Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic and Tomatoes

I made this dish a while ago, but wanted to share it since it's really delicious. I usually roast my shrimp, since they always are cooked perfectly, and it's really quick and convenient. This doesn't take much longer, and as long as you keep an eye on things, will also cook them perfectly!

Recipe: Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic and Tomatoes
Adapted from Mark Bittman

2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 cup diced tomato (I like using grape or cherry tomatoes, and halving them)
1/2 lb shrimp

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden - don't let it burn! Add tomatoes, and cook until they start to burst. Add shrimp to the pan, trying to arrange them so they are in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip them over. Continue to flip over every couple minutes, until they are pink all over and the tomatoes and garlic are bubbly. 

Weekly Finds

It's been a while since I've posted one of these! These are the great recipes, workouts, and finds I've come across in the past few months. 


Mini Breakfast Quiches These are great for breakfast on the go

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms Wow this would be perfect for hosting a brunch - everyone gets their own baked egg with a gooey yolk

Banana Nut Granola I love this idea - it uses mashed banana right in with the granola ingredients

Roasted Broccoli and Sharp Cheddar Quiche I love that this uses cornmeal in the crust

Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast I'm definitely going to make this after I go blueberry picking!

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze I would love to make these with homemade strawberry jam!

The Best Orange Glazed Sweet Rolls These looks so incredible

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry-Rhubarb Compote I love the idea of cornmeal in your pancakes

Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls This has brown butter in the dough, filling, as well as the frosting! And they're ready in an hour

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal with Walnut Streusel Topping

Maple Pecan Sticky Buns


Spring Vegetable Goat Cheese Dip This cheesy appetizer sounds delicious

No-Bake Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars These seem really similar to the Quaker granola bars, but I'm sure taste way better!

Cookie Butter Banana Bread Delicious combination of flavors

Mixed Herb Scones with Sharp Cheddar You can use any fresh herbs that you want to make these


Cinnamon Raisin Bread This is so beautiful

Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread Another beautiful bread, I love that this one has fresh berries in it

Brioche Burger Buns These beautiful buns would dress up any burger

Soft Pretzel Nuggets with Spicy Cheese Dipping Sauce This sauce sounds so yummy


Kale and Brown Rice Gratin with Smoked Cheese Sauce

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

Fresh Spinach Pasta

Fresh Herb Homemade Pasta

Meatball Style Veggie Burgers Really interesting - vegetarian meatballs that have been flattened so you can stick them on a burger bun


Grilled Halloumi Skewers with Cilantro-Tahini Sauce I'm making these the next time we grill! Without the cilantro, of course


Nutella Swirled Banana Bread This is such an elegant looking banana bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups These are baked in muffin tins, so they are perfectly shaped every time and won't spread too much

Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream These are so elegant, and this recipe makes them sound pretty simple to make

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread This sounds so indulgent and delicious

Salted Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies Peanut butter, peanut butter chips, and peanut butter cups are added to the New York Times chocolate chip cookies recipe

Ultimate Brownies Joey was looking over my shoulder as I checked out this recipe, and told me that I MUST save the recipe :)

Skinny Rice Pudding A lighter version

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake You can use frozen blueberries to make this year round

Samoa Cheesecake like the girl scout cookie!

Lemon Cream Tarts These look so creamy and luscious

Blueberry Pie Bars Just like blueberry pie, but so much easier

Million Dollar Brownies These look fantastic

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups Great idea to bake cookies in muffin cups

Oatmeal Fudge Bars A layer of fudge instead of the typical jam, sandwiched between cookies

Big Ass Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies These are HUGE and look awesome

Berry Crisp with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble This looks like it has a really thick cookie crumble layer!

