exercise, the Mood Altering Drug

14 Oct Sports Car

Of all the mood-altering drugs available on and off the market, the one I use is free: exercise. The original reason I began exercising was to lift my mood.  Divorce, living in a new town with no family or friends, raising a son on my own, it’s something I faced years ago as many women still do today. I read an article that exercise was good for depression. The author was right. I’ve exercised to keep depression at bay and I’ve never regretted it. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise.

Exercise Promotes Weight Loss and Stamina

When you’re overweight it’s difficult to feel energetic. Carrying around all that excess weight baggage is tiring. Exercise helps people lose weight and keep it off. I lost over 20 pounds exercising and my original goal as I mentioned above wasn’t weight loss! I don’t want to put that weight back on and that motivates me to continue exercising. Not only that, but I have tremendous energy, even after I work out. I find that the more I do, the more I CAN do!

And speaking of can do, as a homeowner, I can find plenty of things to do. I mow my lawn, wash and wax my car, do housework, shovel snow off my driveway, paint, putty, plant trees, and so on. I like being independent and doing these things myself. Exercising keeps me limber and helps me get these jobs done. When I’ve completed a painting job that includes puttying and or Spackling, my body doesn’t ache all over because my muscles are accustomed to being used – and I’m no spring chicken!

When you compare the benefits of exercising, even on days when you don’t feel up to it, to sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching TV, can you really ignore all the benefits you’d derive from exercising? It doesn’t mean that I never buy a bag of chips to eat when I watch TV. But when I do, I buy tortilla chips that aren’t fried or are made in a healthful way and I don’t buy the biggest bag out there! On the other hand, I enjoy a nice cold, crunchy, juicy, apple with peanut butter just as much and it’s much better for me without the guilt!

Exercise Reduces the Need for Medications and Doctor Visits

They’re saying that the older generation is hell-bent on exercising and following a healthful diet because they want to live “forever.” I don’t want to live forever but I want to live healthfully until I die, even if I die tomorrow. I am motivated to exercise so I can stay off medications, set up only wellness visits to my doctors, and enjoy an active lifestyle until the day I die.

Exercise and Mediterranean Diet Dodge Cancer

Several years ago when my sister went for a checkup, she happened to mention me to her doctor. The doctor said, “If she’s 65 and hasn’t had any cancer, she’s doing very well!” I exercise and follow the Mediterranean diet to avoid getting cancer  and it’s been working for me so far.

Treat Your Body Like a New Car

Think of it this way if it helps, treat yourself like a new car. Would you put inferior gas in your new car? You wouldn’t abuse your car that way. Yet you would abuse your body with junk food! Why would you treat your car, a hunk of metal, plastic, paint, glass, and textiles, better than your body? Would you allow the tires to go flat, skip oil changes, and ignore other maintenance necessary to keep your car running smoothly? Your car can’t take you where you want to go if you ignore the necessary upkeep. The same is true of your body.

Death Becomes Her

When we were kids growing up in the neighborhood, we thought it was cool to say, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse.” Well, my living fast days are over; it’s too late for me to die young, but I think I still have a shot at having a good-looking corpse. Not that I’m in any hurry.

If this and all pep talks don’t motivate you to exercise and watch your diet, see your doctor to find out why.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

How Do They Know When You Are Actually Dead?

13 Oct Biotech

The debate over when life begins hampers research in embryonic stem cell research, but can harvesting cells from a dead body solve this debate or will it start a new one?

 

Scientists in France discovered that some stem cells can lay dormant for more than two weeks in a dead person and then be revived to divide into new, functioning cells. Furthermore, skeletal muscle stem cells can survive for 17 days. It may be ghoulish to think about, but when is dead really dead? If these cells continue to live after a person is pronounced dead, it makes me wonder what else continues to live when one is six feet under.

 

Olga Shustova, a morbid anatomist says there is a hypothesis that cerebellum cells, known as the Purkinje cells, can remain active within four days after a person’s death.

 

When Life Begins vs. When Life Ends

If scientists and researchers are still discovering cells that live on after a body is dead, what might they discover in the future? We’re all familiar with the hot debate over when life begins, but perhaps we need to look more carefully at when life ends.

