Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Sushi?

                 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

I am having an "alternative" holiday this year. That basically means I didn't fly home to spend T Day with the fam so there will be no huge spread of turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, souffl├ęs, pies, greens, etc for me. I'm a little bit bummed about missing out on the big day with my family but I know I'll see them all soon. Thanksgiving dinner this year entails a reservation for two at a sushi restaurant in the Meatpacking District- I'm so NY. Just kidding but I am truly thankful for the "family" I've built up here and grateful I get to spend it with some of them this year. :)

But back to this post. Yesterday, with Thanksgiving and sushi on my mind, I came up with a brilliant plan! So without further adieu....

What you see here is homemade sushi made with turkey and cranberry sauce. Pretty simple. This was my first attempt at making sushi and I have to tell you, it was a little difficult because a) my sticky rice was, in fact, not so sticky (I don't know why... I bought short grain rice like the guy in the Japanese store instructed me to...?) and b) my knife was a bit dull which made cutting my rolls a little complicated. Those two issues aside, though, the rolls themselves tasted pretty good!

To make these, simply take your seaweed paper (rice paper is a better option but of course that occurred to me after I'd already made two trips to the grocery store for the ingredients) and lay it out with the "rough" side facing up. After you've boiled your rice, take a handful and spread it out evenly in a thin layer on the seaweed paper leaving a little room at the top. As I mentioned before, my rice wasn't very sticky but if yours is (as it is supposed to be), be sure to have a bowl of water mixed with rice vinegar nearby for keeping your hands slick when handling it. Take your "fillings" (in my case, oven roasted turkey and cranberry sauce) and place them together at the bottom of your rice-covered sushi paper. Then roll. Once you have the long roll, take your (sharp!) knife and cut it into five or 6 pieces. Done.

I had planned to add veggies like peas, asparagus, and mashed sweet potatoes to my sushi rolls but I could tell straight away that because my rice wasn't cooperating with me, I needed to keep it simple. I regret this now though because I really think it would've added to the flavors.

My sides were super easy to make: homemade mashed potatoes with (not homemade) gravy, peas and lima beans, fruit salad, and sweet potato fries (obviously not pictured... they were still baking). After cracking open a bottle of wine and indulging ourselves to my cooking, my roomie and I agreed that our alternative Thanksgiving meal, while a bit odd, was delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and THANK YOU for continuing to read LaFemmeFITalle. Let me know how you spent your holiday and if you'd ever try turkey sushi!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Groin, Throat, Eyes. I Got This.

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Howeva. I am a single young woman living in a great big ol' city and as strong and safe as I like to think that I am, I know that I could be a potential attack victim. So, I decided that I shouldn't live in ignorance any longer or feel defenseless if, God forbid, I was targeted. Luckily for me, my good friend E felt the same way.

Groupon to the rescue! With just $35, I scored a five class package at James Sherman Krav Maga studios in Midtown. E and I picked a date to start and got ready to become the Krav Maga goddesses we know are in there somewhere!

Our first class was two weeks ago. We both arrived at the studio, met James, and signed in. James is a real bad-ass (and I don't use that term lightly!) He used to be a finance guy but eventually founded the Manhattan Trainers and completed over 500 hours of full contact Israeli close quarters combat training to become a  a certified Israeli Krav Maga Instructor. He's one of only a handful of Americans to do this. K, he seems legit, right? :)

E and I were joined by one other girl and we started class. James starts his classes by warming up- rotating your ankles around in circles one way then reversing, squatting and rotating your knees together in a circle, doing the same for your wrists, stretching out your arms, etc. He also has you touch your toes then immediately put your hands straight up in the air 15 times in a row. This makes me a bit dizzy (maybe I'm doing it wrong...?) but I do it b/c James insists.

He then lectured us. It wasn't annoying or anything. He wanted to let us know that self-defense always starts out before an attack occurs with awareness. Be aware of your surroundings, the time of day (or night), the people, potential situations that could occur, etc. If you see something that looks off, get out of there even if it means doing an about-face and running. "Flight" is always a better option that "fight". But, sometimes, "fight" is necessary and that's where his lessons come in.

The next thing we learned about is where the title of this post comes in: Groin, Throat, Eyes. These are the areas you always go for. Luckily for those of us who would likely be smaller than a potential attacker, it doesn't take much strength to one of these spots to take someone out (if only for a few seconds... but long enough to flee). In fact, Krav Maga is always focused on these points, whether it is striking the attacker's or protecting your own.
Moi striking James. He's in the middle of bringing his arms around to (try to) attack me.  Psh- Good luck!

That's all I'll write about for now since I still have classes to take and I don't want to give up all the things I've learned right now but what do you think so far? Would you ever take a class like this? 

And one more thing. (Did I remind you of Steve Jobs when I said that?!I have definitely already become "that girl" in class that has all the questions. I swear I try not to be annoying but my mind really starts racing when I think of all of the different scenarios that could arise and I want to make sure I'm prepared. It's probably annoying (and definitely a bit paranoid) but I think I am going to start emailing James after class with all of my questions- Do you have any about Krav Maga or self defense that you'd like for me to ask him? 

E performing one of the simple but effective moves James taught- I'll share more about it next time!

I highly recommend his class so be sure to check out James' website:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Too Busy To Work Out? Quick Ways to Get in Some Exercise Without Missing A Beat!

        So you're too busy to exercise, eh? It's OK, it happens to the best of us. With the holidays around the corner (and the chaos that often accompanies them), I can only assume that there will be days between now and January 1st where hitting the gym or taking a class might be asking too much of my schedule so here is a list of some great ways that will add up and help burn a few extra calories when the going gets tough!

1. Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. And as an aside here, don't you DARE just stand on the moving walkways they have in places like airports... If you're going to take them at all, for goodness sake, at LEAST keep walking!

2. Speaking of airports, if you're at a larger one that has a tram to take you from one terminal to the next and it's not an obscene distance, walk it instead. It'll take you maybe five minutes and there are often cool art exhibits to look at as you walk. I happen to know Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia has cool exhibits between some of their terminals.

3. Don't circle the parking lot a dozen times looking for a closer parking space... You'll probably save time just parking a farther distance away and walking it... and you'll get in a little cardio.

4. If you live in a city with public transportation, consider NOT taking the train, cab, or bus to a destination that it isn't totally necessary for. A little walking isn't going to hurt ya! (If, however, it's disgustingly cold or wet, I whole-heartedly support taking transportation that will get you there faster! )

5. Cut out the time it takes to get to and from the gym by scheduling an appointment with a virtual trainer or working out on your own at home!

6. If you NEED some gym time (trust me, I understand this!) but can't commit to your usual length of time, just cut all of your exercise times and reps in half. Something is better than nothing, right?

7. Combine tasks with exercise. Instead of just taking the dog for a walk because it needs to go to the bathroom or raking the leaves because the yard needs it desperately, do this with enthusiasm and work up a sweat! Run with the dog and throw on some weighted clothing to rake!

8. When you're doing any activity that requires you to be there mostly for supervision (like... cooking) and have a little down time, do squats or lunges for just a few minutes instead of sitting down or standing there. 

9. I hate to remind you but the extraordinarily long lines at stores and malls are about to start... While you wait (and try not to eavesdrop on the inane conversations going on around you), do calf raises or using your purse (we all know they're heavy!) to do biceps curls. This isn't as crazy-looking to do in a crowd as you might think and besides, what else have you got to do while you stand there?

10. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be all or nothing! If you do none of the above, at least eat healthfully and drink lots of water to keep your body happy. :)

I just came up with these ideas of the top of my head but I'm sure there are many more! What are your suggestions?