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake So beautiful


Rainbow Sangria The colors are so beautiful in this

Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade Perfect for the summer

Peach Mules


No Equipment Abs Workout

Fast Full Body Workout If you're short on time, this 5 exercise workout will still get you moving

Medicine Ball Exercises 7 medicine ball moves for an even better workout

Strengthen and Stretch 12 moves that all runners should do - 6 exercises and 6 yoga poses

The best exercises to prevent injury

Bikini shape-up circuit with weights

30-Minute Shapeup Session Cardio and strength training mashup

Sculpt Session Abs, thighs and butt

The Ultimate Beginner-Friendly Yoga Sequence

Do-Anywhere Bikini Circuit No equipment needed

Tabata superset workout

Fat-Frying Mashup: Running and Weights

Circuit Workout with Plyometrics

20 Minute Cardio/Abs Workout Target your abs without a single crunch! I bet you could substitute another form of cardio in for the jump rope if you don't have one. Rowing or running would probably be great substitutes

2 Week Total Body Challenge


Cooking Tips:

Food for Thought:

I seriously want to read all of the books on this list

Favorite Fashion Staples:

Putting myself out there on social media

I've decided to embrace some additional forms of social media! I made a facebook page a while back, but stopped doing anything to attract viewers. I have a ton of pinterest followers, but mostly because I pin an insane amount of recipes, not so much for the blog. A long time ago, I created instagram and twitter accounts, but never really got around to posting anything there. I actually couldn't even remember my username and password!

So here are the different ways you can follow me!

Handle: @jlk3586

Username: jkaplan86

Username: jkaplan86

Page name: Working Out and Eating In

Please leave comments! I promise to respond to questions. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

No Equipment Circuit Workout

I did this workout last night with a friend, and we both thought it was pretty tough! I adapted it from several workouts I saw on FitSugar. Since it doesn't require any weights, it's a really convenient workout to do anywhere. You could do this while traveling, or at home.

I have exercise descriptions below, but please comment if you have any questions or if something is unclear.

Sumo Squat Series
Targets lower glutes and inner thighs
Begin in a wide stance with your legs turned out and your toes pointed outward. With your hands at your chest, perform 10 squats in this position, keeping your hips pulled back, and making sure your bent knees do not move beyond your toes.
Hold your last squat and slowly pulse up and down in a one-inch range 10 times.
Maintain your squat and lift your right heel, and pulse up and down in a one-inch range 10 times before switching sides.

Elbow Plank with Alternating Arm Reach
Targets entire front of the body, and the arm reach forces your abs to work harder to stabilize your torso
Start in an elbow plank. With your abs pulled toward your spine, reach your right arm forward, keeping your torso as still as possible. Bring your elbow back to the mat. This completes one rep.
Repeat on the other side and continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.

Crunchy Frog
Strengthens and tones the entire abdominal wall
Begin sitting, balanced just behind your sit bones, and rock back slightly to lift your feet off the floor. Gently pull your knees to your chest. Exhale, pull your navel to your spine, and lean back slightly as you open your arms to the sides and straighten your legs. Inhale and return to the starting position to complete one rep. Do 20 reps total.

Half Banana
Targets the abs while being gentle on the lower back
Start lying on your back with your arms reaching toward the ceiling. Exhale and roll up toward sitting while lifting your left leg up. Pause at the top and reach for your toes before rolling down slowly back to the mat. This completes one rep. Repeat, lifting the right leg as you roll up toward sitting. Continue alternating sides for a total of 20 reps.

Donkey Kick Pulse Series
Targets the glutes
Begin on all fours and lift your right leg off the floor until your knee is in line with your hip. Flex your foot and squeeze your glute to raise your heel an inch toward the ceiling. Continue these small, concentrated pulses for 15 reps, then continue with your left leg.
Come back to all fours, and lift your right leg off the floor until your knee is in line with your hip. Open your right knee out to the side, keeping your foot flexed, and pulse your leg one inch to the left. You are not trying to lift the knee up, but try to keep it level as it moves behind you. Continue with these small, concentrated pulses for 15 reps, then repeat on the other side.

Pilates Swimming
Targets the back and upper glutes
Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching overhead, pulling your abs away from the floor to protect and lengthen your lower back. Lift your legs, arms, and head off the mat. Keeping your knees straight, lift your entire right leg and left arm a few inches away from the floor. As you lower your right leg and left arm, lift your left leg and right arm away from the mat to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides in a slow controlled manner, keeping your torso stable, for a total of 20 reps.

Squat with Side Leg Lift
Targets glutes and core
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, feet parallel. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping weight back in your heels. Rise back up, straightening the legs completely, and lift the right leg out to the side, squeezing the outer glute. Lower the right leg to complete one rep; repeat the squat again, lifting the left leg as you stand. Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

Down Dog Abs
Targets the whole body - works your upper body while also focusing on the abs. Also provides a nice stretch for the calves.
Start in a Downward Dog pose, actively pushing your weight into your heels while reaching your tailbone to the sky. Lift your left leg up, squeezing the left glute. Exhale and rock your weight forward over your hands, drawing your left knee toward your nose while pulling your abs to your spine to round your back. Inhale and lift your leg up as you push your weight back into your heels. This completes one rep. Do 10 reps, then switch to the other side.

