Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wieners Gone Wild!

Accompanying every barbecue, ball game, or picnic, a hot dog is more than just meat in a bun – it is an American pastime. In “WIENERS GONE WILD!” a hot dog cookbook featuring over 40 original recipes with flavors from around the world, the classic dog is combined with a tasty 21st century makeover.
Hot dog aficionados and Massachusetts authors, Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, have designed each recipe with specific cultures in mind.

“WIENERS GONE WILD!” is available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn are the co-owners of Hollan Publishing, where they have developed and photographed hundreds of non-fiction books since 2006. Hollan Publishing, Inc. is headquartered in Beverly, Mass. Visit

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Yorkers find freedom from Passover restrictions with Bread-Free Bagel

Photo: Inbal Hotel

New Yorkers desperate for their morning staples of black coffee and bagel can rejoice: Passover is no longer a breakfast death sentence. The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel announces the launch of the world’s first kosher for Passover Bagel. This groundbreaking idea was conceived and developed by Executive Chef Andreas Marinkovits, who has perfected the original recipe to create a New York style bagel, complete with hard crust and fluffy inside that is 100% kosher for Passover and is exclusively available at the luxurious Inbal Jerusalem Hotel.

The Inbal Jerusalem hotel is an award-winning, five-star deluxe hotel situated in the heart of Jerusalem overlooking the Old City walls, and minutes away from all the major cultural and historical sites. With its Jerusalem stone exterior, the 283-room hotel is known for its intimate authentic Jerusalem character and impeccable world-class service. Trip Advisor awarded the hotel with their Certificate of Excellence for the last two years in a row, ranking The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel among the top ten percent of leading hotels worldwide. For more information, please visit

Saturday, March 15, 2014

14 Workouts to Try

So I got an email from MyFitnessPal today. I've still been tracking my weight and checking in with MFP, but I've found more success with WW, so my tracking has become more consistent on WW than on MFP.

I still think MFP is a great free tracker/database resource for those interested in living a healthier lifestyle.

So anyway, MFP sends me a newsletter entitled, "14 for 2014"...... Points off because it's March... but the newsletter had some intriguing recipes, mantras, and workouts to try during the year. I've included the workout section of the email below:

Here are 14 fresh workouts to try–that you may end up loving all year long:
  1. Tabata Training. Okay, it’s not new, but it’s the 4-minute workout that a lot of fitness buffs are still loving this year. The basic principle is this: go all-out for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat 8 times and for a 4-minute round. Do 4 or 5 rounds and you’ll be spent! Changing up the moves keeps things fresh and your muscles sore afterwards. Read up on it and then check out some of examples of Tabata workouts on Pinterest.
  1. FitSteps. People in the UK have been stepping out with FitSteps, a new dance exercise based on moves from popular dances like the Cha Cha, Tango, Jive and Quickstep. Fat burning, ab-tightening, and arm sculpting are just quicksteps away.
  1. Werq. This dance workout borrows its name from dance slang and is a little less traditional than FitSteps. Apparently if someone says,  ‘werq it’, you’re dancing very well! These fun classes will have you shaking it and sweating to pop, rock and hip-hop.
  1. CrossFit. If ‘werqing it’ isn’t your thing, maybe box jumps, sprints, squats and cleans sound like fun? If so, give CrossFit a try. This workout involves performing high-intensity, functional movements in a group gym, or a box as CrossFit fans call it, and are scalable to accommodate any fitness level.
  1. Animal flow. This workout is a mix of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira with a dash of gymnastics, yoga and dance thrown in. Be prepared to crawl, jump from side to side, and balance on your hands, among other things, all the while keeping things moving and flowing. The focus is on strength and flexibility.
  1. Indo Board Yoga. Bikram is out, Indo Boards are in. Hop on this 6-foot-long wooden board and rock on. Staying balanced on the board engages way more muscles during each pose which means you can get a much harder workout from this form of yoga.
  1. Battle ropes. These aren’t the ropes you used to climb in gym class. Battle ropes are thick ropes of varying lengths that you can wrap around floor-bound anchors and use as bodyweight resistance tools. Research suggests that battle ropes may burn more calories than running or spinning, so tie one on and give these Top 20 Battle Rope Exercises a try.
  1. Bells. Not the kind you ring, KettlebellsSandBells, or if you’re really tough, SteelBells, are super hot this year. These versatile weights can give you quite a combined cardio-strength workout in a short amount of time. Check out a kettlebell class near you to learn the proper form, or ask if a trainer at your gym can show you a few SandBell or SteelBell moves.
  1. Tower running. People typically go out of their way to avoid walking up a lot of stairs, but others are finding new ways to run them! Tower running, also known as vertical racing, is a fast growing sport involving running up the stairwells of some of the world’s tallest buildings. Find a monster set of stairs near you and give it a go–just watch out for the occasional employee making personal phone calls.
  1. Cardio Barre. The barre method is a body sculpting exercise that originally focused on a ballet bar. Cardio Barre takes it up a notch, and a few steps away from the barre by incorporating cardio for a more intense, full-body workout.
  1. Boutique biking. Not a fan of spinning? Boutique biking salons like SoulCycle and FlyWheel are popping up all over the country. These classes combine high-intensity cycling with inspirational coaching, choreographed playlists, and some of the wildest moves you’d never think to do on a stationary bike.  It’s been a celeb favorite for some time now, which probably explains the high price tag!
  1. Aqua cycling. If SoulCycle makes you feel like you’re going to fly off your stationary bike, slow things down with aqua cycling this year. It sounds relaxing but don’t be fooled… The burn of pushing those pedals while submerged in water will torch calories and strengthen muscles. It’s been a ‘thing’ in Europe for awhile, and has quickly earned a reputation  for being a great full-body, strength and cardio workout that keeps you cool.
  1. Playground workouts. This fun workout can be a nice change of pace, but it isn’t kid’s play. Running, climbing, and sliding non-stop around a playground can make for a rigorous cardio and strength routine. Just get your workouts in early before the kiddos arrive!
  1. HIIT. Last but certainly not least,  HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of training entails short blasts of high-intensity effort followed by a brief recovery period. It’s not much different than Tabata training in terms of maximizing time and efficiency, but intervals can be longer with more rest time in between.
Remember, at it’s core, exercising should be about doing what you enjoy. It’s hard enough to find time and motivation to be active daily–there’s no need to dread it all day long, too. If you like your routine, stick to it–but if changing it up sounds fun, give one, or a few of these a try.
- See more at:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Progress on Weight Watchers

