Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

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    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Archive for August, 2011

How Do They Get More Nutrients In Those Eggs?

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2011

Nia teacher eats eggs, Nia San Jose, Los Gatos Nia, Eggs Omega 3When I first saw an egg package that said the egg had more nutrients I made a mental note to look into that.  I had been thinking, “How can they do that?  Did they inject the egg with the additional nutrients they claimed it had?”  I mean it seems like that is how they would have to do it, right?

The last time I was in the store buying eggs I grabbed a carton that said, “Now!  For Your Nutritious Diet High In . . . ” in big flashy letters. All the while I am thinking, “Ok, I’m a sucker.”

First of all let me share with you some other information that I found while looking up the information on “more nutritious” eggs.

Brown eggs are NOT more nutritious than white eggs.  I was under the impression that brown eggs were better for you.  Don’t know when I heard that or who from, but that is what I always thought.  Turns out it is actually the color of the hen that determines the color of the egg.  A brown egg comes from a hen with red feathers and a white egg comes from a hen with white feathers.

A brown egg might be more nutritious than a white egg if the hen laying the brown egg was fed better feed.  Ya see, THAT is how eggs get more nutrition packed into them . . . the feed.  What the chicken eats is what affects the nutrition of an egg.  When I was looking for information I saw many things that said organic is best and free range is best.  This makes sense to me because eating food without a lot of chemicals on it seems to be better for all of us and being able to eat what is natural is another thing that seems to be best.  So an organic egg would mean that the chicken’s diet did not have a lot of chemicals on it.  A free range egg would mean that the chicken was able to roam free and eat what a chicken would naturally eat.

The eggs that I purchased claimed to have won awards for best taste.  I don’t eat eggs plain so I don’t know that I can actually tell a better tasting egg.  These eggs also claim that their hens are feed “an improved all-natural, all-vegetarian diet with no animal fats or animal by-products.”  The inside of the carton continues to say that the no hormones are added to the laying hens’ diets and no antibiotics are “used in the production of the Egg-land’s Best eggs.”

Now a hen’s natural diet would include insects.  I don’t know if insects are considered ok in a vegetarian diet or if these hens don’t actually get any insects.  But according to the packaging the diet fed to these chickens makes the eggs high in vitamins D, B12, and E.  Also the were able to produce eggs with 25% less saturated fat than regular eggs.  The pretty packaging claims there is 115 mg of Omega 3 and 200 mcg of Lutein.  At this point there is no RDA for either nutrient, but Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body.  Lutein acts as an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.  So eggs containing these two nutrients seem like a better choice to me.

The Egg-Land’s Best claims their diet is patented.  From what I have seen in looking around, in order to produce Omega 3 enhanced eggs the hen’s would have to be feed flax seed or fish oils.  I am thinking that fish oil would make the diet not vegetarian.  Some things I glanced at in looking into this topic suggested that eggs produced by hens who had fish oil as part of their diet produced a fishy tasting egg.  Again, not sure about that, but it make me giggle.

I just think it is interesting that the only way to produce a more nutritious egg is to feed the hens better nutrition.  Kind of telling, yes?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beer Bread – Less Sugar, More Herbs

Posted by terrepruitt on August 27, 2011

I would not be surprised to learn that I was one of the last people to learn about beer bread.  This past June I was at my mom’s and she said she would whip up some beer bread.  As much as I love bread I have never tried to make it because, yeast is a scary mystery to me.  So I was curious as to how she was going to “whip” it up.  I knew that to mean quick and not whipped like whipping cream so I wondered how that could be done.  Yeast has to set, right?  She and my niece did it and I was amazed and thrilled.  It is so easy.  There are really thousands of sites on the internet that have beer bread recipes.  I found that out when I went looking for recipes that call for “self-rising” flour.

Nia classes, Nia teacher, Nia San Jose, Nia Los Gatos, San Jose Nia, Nia teacher loves breadMost of the recipes — the easy ones are 3 cups of self-rising flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 12 ounces of beer.  Bake at 375°F for about an hour.  The first time I made it I actually handled the dough too much and I think it came out tough.  I had mixed it a lot then, had a hard time putting it in the pan.  It kind of sticks to whatever you use to try to push it to the corners of the pan.  Then AFTER I had spent some time fitting it into the pan I realized I should have greased the pan so I popped the dough out, greased the pan, and spent a considerable amount of time getting the dough back into the corners.  Kinda made it tough.

