Tag Archives: pynk fitness

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Pynk Fitness now has a website!

Hooray! I’m now the proud owner of pynkfitness.com AND pyromaimya.com.  Movin’ on up, feelin’ legit!

I’m exporting this blog in its entirety and will continue to write new content for my new websites. I’ve been working on a Fresh Meat Fitness series, plus I had a brainstorm recently re: a series on skating and running after ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation – or in layman’s terms, when your leg is chock full o’nuts and bolts). I’d like to review all the skate boots and running shoes I’ve tried since going Full Metal Ankle, plus give a little practical advice for anyone returning to an active lifestyle after going bionic.

Stay tuned to pynkfitness.com and pyromaimya.com for more adventures in fitness and family. Video clips are coming when it’s not so blasted cold – and now I have a handy place to archive all the recipes I teased you guys with on Facebook.

Check out the new URL!

Thanks to my dear brother, I now own pynkfitness.com and pyromaimya.com! I’m happily planning my layout and importing files this morning. I worked in web design/hosting in the late 90s and early 00s, and I’m tickled to see that cPanel’s even easier to navigate now.

As I relearn to ride this virtual bicycle, please accept this picture of my sweet family in lieu of actual content.  This was taken at lunch with old friends after we ran the Hypnotic Donut Dash, which was an absolute blast and a much-needed respite from an emotional week.

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Actual content coming soon. I’ve been working on a Fresh Meat Fitness series, plus I had a brainstorm yesterday re: a series on skating and running after ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation – or in layman’s terms, bionic leg chock full o’nuts and bolts) wherein I review all the skate boots and running shoes I’ve tried since going Full Metal Ankle. Stay tuned!

Midnight Mile

As 2013 drew to a close, I kissed my sleeping husband, deactivated my Facebook account and hit the trail for a midnight mile (1.11 miles actually, which was unintentional but pleasantly significant to my pattern-loving brain).

It was 39 degrees and crystal-clear – the sky a canopy of constellations.  I ran without music, listening to my breath and my feet and the fountains in the neighborhood lake. I was the only one on the trail, the only one who saw the Christmas lights reflecting off the water’s surface in kaleidoscopic swirls as 2014 came racing in. I love that feeling – knowing I’m experiencing a bit of magic that nobody else will ever see.

When I was done, I laid in the grass and looked up at the stars, thanking the universe and the power behind it for a blessed old year and offering up my promises and goals for the new year.  I stopped referring to them as resolutions last year, but I remain resolute in the best sense of the word – unwavering and determined.

Here’s what I plan to do in the new year.

  • Reevaluate and reorganize how I spend my free time: I deactivated my Facebook account for a temporary and as-yet-undetermined amount of time. Without that massive time suck (which is, admittedly, my favorite place on the internet), I can accomplish my other goals more quickly and completely.
  • Publish my first book: I’ve been creating/testing recipes for the nutrition-conscious and for athletes with dietary restrictions for a few years now. I’d love to share them in a beautiful book full of well-photographed dishes interspersed with colorful anecdotes and pictures of my derby and running adventures.  I plan to include a companion booklet full of advice for new athletes (particularly Fresh Meat, as I feel that there are not enough off-skates resources out there for the budding derby athlete), some basic sport-specific starter workout programs and a training log.
  • Start a YouTube Channel: with the help of a filmmaker friend, I’ll soon have my own YouTube cooking show. You’ll get simple, healthy recipes prepared in typical Pyro style – light on grace and poise but heavy on clumsiness and sass. Tune in to see if I drop a knife on my bare foot or just spill the sauce all over my dogs!
  • Run my third – and possibly fourth and fifth – half marathon, while training for my first full 26.2.  The upcoming half is Cowtown and I’m running for ALZ Stars to raise money for Alzheimer’s Association.  If you’d like for the name of one of your relatives to be honored/commemorated, please email me or comment below – the names of my grandmother and grandfather will be written on my race shirt, as well as the names of friends’ loved ones who are battling or have battled the disease. (If you’d like to make a donation, no amount is too small – and I will match it and add your name to my “gets a free cookbook” list)
  • Settle into a church home and find volunteer opportunities within the organization: this is potentially happening already, and I am as excited about this as I was about falling in love with my husband. I have a big crush on a church that feeds hundreds of local families from its gardens and mobile food bank, hosts a 5K to benefit youth mission trips and has a dynamic children’s Sunday school program and a passionate, enthusiastic minister. We’re obviously still in the honeymoon stage – but then again, I still feel that way about my husband 5 years after finding him. Sometimes you just know.
  • Be the best mother, wife, sister, aunt and daughter I can be: this sounds like one of those vague resolutions I dread, but I have a very specific set of subgoals that will help me fulfill this promise to myself and to my family. Some hinge upon each other, like retiring from derby (that one was checked off early thanks to herniated discs and nerve damage) so I’l be free to attend my daughter’s soccer games and other activities. Some have already been stated above.  Most are listed only in my head and in my heart, and they are referred to multiple times a day.

