Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fitness Fiesta

Have you read Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project? In this guide to life, one of Gretchen's many suggestions is to pick a 'spiritual master,' basically, someone whose approach to life you would like to imitate. Gretchen selects a couple of historical figures to emulate.  Me? I thought of people much closer to home. My girlfriends.

My friends inspire me so much that they became an integral part of my proposal to Foodbuzz for their April 24 x 24 Feature, in which 24 bloggers create a special meal during the same 24 hours.

But first, a little more about the girls...

Meet a few from my amazing crew:
(top row, from left)

Tracy: puts in countless hours volunteering at her children's school (and often steps in to help me look out for Miss P in the afternoon). Exercise of choice: swimming with her kids.

Alaina: Supermom extraordinaire who teaches, helps run an after school program, takes fabulous care of her three active boys, and does not know how to complain. Exercise of choice: running with her dog.

Me (in green). Exercise of choice: hiking with fabulous girlfriends.

Lorrie: master seamstress and baker, who stays on top of her two boys, volunteers galore, and is so kind, offering to help me in my classroom over the summer and bringing me Starbucks during teacher appreciation (even though her kids go to other schools!) Exercise of choice: Hula dancing.

(bottom row, from left)
Linda: epitome of class and graciousness; spending her 40th birthday taking her friends out to dinner, instead of the other way around. Gives her all to her two children, and is known for creating excel spreadsheets to organize everybody for everything, from girls' weekends to family camp-outs. Exercise of choice: any fun, high energy aerobics class.

Beth: Crazy hard worker, juggling her two girls, and a busy job teaching disadvantaged students. Exercise of choice: Zumba

Sandra: Another active volunteer mom (are you sensing a theme?) with a great sense of humor, who totally inspires me with her dedication to a fit and healthy lifestyle. Exercise of choice: running, baby.

In our twenties, us girls might celebrate with a night on the town. As we hover at 40, In our late 30's,  These days, a 'fitness fiesta' is more our speed. The seven of us carpooled to Rancho San Antonio in Los Altos at 8:30 a.m. (after many of the gals completed had already run a load of laundry or two). We hiked the Wildcat Loop Trail (about 4.5 miles) exercising our vocal chords as much as our glutes.

Two hours and two water bottles a piece later, we were ready for some refreshments. With fitness over, the gang headed back to my house for the fiesta, featuring smoothies and banana bread.
Posted by Picasa
On the menu was Moist Banana Walnut Bread (above) And what's better than one banana bread? TWO banana breads. So we also had... 
A Hint of Chocolate Banana Bread. Strawberries and tangerines rounded out meal.
(All the latest fitness magazines provided additional entertainment).

The crowd favorite, Pineapple Vanilla smoothies, provided some liquid refreshment for the team.
And for the recipes:

Pineapple Vanilla Smoothie
2 cups of low-fat vanilla yogurt (I use Mountain High yoghurt) 
1 1/2 cups of diced pineapple
2-3 teaspoons of sugar (depending on preference)
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup of ice

Combine all ingredients into blender. Process until smooth. Makes four servings.
* * * * * *

Moist Banana Walnut Bread (inspired by Flour's Famous Banana Bread)
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 mashed bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk, then drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
* * * * * * * * *
Hint of Chocolate Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1/2 chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix in the oil, bananas, and eggs. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-70 minutes, depending on oven.

Thanks for featuring me, Foodbuzz!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
Loved the Fitness Fiesta and the write up. It was a great workout that was made easy with great people to talk to. The food afterward was so yummy. I was inspired to make similar healthy smoothies for my family. Hope we can get together again soon. Don't even mind the soreness. : )

LAM said...

What a great way to spend a Saturday morning! Thanks Jen for being, as always, the Queen of Entertaining! It was amazing how far we hiked without ever noticing because we had good conversation to fuel us on. I was also able to tackle the rest of my day with your wonderful re-fueling menu! Thanks Jen.

Adriana Hartley said...

OMG - I'm so glad you commented on my blog because now I found your blog! Nice work, Jen!

I love your group of friends and your fitness fiesta!

Way to go, girlfriends!

And i love Gretchen Rubin too - do you subscribe to her quote of the day? You'd love that too.

xo - Adriana

Kristina said...

I know I have a copy of the Happiness Project floating around somewhere in my house, I've been meaning to read it! That was such an inspiring post :) And that banana bread looks super good! Yummy and moist :) Looks like a fun Saturday!

Sandra said...

The Fitness Fiesta was one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning, great friends, exercise and tasty treats at the end. Loved the banana breads and the smoothies were delicious! Thanks again!