The next time I was careful NOT to play with the dough so much.  And it came out better.  Plus I used less sugar.  I know it is only three tablespoons, but it makes the bread too sweet for my tastes so I probably used about a tablespoon less.  I added salt (yeah, I did), garlic, and cheese.  I used Asiago because that is what I had and I wanted something with a gentle bite to it.  It turned out REALLY good.

I am not sure if I made it again before this very last time.  Hmmmmm . . . . can’t remember.  I don’t think so.  Even though I love bread, my hubby is not so much the bread fan, so that means I end up eating most of it and I don’t need to do that.  Even though I love that fact that there are less chemicals and stuff in this bread it is still an uber refined carb and I can always use to eat less of those!

This last time I made it with two tablespoons of sugar.  I have yet to pour the butter on top as most recipes instruct.  My hubby and I usually put butter on it so I don’t feel we need to have double butter.  In this batch I used garlic salt, garlic powder, and marjoram.  I love marjoram.  So I sprinkled some into the dough.  It is good.  It could even do with more marjoram.  I just wasn’t sure so I did use a lot, but now I know it works I can put more in.  You can barely see the flakes in the bread.

I still want to try it with other herbs.  Or maybe even a heavier beer?  And definitely even LESS sugar.  I might even try eliminating the sugar all together.  Since this really is a well-known recipe and I am thinking many of you have made it, what have you used?  Have you added any other herbs?  What typed of beer do you use?  Have any of you tried it with a gluten free flour?  Does it work?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Recipe Nutrition Information – Online for free

Posted by terrepruitt on August 25, 2011

Nia teacher teaching Nia San Jose, San Jose Nia uses recipe analyzerI was thinking one day, “there has to be something online that can give calories for a recipe.  And hopefully there is a free version.”  There is.  Cool.  Maybe you had thought about this before, I know I have, but I just rememberd this week.  I usually just kind of tally the ingredients and divide using a calculator, but I realized there has to be something online so I Googled it and came up with a few.

FitWatch Recipe Analyzer lets you label the recipe and then you input the number of servings, then you enter each ingredient separately.  You can enter all the ingredients on its own separate line, then click “Search For All Ingredients” or you can search as you go along after you enter each ingredient.  After you click “search” the program will bring up a list of ingredients from which you can scroll down and select the one you want.  After each selection the screen flashes and then gives you measurement options.  Each time you make a selection the screen flashes.  There are only twelve spaces, so you can only enter up to twelve ingredients.  After you are done it supplies you with amount of calories, water, carbohydrates, protein, total fat, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat, cholesterol, and dietary fibre.  It also gives you a breakdown of vitamins and minerals measurements.  Very nice.  Also gives you the option to print it in a nice format.  But the input is somewhat awkward, because of the constant flashing.  I kept thinking my computer or internet browser was going out or down.  Took me until about the eighth ingredient to get used to it.  Then I skipped an ingredient and I wanted them to be in order because I was not sure what information I would get and I didn’t know the format, so I thought it would be easier to just have it in the same order as the recipe.   Going back and inputting the ingredient again really made the screen flash.

Nia is a fitness and wellness practice, Nia Los Gatos, Nia San JoseCalorie Count has you input the number of servings, then you can copy the entire list of ingredients into one box.  That was so quick and easy and AWESOME!  Then it gives you the calorie break down of each ingredient and gives it a grade.  It allows you to add a new item and edit the recipe.  It gives the option to log a serving and save a recipe, but I am not signed up so I didn’t do either one of those things.  So I am not sure if after having done one of those things if you get an option to print.  The format the nutrition info is presented in does not copy and paste very well.  In addition to the calorie count and grade of each ingredient it gives you the Nutrition facts in the common format that is on many product labels.  Under the “label” it gives you a nutritional analysis such as “Bad points:  •High in saturated fat  •High in sugar  •Contains alcohol” and “Good Points:  •Low in sugar  •High in manganese  •High in niacin  •High in phosphorus  •High in selenium  •High in vitamin B6”.  But it does not give you measurements nor percentages on all of the things mentioned in this analysis.