Elbow Side Plank with Twist
Targets obliques and inner thighs
Start in side elbow plank on your right side, with your feet stacked one on top of the other. Place your right hand so your fingers point away from you. Place your left arm behind your head, and inhale to prepare. Exhale, and pull your navel to your spine while rotating your ribcage toward the floor, bringing your left elbow to your right hand. Return to the starting position to complete one rep. Do 10 reps, then switch sides.

Beach Babe Push-Up
Targets chest and triceps, as well as glutes and abs
Begin in plank with your knees on the mat. Extend your right leg straight behind you so it is parallel with the floor. Engage your abs, and keep your left heel in line with your hips by engaging your glutes. With your right leg extended, exhale to bend the elbows, lowering into a push-up. Try to lower your chest until it touches the ground. Inhale to straighten your arms, keeping your leg lifted. This counts as one rep. Do 5 reps on each side.

Twisted Mountain Climber
Targets shoulders, quads and abs
Start in a traditional plank - shoulders over hands and weight on  your toes. With your core engaged, twist to bring your right knee forward under your left elbow. Return to your basic plank to complete the rep. Switch legs, bringing left knee forward to the right elbow for your second rep. Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

Split Squat
Targets glutes, hamstrings and core
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, feet parallel. Extend your right leg straight behind you, in a reverse lunge. Make sure to prevent your left knee from going past your left toes. Straighten your legs, engage your core for stability, and balance on your left foot, while lifting your right knee up to your chest. Repeat for 10 reps total, then switch sides.

Forearm Plank
Targets entire front of the body
Start in an forearm plank. Keep your abs pulled toward your spine, and your legs in line with your back. Don't hunch your back or stick out your butt. Hold this position for 1 minute.

Butterfly Crunch
Targets the abs
Lie on your back with your knees open and the soles of your feet together (in a butterfly position). Lengthen your arms overhead so they are resting on the floor. Exhale and bring your hands and knees toward each other performing a full-body crunch. Your shoulder blades should be off the mat as you perform a small reverse crunch, lifting your pelvis a bit off the mat. Hold the position for a few seconds, and really feel your abs squeezing. Slowly lower your arms and feet back to starting position to complete one rep. Do 15 reps to complete a set.

Marching Bridge
Targets the back and glutes
Lie on your back with your hands by your side, with your heels about 12 inches from your pelvis. Press your heels into the floor to come into a bridge position with a neutral spine. Press your right heel into the floor, and keeping your knee bent, raise your left leg until your hip is at 90 degrees. Lower your left leg down, pressing through your glutes so your pelvis doesn't lower to the floor along with the leg. This completes one rep; switch sides and lift your right leg for your second rep. Do 20 reps, alternating legs.

Alternating Side Lunges
Targets the glutes and inner thighs
Start with your feet directly under your hips. Step your right foot wide to the side, coming into a lunge with your left fingers touching your right foot. Your right knee shouldn't go beyond your right toes. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Push into your right foot to return to standing, then lunge sideways to the left to complete one rep.

Bicycle Crunches
Targets abs and obliques
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your abs down to also target your deep abs). Interlace your fingers, and put your hands behind your head. Bring your knees in toward your chest, and lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows. Now switch sides, and do the same motion on the other side to complete one rep (and to create the "pedaling" motion).

Super Fudgy Brownies

I wanted to bake something very chocolate-y for my dad, for both his birthday and Father's Day. I found the perfect recipe in these brownies. They were incredibly rich, and completely worth the extra steps it took to make them. Normally I use Baker's Chocolate when I need unsweetened chocolate for a recipe, but the store was out! I used Ghirardelli, and it was delicious. I also didn't feel like dirtying my mixer, so I hand-beat the egg/sugar mixture. Lastly, I took them out of the oven at 35 minutes on the dot, and felt that they probably could have stayed in an extra few minutes, since they were just a little underdone. My dad didn't complain at all - he loved how fudgy they were. He loves cold brownies, so that helped firm up the insides.