Since joining Weight Watchers in June 2013, I have lost:

  • 18.4 pounds
  • 3 Dress Sizes
  • 0.7 inches off my thighs (each)
  • 2 inches off my arms (each)
  • 3.7 inches off my bust
  • 3 inches off my waist
  • 3.85 inches off my hips

I'm pretty pleased. Feel free to check out my breakdown of the program here. I'm a big supporter, so if you have any questions, let me know!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Israeli Post #1: Grocery Store Anxiety and High Tech Tortur---Treadmills

Dammit, another month went by with only one post. I'm so sorry, dear readers, I am epically failing the blog while I'm away.

Let's catch up:

I've been in Israel for a few days more than a month. And it's been..... interesting.... I think most people thought, when I explained that I was moving to Tel Aviv for several months, that I'd be off site-seeing, visiting museums, touring historical sites, and laying out on the beach. Unfortunately, I am not a tourist, but a working visitor, in this country, so I needed to be a functioning person able to communicate with the public, contribute to client projects and conversations, and get myself from point A to point B.

It's definitely been an adventure, with both overwhelming and fantastic moments. I wanted to share a few food/fitness related highlights:

Kitchen Accommodations in the Israel Apartment

If you're a regular reader of CCAIRC (God, I really do need a new name), you have realized that I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. I had really planned to cook most of my food during my time in Israel, as I always had.... that is, until I walked in on a COCKROACH in my apartment's kitchen on my first night.

To put it lightly, I LOATHE cockroaches. I have been very very fortunate to only have one past encounter with one (and honestly, my FANTASTIC college roommate, Becca, took care of it before I woke up). Now, like any rational person, I started avoiding my kitchen completely... as in, the menu was..
  • Yogurt for breakfast (because I could grab it and run before the bugs came to eat me)
  • PB sandwiches for lunch/dinner(I kept the PB in the fridge so the cockroaches wouldn't touch it)
  • Fruit (which again, was kept safely in the fridge)
Don't worry, I've since reclaimed my kitchen, and cooked some great meals.

Grocery Shopping Anxiety

I mentioned before that I don't know Hebrew. That is, I can recognize letters, and (with vowels and certain punctuation marks) can sound out words. However, I do not understand what I am reading. This has made reading food labels and their corresponding directions, quite difficult. So for the first 10 days, I'd go into a grocery store... browse... realize I had no idea what I was doing... and walk out with 3 produce items. It will forever be a mortifying moment. I've since gotten better. I am able to identify cottage cheese, deli turkey, veggie frozen shnitzel, and have even found a pasta sauce that I prefer.

Fit & Slim, The Gym of Nightmares

At the urging of my roommates, I have committed to a two month subscription to the gym, "Fit&Slim". Normally, I wouldn't go for this, but I have a bit more disposable income during this temporary transfer, so why not, right? 

Fit&Slim has only two kinds of machines in it. The first is this "aquabike", which resembles a spin bike, except you use this one with your body almost completely submerged in a giant pool of water -- for added resistance (of course).