Nia teacher, Nia classes, NiaSpark People’s recipe analyzer makes you enter each ingredient and then search their data base for the closest match.  Its breakdown of the nutrition in the recipe includes: amount of calories, total fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber and sugars, and protein. This recipe analyzer/calculator gives you a breakdown of vitamins and minerals in percentages.  Its nutrition information is in a printable format like the first one.  This site also allows you to save the recipe if you are a member as with Calorie Count.

Really nifty.  I bet there are even more out there.  This is a different way of checking the nutrition in our diet, instead of inputting it all in a food diary/log/tracker/counter, you can do entire recipes.  I want to remind you even though I say it often, we all have different goals so we certainly have different nutritional needs.  These sites are just more tools that we can use to meet our goals and our nutritional needs.

So, I am curious to know if you were surprised at the information after you entered your favorite recipe?  Well, were you?

Posted in "Recipes", Helpful Hints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

“The Science of Social Media” – hosted by HubSpot, presented by Dan Zarrella

Posted by terrepruitt on August 23, 2011

I have stated before that I joined the world of social media to promote my Nia business.  Nia has been around for almost 30 years, but not a lot of people know about it.  It did not have the marketing push of Zumba.  Nia is a fitness/wellness practice that includes a cardio dance workout.  I grudgingly joined FaceBook, Twitter, Wellsphere, Merchant Circle, Yelp, Youtube, and many more to share things about health and wellness, and yes primarily Nia.  What happened, of course, was I found friends on FB both new and ones I had lost touch with.  I made friends through my blog and other people’s blogs.  I connected with many people on Twitter.  With all of these real friend connections I often get distracted with conversations on these social media sites.  But then again, I don’t really think of them as distractions because these are my friends now.  They might be people I may never meet face-to-face, but I care about them and — lucky me — they care about me.  But I do still have to try to learn things.  Today I listened to a Guinness World Record-breaking webinar hosted by HubSpot and presented by Dan Zarrella .  It was really interesting.  He shared how a lot of things you might hear are myths.

The presentation was labelled “The Science of Social Media”.  I guess the “science” came in because Mr. Zarrella compiled a bunch of figures from research.  I am gonna share some of the things he stated that I found interesting. Ok – really I am stating interesting facts off the slides because he talked so fast I missed a lot of what he said.  AND they had an earthquake in Virgina before the webinar and it was felt where the presentation was taking place.  They said the audio was having issues because of the earthquake.  But when Mr. Z slowed down, it was fine.

He had a lot of charts graphs and all types of things explaining how he came to these conclusions and these were the times when his rate of speech doubled so I think he was very excited about how he came up with this info but it also made it very hard to understand.  But . . . this provides a great opportunity for me to let you know that Hubspot is going to post the webinar so you can listen to it yourself.  I am just pointing out some highlights and what I got out of it.  It is always better to listen to the source when you have the opportunity.

Here are three myths:

– Engaging in the conversation is the most important thing.

From what I understood, he was saying this is not true IF you were trying to get huge exposure.  We are all on social networks for our own reasons.  So this MIGHT be a true fact for you, but in Mr. Z’s context he was saying it is NOT the most important thing when you are trying to get exposure.

– Don’t call yourself a guru.

His research showed people calling themselves gurus had HUGE followings.  So as long as you follow up your “guru” claim with good/valuable info you can call yourself that.

– Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are bad days to publish.

He said he found this not to be true.  He explained people can spend much more time on things (posts, links, e-mail, etc) because there is less traffic on those days.  So it sounds as if so many people believe this to be true so they don’t publish on those day which actually makes it false.

Additional points:

– Highly followed accounts tweet a lot of links.
Well, for me as a follower, if that is all that I see in a twitter stream I usually don’t bother following.  So, as I said, we all use social media for our own purposes so not all of his information applies to everyone.  He was sharing what his research showed by the numbers he studied.