Recipe: Super Fudgy Brownies
From: Handle the Heat
Yield: 16 brownies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray, OR line with parchment paper.

In a double boiler (metal bowl set above a pot of simmering water - do not let the bowl touch the water), melt the chocolates and butter. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until thick and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula (make sure the chocolate is not too hot - you don't want to scramble your eggs!) Gently fold in the flour and salt until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, giving the pan a tap on a counter to release any air. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is set and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool to room temperature before cutting (they cut better when cold). Serve chilled or at room temperature (or heat up and serve over ice cream)

I may have eaten a few before I took these pictures...

Friday, June 13, 2014

How To Start/Restart a Workout Routine (and tips on how to maintain it!)

I am recently coming off of an exercise hiatus, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give some pointers for how to do the same. I think these tips work well for both beginners and more experienced exercise enthusiasts who have simply taken a break from working out.

Note - these are just things that I personally recommend. I'm not a physical trainer or nutritionist, I don't have a medical degree or specialty in exercise medicine. I just love to work out and want to share the knowledge and tips I've picked up along the way!

1. Establish a Routine

You know how every morning when you wake up, you do the same thing, and in the same order? Or when you're in the shower, there's always a particular order you do things (unless of course that's just me...) We all crave routine, and the same applies for our workouts. There are a few things that can help in establishing a routine.

Pick a day/time that works for you

Some people are early risers, and relish getting a workout in while everyone else is sleeping. Not everyone works that way. Some people bring their gym bag with them to work every day, since they'll be hitting the gym on the way home. There are also those who go to the gym during their lunch break, if they have a gym close to where they work. Regardless of what works best for you, it's best to pick a time of day and stick to it. You can always make adjustments along the way, but if you know that you're supposed to exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 PM, then you are less likely to schedule things during that time.

Set aside enough time to have an efficient workout

Now that you've picked what time of day you want to workout, make sure you allow enough time for a full workout. No matter how efficient you are, it's unlikely you'll be able to get anything accomplished in less than 30 minutes of gym time. A lot of my workouts are 45 minutes minimum, and usually more than an hour. That is gym time alone, and does not include transportation to and from the gym, or my post-gym shower.


I can't emphasize enough how helpful it is to plan ahead. Part of that is set above, with making your routine. Besides that, I think it is very helpful to come up with some type of plan for each week. This doesn't have to be extremely specific, and this plan may apply to most of your weeks, which will mean minimal adjustments or planning beyond week 1. Here are some things that I think you should think about.

Type of workout

Are there specific days that you want to do cardio, and specific days you want to do strength? Are you going to have every workout include a combination of the two? These are some questions you'll have to answer for yourself. Also, figure out if you want to have 3 equal workouts each week, or maybe 1 long workout and 2 shorter ones. If there are specific days when you know you will be short on time, that would be the perfect time to do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, since they pack in a whole lot in a small amount of time.

Have a goal in mind

Similar to above, your workout should depend on what you are trying to accomplish. Are you training for a marathon? Are you trying to lose some weight and get in better shape? Are you trying to tone or develop a certain area of your body? All of these goals (as well as any other goal) would have a different set of workouts that would best achieve your goal. It also helps when you have a time frame for when you want to accomplish this goal. There are so many guides available online that can help develop a workout plan. Here on this blog, I have training plans for an 8k (5 miler) and 10 miler, as well as workouts for general strength and fitness.

Pre- and post-workout eating

On days when you will be working out, you want to make sure you are properly fueled. It is really helpful to have some snacks on hand that have a combination of carbohydrates and protein, to both keep you fuel, and give you energy for your workout. Depending on the type of workout you want to do, you might have to plan how far in advance you want to eat your snack. When I'm going on a run, I try to limit my eating to at least 2 hours before the run, with the exception of energy chews and small snacks. If I'm doing a strength workout, I'm much less limited, but I will still avoid having a large snack too close to the workout. If you plan on working out for an hour or longer, you might want to think about energy chews - I'm a huge fan of GU Chomps. Equally important is what you eat after your workout. You don't want to wait too long before eating, both for your recovery, and for your metabolism. If you won't have your next meal for a while, pack a snack that's high in protein.