 

What Else Lives On in a Dead Body?

Tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV and diarrheal diseases can last up to two days in a dead body (except for HIV, which may survive up to six days). I don’t know how long or if Ebola can live on in a dead body but that is certainly an important question considering the current world events.

 

Embryonic Stem Cells

Most of the current methods used to harvest embryonic stem cells destroy the embryo and this poses the moral dilemma for some: do you sacrifice a life to save a life? Harvesting usable cells from a dead body suggests that such cells can help extend the life of patients with, for example, cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States.

 

The Dead’s Stem Cells

If there is less of a moral dilemma or none at all while using a dead person’s stem cells, it could have enormous potential for repairing damaged organs, or testing new drugs. But how will that be accomplished when there is already a shortage of bodies donated to medical science? Students in medical schools share cadavers among four or more other students because of this shortage.

 

Using stem cells from dead bodies may resolve the issue of using embryonic stem cells but there are still hurdles to overcome. Scientists must tread lightly on the dead assuming they are actually dead when their stem cells are harvested.

 

*This post was originally published on Yahoo but I’ve added some updates.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Projects to Get You Off the Grid – REVIEW

12 Oct Flying books

As a homeowner and vegetable gardener, I have an interest in greenhouses and cold frames. I wanted to know more about them, so I picked up a copy of Projects to Get You Off the Grid edited by Noah Weinstein, copyrighted in 2013, which had a photo of a do-it-yourself greenhouse on the cover along with photos of do-it-yourself chicken coops, solar panels, and more. These projects are all from Instructables.com, the most project-sharing community on the Internet. Instructables has over 80,000 projects covering all subjects.

 

I was blown away by the ingenuity of the authors of these projects. Each project is written and photographed by the builder of the project. Here is a list of the projects in the book, some of which are authored by women:

 

  • Backyard chicken Coop
  • Clipping chicken wings
  • Chicken tractor for the city dweller
  • Chicken barrow
  • Wine barrel rain water collector
  • Roughneck (plastic trash can) rain barrel
  • Green solar-powered water barrel
  • Rainwater collection and distribution system
  • 1000 watt wind turbine
  • Wind turbine
  • Chispito wind generator
  • Thermoelectric lamp
  • 60 watt solar panel
  • Solar power system
  • PV solar panels
  • Solar lawn mower
  • Solar-powered fountain/herb garden
  • Solar PV tracker
  • Greenhouse from old windows
  • Bioreactor from recycled water bottles

 

Most projects have several entries. So, for example, there are four different rain barrel projects in this book, each one more elaborate than the next. Unfortunately for me, there was only one greenhouse project. Still, these do-it-yourself experts’ stories can give you great ideas! The editor suggests you visit the Instructables’ online page where you will find more images, links, multimedia attachments, and downloadable material to help you. Other available volumes are: Extraordinary Projects for Ordinary People and How to Do Absolutely Everything.

 

Projects to Get You Off the Grid is nothing if not fascinating! The do-it-yourselfers write about their mistakes too so that you don’t make the same ones. They list the tools and materials you need for each project. Some also show them in a photo or diagram. Some of these projects took the authors several years to build because they scavenged for discarded and scrapped materials! This was the case for the greenhouse.

 

I just love people who use their ingenuity to create something useful or to solve a problem. Anyone who has success with projects like these has a feeling of satisfaction and pride. Each completed project is a good self-esteem booster. And anything that boosts your self esteem is good for your health.

 

***** 5 stars

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Top Exercise Excuses and Their Solutions

10 Oct https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/440911-handstand-woman.jpg

There are many excuses (or obstacles if you prefer) that can influence whether or not a person exercises. These obstacles are dependent on location, what injuries someone might have at the moment, motivation level, having children, age, and availability of time to exercise.

Where You Live

I am fortunate in that where I live now, I have the option to use any one of several health clubs. I also live near a few parks with trails. This wasn’t always the case. If you don’t have access to a health club or trails where you live, consider walking or working out where you work.