– Don’t tweet “over” yourself. 
If you tweet out a link or information, let it set a bit. Give people time to see it before you tweet more information.  Some of this I think you just learn as you go.

– Don’t talk about yourself too much and
– Positive tweets and posts are what people want to read
These two points I thought were funny because I think of them as obvious as the sky.  But maybe it was stated for people living under a rock.  And there is a fine line, which was not actually addressed.  I think the fine line would be more educational.  I mean, people DO want to hear about you as a person, but how much is the question.  And people also don’t care to read false positives.  I mean life does have some negative aspects and sometimes it is ok to share them.  Again, the question is: how much?

– Write to the 5th grade level.
Regardless of what your audience’s education level may be this is a widely used level.

– Asking for a retweet works.
He said when you ask nicely for followers to retweet or share they do.

These are highlights of what I found most interesting.  There was a lot of information to support the busting of each myth, but that information you can hear when you listen to the webinar yourself.  You’ll will want to, if you have time and you are interested in learning more about social media.  HubSpot is a great tool for learning about social media.  They often have free webinars and downloads.  You might want to visit their site to see all they have to offer.  Thanks again, HubSpot and Mr. Dan Zarrella, as always I received some great info from you!

Here is the link to the webinar, http://www.hubspot.com/science-of-social-media-thanks/

Posted in Misc, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Amazing Friend and What Is In the Inside

Posted by terrepruitt on August 20, 2011

I have posted before about what wonderful friends and Nia students I have.  I have also posted about bell peppers.  My love for both should be pretty well-known.  🙂  I consider my friends and the people who allow me to hold my Nia classes one of my most precious blessings.  Between the group of them I have supporters, counselors, advisors, therapists, doctors, sounding boards, teachers, chefs, cooks, cheer leaders, advocates, lunch dates, chauffeurs, bakers, gardeners, and the list goes on and on.  And bell peppers . . .well, with them there are endless snacks, meals, and yumminess.

Nia teacher, Nia classes, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Los Gatos Nia, Nia Los Gatos, Nia in the San Francisco Bay AreaBut, as you are probably aware, not everyone likes bells peppers.  You could be among the group of people who do not.  You might be one of the people who like the red, but not the green or like the yellow but not the red.  There are a lot of combinations in that group.  Also, as you may know a bell pepper, when an ingredient in a cooked dish, tends to permeate the entire dish.  There really is no “picking” them out if you don’t like the flavor.  If you don’t like the flavor then you probably just avoid the dish entirely.  While the flavors of the colors do vary, no matter what color is used the flavor seeps into the entire dish.  I am not certain if this applies to raw foods, as in a salad, because I love bell peppers so I am not sure if it “gets all over” when it is not cooked.

Well, all of this leads up to two things; an amazing friend and what is in the inside.

First of all, I have an amazing friend who GREW bell peppers for me.  She had read my post about different colored bell peppers and my mention of purple ones so when she was planting her garden she planted some purple bell peppers for me.  When she told me she had some purple bell peppers for me my first thought was, “Oh, how nice!  How could she give them away?”  See?  That is how much I love bell peppers, I wouldn’t think of giving them away.  Then she told me she planted and grew them for me.  I thought that was the nicest thing.  Then after she gave them to me we were talking and she reminded me that she HATES bell peppers.  ALL colors!  No matter what.  She thinks they all taste the same.  I had forgotten, which is really probably just a mental block because she is such a vegetable lover and I love them so much, I forget that people don’t like them.  So the fact that she HATES them (REALLY REALLY) made her planting them and growing them for me even more special to me.

Nia teacher, Nia classes, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Los Gatos Nia, Nia Los Gatos, Nia in the San Francisco Bay AreaNow, there are some funny things about these bell peppers.  First of all they are very small.  The idea was that they were purple so they are ready.  I am not a gardener so I don’t know, except from what I have read bell peppers are ready when they get to the color you have planted.  So it was decided that these were purple so they are ready.  They are soooo cute!

The second thing is they are GREEN inside.  That was a surprise to me.  I had seen purple bell peppers before, in the store, but I had never actually had them, so the GREEN was a surprise.  I cut it open while I was on the phone with the gardener that grew them and our first thought was that there were not ready because they were green inside, but a quick Google search revealed that the purple ones are green inside.  Funny.  All the other bell peppers are the same color all the way through, except the purples ones.  I wonder why that is.

