Sunday, April 28, 2013


I was contacted by Beachbody to give my opinion on some of their new fitness programs. I have heard of Beachbody before, they are the makers of P90X, Insanity, Turbofire and lots of other in-home workout programs. They also have a nutrition line that includes supplements and meal replacements. Michael and I have been wanting to try P90X, so I had fun getting to look at some of their other programs and getting to know some more about the company.

Here are the programs they asked me to look at and give my opinion on.

Beachbody Challenge: This seems pretty straight-forward. You sign up for the Challenge and use their fitness and nutrition plans to help meet your weight loss goals. They also offer support through online forums as well as one-on-one guidance. (It's unclear who is providing the guidance. Nutritionists? Personal trainers? Beachbody consultants?) You can choose one of Beachbody's 19 fitness programs (such as Brazil Butt Lift or P90x) to complete and once you submit your results you get a free* t-shirt and a chance to win cash and prizes! Pretty cool, I know money is a big motivator for a lot of people. You also will receive Shakeology nutrition shakes to drink during the challenge.

*I kind of think it's funny when companies say they are giving you something for free when you just gave them a nice chunk of change. I mean, you paid for that t-shirt, really. :)

P90X Certified Trainer: This program sounds pretty interesting. You can earn P90X certification to add to your personal training credentials. P90X is a well-recognized fitness program and if you already have personal training clients (or work for a gym), you could put together a P90X training group. You can also join their Pro Team to get marketing materials to grow your business with a focus on the P90X program.

Les Mills Pump Cross Training Deluxe: This fitness program combines cardio and strength training. There are three cardio workouts: a high intensity interval training workout, a sports training workout and a combat-style workout. There is also equipment included for both the cardio and weight training workouts. It sounds like a good program, the cardio workouts are 30-45 minutes each. I didn't find any info on how often you are supposed to do the workouts and if the weight training portion has a DVD or any instruction with it. It might be an add-on to their original Les Mills Pump.

Focus T25 Workout: I have heard of the Insanity workouts before and, as the name implies, it is an intense program. The T25 workout basically condenses the high-intensity cardio workout into 25 minutes. Seems like a pretty good idea, since one of the top excuses for not exercising is, "I don't have time." I think most people who want to get in shape can find 25 minutes in their day and if the intensity is high, you can definitely get results in 125 minutes a week. This product is not available yet, so there wasn't a whole lot of info available.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Colorful Vegetable Lasagna

I was craving a good vegetable lasagna last week. I really wanted my favorite butternut squash lasagna but since butternut squash is pretty much out of season by now, I knew I needed to find another recipe. I perused some Cooking Light recipes and found this recipe, which used more spring vegetables.

It turned out so delicious! I ended up making smoky marinara to use, which is my favorite marinara recipe to use with lasagna. Yum! The only other change I made was to leave out the mushrooms (not a fan of mushrooms). I thought it turned out great!

Colorful Vegetable Lasagna

Cooking spray (as usual, I just used a little olive oil instead)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped onion
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced cremini mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
5 cups Basic Smoky Marinara, divided
12 precooked lasagna noodles (about 8 ounces) (I used the no-boil kind)


Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell peppers, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and mushroom liquid evaporates. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and egg, stirring well.
Spread 1 cup Basic Marinara over bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with 3 noodles. Spoon 1 cup Basic Marinara evenly over noodles. Top evenly with one-third of ricotta mixture and one-third of vegetable mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with noodles. Top with remaining 1 cup Basic Marinara. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes.
Bruce Weinstein, Cooking Light

Pine Nut and Lemon Orzo

I needed a quick and easy side dish to take to our Easter potluck and found this recipe in my search. It seemed to fit the bill so I put it together that morning. This made a delicious side dish! It makes a lot, so we ended up taking some home and the leftovers were delicious as well.

Pine Nut and Lemon Orzo

4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 medium lemons)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
Combine rind, juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly add oil to juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add pasta to juice mixture; toss to coat. Cool to room temperature. Stir in parsley and pine nuts.
Jackie Mills, R.D., Cooking Light
MAY 2007