When I was working full time, I started an exercise group during lunchtime at a company where I worked. When I worked at another company, I walked at a trail nearby. I walked during my lunch hour. Keep your eyes and ears open for similar possibilities to exercise during work hours.

Injuries

Mild injuries don’t have to stop you from exercising. Exercise helps circulation and can keep you from becoming depressed while you’re on the sidelines. Continuing to exercise prevents you from gaining weight. I have an old injury in my right foot that flares up now and then. When it flares up, I don’t do any kickboxing or walking exercises. Instead, I workout with DVDs that use stretch bands. Or I do upper body conditioning. But if you have serious or long-lasting pain, see a doctor.

Motivation Level

I am well-motivated to exercise. It has become a habit. Exercise makes me feel good and is therefore reinforcing. Exercise allows me to eat whatever I want – and I love to eat! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t eat junk food, but I do allow myself to cheat. Otherwise, I am very health conscious and follow the Mediterranean diet.

Even so, there are days when I’ve got all my gear (towels, water bottle, change of clothes, shampoo, etc.) packed and ready to go and I’ll be standing in front of my doorway with no motivation to walk through it. Sometimes I can force myself to go; sometimes I can’t. If you can force yourself to go you will feel good about it later. I always do. If you can’t, just promise yourself to exercise a little bit harder the next time. Then make sure you follow through. I make sure I do, otherwise the guilt will get to me!

Having Children

After giving birth, my weight crept up to 180 lbs and I had a difficult time bringing it down. Raising children definitely interferes with exercising. Once your child is in school or daycare, you can work out again if you want to wait that long.

I had a very physically fit neighbor who beat me at tennis when she was six months pregnant! She would take her toddler in a stroller and go walking for hours. When her toddler became old enough to walk, he would hold on to the stroller while his baby sister would sit in the stroller as mom pushed. This little boy had calf muscles like you wouldn’t believe! You’re never too young to start exercising, and it’s never too late to be a good role model for your children.

Age

When I was a kid, I climbed trees and ran up and down eight flights of stairs all day with my friends. (We lived on the fourth floor of an apartment building with no elevator.) In my twenties and thirties I played tennis. After I injured my hand playing tennis (not with my neighbor), I decided to join the health club world, and say goodbye to tennis. Experts tell us that aging doesn’t have to interfere with exercising for good health. I don’t let my age prevent me from exercising. You shouldn’t either.

Availability of Time

Availability of time ebbs and flows. When I worked during the day full-time, if I couldn’t exercise during working hours like lunchtime, I exercised after work. You may feel tired after work, but once you get started exercising, your body will reinvigorate itself. When you’re done, you’ll feel relaxed.

There are many exercise DVDs available now for home use when time issues are an obstacle to exercise. Some of these exercise DVDs are broken down into 10-minute routines. Everybody has 10 minutes to spare. If you do 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 before lunch, and 10 before dinner, you will have done 30 minutes in one day.

Nothing in your life is as important as your health. Take the time to exercise, if you don’t, you may find you’re running out of time sooner than you thought.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

High on the Stress List: Divorce, Moving, Job Loss, and Death (of your Refrigerator).

22 Sep https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/my-frigidaire.jpg

Good health encompasses stress; some of it good, some of it not so good. You can lessen stressful situations with good planning. A little luck doesn’t hurt either. Exercise can help control stress in most situations, but maybe not this one!

 

Stress denial: On Tuesday, I noticed that the packaging of my store-bought pastry in my freezer seemed a bit soggy. I ignored it. While dozing off to sleep that night, I noticed my refrigerator often making a clicking sound. Uh-oh I thought, and fell asleep. On Wednesday morning I tried vacuuming the refrigerator coils since I neglected them for several months. No change in the clicking noise. I pulled the plug and then plugged the fridge back in one minute later. No change. I turned off the fridge and pulled the plug. No change. The refrigerator kept clicking. By Thursday morning, I realized that all my frozen food was defrosting in my freezer.

