Pursuit of Healthy Happiness

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Killer Core Plank Workout

Hi, friends!

For last week’s workout, I added in an awesome variation for planks.  It got me feeling creative in the core department.  Plus, Zak and I just booked a vaca to Punta Cana in a month, so why not focus on the core for today’s workout?

Killer core plank variations workout.  A core-focused, high-intensity circuit.  Great for when you need to fit a quick workout in. Check out my Pinterest-Personal Health & Fitness page to see visuals on how to perform these exercises.  Oh, and you should follow me on Pinterest, cause I spend way too much time pinning healthy recipes, workouts, and cute outfits galore. (Wait, is that a thing? Too much time on Pinterest? Nah.)

This workout is perfect for when you need to fit a quick sweat-session into your crazy, hectic schedule.  All the plank variations will challenge you but also keeps the workout fun.

Plank up-downs: Starting in standard plank position, lower your right elbow to the floor, followed by your left.  Next, push back up to your hands, right arm first followed by the left.  This is one rep.

Shoulder touch planks: From the standard plank position, place the majority of your weight in your left arm.  Lift your right arm, touching your left shoulder.  Lower right arm to the floor.  Repeat with your left arm.  This is one rep.

Alternating leg raise plank: Starting in a plank from your elbows, keep your core tight.  Lift your right leg from the ground, holding for 1-2 seconds.  Lower leg and repeat with left leg.  This is one rep.

Plank jacks:  Starting in standard plank position, with feet together, keep core tight.  Jump both feet outwards.  Jump both feet back together.  Be sure to keep your core tight through the entire movement.  Try to not raise or let your hips dip more than the movement requires.

Alternating knee-to-elbow planks:  Begin in the standard plank position.  Raise your right arm and left leg from the ground.  Slowly, and with control, bring them to meet beneath your body.  Lower right arm and left leg to the floor.  Repeat with opposite sides   This is one rep.

Let’s chat!

Do you have any vacations planned for summer?

What’s your fav or least fav plank variation?

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Be Passionate

Happy Monday, friends!

I had a super productive, yet relaxing weekend.  I had a crazy busy week last week and was wiped by the time Friday rolled around.  I fell asleep at 9pm. With the lights on. On a Friday night.  That’s just proof of how tired I was. Or that I’m an old-fogey.  But, hey, I’m not mad about it.  Sometimes you just need to sleep for 10 hours straight.  Amiright??   

 Today’s motivation comes from one of my all time favorite authors…Roald Dahl. My favorite book as a child was Dahl’s, Witches.  He’s also the author behind everyone’s fav movie, Matilda. So you know he’s got some gems of good advice. 

Also, if you’ve never seen Matilda stop what you’re doing and go watch it. Right now. You can thank me later.

Have a fabulous, passionate, white hot week! 

Let’s Chat!

What was your favorite book as a kid?

Which author inspires you?

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How to Make Authentic Sushi Rice

In keeping a balance in life, I make the majority of my meals at home- trying to only dine out once or twice a week.  In the kitchen, I get inspiration from cookbooks, cooking shows, and my favorite restaurants – Here’s looking at you Chipotle 😉

One of my all time favorite foods is sushi.  It’s fresh, delicious, and can be perfect for vegetarians or carnivores.  Most restaurants now even have healthier options like swapping brown rice or quinoa out for the white rice if you like.  A couple of years ago, I surprised my boyfriend with sushi cookbook and bamboo rolling mat.  While it’s definitely not as good as going out to a restaurant and having the chefs with years, if not decades, worth of practice, make spicy tuna rolls in front of your eyes, our little homemade rolls are pretty darn tasty.  Plus it’s easier on the wallet.

Simple, authentic homemade sushi rice.  Perfect for making rolls or sushi bowls.

The one thing that stood out as lacking was the difference in rice.  There is a very distinct texture and flavor that sushi rice has.  And no matter what we tried we just couldn’t seem to replicate that.  Until now.

Authentic Sushi Rice
Serves 4
Simple, authentic, homemade sushi rice. The perfect consistency for making maki rolls, nigiri, or a sushi bowl.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups sushi rice
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 3 oz Japanese Rice Wine Vinegar
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar or Splenda
Wash
  1. Cover rice with cold water, gentle stir and massage it. (The water will be a cloudy white color. Tip the majority of water out.)
  2. Continue washing the rice until the water runs nearly clear. This may take 3-4 times.
Cook
  1. Add the rice and water a pot. Cover with lid and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium after 1 minute.
  3. Continue cooking until the top of the rice becomes visible.
  4. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Once all water is gone, turn heat to high for 15 seconds.
  6. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let rice continue to cook for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, thoroughly mix in the 3 oz. rice wine vinegar and sugar.
  8. Cool rice in fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Notes
  1. Washing the rice is key! Do not skip this step!
Pursuit of Healthy Happiness http://pursuitofhealthyhappiness.com/
 This recipe is perfect for making sushi rolls or bowls.  The rice has the distinct vinegary flavor that you get in restaurant quality sushi, without being overpowering.  Plus, if you’re new to rolling sushi at home, using this recipe will make help ease that learning curve.  The rice is just sticky enough to keep your fillings in place as you’re squeezing and rolling your maki rolls.