There you have it, an amazing friend and an amazing (well to me) bell pepper.

So now tell me?  Bell pepper lover or hater?  Which color do you prefer?  Did you know that the purple ones were green on the inside?  Since I can’t tell, does a raw bell pepper permeate a raw dish with its bell pepper flavor?  Tell me, I really want to know!

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The Ten Minutes Pilates – Workout DVD

Posted by terrepruitt on August 18, 2011

One of my favorite workouts DVD besides my Nia routines is a ten minute one.  It might be considered an old one as it is from 2004, but I love it.  They always sell these things as a “Don’t have time to exercise” type of thing, but doing only a ten minute workout all the time won’t get you far.  As I have said before  when I was sharing my little ten minute workout in June, it is good when that is all you have time for but only every once in a while, honestly more is needed to reach fitness and health goals.  This DVD, done by Lara Hudson, has five ten minute workouts on it.  It has capability built into the DVD that allows you to play one workout or pick more than one to make a longer workout and they will play right in a row.  You don’t have to start one, do it, then manually start another.  When you set up the workout you pick the order you want them to play in.  You can even pick one workout twice so you can do it two times.

Nia teacher doing Pilates, Pilates, Nia workout, Pilates workoutThe five workouts are an ab workout, a buns and thighs workout, an arm workout, a cardio workout, and a flexibility workout.  There are about 10 exercises per workout — even with the leg workout.  The number of times you do each exercise varies from 4 to 12.

I’ve actually only done the cardio workout once or twice because I prefer to do Nia or Turbo Jam as my cardio.  I also like to do more than 10 minutes of cardio, but it could be that all of these together would work for you.

Lara has an easy way about her.  The instruction is clear and easy to follow.  Some times in her instructions she ends the word in a high tone and it never fails to make me laugh.  She is pleasant to work out to.  She also is very good at reminding you throughout the video to concentrate on each movement.  She often says, “Controoool.” in a way that encourages you to keep the movement controlled.  Precision is another key to Pilates and she does a good job getting you to remember that, too.

In the ab workout there are various sit-ups and leg lifts.  There are roll ups and roll overs. Lara is very clear with her instruction regarding breathing, which is very helpful.  This workout is done lying down.

The leg workout is done on the floor also.  It contains the usual leg lifts and bridges, and maybe some other exercises that are not so usual.  This workout has you do a set of exercises for one leg, then switch to the other leg. Then there is another set you do for each leg.  Even though the workout is only ten minutes the pacing is nice and you really are able to get through about 10 different exercises.

They call the arm workout “Sculpting Pilates”.  It is bicep curls and triceps extensions.  There is shoulder and back work in there too.  There might be some exercises in each workout that are new to you, but nothing to drastic.  For this workout the basic stance is the Pilates V, heels together with the feet forming a V.  At times we separate the feet, but most of it is done standing in the V.

The cardio portion of this DVD is a series of planks, push ups, curls, dipping lunges, leg lifts, swimmers, and mermaids.  As with all of the workouts the flow is nice and Lara keeps you moving reasonable pace.  Also, as with all the workouts, she gets a stretch in there.  It isn’t a long stretch but just enough to help you “reset” if you need to.

The flexibility one consists of the cat and the cow, and other stretches that really get pretty much every part of your body — all in ten minutes.

I think this is a GREAT little Pilates workout DVD.  It could even be a nice way to start to doing Pilates.  If you have never done Pilates this could give you an idea of what to expect if you were to go to a class.  It could help you learn a bit of the concentration and breathing.  I really like this DVD.  I feel it is a great addition to any workout program.  It allows you to do from 10 minutes to 50 minutes in the order you want.

Have you ever done Pilates?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Assessing The Threat Level – Can It Eat Us?