 

Full blown stress: I decided to buy several bags of ice to help save my food. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night because I couldn’t make up my mind if I should buy a new refrigerator or call a repairman. The last time I called a repairman for a refrigerator I learned that he would charge $100 just to come out to look at it! I called the Whirlpool number to get a repairman for my Whirlpool. The gal I spoke with asked me how old my refrigerator was and I told her, eleven years. “Oh!” she said. “If it was me, I would buy a new one.” I asked her how long they usually lasted. She said between 10-13 years. I didn’t have time to do research online to find out if what she said was true and I didn’t have time to research refrigerators to see what would be the best deal for me unless I wanted to let all the food in my fridge go to waste while I did my research. So, I went to H.H. Gregg and asked the saleswoman if the sale coming up included the week before because they were advertising 30% off! Frankly, I didn’t understand her answer but I think I got a good deal anyway!

 

Stress ebbing away: I wasn’t charged a delivery fee or one to cart away my old fridge. I was able to open up an H.H. Gregg charge account for 5% off the cost. The best news was that they could deliver my new fridge the next day!

 

After I left H.H. Gregg’s, I went straight to Meijer to buy ice. One 7 lb package was $1.67. They also had 20 lb packages of ice but that would be too unwieldy. So I bought two of the 7 lb packages and put one in my freezer and one in the refrigerated section.

 

On Thursday evening, I got a call from H.H. Gregg’s telling me the refrigerator would be delivered between 3 – 6 pm on Friday and they would call me 40 minutes before arriving. That was perfect because I would use those 40 minutes to remove everything from the fridge.

 

I had my Rubbermaid container ready for the refrigerated food, and a clean, cardboard box which I lined with heavy plastic for my freezer food. In hindsight, I needed a bigger box. I also learned from this experience to not put foods in plastic bags. They become sloppy wet. All my cheeses which were wrapped in plastic wrap got wet. All my frozen vegetables and frozen cherries in their original plastic bags were soggy, defrosted and I didn’t feel safe using them. I had to throw them away since the bags were opened. Although I previously thought wrapping a rubber band around the plastic bags after I had opened and used them was fine, it was only good like that if your refrigerator doesn’t die! I will be on the lookout for tightly sealed plastic containers.

 

Stress comes in all shapes. If you handle it calmly, you can get through it easily enough. I won’t recommend exercising to get rid of refrigerator stress because just moving food from the refrigerator to other containers is a workout in itself! Not to mention that I had to wash the floor three times due to items dripping and the fact that a piece of thawed fish leaked all over everything due to a small hole in the plastic packaging. Hence, the need for plastic containers!

 

I am enjoying my new refrigerator, a Frigidaire, even though when it runs it sounds like a cross between the boiler room of the Andrea Doria and LaGuardia airport. I don’t care. Sometimes denial is a beautiful thing!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Pilates For Men 10-20-30 Challenge Band Workout- REVIEW

15 Sep https://marcellarousseau.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/1349598-mens-fitness.jpg

The Pilates Sports Center presents this exercise DVD. The 10-20-30 challenge refers to Joseph Pilates, who believed if you follow his program, in 10 sessions you’ll feel a difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body. This DVD is # 2 in a series of 3 and I’ve only done the #2 workout three times. I can really feel it in my arms. The #1 workout is mat work and the #3 workout is a ball workout. The #2 DVD uses a stretch band for all the exercises.

 

Men, don’t scoff at using a stretch band! Using a stretch band for an exercise is a smooth motion as opposed to jerking with a heavy weight. In my opinion, there’s less chance for injury. Let’s hear it for less injuries: Yaaaaaay! Let’s hear it for men’s health! Yaaaaaay!

 

The nice thing about this d DVD is that women can do it too although it doesn’t say so anywhere on the DVD. It’s a tough workout and there is a lot of emphasis on shoulders but what’s wrong with women having strong shoulders? We have to carry babies and children and grocery bundles so we need our shoulders to be strong. Strong shoulders help to prevent shoulder injuries.

 

I’ve done many of these shoulder exercises before using women’s fitness DVD’s although there were some new exercises that I hadn’t tried before like the “sword”, the “face wash”, and “superman” (loved that one), just to mention a few.

