MAPLE GINGER CHICKEN – plan ahead meal

MAPLE GINGER CHICKEN
4 bone-in chicken thighs
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
4 sprigs FRESH thyme leaves (Rosemary works too in a pinch)
3/4 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
3 medium apples or pears, peeled, cored and quartered

  • Place a large Ziploc bag in a large mixing bowl (just win case the bag breaks)
  • Combine the apple cider, maple syrup, vinegar, shallot, ginger, salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken, seal and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning once or twice to make sure chicken is well coated.

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Remove chicken from marinade.
  • Arrange chicken pieces skin side up in a large baking dish.
  • Tuck apples and thyme sprigs among the chicken pieces.
  • Pour marinade over top of the chicken.
  • Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour, basting occasionally until chicken is cooked through and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.
  • Serve chicken and fruit with sauce spooned over top.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

CHICKEN with CHARRED POBLANO CREAMED CORN & BACON

CHICKEN with CHARRED POBLANO CREAMED CORN & BACON – serves 4
4 chicken legs **
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 slices bacon, diced
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
4 LARGE cloves garlic
1 cup whole milk
4 sprigs FRESH thyme, reserve 1 sprig to chop small
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 Poblano pepper
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup sour cream

  • Broil pepper to blister.
  • Place pepper in a sealed ziploc bag for 5-10 minutes to loosen skin.
  • Remove skin and seeds.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. (Dredge with egg wash and Wonder if using skinless, boneless pieces)
  • Brown chicken pieces until golden and JUST cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to drain off excess fat. Keep warm.
  • Add bacon to pan and cook until crisp.
  • Remove bacon with slotted spoon.
  • Add onion and garlic cooking 2-3 minutes.
  • Add corn.
  • Add milk and 3 of the thyme sprigs and bring to a SLOW boil, immediately reducing to a simmer.
  • Add chicken pieces, cover and simmer 30 minutes if using bone in, 10-15 if using skinless boneless pieces.
  • Add corn and cook another 15-20 minutes until liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Plate creamed corn, and top with chicken.
  • Drizzle with lemon juice and sauce before serving.
  • Garnish with thyme leaves and crisp bacon.

NOTE:** This recipe can be made with boneless skinless thighs for easy eating, BUT having the skin that gets crispy and golden does add a layer of flavor and texture that makes a GREAT presentation. When I use skinless, boneless chicken I dredge the chicken in an egg wash and Wonder flour to give the illusion of a crusty skin.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

BAKED HONEY LIME CHICKEN

BAKED HONEY LIME CHICKEN adapted from Dinner Then Dessert

With just 4 total ingredients these chicken thighs are first browned and then baked in the same skillet which results in PERFECT crispy, sweet and a little sour tender chicken that looks like you slaved over a hot grill.

1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 limes, 1- zested and juiced, 1-halved
5 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
  • Whisk together the Bragg’s liquid aminos, honey, lime juice and lime zest.
  • Add chicken thighs to a ziploc bag.
  • Pour marinade over chicken, seal bag and rub marinade into chicken.
  • Heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron or oven ready skillet over medium high heat.
  • Using tongs add the chicken to the skillet and brown with the skin side down for 3-5 minutes. Reserve marinade.
  • Flip the chicken over so the skin side is up.
  • Add on the remaining marinade and halved lime.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

NOTE: This recipe also works with any other type of citrus – lemon, tangerine, blood orange, grapefruit…

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

RUM RAISIN CARROT CAKE with VANILLA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

RUM RAISIN CARROT CAKE

CAKE
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Jumbo eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup golden rum*
3 cups grated carrots
8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Pour rum over raisins and set aside for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour 2-9 inch cake pans.
  • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars.
  • In another bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and 1 egg. Add additional eggs and beat until well creamed.
  • Add dry ingredients gradually until well blended.
  • Add carrots, pineapple and walnuts until well blended.
  • Drain raisins and fold in last.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes.
  • Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely.

NOTE*:  As an option you could soak the raisins in orange juice instead and then substitute 1 teaspoon maple flavoring for the rum.