The second machine resembles more of a torture device. Fit&Slim calls it the "Silhouette+", but the machine is known around cyberland as the "Vacufit." At its more basic form, the Vacufit is a type of treadmill. Except, to use this treadmill, you first have to put on this "skirt" made out of what I can only assume is a heavy-duty wet suit material. Then, the "door" to the treadmill opens, because, oh by the way, the thing has walls and is enclosed from chest level down. FINALLY, a Fit&Slim employee takes the edge of this wet-suit skirt and stretches it around the opening to the treadmill compartment -- sealing you in.

So at this point, you're on a treadmill, strapped into an airtight compartment. And then the Vacufit takes you through a 30-minute program of varying speeds an elevations. Normal, right? NO! Because, with the Vacufit, the machine is also vacuuming the AIR out of the compartment to change the pressure and resistance as you're going through the program. Not that difficult at 3.0 mph, but good LORD, when the program hits 6.0 mph -- a speed many people run at, and you're FORCED to walk...... it's flipping insane.

I'm told the vacuum actually makes your blood vessels expand, so that the Vacufit reduces cellulite. I really don't buy that at all. I am, however, viewing this as a change in my workout routine, and absolutely the oddest thing I've ever done at a gym. I'll let you know my results!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saying "Goodbye" to my WW Meetings for 5 Months

Goodness, it has been QUITE a while since my last post. I am truly sorry, dear readers, for my absence. My situation changed quite a bit.

Just before Christmas, the CEO of my company asked me to transfer to our Israel offices for 5 months to work for the firm's clients from that locale. It was a tremendous opportunity, and I took it.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of activity. Booking flights, finding an apartment in Israel, sorting out work responsibilities, moving OUT of my current apartment, saying goodbye to everyone. My diet and exercise regiment suffered.

Eventually the days wound down to my last WW meeting, which had become a pretty stable and integral part of my life since the summer. Weight Watchers is an international company, with locations around the globe, but I didn't think I'd be able to keep up with meetings with a more insane schedule, so I had switched my membership over to solely online.

Now in an ideal world, I would've come into this last WW meeting completely confident and ready to tackle this new international adventure with all my weight-loss and healthy lifestyle tricks by my side --- everything that the last few months had taught me. There'd be a great loss on the scale, which would be this fantastic harbinger (SAT Vocab word, y'all) of all the fitness/weight loss success that I'd have in Tel Aviv.......

Yeah, that didn't quite happen.

 My weight was up, and not by .2 pounds, either. And it was tough. The move to Israel was already feeling like an uphill battle --- I don't know many people in the country, I don't speak the language, and I need to be a functioning employee --- and now I need to really concentrate on my weight loss goals.

But putting additional pressure on myself to get "there" by a certain point isn't the way to do it.

Weight loss and the commitment to a healthier lifestyle is ongoing process, and it's not easy. There's give and take, and ups and downs. The most important motivation is remembering why you started the journey at all.

I know I did, but you'll have to keep reading to see my Israel updates!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Demon Butternut Squash Soup

I had a horrifying kitchen experience last night. I've dubbed it the "Demon Soup Story".

My dear readers, if anyone EVER makes you butternut squash soup, know that they care about you IMMENSELY. Why, you ask?

Because butternut squashes are asshole vegetables. 

To make creamy butternut squash soup in a relatively short amount of time, one needs to cut the squash into small-ish chunks that cook quickly. THIS IS AN INSANELY LABOR INTENSIVE PROCESS THAT WILL RESULT IN PAIN AND HAND CRAMPS FOR THE CHEF. I'm talking about sawing through this LOG of a vegetable. Oh, and then you've gotta peel it, bulges and all, and then seed it. 

Then, once all the veggies have softened, the chef has to blend batches of the mixture until it is smooth. Now, this seems simple. But, when 100% of the soup is in the pot, and 60% is blended, and 40% is still chunky...... finding the chunky parts to blend ain't. easy. 

FINALLY, at this point in the cooking process, your chef will have to reheat the now fully blended butternut squash soup so that it is the perfect temperature when their loved ones eat it. So he or she will heat the soup on the stove, adjusting seasoning if need be ----- until the asshole butternut squash will refuse to die a culinary death and instead "SPIT" at the poor chef as it starts to boil. 

Now, one might say, why not reheat the soup in the microwave at this point to save some time and aggravation? 

NO. Just. NO. After this poor, downtrodden chef has spent HOURS sawing through squash and no-doubt dealing with blender difficulties, there is NO DAMN WAY that he or she will do something as sacrilegious as putting the soup in the microwave. 

So, long story short, having someone make you butternut squash from scratch (and I mean, cutting up the vegetable and not cheating and using that pre-cut nonsense) is truly the culinary equivalent of someone buying you diamonds, a car, or a yacht and needs to be appreciated. 

The end.

P.S. Mom: You are a butternut squash soup making warrior. I have succumbed to defeat, but your recipe is amazing. I will simply wait til you make it from now on.