How are you doing today? I hope your week has been lovely so far. Anyone lucky enough to be off early for Christmas holidays already? I’ll be working right up until Friday but after that, it’s holiday time for me! I can’t wait for this break – to see my family, relax and unplug for a couple of days. I think my mind and body both need it! Do you feel the same?
Over to new things, let’s start with another delicious recipe!
1. Recipe of the Week: I don’t think I knew what a pomegranate was until I moved over to the Middle East when I was 13, and experienced freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from the little hole-in-the-wall juice shops. These guys could crack open a pomegranate, remove the arils from the tough white parts, and juice the heck out of them in less than 5 minutes. If you’ve ever purchased a pomegranate for yourself, you’ll understand how impressive this is!
There are ways to make the process of separating the gorgeous pink edible bits from the tough shell that holds the pomegranate together, and if you’re not already familiar with the soaking in water trick, I highly suggest it. This is how I prepare my pomegranates and it certainly helps to decrease the amount of juice that squirts out onto your walls, counters, shirt… and just about everywhere else imaginable.
All you need to do is cut the pomegranate into quarters, then soak them in a bowl of warm water. After about 15 minutes, the shell part will be soft and the arils will be much easier to remove.
So, why bother going through all that effort? Well, because even though these are delicious on their own, they’re also the star of my Ruby Studded Holiday Quinoa.
Starting with a base of nice fluffy quinoa, I added the pomegranates along with some crunchy celery, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and a few other ingredients.
Drizzled in a simple citrusy vinaigrette, this dish is a perfect side for your Christmas feast!
2. A new workout – Turbo Fire. You may remember that last month, one of my goals was to complete at least 2 Insanity workouts per week in order to mix up my fitness regime. I did it, and loved it. (If you’re curious about Insanity and would like to read about my thoughts, check out my full Insanity review.) Another one of the workout programs created by Beachbody is Turbofire, and a little while ago I decided to make it an early Christmas present to myself.
I purchased the set, which contains the following items:
- A resistance band
- A resistance tube with handles
- A measuring tape
- A class schedule
- A quickstart guide
- Nutrition guidelines
After having read about Turbofire on a couple of blogs and watching the videos on the Beachbody website, I thought it would be a fun workout to add to my ever-changing routine. From what I’d seen, it was full of kickboxing-like moves and high intensity interval work, which I love. There is a suggested order to the program, but since I’m a rebel and not a rule follower, I decided to jump right in and do the Fire 55 minute and HIIT 20 minute DVDs yesterday morning.
My thoughts were a bit mixed, but on the whole, positive. The workout was fun, and I’d say the mix was about 50% kickboxing-style moves, 25% cardio/plyometric drills (a few similar to Insanity) and 25% dance. There’s a section on the DVD where Chalene (the female Turbofire version of Shaun T) breaks down the moves from the workout. Looking back, I should probably watch it so I have a better idea of what I’m doing next time! While the moves aren’t difficult to do, it’s a highly choreographed workout so you’ve got to be prepared to watch the screen the whole time. This is especially true if you’ve got it set to ‘music on’ mode, in which case you can barely hear Chalene’s cues at all.
One thing I really liked about this workout was the fun factor. Most mornings, I’m usually on the treadmill or another piece of cardio equipment before hitting the weights. This was a really welcomed change to that, and although I am my no means a dancer, I loved that element of it too… even though I’m sure I looked like a complete tool.
In terms of intensity, I did have a nice little glow going on, but it was nowhere near the sweat that I work up doing Insanity. The recovery phases are longer in Turbofire, so my heart rate dropped a lot more than it does in the 30s Insanity rests. With a bit of practice though, I think I’ll be able to push myself harder. It’s kind of like trying any other brand new class – you might not get a great workout the first time because you’re still trying to figure out what you’re doing. In January I think I’m going to do this whole program from start to finish (12 weeks) as a new challenge for myself. I’ll keep ya posted!
So tell me…
- Have you tried Turbofire before? What did you think?
- Do you have any good pomegranate recipes? Feel free to share!