 

But shoulder exercises aren’t the only exercise on this DVD. There are abdominal, hamstring, back, tricep and bicep exercises. Two very well-muscled men do the workout. They’re a nice change of pace since I’m usually doing my workouts with women trainers and assistants. Of the two men working out in the video, one does the advanced exercise and the other does the regular exercise. The instructor is not in the picture, we only hear his voice and lame music. The two men are silent (and very serious I might add) throughout the workout. They don’t even break a sweat so you can imagine how strong they are! (I can imagine how strong they are – mmmm, baby!)

 

Another benefit of using a stretch band is that you can regulate how difficult you make each exercise. Wrapping the band around your hand several times makes the band more taught and the exercise more advanced as the instructor will tell you. I use my stretch tube which works on the same principle. You also use a mat although you probably don’t absolutely have to have it. There is one exercise where you get on your knees and the instructor tells you to fold your mat over to give your knees double protection but other than that, you don’t really have to have a mat. I like that he tells you to fold your mat over because when I do, it really makes a difference on my knees so it is definitely a good tip. However, you could just as easily do the exercise standing up since it is for your arms! I couldn’t see the point in getting on your knees for that one but that is my only criticism of the exercises.

 

Towards the end of the session, there is an exercise where he tells you to tie your knees together with the stretch band (sounds like torture, doesn’t it?) then lie down on your side supporting yourself on one knee and elbow while you raise your hip up and swing the top leg out and back – that’s a doozy! Come to think of it, it IS torture! But he tells you when an exercise is going to be hard before you start it, not that it helps any. He does try to motivate you through it but he is no Jillian Michael and frankly, I’m glad of that!

 

The Bonus feature includes safety tips, beginner and advanced options, version 1 (includes verbal cues), and version 2 (music only). Not in the bonus feature is getting a brief stretch after the workout. You’ll need it and maybe a hot tub to soak in!

 

This is a good fitness DVD to have in your collection. I highly recommend this DVD for men and women.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The End of Football as we Know It?

13 Sep 607527 tome213 Heisman trophy

How many times have you seen the Ray Rice video punching out his girlfriend on the elevator? Five times? Ten? The public outcry is so strong that you would think domestic violence had never happened before. Were all the previously abused women just making it up? So, they must have been breaking their own bones then?

 

This is such a broad issue that it’s hard for me to know where to start. OK, I’ll start at the beginning, at least as far as I’m concerned. On November 11, 1984, Dr. Joyce Brothers published an article in the Parade Magazine Issue of the New York Times titled, “Why Men Abuse Women.” In it, she pointed the finger at several professions dominated by men who abuse women: athletes, police officers, lawyers, military men, and doctors. We’ve seen videos of the police in abusive situations, and we’ve seen athletes cause serious injury to other players; and now we’ve seen an athlete in a domestic abuse situation. So far, lawyers and doctors have been too smart to get caught on video. Far be it from me to criticize military men during the country’s present situation. Domestic abuse is not a new issue other than the fact that we now have it on video to watch over and over like the twin towers coming down.

 

I don’t know what bugs me most out of the Ray Rice situation. How about the comments that the woman deserved it because she hit him first? These were women making these comments. So, if a woman hits a man, that gives him the right to knock her out? Forget that he outweighs her or is 10 times stronger than her. Forget that he trains to be brutal in his profession. None of that matters. She started it so she deserved what she got. Mr. Rice not only knocked this girlfriend out, he dragged and then not gently dumped her on the floor, with a facial thump as it hit the floor. This is how a man shows his love for his girlfriend? Man rules the roost. There are people out there who believe this.

 

Mr. Rice has now been suspended indefinitely by the NFL from playing and released from the Baltimore Ravens. His punishment has been the most severe punishment any team owner or league has ever given to a player for domestic violence.  I was frankly stunned that his punishment was comparatively severe. What would have possessed them? Their tough players are their bread and butter. Are they nuts? With any more new rules, policies, and punishment, this will become an entirely new game. I can’t see Casper milquetoast types playing football…can you? People are drawn to the brutality of the game. Isn’t it how some people get out their aggressions? What is behind this new tack? Have sponsors and advertisers squawked over this video? Did a few big ones threaten to pull out? Isn’t it enough that they have recently been hit with concussion lawsuit injuries? If this trend continues, they’ll have to call it footsie-ball instead of football. I’m not much of a football fan, but it is what it is.