If you’re making the rice ahead of time keep the rice in a sealable container in your fridge.  Once the rice is mostly cool and before putting the lid on, place a slightly damp paper towel directly on top of the rice.  This will help keep your rice from drying out and losing its desired consistency.  

Let’s Chat!

What inspiration do you use when cooking at home?

What’s your favorite sushi meal?

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Killer Arms Workout

Happy Wednesday, all!

This week’s workout focuses on arms, because who doesn’t want amazingly strong arms, right?!  I love doing exercises that sound like they would be easy, but once you’re halfway through your set you realize that you’ve super underestimated how challenging weight-free movements can be.  The key is to using proper form, keeping your abdominal tight throughout each movement, and focusing on the specific muscles in use.

While you’ll need a little bit of space for the walking planks and chaturanga push-ups (Make sure you read the how-to below!) the other three exercises are so simple you can do them while sitting at your desk.  These individual exercises are great little breaks for movement throughout your day.

Quick and tough, weight-free, arm workout.  Perfect for those on-the-go or for frequent travelers

See how to properly perform: Arm CirclesChaturanga Push-up | Tricep Dips | Walking Plank | Bent Over Weight-Free Rows

Arm Circles: Keep your shoulders back and down, tightening your back muscles.  Stand up straight and tall, with feet shoulder distance apart.  Keep your arms straight and tight throughout entire rotation.

Chaturanga Push-ups: Start in the standard push-up plank position.  Pull forward onto your toes and lower your body so that it is lifted just slightly above the ground, keeping your elbows tucked in towards your sides.  Hold momentarily.  Move into upward dog, pushing the tops of your toes into the floor and keeping your thighs lifted off the floor.  Push your chest forward to the front of the room and keep shoulders back.  Lift hips and return to standard push-up-plank position.  This is one rep.

Tricep Dips: These can be done from the floor position or from an elevated position using a bench or sturdy chair.  Place hands shoulder width apart and keep shoulders down throughout entire movement.  Using your tricep muscles, extend arms, keeping a slight bend at the elbow as to not place weight on the joint.  Slowly and with control, lower body until elbows are at a 90-degree angle.  Push through arms and return to extended position.

Walking Plank:  Begin in standard plank position.  Placing your weight onto your right arm, lift the left arm, crossing it over the right side of your body.  At the same time, step your right foot to the right.  Switch your weight to your left arm, lifting your right arm, uncrossing it and placing it on the right side of your body.  At the same time, bring your left foot to meet your right foot.  This is one rep for this side.  Repeat the same movements in the opposite direction.  Keep abs tight and remain the plank position, keeping your body in a straight line throughout.

Bent Over Weight-Free Row:  Standing with hip-width apart bend forward at the hips so that your body is at a 45-degree angle.  Keep shoulders back and extend arms towards the ground.  Keeping hands at shoulder-width distance apart, form hands into fists in the overhand grip position.  Tighten shoulder blades together, rowing your fists up to chest position.  Actively use abdominals, chest, shoulder, back, and arm muscles to complete the movement.  Lower arms to starting position. Keep arms tight throughout entire movement.

Let’s Chat!

What’s one exercise that you’ve underestimated the difficulty?

What plank variations have you tried?

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Don’t Stop Working For It

Good morning, friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday and Mother’s Day.  Hopefully you were able to spend the day with your family or honor them in some special way.  I know I am uber lucky to have an awesome mama, Grandma, and a boatload of Aunts, who are all amazing, incredible woman.

I spent the afternoon with my fav Philly blogger, Keep It Real Clean, and I am jazzed after another great blogger date (blate?).  We met for lunch at one of my favorite local spots, Epicure Cafe, and talked all things blog.  It’s been super helpful and inspiring to have a blogger friend to meet with in person.  We talked blog goals and trouble shooting, asking for one another’s advice and experiences.  I always leave our little dates feeling reenergized.

In talking about our goals, this little piece of motivation came to mind…

Motivation to help you reach those goals you keep dreaming of

 

I hope you have an outstanding week! Keep chasing those dreams!

 Let’s Chat!

What did you do to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Who’s your go-to person for goal setting and support?