I’m incredibly excited about the Year of the Green Wood Horse – 14’s my lucky number. :-)  I hope this is a wonderful, fulfilling year for you all.

Stuffed Apples and Banana Sorbet with Caramel Swirl

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe (or anything, really), so today you get a dynamic duo.  Well, a terrific trio, technically.  We’ve been iced in for several days now in what Dallasites are calling Icepocalypse 2013, so I’ve been even more domestic than usual. (Mostly because the kitchen is the warmest room in this little old house.)

My dear friend Glo mentioned baked apples yesterday, which of course sparked a craving that I couldn’t shake ’til it was satisfied. I wanted to make a healthier version than the traditional recipes that call for sugar and butter, but a Google search yielded some disappointing results (since when are flavored protein powders, sugar-free artificially flavored syrups and packaged cereals clean?), so I threw together this recipe with the clean-eating  staples in my pantry.

Since the apples looked too virtuous on their own, I figured the perfect accompaniment would be a scoop of decadent ice cream.  Of course we have none in the house, so I tossed some bananas in the freezer for a sorbet. What I really was pining for was a scoop of Blue Bell’s Pecan Pralines and Cream – mostly for the caramel ribbon swirled throughout. I am a sucker for anything with caramel!  I didn’t have any cream and didn’t want to use a ton of butter, but I did have coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, raw honey and a basic understanding of how to make caramel – so I figured I could get pretty close to the favor profile I was looking for without a ton of calories.

If you have never made sorbet with frozen bananas, you are missing out on something special. I added a bit of Greek yogurt to enhance the creaminess, but it’s not necessary to achieve the right texture if you want to keep your dessert vegan. Maple syrup can be used instead of honey for the caramel, too.

The verdict: my husband proclaimed it to be “spectacular” and I not-so-humbly agree.

Blogs with 58 how-to pictures before the actual recipe drive me crazy (I know how to pour water without a visual aid, Pioneer Woman), so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Here’s the end result:

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A few quick notes about these recipes:

The apple recipe makes 2 servings, and can easily be increased to feed more faces. The sorbet made about 4 scoops, so we had half with our apples  last night and we’ll have the other half with whatever I make tonight.

Throw the sliced bananas in the freezer an hour or two before you start the apples so they’ll be frozen in time for everything to come out together.

The caramel sauce makes a bit more than a cup, so use a bit for this and save the rest for homemade salted caramel mochas. I made the caramel while the apples baked but next time I’ll make and chill it ahead of time so it’s easier to make thick swirls through the sorbet.  (Completely blending the two together will result in a delightful dulce de leche flavored sorbet that begs for a light sprinkle of crunchy sea salt.)

Stuffed Apples:

Ingredients:

2 apples (I used Pink Lady, of course)

2 tablespoons old fashioned oats

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 dried date, chopped (for sweetness/moisture – you could use a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey here instead if you like)

1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 cup of water

Optional topping:

1 tablespoon chopped pecans, divided

2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a paring knife, melon baller or other apple coring tool, remove cores from apples. (if I can save any apple flesh from the core, I chop it finely and add it to the filling).

In a mixing bowl, combine oats, almond butter, dates, cranberries, cinnamon and cloves.  Mix well to combine, moistening with a bit of water if it’s too thick to stir.

Pack wells of apples firmly with filling. Combine pecans and coconut oil and sprinkle on top each apple. Place apples in a baking dish, pour the water into bottom of dish and cover loosely with foil.  Place in oven for 20ish minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes. Apple skins will be wrinkled and a knife should slide through its flesh easily when poked with a paring knife.