 

Or will it all blow over and will players will be instructed not to blow their cork where cameras are visible?

 

Psychologists say, “You can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself.” What’s that old joke? How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change. Let’s stop trying to change these men. Counseling isn’t going to help them unless they want to be helped and how many of them want to change? I don’t know any men who want to change and I don’t know of any abusive men who have changed. Why make the effort to change when you can get away with it. There’s no motivation for them to change. Wife divorces you? There’s plenty others waiting in line. You’re fined? There’s plenty money in the bank. You could always write a book or sell your mansion if things really get tough. Too much bad publicity? You know what they say, “Even bad publicity is good publicity.” Or, “The public forgives and forgets.” Just lay low for a while. Isn’t that what celebrities do? These light bulbs don’t want to change. They want to remain dim bulbs.

 

Let’s talk about the women of domestic abuse. Critics say, “Why don’t you just leave?” These critics live in la-la land. They can’t see their nose despite their face. Maybe he threatened to kill her if she leaves him. Maybe he threatened more abuse. Maybe he promised he’d never do it again. A common statement but not accurate. Maybe children or a pregnancy is involved. Maybe he has her so scared and intimidated that she feels like a prisoner even though there are no visible bars around her. Maybe she can’t drive. She never learned. He hides the car keys. She can’t manage it because she’s in a wheel chair.

 

Years ago I did volunteer work at a women’s shelter where there were abused women and children. There was a young woman there in a wheel chair with her children. I don’t know if her abusive husband put her in the wheel chair or if she was in a wheel chair before he abused her. Is one worse than the other?

 

How about the children growing up in an abusive home? Children mimic what they see. So much has been written and televised about bullies in the classroom. These child bullies have learned this bullying behavior at home. Sometimes authorities have punished parents when a child has displayed poor behavior but often in a way that didn’t make any sense. In my opinion, of all the times where they should punish a parent for a child’s misbehavior, this is one of them! When a child sees that the bullying parent is put in jail, wouldn’t that be a good deterrent? We can’t put the child in jail but if the child learns that bullying is learned behavior and his or her parent is going to jail….I would think that would be a wake up call for the entire family. Abusive men are bullies. Mr. Rice is a bully.

 

Mrs. Rice, yes, his then girlfriend became his wife, is now suffering public humiliation on top of all her other miseries. Whatever future dreams she had of raising children in a happy home and/or a life that was better than hers (isn’t that what we all aspire to as mothers; to give our children better than what we had?) are now looking out of reach. Any thoughts she had of financial security may be shaky at best. Mr. Rice may want to dump her and may blame her for this incident but his lawyers and/or owners may tell him not to incite fans and the public anymore than they already are. Play it cool for now. Don’t add anymore fuel to the fire. The same advice to her. Don’t rock the boat. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes right now for all the tea in China.

 

What’s a woman to do? A woman could take the advice of Dr. Joyce Brothers. Although Dr. Brothers has passed, she was once the most admired woman, pre-Oprah. A woman could get an education or skill to learn how to support herself and be independent. A woman could get an MBA and start her own business. You don’t need a man for this. A woman has many options these days. A woman needs to set boundaries when it comes to male abuse. One slap is one too many. Run, don’t walk in the opposite direction. Don’t be dazzled by his guilt gifts. They’re a poor salve for physical and emotional wounds.

 

When I was married, over 30 years ago, my husband invited a medical student/resident, his wife, and their beautiful red-haired eight-year-old daughter to our home for dinner. I knew this family and was friends with the wife who was one of the sweetest, southern drawled women I had ever met. She had told me in confidence that he physically abused her but never in the face, where it would show. I was speechless. She said it as if she was telling me that the weather outside was great and we should go on a picnic – in total denial. As we were eating our dinner, the husband proceeded to degrade and belittle their beautiful daughter. It was cruel and uncalled for. I make it a practice to not stick my nose into others’ family affairs but this was too much. He was a guest in MY home! So I told him that maybe he could talk to his daughter like that in his home but he was not allowed to speak to his daughter like that in my home. I was prepared to follow up with telling him to leave if he dared say anything.  And if they all left I was prepared for that too. Abusing that angel of a girl was not going to happen in front of me. You could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said anything after that for a while.  Eventually, conversation started up again and it was forgotten. Except that I never forgot it. I hope that little red-haired girl remembered I responded to her father’s remarks. I hope she got the message loud and clear and that it was a pivotal point in her life. Like Charlie Brown, I was a big fan of that little red-haired girl. With any luck, maybe her father got the message too.

