Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eggs in Purgatory
with marinated mozzarella

1 cup each finely diced onion and red bell pepper
¼ cup minced garlic
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 eggs
4 oz. marinated mozzarella (look for Cappiello brand)
Or use fresh mozzarella sprinkle lightly with garlic salt to marinate.

Sauté onion, bell pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until soft. About 5 minutes
Add crushed and dices tomatoes, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Crack eggs on top of sauce, cover and poach until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 5 minutes.
Preheat broiler with oven rack 6-8 inches from element.
Divide eggs and sauce into serving dish (like a ramekin style baking cup) Or you can just leave them in the pan. Top each egg with cheese, transfer to the oven on a baking sheet, and broil until cheese is golden, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zucchini Boats

Zucchini Boats
Now you don’t have to lock the door and hide behind the couch when the neighbors come by to pawn their “abundant” crop of extra-large zucchini’s! Make zucchini lasagna!
1 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (26.5 ounce) jar Prego spaghetti sauce, divided
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Scoop out and discard zucchini seeds, leaving the hollowed-out shells. Sprinkle the garlic salt into the hollowed-out zucchini, and set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil and Parmesan cheese together with the onion mixture. Stuff the zucchini halves with the meat mixture, and place them into a baking dish. Spoon about half the spaghetti sauce over the zucchini, covering all the meat and allowing sauce to drip down the sides of the zucchini boats.
Bake in the preheated oven until the meat is no longer pink in the center and the zucchini are tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the zucchini, and return to oven until the cheese melts, about 5 more minutes. Heat the remaining spaghetti sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat while the zucchini boats are cooking. Serve the zucchini boats with the additional sauce on the side.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Black Bean Soup with Lime and Cilantro

Black Bean Soup with Lime and Cilantro       
4 cups cooked black beans (or 2 cans)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped red onions
4-5 cups reserved bean stock or bean stock and water
1/2 canned chipotle chile
1/2 cup lime juice
Salt, to taste
Lime slices, garnish
Finely chopped cilantro, garnish
Dollops of sour cream, garnish
Heat the beans by your preferred method.
While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook slowly until browned. Puree the 3 cups of beans with 4 cups of the reserved stock in a blender or food processor. Add the onion mixture, chipolte chile, lime juice, salt and process until velvety smooth. If the soup is too thick, thin it with the remaining 1 cup of stock.
Add remaining beans and stir gently. Reheat the soup to serve it hot. To serve it cold, cool the soup to room temperature and chill it in the refrigerator 4-5 hours, or in the freezer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours. Either hot or cold, garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of sour cream, a slice of lime floating in the middle and a sprinkling of the cilantro.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Best Breakfast On The Beach

After a great night at San Diego Monster Motor cross, we woke up ready for a healthy, hearty breakfast. Being so close to the beach, we thought we would take a drive over to the marina near Dana Harbor where we love to stop for oysters on the half shell. Fortunately it was breakfast that we were after... 

We crossed over the bridge to Mission Beach to see what we could find. It had been raining all night and it looked like it was finally about to let up. We could see the clouds breaking up over the ocean and decided to walk the boardwalk.  

We have been down here many times before and usually have a beer on the roof and enjoy the sun. After parking we couldn't help but notice North Shore Cafe - best breakfast on the beach

Who could pass that up? Especially after seeing the menu. From the hostess that greeted us at the door, the outstanding service by our waitresses, to the ambiance of just being right on the beach in the morning. 

Compliments to the chef!!! Not only was it the best breakfast on the beach, but one of the best breakfasts we've had at a local restaurant. 

Presentation, Portions, TASTE, price, - "impeccable" and Bloody Mary's to boot!

We will definitively be coming back and next time we will try the "Bucket of Mimosa's".  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

7 Mental Tricks To SUPERCHARGE Your Exercises and Get More Out of Every Rep You Do

By Nick Nilsson

Stuck in a rut? Hit a plateau? It's time to stop phoning in your workout and put some BRAINPOWER into action.
One of the most common issues I see with people in the gym, ESPECIALLY those who are having trouble getting results, is a lack of mental focus on the exercises they're performing.
Sure, they're going through the motions and in a lot of cases even lifting a substantial amount of weight...but what they don't realize is that by really engaging their BRAIN in the act of lifting they could be getting MUCH better results with the same amount of effort.
So to help with that, I've put together a list of my favorite "mental notes" for some of the most common exercises in the gym...using this can make an immediate difference in your exercise performance and even add some substantial weight to your lifts!

