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TrainerTiff: December 2011 >

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Basil Pesto and Tomato Pasta

Sometimes the most simple recipes can be the most delicious. I stumbled upon this creation one day when I was trying to put together a simple dish that required few ingredients. After some brainstorming, voila! And Hubby puts his seal of approval on this. Check it out.

1/2 small box thin, whole grain spaghetti
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2-3 heaping spoonfuls, basil pesto (I like Classico's traditional basil pesto)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Cook pasta according to package. Be sure not to overcook pasta. When pasta has 1-2 minutes cook time remaining, heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add olive oil and butter. With a pair of tongs, pull cooked pasta out and let excess water drip back into pot. Add all of pasta into the skillet with the olive oil and butter. Mix thoroughly. Add basil pesto and mix throughout. Lastly, add tomatoes and carefully toss into the pasta mixture. You want to be careful with the tomatoes because handling them too roughly will create a sauce and that's not what we're going for. Serve in bowls. Makes approximately 4 servings.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

TrainerTiff's Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year again! I love the holidays and all the gift guides that pop up. I always find things that I had never considered or even heard of.
This guide is full of things that I believe will make exercising more enjoyable and rewarding. Some of these items I've tried and totally recommend, others might even be on my Christmas list. (Wink, wink, Santa!)
Check it out.

BODYFAT ANALYZER: Nothing is more frustrating than working out and not knowing whether or not you're losing fat. Omron makes a handheld bioelectrical impedance device that is easy to use. This is what I use to keep an eye on my bodyfat. About $50.

HEART RATE MONITOR: This device is useful for fitness newcomers or experienced exercisers who want to turn up the intensity. It can be difficult to know whether you're working out at 60-90% of your maximum heart rate, so a device like this can really come in handy. Omron makes a monitor that attaches to the wrist and reads heart rate with just two fingers. About $50.

HOT YOGA TOWEL: Those who love hot yoga need this! I used to use a regular bath towel for a long time until I got a Manduka eQua towel as a gift one year, and now I can't imagine using anything else. These towels are made to fit perfectly to the yoga mat and don't bunch up like regular towels. Also, they're really absorbent so stepping in a puddle of sweat is not an issue. About $40.

WIRELESS EARBUDS: I can't tell you how annoying it is when the cord on my earbuds gets in the way of my workout. Wireless earbuds are the perfect solution. The Sharper Image has a pair that connects to any Bluetooth enabled device. About $80.

DISTANCE TRACKER: I remember a time that I went for a run and used a free app on my phone. I ran for what felt like forever only to discover that the app hadn't tracked a single step! Since most avid runners already own such a device, new runners will greatly benefit from having a tracker. The Timex Ironman Fitness Tracker is a watch that tracks distance, calories burned, pace and steps. About $90.

INSULATED STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE: Be eco-friendly and good to your health. Stainless steel is BPA-free and won't leach toxic chemicals into your water. The insulation will keep your water cold for hours. CamelBak makes one that has a wide-mouth opening making it easy to add ice. About $30.

CELL PHONE CREDIT CARD CASE: Know that feeling of wanting to run into the gym for a quick workout without being bogged down with a wallet or purse? Case Mate makes convenient cases for iPhone and Blackberry phones with a slot big enough for two credit cards. Slide in a gym membership card, credit cards, business cards or cash. About $30.

TOTES: Sometimes the look of a gym bag just won't do. Totes are convenient and appropriate for the gym and what's more is that they can double as a travel or work bag. Lululemon makes a stylish bag that holds a laptop, has front pockets for easy cell phone access and a removable shoe bag. About $120.

FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS: If you're buying for someone who has been talking about starting a new workout program and diet, having a new set of food storage containers is essential. The thought of putting thoughtfully prepared meals into old cruddy storables can seriously zap motivation. I have a set from IKEA that is BPA-free and really affordable. About $5.

BENTO BOX: I recently came across this find in Oxygen magazine. The bento box makes taking your lunch to work so convenient. Inside one large box there are 4-5 different sized storage boxes that will perfectly fit everything from a sandwich to salad dressing. Laptop Lunches has a variety of bento boxes in different colors and designs. About $45.

MASSAGE: OK, a massage is awesome anytime, but especially for someone who has been working hard to improve their fitness. Studies show that massaged muscles regain significantly more function and strength than muscles that aren't massaged. You can't go wrong with a massage gift card. $40 and up.

MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: We all tend to buy the same magazines over and over. Getting someone a subscription to something new can open them up to all sorts of new information they may not come across otherwise. Subscriptions are great, and I end up loving the magazines I get as gifts. They are one of the few gifts that keep on giving. About $20.