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The Secret to Packing Weekly Lunches

Meal prepping.  We’ve all heard it, heck most of us probably do it.  I know I do.  Some people go above and beyond, not only meal prepping so that there’s less chopping to do at dinner, but actually cooking their dinners, and maybe even breakfasts and lunches too.  They make amazing spreads, have phenomenal looking meals in adorable, matching containers.   I am not one of those people. I wish I was, but I’m too impatient.  Plus, none of my containers match 😉

The secret to packing weekly lunches without meal prepping

 

Meal prepping has its usefulness.  I like to meal prep so that the majority of my veggies are chopped, rice is cooked, and anything that needs to be thawed is pulled from the freezer.  This way everything is set up, or mise en place, and ready to be cooked at dinner time.  Dinner is much easier and faster to cook when everything is ready to go.

Here’s the thing: I don’t meal prep my lunches.  Yes, you read that right.  I do not meal prep my lunches.  Actually I did for a while.  On Sundays, I would make one huge batch of grub, enough for 5 lunches, from start to finish, and pack them in individual containers.  It did make my mornings way easier and ending the game of staring in the fridge wondering what I was gonna eat for lunch that day.  It also cut down on the grand rush in the morning.

But come Wednesday, I was frankly pretty bored of what I was eating. SO. BORED.  Plus, it took me at least a full hour on Sundays just to prep my lunches alone.  Add in the time to prep my mise en place for dinner and I was using up anywhere between 1.5 to close 2.5 hours on prepping.  This just didn’t jive with my relaxing Sunday vibe.

Enchiladas with homemade sauce Sweet potato & black bean enchiladas with Easy Homemade Sauce

So I switched it up.  I still have lunches prepped and ready to go in the morning. But I don’t meal prep them.  How do I do it?  How can you save yourself an hour or more of meal prepping each week?  How can you avoid having your taste buds be bored outta their minds and begging for mercy?

It’s super simple.  Like really, crazy, super simple. Ya ready for it?  Make double the amount of dinner. 

Yes, that’s it.  I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that if I just made twice as much dinner I could bring the leftovers for lunch the next day.  I would no longer be sick and tired of my lunch by mid-week.  I saved myself time in the kitchen because it doesn’t take any more time out of your day to make a double batch of your din din.

Homemade sushi bowls with veggies & smoked salmon Homemade sushi bowls with veggies & smoked salmon

B.L.T.A Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado on whole wheat B.L.T.A Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado on whole wheat

So if you love meal prepping your lunches, you go girl! (Or boy!)  But if it honestly drives you nuts, or it seem like more of a hassle than it should be, or you are bored to tears by the end of the week, then join me on the dark side.  Make twice as much dinner as you need and enjoy your leftovers the next day.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out this Healthy ‘Cream’ of Mushroom Soup or these Quinoa Burgers with Greek Salsa

Let’s Chat!

Do you meal prep? If so, how much?

What do you pack for lunches each week?

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Super squats workout

Happy Wednesday, all!

Hope you had fun celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  I failed epically and forgot to put the salsa chicken tacos I had planned for dinner in the crockpot.  What. A. Bummer.  So I resorted to the veggie quiche I had planned for later on in the week.  Not very festive, I know.  But hey, I did put a ton of hot sauce on my slice of quiche to jazz it up.  That’s gotta count for something, right?

Anyways…On to the weekly workout.  This week’s sweat session is all about that booty!

Super Squats Workout

How to properly perform: Split jump squats | Curtsy SquatsJump squats | Sumo Squats

Do each round 2-3 times.  You can do this workout with or without weights.  I love the variation in different types of squats.  It’s nice to mix it up and give yourself a bit of a challenge that you may not be used to.  In the past, I usually stuck with typical and traditional exercises.  But I really like adding in the non-traditional exercises like the curtsy squats and sumo squats.  You will be feeling that burn the next day!

The crusty squats may be a little tricky if you haven’t tried them before.  To do them properly, start with your feet hip-width apart.  Pace the majority of your weight into your right foot.  Keeping your back straight and chest up, slowly step your left foot backwards so that it is crossed behind your body.  Controlled, slowly continue lowering your body until your front leg is parallel, or nearly parallel to the ground.  Push off with your back foot to return to standing.

It’s key to have good form in all exercises, but especially ones that are new to you.  General good rules to follow are to keep your back straight, keep your abs nice and tight, and to do each motion in a controlled and deliberate manner.  For your safety, and for the most efficient use of muscle power, you want your body to be strong throughout, not flipping around like a fish outta water.  That could just lead to injury.  Plus you’ll probably look like a goof 😉

Have a fabulous workout and keep that body strong!

Let’s Chat!

What’s your favorite squat variation?

How was your Cinco de Mayo?  Do anything fun?

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