While your apples bake, whip up that sorbet.

Banana Sorbet 

Ingredients:

2 bananas – peeled, sliced and frozen for 1-2 hours

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or you can scrape some seeds out of a vanilla bean, which I prefer)

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend ’til creamy, stopping the machine a few times to scrape mixture down sides of container and make sure all chunks are smoothing out. Spoon into glass dish and pop in the freezer to firm up while you mix up the caramel sauce.

Coconut Milk Caramel Sauce 

Ingredients:

1 can (or 14 oz) coconut milk (full fat works better than light for texture)

1/4 cup raw honey (or maple syrup)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Whisk first 3 ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat so it doesn’t bubble over. Let it boil low uncovered at a low roll until it thickens and darkens, stirring frequently.  It’ll take about 15-20 minutes for your caramel to reduce to a little over a cup of dark amber goo. Remove from heat and add salt, stirring ’til smooth. Place in fridge to cool off a bit before adding to sorbet.

To assemble ice cream: swirl a generous vein of caramel through sorbet – if you really wanna get fancy, throw a teaspoon or two of chopped pecans in to further pay homage to the famous Blue Bell flavor.  Serve alongside apple, or split apple in half and top each side with a scoop of sorbet.

Try it and let me know what you think!  I welcome feedback.

How a homeless pibble rescued me

A few months ago, we added a member to the Pie pack & our lives changed forever. I talk about her constantly on Facebook, but I wanted to share her story with our family/friends who don’t spend every waking minute checking my updates. This is the story of Ginger, my snuggly little rescue girl.

I was leaving the skating rink after helping Assassination City run offseason tryouts, saying my goodbyes & trying not to cry (I’d retired from contact a few weeks earlier due to a spine injury & I was still pretty emotional about it). When I reached the parking lot, Salem was petting a dog who’d wandered up to her: a small female pit bull wearing an ill-fitting collar, no tags. She was emaciated, engorged with milk and covered in disturbingly symmetrical & deliberately placed wounds and scars of varying size all over her body and head. The burn between her beautiful butterscotch eyes (about the diameter of a cigar or car lighter) was almost more than I could bear to look at.
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If asked what caliber of man my husband is, I can answer the question with the following exchange. I called Micah & said, “baby, we found a lost dog & I don’t know what to do. She looks like somebody’s been hurting her.” Without hesitation, he replied, “bring her home & we’ll take her to the vet in the morning.” I would’ve married him again on the spot.

Deathcake & I loaded the dog into my backseat, plying her with peanut butter provided by Castro. I spoke to her in a soft voice the whole way home, calming us both and gathering my strength as I rambled about her getting to meet my family. I had no idea how she and Duchess would react to each other. Duchess is a very friendly dog, but she’s spoiled, easily excitable and was a week away from having knee surgery. I didn’t want her to get too wild and I didn’t want our guest to feel threatened.

I needn’t have worried – this little dog was so shellshocked & timid that she barely reacted to Duchess. She ate two bowls of food, curled up on the couch close to me & fell promptly asleep. While she snoozed, I cruised rescue sites online, seeing hundreds of pitties in need of homes – no homes eagerly looking for abandoned/abused pibbles, though. I looked over @ her about two hours into our new adventure & told Micah, “her name is Ginger.” He just nodded in agreement and said, “yeah, it is.” We both knew she was ours pretty much the minute I brought her in the door.

The next morning, we took her to our vet, who confirmed that she had no microchip. I wouldn’t have returned her if there had been identification, though. Nearly all of Ginger’s injuries were inflicted by a human. She had some bites around her muzzle & on her hocks, but the majority of the wounds – scroll on past this bit if you are as sensitive to animal cruelty as I am – were burns, razor slashes & welts from a belt or cord. Her tail had been fractured near the base and had healed a bit crooked.

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Our vet estimated that Ginger was around 2 years old, had possibly been used as a bait dog, and was almost certainly dumped shortly after whelping a litter (seems to be common in this area). I still think about those puppies and worry about where they ended up.

Sweet Ginger was covered in fleas and hosting a bevy of parasites, including heartworms & roundworms. The next couple of months were spent treating our little hostess with the mostest for her various issues – we’re still waiting for the all-clear on the heartworms, but she’s past the hardest parts.