1. Bench Press - Push Your Body Through the Floor
Instead of focusing on pushing the BAR away from you, try imagining as though the bar is stationary and you're pushing your BODY down through the floor. This mentally changes the bench press exercise from an open-chain movement (where the resistance is moving and your body stays stationary) to a closed-chain movement (where the hand or foot is fixed and cannot move and your body is all or part of the resistance, like a push-up).
Closed-chain movements are more effective for muscle fiber activation and by at least MENTALLY changing the movement to a closed-chain exercise, you can potentially achieve some of the benefits of it.

2. Deadlifts - Fall Backwards
When doing a straight bar deadlift, as you're pulling the bar up your shins, mentally picture yourself falling/shifting your weight backwards as you're pulling up. This helps improve the leverage of the lift, using your bodyweight to help get the bar up. When you just pull straight up, you don't get this advantage. And wear long socks or pants if you don't want deadlifting "battle scars" up and down your shins because that bar should stay as close to your legs as possible :)

3. Squats - Pull Down on the Bar
To lock your torso and core into the squat, grip the bar HARD and pull down on it as you squat. Imagine like you're trying to bend that bar in half over your back. This locks the back muscles into a more solid position and helps stabilize the torso during the squat. This is especially critical as you start moving heavier weights in order to protect your spine.

4. Seated Cable Rows - Push Your Sternum into the Handle
To really maximize the contraction in the lats and other upper back muscles when doing a cable row, when you come to the top of the movement, instead of focusing on pulling your shoulders back and in (which is still effective, don't get me wrong), actively try to push your sternum (breastbone) into the cable handle. I find this gives an even stronger contraction than trying to pull the elbows in as it gives you a goal in FRONT of you to focus on achieving. The back contraction then happens automatically.

5. Barbell Curls - Push Elbows Together
At the top of a standing barbell curl, hold that position for a few seconds and try this...push your elbows together as though trying to touch them together. Because your hands are locked onto the bar, I find this increases the contraction by attempting to increase the degree of supination of the forearm. Even though it may not actually increase the supination, the act of TRYING is what will force the greater contraction.
It works because the OTHER major function of the bicep muscle is supination (elbow flexion is the first), which is basically rotation your hand from a palms-down position to a palms-up position. This elbow trick at the top works that supination function.

6. Seated Dumbell Shoulder Press - Bring Your Chest Up to Meet the Dumbells
When doing this exercise, as you lower the dumbells into the bottom position, I want you take a deep breath in and try to mentally focus on bringing the chest UP to meet the dumbells while keeping your shoulder girdle DOWN. It's important when doing this that you bring the dumbells ALL the way down as far as you can...until they almost touch your shoulders.
This trick will force you to reduce the weight you're using but it's going to work the actual shoulder muscles twice as hard and take the emphasis off the triceps, which tend to take over in the shortened range of motion that most people gravitate to with this exercise (because they can use more weight).
It works by increasing the amount of stretch that gets put on the deltoids at the bottom - shoulder girdle down and chest up is what does it. It'll be humbling at first but work with it and your shoulder development will SKYROCKET.

7. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts - Raise the Toes and/or Paw the Ground
This exercise is notoriously hard for people to feel the hamstrings working. I used to have this problem myself for a LONG time so don't feel bad if it's happened to you. I've got two techniques for this is actually physical and the other is mental.
The physical trick is to elevate your forefeet...I usually use foam wedges or a couple of 25 lb plates. Set your heels on the floor and set your forefoot area on the raised edges of the plates, similar to a calf stretch...and this works BECAUSE it puts a stretch on your calves. Now do the exercise. I felt this in my hamstrings the very first time I did it.
The mental trick is to imagine pawing the ground with your feet as you start the lift. Think of a bull about to charge and it's pawing the ground....essentially, you're to activating the hamstrings at the hip by attempting to produce forward motion. Since you're planted on the ground, you're not going to be going forward but the mental intention to move forward will result in hamstring activation.
And if you put BOTH of these tricks together, your hamstrings will be SINGING when you're doing SLDL's :)

Give these mental tricks a try next time you train any of these exercises and you'll know what it means to LOOK like you're doing everything the same yet FEELING like you're doing a completely different exercise.
I can promise you'll feel your muscles working a way they've never worked before and you will BLAST past strength and muscle plateaus.
Nick Nilsson has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been innovating new training techniques for more than 18 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding books including "Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass", "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of", all designed to maximize the results you get for the hard work you put into your training.
Be sure to grab your FREE copy of Nick's 30-day "Dirty Little Secret Program for Building Muscle and BurningFat FAST"