FROSTING
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

  • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
  • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
  • Ice first layer and then add 2nd cake top and ice again including sides of cake.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

This recipe is also great as cupcakes.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

STILL IN SEARCH OF THE ALIEN COW

One of our favorite places here to visit wildlife is Brazos Bend State Park. We tried to go back in November, but were turned away as they were still closed due to damage from August 26th’s Hurricane Harvey that had the park under 6 feet of water and did major damage to the park. To date they are still not sure how many alligators just floated away during the storm.

Tuesday was sunny, but on the cool side so the alligators were only visible when sunbathing along the lake edges, but the birds were everywhere.  Unfortunately, we only got about half the park in as I just plain ran out of energy.  We’ll go back in a few weeks.

After several visits I was curious about what alligators actually eat. My research shows that what they eat is dependent on their age and size, but they are primarily carnivores no matter what. Researchers have found fruits and berries in dead alligators also. As they grow they will progressively hunt for larger and larger prey including turtles, raccoons, muskrat, large fish and some birds that live near the water. There have been reports of dogs, panthers and even black bears being eaten by alligators. Once an adult they will feed on any pretty much any animal that comes near the water. Alligators tend to NOT prey on anything larger than they are. I’m sure given the right scenario, they might prey on just about anything if they are hungry enough. Alligators tend to avoid humans, but when provoked they may attack. As you can see from my pictures there are plenty of turtles and birds that live in and around these alligators.

Even the turtles were sunbathing trying to stay warm.

Like I said, the birds were EVERYWHERE including this guy who I thought would turn and fly the other way as we got closer, but did the complete opposite landing right next to us and then taking his time crossing in front of us.

After reading this I have to wonder who and why they created a park where there is NOTHING separating you from the alligators except your common sense to keep your distance. ALL of the alligators I saw today were larger than I am!

Back in 2011 when we were here taking care of my aunt we made our first trip to the park and on the way home we saw an “ALIEN” cow.  We have looked evey time for the cow or an offspring, but still NO luck.

SWEET GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS

SWEET GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS serves 4-6
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup pineapple juice (I use a pineapple orange mix)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 1/2-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, pineapple juice, liquid aminos and brown sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Generously season both sides of the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper.
  • Lightly grease baking dish.
  • Place chicken thighs in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Pour pineapple juice mixture over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, keep warm.
  • Pour pineapple mixture from baking dish into a stove top safe saucepan.
  • Whisk together the water and cornstarch.
  • Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan, whisking constantly until thickens.
  • Plate chicken pieces and spoon sauce over chicken pieces.
  • Serve immediately.

ALOHA BBQ PORK RIBS – revisited

I wrote this back in 2015 and it is still our FAVORITE recipe for ribs. I made them again recently and wanted to update that I used orange marmalade instead of the apricot pineapple jam and hubby thinks they are even better.

“We had the most amazing dinner tonight if I do say so myself.  I was missing a few ingredients for my normal BBQ sauce so made a few substitutions and we have a new “NORMAL” in this family. I added fresh pineapple slices topped with some of the BBQ sauce during the last 30 minutes of bake time and they were so juicy, tender and flavorful. We added a fresh steamed artichoke and there were NO leftovers!  I will use the rest of the sauce on chicken later in the week.”

ALOHA BBQ PORK RIBS
2-4 pounds baby back pork ribs
Fresh ground salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Bring ribs to room temperature.
  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  • Generously sprinkle with salt and paper.
  • Line a large cookie sheet with heavy duty foil.
  • Bake for 2 hours undisturbed.
  • Uncover, add pineapple slices and top with sauce and bake another 30 or minutes until the meat pulls away from the bone easily.

SAUCE
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Smucker’s apricot pineapple jam (orange marmalade works well too)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 cup Tabasco Jalapeno ketchup
Fresh ground salt and black pepper

  •  In a large sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients and bring to a SLOW boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to as low as possible and simmer while the ribs bake. Sauce will thicken during this simmering so stir frequently.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 4 of 2018

Can you believe we’re entering the last full week of the 1st month of 2018? Didn’t we just have Christmas and New Year’s? Now Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away.  Where does the time go these days? This year is already 1/13th over!  I’ve been so bored with not able to really do anything so you would think time would be dragging! I hope everyone had a GREAT week.

Be sure to join in and link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

The weather has been ALL over the place!  This week though is supposed to be in the low 60’s with cloudy skies and rain on and off ALL week. It’s bringing back the humidity, but at least it’s not as noticeable in the bad way with the lower temperatures.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Honey Nut cheerios with a banana and milk

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

No real projects going on, but trying to sort though piles and piles of recipes, receipts and misc. paperwork.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

Just 10 more days until I can start working out to regain my muscle tone and LOL 😀 hopefully find my energy. I’m actually excited to be able to do this. Theoretically more exercise will make the food issues better too.

I’ve been pretty good at sticking to the no lifting, pulling or pushing part of this plan, but I am really looking forward to being the one to get a DEEP clean done as well as the vacuuming that needs to be done.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

We’re about 50 miles from the coast as the crow flies so I think this guy is a little lost.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads AGAIN this week, towels, bedding and clothing – hopefully soon I can quite washing every other day
  • LIVING AREAS… plan on doing a psuedo deep clean today and tomorrow now that the cold snap appears to be all but over
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean, but needs some organizing and a pantry and freezer inventory for next few weeks menu since we are trying to anticipate a spring move and I want to have this all cleaned out before then
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much after the weekend storms and continued rain into this week, just too wet to do anything
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

COMEDIES

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, LIFE IN PIECES

MILITARY, POLITICAL & CRIME DRAMAS and a couple that qualify as comedies

  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, WISDOM OF THE CROWD, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM, BLINDSPOT, MACGYVER, SCORPION
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0, ELEMENTARY
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED, 911

DRAMAS

  • THE GOOD DOCTOR, THIS IS US, THE RESIDENT starts later this week

SYFY

  • Z NATION, the WALKING DEAD, FLASH, SUPERGIRL, DC LEGENDS
  • ORVILLE, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE X-FILES, THE ALIENIST starts later this week

COOKING

  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT
  • KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA, GIADA

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
This category continues to be a sore subject for me though it is getting better day by day. I will be continue working on combining blogs with older recipes and developing newer recipes that encompass ALL the new requirements.

My new plan is to cook for 4 days and then have a C.O.R.N. weekend!  That way we start the new week fresh every Monday. Saturday and Sunday mornings will be my “do anything needed to make me happy” mornings.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
2 times a day
B-FAST
4 ounces PROTEIN and GREEN Tea
4 ounces PROTEIN and GREEN Tea
4 ounces PROTEIN and GREEN Tea
4 ounces PROTEIN and GREEN Tea
4 ounces PROTEIN and GREEN Tea
 SHIRRED EGGS
 BANANA PANCAKES
2 times a day
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup 1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 time a day

LUNCH

2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
2-4 ounces PROTEIN or yogurt
DINNER 3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR small salad

HOT CHICKEN SALAD with SWEET & SOUR TOMATOES

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR small salad

TIPSY CHICKEN with CHARRED POBLANO CREAMED CORN

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR small salad

SWEET GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS with ROASTED HONEY CARROTS

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR small salad

SPLIT PEA SOUP with HAM

PEANUT BUTTER CRUNCH PIE

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR SALAD

C.O.R.N.

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR SALAD

C.O.R.N.

3 OUNCES PROTEIN with VEGGIE OR SALAD

C.O.R.N.

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

CRISPY ONION CHICKEN with CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE

Fried onions are the star of the show here. These fried onions give you the crunch you expect of fried chicken whether it be grandma’s Sunday dinner or the good old colonel in a pinch on a week night, but leaving you with a healthy, juicy piece of chicken you can eat with a knife and fork. And then the creamy rich mushroom sauce round you right back towards grandma’s Sunday dinner with the comfort food feel of home.

CRISPY ONION CHICKEN with CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE – serves 2
6 oz. Cremini button mushrooms washed
1/2 pound green beans, washed, dried and trimmed
Crispy Fried Onions (I use French’s but you could make your own crispy shallots)
2-6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to less than 1/2 inch
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup light cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Fresh Ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Cover baking sheet in foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

 

  • Dice 2 of the larger mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces.
  • Cut remaining mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Chop crispy onions into small pieces.

 

  • Pat chicken breasts dry.
  • Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

 

  • Coat chicken breasts in sour cream.
  • Place the chicken breasts on your baking tray.
  • Sprinkle the crispy onion pieces evenly over the sour cream on the top of the chicken breasts.
  • Gently press the onion pieces down into the sour cream.
  • Place baking tray in hot oven and roast chicken 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

 

 

  • In a medium skillet pan melt butter and avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, stirring occasionally until browned and caramelized.
  • Add green beans, seasoning to taste and stirring 5-8 minutes until green beans are tender.
  • Remove vegetables to platter with a slotted spoon.
  • Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil and diced mushrooms, cooking until mushrooms are slightly brown (3-5 minutes).
  • Add cream and bring to a SLOW boil, stirring frequently and cook until thick enough to coat spoon.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Remove from heat and plate immediately.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

SPAGHETTI with RICOTTA MEATBALLS & PECORINO GARLIC BREAD

In my humble opinion (especially now that bread is a rarity in my diet) a “dressed” garlic bread is the ONLY way to go! The strong penetrating flavor of the  Pecorino cheese in the garlic bread as well as the meatballs raises your normal spaghetti to a NEW level.

 

SPAGHETTI with RICOTTA MEATBALLS & PECORINO GARLIC BREAD – serves 2

2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH Parsley, minced
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH Basil leaves, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced and divide in thirds
3/4 pound LEAN ground beef
2 tablespoons Ricotta cheese
¼ cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1/3 pound spaghetti noodles
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
Avocado oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 French Roll

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a FULL boil.
  • Prepare a small baking sheet with foil
.

 

  • Mix together the ground beef, ricotta cheese, parsley, 1/3 of the garlic, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the Pecorino cheese with your hands until well blended.
  • Shape meat into ping pong sized meatballs.

 

  • Heat avocado oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add meatballs to hot oil stirring occasionally until browned ALL over, 6-9 minutes.
  • Set aside.

 

  • While meatballs are cooking cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente, 8-10 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  • Drain pasta. Toss with oil.

 

  • In a small mixing bowl combine 1 tablespoon of Pecorino cheese and 1 tablespoon avocado oil together into a paste.
  • Stir in 1/3 of the garlic.
  • Place bread on lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Spread paste over bread and bake until golden brown.
  • Top with sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

 

  • In a medium sauce pan combine marinara, a pinch of salt and reserved pasta water. Bring to a boil.
  • Return meatball pan to a medium heat. Add remaining garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until meatballs are warmed through, 8 minutes or so.
  • Plate and serve immediately.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

TOFFEE WALNUT CINNAMON PULLS

I hadn’t made this recipe in a LOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNG time. I made it during the winter storm a few days ago because it has a lot less sugar and I was hoping to get a few bites myself.

TOFFEE WALNUT CINNAMON PULLS
DOUGH
2 1/2 – 3 cups KING ARTHUR all purpose flour
1 package Fleischman’s Active Dry Yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fine sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 LARGE egg

  • In the bowl of your mixer combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour and package of yeast.
  • In a small saucepan combine the milk, sugar, butter and salt heating just until warm (120-130°) and butter almost melts.
  • Add milk mixture to flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
  • Add egg beating on low 1 minute, scraping bowl continuously. Beat on high 3 minutes.
  • Add as much of the remaining flour as possible.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, kneading until you have a soft, smooth, elastic dough, 3-5 minutes.
  • Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning dough to coat in grease. Cover and place in a warm place to rise to double in size, about 90 minutes.

 

  • Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly greased surface.
  • Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Grease a baking sheet. Set aside.

FILLING
1/4 cup fine sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cups chopped walnuts, ground fine**
1/3 cup Heath bar toffee bits
2 teaspoons QUALITY RED APE cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Caramel ice cream topping – warmed (Optional)

  • Combine sugars, walnuts, cinnamon and toffee bits.

**NOTE: I measure straight from the bag and then use my mini food processor to grind the nuts slightly. This gives a better coverage on the dough.

ASSEMBLY
2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Roll dough into a 20 inch x10 inch rectangle.
  • Brush with melted butter.
  • Evenly sprinkle nut mixture over butter, leaving about 1 inch unfilled along a long edge.
  • Roll up from the long filled edge, sealing seam by pinching dough together.
  • Place seam side down and cut into 8 equal portions.

 

  • Cut each piece (once from each side) at the 1/3 third mark, BUT DO NIT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
  • Place each roll on prepared baking sheet 3 inches apart. As you arrange each piece gently pull each end to fan the roll slightly.
  • Cover and place in warm place to rise again for 45 minutes.

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  • Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

ON THE ROAD TO A FULL RECOVERY

Surgery was 6 weeks ago. I’m probably at 80%, but it still hurts to sneeze, turn over in my sleep and there are a few things I can’t do yet like lift heavy objects (anything over 10 pounds) and I’m still short of energy, but it is time to start getting it all together.

Food is still an issue, but it is getting better, SLOWLY! In 2 more weeks I can start a regular workout which will also be the 7 year anniversary of my Ovarian Cancer surgery, hopefully bringing this whole ill health cycle full circle AND to a close!

The BIG key here is to LISTEN to your body! Being able to talk comfortably WHILE working out is a GREAT pace to start at. Aiming for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for cardio and 2 days a week for strength training is a GREAT place to start and build from.

Your body will adapt to the exercising so you can physically push yourself as time goes on. You will also burn less calories as time progresses and these exercises become part of your daily routine. I did do some research though and there are 3 key areas to focus on after this type of surgery:

FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the best place to begin to avoid too much straining and injuring yourself. I still feel sore and tight, but know that will pass as time goes on. STRETCHING is the best way to begin. Warm ups and cool down periods are vital for the best exercise routine. Take each stretch slowly and hold it for ten seconds going far enough to feel the beginning of a burn, but stopping short of actual pain! Warming up 5-10 minutes helps get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, and loosens up your muscles. Cool down for 5-10 minutes to reduce your heart rate back down to a normal resting pace.

WARM UP EXERCISES include stretching, walking, jumping jacks or light jogging.
COOL DOWN EXERCISES include walking and stretching as well as helping your body get rid of any lactic acid that was created during your workout. Lactic acid is bad for your muscles.

CARDIO – gives you more energy and helps you sleep better by working through anxiety. In order to get your energy up and boost your metabolism you have to get your body moving! Cardio also strengthens your heart and lungs, increases your bone density as wells as boasting your mental sharpness and ability to focus.

I’ve been walking and doing the treadmill at slow speeds for short periods of time up until now. It’s time to speed up the treadmill a bit and, do some cycling and as soon as things warm up adding in the pool is on the recommended list.

Since I was forced into the surgery and didn’t need to lose the weight I’m not as concerned with the calorie burning as much as I am the getting into shape. But, it’s always nice to know the potential breakdown.

STRENGTH TRAINING – I’ve lost quite a bit of muscle tone and REALLY need to work on this area the most! Having had 6 surgeries in 7 years I seem to have the hardest time regaining my muscle tone with each successive surgery and recuperation. Strength training exercises like squats, lunges, sit-ups, crunches and weight lifting are some great strength training exercise to help build up your “core” and re-tone your muscles. Being more active helps you get back into everyday things and enjoy life more!

Strength training requires a slow start with a gradual build to 3 sets of 15-20 reps. AND this is NOT the time to think no pain, no gain! Any sharp pain requires an immediate stop.

VITAMINS & MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
The new required vitamins and mineral supplements are mandatory in order to avoid malnutrition. These vitamins and supplements also help build both healthy bone and muscle as well as give you more energy. A regular routine of these helps to maximize the effectiveness of your new exercise routine.