The next couple of months were also spent working through her attachment issues, separation anxiety, housebreaking and general training. In the beginning, loud noises & sudden movements scared her. She watched us very closely to see if we’d hurt her, but she never hid from me or cringed away from my touch. She became my shadow, following me everywhere & snuggling in bed with me when I was laid up with migraines/neck pain. She fell in love with our kiddo & Duchess.

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Her wounds have healed & her fur has almost completely grown back over the scars. She’s also about 30 pounds heavier & pretty darned content.
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She still has moments of apprehension, particularly when she senses anger. I find myself saying, “it’s okay” to her and smiling a lot, which has a calming effect on both of us. In general, she has made me a calmer, more patient person.

I can’t help but feel that Ginger came into my life at exactly the right time. And I can’t get over the fact that she is exactly the kind of dog I would’ve chosen if I could have hand-picked her personality. It’s like we were meant for each other. It breaks my heart to speculate on what sort of hell she lived through before she found us, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to make the rest of her life as heavenly as I can.

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Breakfast Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Your mom was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Especially if you’re up before the crack of dawn and have some heavy mileage (be it actual or metaphorical) to cover later.

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I’ve recently become an early bird, thanks to dogs who like to cuddle at 5am and 5Ks that begin before the sun has fully risen.  It’s a pleasantly strange departure from my old nocturnal habits (ingrained in my DNA, nurtured by generations of night owls and vital to a late-night derby schedule).  As much as I loved late (and sometimes large) dinners after derby practice, I always felt sluggish in the morning – not very hungry, sometimes even a bit nauseated at the mention of food.  I assumed I just wasn’t a breakfast person.

Then I started front-loading my day – eating more of my daily calories in the morning than in the evening. My metabolism has perked up again and I have a lot more energy, which makes me more productive in general and enhances that Energizer Bunny-esque charm that people either love or loathe (it’s okay to feel both).  I’m not ravenous in the evening when I eat well for breakfast and lunch, so I don’t eat everything in the house before passing out.  Oh, and I sleep better on a less-full stomach. Victories abound.

So I may be a morning person and even a breakfast person now, but I still can’t handle anything greasy or sweet upon rising.  I need something simple, nourishing and toeing the line between sweet and savory. Easily digestible carbs and very lean protein are what I generally aim for in breakfast recipes, like the Savory Oatmeal I’ve been making a lot lately (I could write an entire cookbook chapter on savory oat risotto recipes. I love it that much). I was craving Breakfast Quinoa this morning though, so I made a big batch to portion out for the week.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love quinoa. It’s really easy to make, it’s versatile and it keeps well in the fridge.  I’m also pretty crazy about roasted sweet potatoes, so I combined the two for this recipe and added a maple yogurt drizzle to make it faaaaaancy.

Enough with the rambling, pink lady.  They just Googled for a quinoa recipe, not your life story. Speaking of recipes, this one makes 4 reasonable servings or 2 “I just ran 8 miles so SHUT UP” servings. It takes about 20 minutes to make.

Breakfast Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (I like rainbow quinoa, for obvious reasons)

1 cup water

1 cup milk of your choice (I used almond) *

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste – I don’t know your life, man, you season how you like)

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized cubes

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

* you can omit the milk and increase the water to equal two cups if you like – milk makes the quinoa creamier but isn’t crucial for good texture/flavor

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a baking sheet (metal or foil-lined will give your taters crisper edges), toss cubed potatoes in coconut oil to coat. Roast in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until tender (obviously, smaller pieces will roast faster, and you’ll want to check them frequently and give them a flip/shake halfway through to make sure they’re getting evenly browned).

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While the potatoes roast, bring water and milk* to a boil. Add quinoa, stir and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice if you’re feeling festive) and remove from heat and let stand uncovered for a few minutes to thicken a bit more before fluffing with a fork.

To serve, spoon quinoa into a bowl and top with a portion of sweet potatoes. You can make it fancier with a teaspoon or two of chopped pecans, or try a yogurt drizzle.  I was using Brown Cow Maple Yogurt on mine, but found that this homemade version is even nicer:

Maple Yogurt Drizzle (single serving)

1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Dash of vanilla extract

Whisk all 3 ingredients together with a fork and drizzle over the top of your potatoes.  Simple, delicious and just the right amount of creamy sweetness to make a virtuous breakfast taste indulgent.

Please try this recipe and let me know what you think!  I welcome feedback.

One-Exercise Workouts: the Cross-Climber Burpee

I’m a big fan of timesaving, full-body workouts that can be done virtually anywhere with no equipment.  Seriously, there are ZERO excuses to skip a workout with that kind of resume. My favorites include core work, cardio and plyometrics to keep me in top form for derby and running.

I call this a One-Exercise Workout, but it’s really a couple of exercises blended together into one super ass-kicker.  Push through these as hard and as fast as you can while maintaining your form – make sure you’re landing lightly and if you feel a sudden or sharp pain, stop immediately.  These are not for the faint of heart, so be ready to ache afterward – but the results are absolutely worth the burn.  Plus, as soon as you’re done with the set, you’re done with your workout – simple, huh?

 

Cross-Climber Burpee:

Start position:  standing straight, legs together, arms by sides, shoulders back.

Drop to a crouch, hands on the floor slightly in front of your feet.

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Jump feet back to land in plank position.

 

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Holding your plank, pick up right leg and twist lower body to tap right knee against left elbow.  Return to center and repeat on left side, tapping left knee to right elbow.

 

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Return to plank (if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can throw in a push-up at this point) and hop legs back into a crouch.

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From here, you’re going to spring up into the air!  Jump up as high as you can…arms outstretched over your head if you have the ceiling room, or clasped behind your head if your Hobbit house was built in the 1950s like mine.  Imagine your legs as springs, propelling you to the ceiling.

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Land lightly in a crouch – that’s one rep!  Shoot those legs back out into a plank and hit it again!

As for sets, play around with what works for your timeframe. When I’m rushed for time, I like to do mine Tabata-style – 20 seconds of 100% effort as I do as many as I can as quickly as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated 8 times.  That’s a 4 minute workout that hits every muscle while increasing my endurance, boosting my metabolism and making my butt look fantastic in shiny shorts. You can’t beat that with a bat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Stretch Ever

I figured I’d ease you into my blog by teaching you one of my favorite stretches (look, if I went straight to spiderman pushups on our first day together, you’d probably close this tab and search for muffin recipes instead).  This is a great cooldown stretch after a derby practice or offskates workout – your hip flexors will thank you for it.

Anyone who’s ever skated one of my practices knows how much I love a good cooldown stretch. A cooldown stretch is much more important than you think – if you’re just hopping off the rink without giving your muscles time to slowly release some of that built-up tension, you’re putting yourself at risk for soreness, fatigue or injury.

This is my absolute favorite stretch ever – it targets your back, shoulders, hips and legs, plus it helps slow down your heartrate and breathing and gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling. I’ve heard it called the Py-retzel, since the end result is rather pretzel-like. I try to do it at the end of every practice and I always hear such happy sighs all around.

How to twist one up:

Lie on your back, right leg straight and flat on the ground and bend your left knee, pulling it in toward your chest.  Hold it here for a few seconds, then open your hip a little and pull knee in toward armpit to get a deeper stretch.

Lift right leg straight up so that it’s perpendicular to your body and cross your bent left leg so your left foot rests over the top of your right thigh. Your legs will form a figure 4. With your left arm on the inside of your right thigh and your right arm on the outside, clasp your hands behind your thigh and gently pull it toward your chest.  You can bend your right knee a bit as you pull to get a deeper stretch through your hip.

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Release right thigh and lower leg to the floor.  Keeping left knee bent, gently twist your torso so that your left knee touches the ground next to the right side of your body. Try to keep both shoulderblades pressed firmly into the floor as you take a few breaths and allow your spine to release.  Straighten your body out, give your legs a little shake and repeat on the other side.

If you’re flexible and would like a deeper stretch, you can bend your bottom leg and catch the toes of your foot in your hand, using your other hand on the knee of your top leg to counter-balance the stretch.

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I usually follow this one up by rolling onto my stomach, pushing into upward dog, then pushing back into child’s pose for a few breaths before I take off my gear.  No matter how charged up I am from practice, my muscles and mind immediately feel more zen for the drive home.