 

It’s good that this video incident is getting so much attention and conversation. It’s the young and naive women who need to hear it most, although the older generation isn’t immune.

 

Domestic violence is not good for anyone’s health – not mentally or physically, or even financially. Not for the wife, not for the husband, not for the children. As a good health advocate, I hope to see women make more enlightened decisions about their partners and their futures if they should decide to go it alone. Life is a struggle. Don’t make it harder than it is by choosing the wrong partner. It’s better to have no one than to have someone who abuses you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Orbit” by John J. Nance

9 Aug Mir spacecraft

All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. When you follow a healthy lifestyle, you want to be sure to eat right, get enough exercise and enough sleep, and also incorporate entertainment into your life. If the entertainment you choose is educational, all the better! Audiobooks fill that bill for me.

 

This is a review of the audiobook “Orbit” by John J. Nance. It is a bit unusual that the author is also the performer of this audiobook. Nance did a great job! This was especially surprising to me since I am such a big fan of performer Dick Hill. I still favor Mr. Hill over Nance, but Nance’s writing is so strong and so vivid that it put this audiobook over the top. He has a gift for detail.

 

Recently, I had seen the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Two people told me they didn’t like it. I ignored them because generally, I love space movies. I enjoyed Gravity very much as I knew I would. But when I noticed the audiobook, Orbit, on a shelf, I wondered if it would be too soon to see another space flick, knowing that it might be similar to Gravity. I decided to give it a try regardless.

 

It started out being similar to Gravity; even so, I was getting into it anyway. I can usually tell by the first disc if I’m going to stick with it or not. Then, it took an interesting turn. Each turn it took was more interesting and exciting and surprising than the next! I was hooked before the end of the first disc.

 

This is an audiobook that is difficult to turn off, that’s how good it is. The main character, Kip Dawson, wins a trip to outer space. His second wife (his first one died in a car accident) doesn’t want him to go. She and his daughters are terrified that something will go wrong. Kip knows the company offering the trip has a clean record. He is confident nothing will go wrong. But something goes very wrong.

 

We are told that if anything does go wrong, nobody will come to his rescue. Not NASA, not the Russians, not the Chinese, nobody. It would be too expensive. Besides, this is a commercial flight. This, readers, is the future of outer space. Our grandchildren may be lucky enough to book such a flight!

 

While Kip is in space, he witnesses a tragic accident on board and has accepted the fact that in four or five days, his oxygen will be depleted and he will die.  He decides to record his thoughts on the ship’s laptop computer. All communication systems are down so he writes to what he anticipates will be a reader sometime in the future who finds the spaceship. It could be a few days, weeks, months, years, or maybe never. He doesn’t know. So, he writes about his first girlfriend. He writes about his second marriage and how unhappy he is in it. He writes about his oldest son who hasn’t forgiven him for the death of his mother, Kip’s first wife. He writes about sex and how important it is to him and to all men! What the heck, right? Who’s going to read it? Probably nobody! Right?

 

Oh contrare, mon ami! As it turns out, the space engineers who built the ship set up a separate communications link on the laptop so that it could download information. It was only one-way communication. A kid on earth, someone who had gotten into trouble hacking once before, hacked into the Kip’s laptop. What are the chances?

 

I won’t spoil the ending or even the middle, but this was a great story – so much fun with a good ending and a positive, inspirational message. I loved it and I was sorry when it ended! It will make you laugh and it will bring a tear to your eye. Make an effort to get a copy. There are nine hours of listening pleasure on eight discs. I’m giving a very strong recommendation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 417 other followers

%d bloggers like this: