Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flying Trapeze

Today I'm talking about alternative burns. I'll be the first to admit that while Ellipticals on high levels of resistance are great for a toning cardio session, they are flat out DULL. I mean it. Boring with a capital "B". Sadly, a lot of workouts can feel similarly stagnant after awhile. 

My sister has figured out a way to make even the most exciting Zumba class feel relatively ordinary. How? She gets a full body workout from taking trapeze lessons every week at the New York Trapeze School's Washington, DC location

I went down to DC with my family a few weekends ago. First, we saw a trapeze show in which my sister performed. The next day, my siblings and I took a lesson for ourselves.

What an unbelievable experience. First, the school instructors gave each of us a harness and explained to us the safety instructions. Then we climbed a 30-foot ladder to an elevated platform where we grabbed the trapeze bar and launched ourselves into the air, attempting to (at the instructor’s command), pull our knees up to link over the bar so that we could release our hands. We swung for a few moments, and then released – first pulling our knees back to hang vertically by our arms, before falling “gracefully” into a net below.

Not only is flying trapeze one hell of an exhilarating adrenaline rush, (seeking: serious thrill seekers), but it's also a fantastic workout! Experts say it’s comparable to gymnastics work – and focuses primarily on the exerciser’s lats, abdominals, and shoulder muscles. I absolutely agree – two days later, and I was STILL delightfully sore from my offbeat workout.

In fact, while I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor during the class, an hour flying trapeze session can burn an average of 300 calories – which is the amount an average person burns doing an hour of weight-lifting.

If I haven’t convinced you, I’ve included some videos below.

This first clip is my sister’s performance (her group had 80s themed costumes) during her trapeze recital.

And here's my attempt. I'm particularly proud of my delicate "dismount". I am the PICTURE of grace. 

And if you're still not tempted to try trapeze, here's a video of some professionals from my sister's recital -- in all their toned glory!

There are several trapeze schools around the country:

http://www.trapezeschool.com/default.php (With locations in NYC, DC, Boston, LA and Chicago)

http://www.flytrapeze.com/ (Woodland Hills, CA)

http://www.trapezehigh.com/ (Del Mar, CA and Escondido, CA)

http://www.trapeze-experience.com/ (West Palm Beach, FL, The Hamptons, NY, and Rhinebeck, NY)

And so many others! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Picking the Right Wine for Your Meal

I'm trying to schedule time to talk to my friend Nick, who aims to become a sommelier. In the meantime, I'm posting this chart to help with wine and food pairings.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe: 100 Calorie Diet Coke Brownies

Today on Pinterest, which I'm quickly becoming addicted to, I saw a recipe for low calorie brownies. Now, I've heard many secrets for making low calorie brownies (from box mixes). There's the trick where you use apple sauce in place of vegetable oil. My friend Hannah has also substituted a can of black beans for ingredients to achieve that "fudgey" texture we all know and love.

So, I have heard of several healthy dessert substitutes. This trick, however, I've never ever heard of before.

The secret:

It's true. According to the recipe from Pinterest, one 12 oz can can be added to store bought mixes to achieve "Skinny Mini" brownies - without any altered taste-effects!


  • A boxed brownie mix. (Your choice)
  • 1-12 ounce can of Diet Coke.
To Make:
  • Combine ingredients
  • Stir together
  • Bake as directed on box

The one precaution I'm seeing online is that you may need to add an additional 5-10 minutes of cook time to the brownies, depending on your oven, so watch them closely.

Nutrition facts for the recipe (using Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie mix) are as follows:

Serves: 20
Each Serving: 100 calories, 23 g Carbs, 1 g Fat

Has anyone tried this, readers? I think I'm going to give it a try.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

80 Healthy Recipe Substitutions

My friend Jack showed me this list of 80 healthy recipe substitutions the other day. Think of the possibilities! 

Click here for the full list, but I've posted some highlights below:

  1. Black beans for flour
  2. Whole wheat flour for white flour
  3. Unsweetened apple sauce for sugar
  4. Unsweetened apple sauce for oil or butter
  5. Almond flour for wheat flour
  6. Avocado puree for butter
  7. Brown rice cereal and flax meal for Rice Crispies
  8. Marshmallow Fluff for butter and sugar (in frostings)
  9. Natural peanut butter for reduced fat peanut butter
  10. Vanilla for sugar
  11. Nut flours for flour
  12. Evaporated skim milk for cream
  13. Grated steamed cauliflower for rice
  14. Plain Greek yogurt for sour cream
  15. 2 Egg whites for 1 egg
There's tons more with explanations on the list.

Happy cooking

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Recipe: DIY Potato Chips

This is, by far, one of the most mind-blowing recipes I've come across. I'm giving credit to lovetolaugh54 who posted this in a recipe swap forum. I'm modifying it slightly by using my salt substitute .


  • 1 and 1/3 pounds of potatoes (4 medium)  [Yukon Gold or Red variety are best] 
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Morton's Salt Substitute
To Make:
  • Scrub potatoes to clean, but DO NOT peel them -- the skin of the potato is where most of the nutrients are.
  • Slice potatoes into thin rounds, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to get them all a uniform size -- it will help in the cooking process.
  • Toss potato rounds in oil and salt substitute. I found it was easiest to do in a plastic bag, rather than a bowl. 
  • Coat a large microwave-safe plate with Pam. Arrange some of the potato rounds on the plate (In a single layer).
  • Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until some of the slices start to brown.
  • Turn potato rounds over and continue microwaving until they crisp and turn brown around the edges (Around 2-4 minutes) -- Check the rounds often to make sure they are not scorching
  • Transfer the cooked chips to a plate to cool, where they will continue to "crisp up".
  • Do additional batches, if needed
Serves: 4
Each Serving:  (12-14 chips) 130 calories, 26 g carbs, 2 g fat, 3 g protein, 925 mg potassium, 0 mg sodium

There you have it folks -- if you use a salt substitute -- you can make potato chips with NO sodium. This might be my new "salty" fix!

Happy Cooking!