Pack your gym bag in advance

I can't count how many times I haven't made it to the gym, since I was too rushed in the morning to pack up my gym bag. Some days, I just came home and did a workout there, but most of the time I used that as an excuse to not work out. If you set out your clothes the night before, not only are you ready to walk out the door as soon as you do the rest of your morning routine, but it's also a visual reminder that you plan on working out that day. Then, once you have your gym bag with you, it's another reminder that you plan on working out.


All the planning in the world won't help you if you don't actually enforce your plan.

Adjust your plan instead of ignoring it

I know that everyone can get busy, and some weeks might be busier than others. This is why it is important to think about your plan each week. It is less likely that something will come up at the last minute - you usually know in advance if there is a day you will have to work late, or if you have an appointment you can't miss. That's when you can get creative, by switching Wednesday's workout to Tuesday, or deciding which workouts you really could live without that week. Make working out a priority, instead of something you do if you happen to have extra time. You won't ever have extra time if you put it at the bottom of your list. This also applies to the type of workout you are doing. Everyone is different, so what works for your friend might not work for you. Even if your co-worker loves and raves about a certain style of workout, doesn't mean you will enjoy it as well. There may be a trial period where you have to switch up what you're doing until you find what you like.

Don't fall off the band wagon

Even with a plan, things happen, and workouts get skipped. This is okay. The problem is when you let that become the norm. The same thing goes for trying to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle - you don't (or at least shouldn't) completely stop trying just because you had one bad day.

Don't get in a workout "rut"

Even though you have this plan, don't get too caught up in following things to the letter. A little bit of variation will keep you from being bored, and is also great for your body. If your body doesn't know what to expect each day/week, then your workout will be more effective. If there is a new class offered at the gym that sounds interesting - give it a try! You might not love it, but trying something new is always fun. I did the same kind of workouts every week for over a year, and while I was in that routine, it worked for me. However, once I took that hiatus, coming back to the same thing didn't sound like fun. It wasn't until I switched up my workouts, that I wanted to start up again, and actually started to look forward to the gym each week.

4. Take care of yourself

You won't be able to continue working out if you don't take proper care of yourself!


Unless you are working out to lose weight, adjust how much you're eating if you increase your workouts. Even if you are trying to lose weight, make sure you eat enough calories to fuel your workouts. Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day, not just when you're working out. Aim to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. It's so much harder going into a workout when you're already exhausted!

Start out slow

I love feeling a little sore the day or two after a workout, since that means I know I worked hard and my muscles are repairing themselves. What I don't love, is waking up so stiff I can barely move, and this is usually the biggest problem for newbies. When you don't have any sore muscles going into your first few workouts, you think you can do a lot more. The next day is a rude awakening, when you realize that muscles you didn't even know you had are aching. Even if you were previously able to do a hard workout, that doesn't mean you should jump right back into it after time off. Sure, maybe you ran a half marathon 6 months ago, but if you've only run 3 times since then, you probably shouldn't plan a 10 mile run until you've started with some shorter runs first.

Keep track of your progress

You're working out, and that's awesome! But knowing that you're doing something good for your body is sometimes hard to believe if you can't see actual results. Physical changes to your body (weight loss, inches lost/gained) will be small and slow at first. A great way to see some changes is to track your workouts. If you're training for a race, keep track of your distance and times, and you'll be able to see changes in your speed and endurance. If you're lifting weights, keep track of how heavy the weights are, and how many reps you can perform with that weight. If you're doing HIIT, keep track of how many reps you do in a specific amount of time. There are so many ways you can track your progress, and progress is a huge motivator.

Reward yourself

Once you've reached some of your goals, you should make sure to reward yourself! You've worked hard, and you've earned something fun! However, make sure that your reward matches your goal, and that it doesn't derail any of your hard efforts. Doing 5 more pushups than you did last week probably doesn't equal a giant chocolate cake. Neither does losing 1 pound. One thing I've found to be helpful, is to not think of food as a reward. I reward myself by buying a new pair of running shorts, once I realize that I'm going to the gym often enough to need more than the 2 pairs I had previously. I reward myself with a pedicure, after training long and hard for a race, and then completing that race.

Hopefully these tips can help you learn to love exercise, and will help you figure out how to fit exercise into your life, and keep it there!

If you enjoyed these tips, let me know! And let me know about any other workout-related topics you would like to hear more about. I'm planning on doing a series about building the perfect workout next, so stay tuned!