Posted by terrepruitt on August 16, 2011

Our cat is an indoor cat. She does not go outside. I honestly feel that cats should be able to go outside. There are so many fun things for cats to experience; butterflies, grass, fences, frogs, lizards, flowers, etc. They do belong outside, able to roam, but unfortunately there are also many dangers. In addition to believing that cats really should be allowed to go outside, I feel that people must take responsibility for their pet(s) and that can come with a heavy price tag. Neither my heart nor my wallet could afford having to fix my cat if one of those outside dangers were to injure her. In our neighborhood we have raccoons, opossums, dogs, cats, cars, and sometimes the worst danger of all . . . other people. Not everyone is an animal lover or they might not enjoy a kitty fertilizing their garden — understandable. So we keep our cat inside. She, like a lot of indoor animals, LOVES to sit by any open door or window. She can sit there for hours. She stares and sniffs, and sniffs and stares. She will often go from door to door as if patrolling her yard. My hubby and I feed birds and squirrels in our yard in hopes that they will serve as entertainment for the cat. We have learned that we are overly entertained by our yard animals too. As I have posted before, the animals often distract me when I am doing a Nia routine or working out.

My hubby and I also have animal protocol, if there is an animal in the yard and we are on our way out to the yard, we stop and wait for it to settle or be gone. If we are in the yard and one comes in we freeze and let it do what it is there to do then we proceed. We often will stop what we are doing (pause a DVD, pause our conversation, etc.) to watch the various critters that come to visit. They are very entertaining. They eat, they play, they drink, they take baths. It is all very fun to watch. They can be quite silly.

We used to have blue jays come with their babies every year. They must have nested in our neighbor’s yard, because one year he drastically trimmed the trees and the babies that visit now are not nearly as young as the ones we used to have. So I believe the birds are having their babies elsewhere and sometimes they come here to eat or bath, but they are not here over a period of months as they once were. It is interesting and very amusing watching “babies” learn new things.

I believe the video included in this post is a group of “baby” hummingbirds. They are either babies or they are adults new to our yard and they have not seen the “house” that we allow our cat to go outside in. The hummingbirds swarm around the house to see what exactly is the threat of the animal inside. It is quite entertaining. They did this just a few times and have since learned that she is no threat and they act as if she is not there. The squirrels often check her out though. They climb on the table and peer in at her. She just looks back at them, rarely does she rush at them. She knows she can’t get them, but I don’t think they are always so sure.

On this video you can hear the birds making their little chitter noise. I imagine them saying, “What is it doing?  What is it?  Can it eat us?”

Posted in Birds | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Posted by terrepruitt on August 13, 2011

This recipe allows you to use up the over ripe bananas without having to resort to banana bread.  Although these taste pretty much like banana bread, but lighter, more airy.  While the large amount of butter seems to make these anything but a low-fat cookie, I find that they are very satisfying so I don’t gobble down an entire half-dozen.  If you break it down it is about 1/8 of a tablespoon per cookie.  It is a cookie and like all cookies, they are meant to be a treat.  I think that the bananas, the oats, and the walnuts add a bit of nutrients to them.  I think anytime good-for-you ingredients can be added to a sweet treat it is a great thing.  Homemade is better than packaged goods.

Nia cardio workout, workout San Jose, Nia Los GatosBanana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 3/4 cups oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
A sprinkle of nutmeg
3 bananas

Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 375 degrees

Using an electric hand-held beater, mix up the butter and sugar.  I mix it up until it is fluffy.

Then, add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.  This I mix until it is light and fluffy.  (I think that is what helps make the cookies lighter than banana bread.)

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the nuts) one at a time.  Blending well – using the electric hand-held beater – after adding each one and before adding the next.

Stir the walnuts in using a spoon or whatever.  I just wouldn’t use the beater.

The “dough” is rather runny for me at this point.  I use a round measuring spoon to scoop up the mixture and put it on a cookie sheet.

I don’t grease the sheet, but I think that really depends on what you are baking on.  You can decide.  I do space them out rather far because they tend to grow a little bit.

I bake them at 375 degrees for 12.  I bake them for 6 minutes, then I turn the pan.  And bake them for another 6 minutes, for a total of 12 minutes.  Again, you decide how “DONE” you want your cookies, plus you know your oven.  So maybe start out with 10 minutes and add minutes accordingly.  And if you have greased the cookie sheet the time might need altering.

I think I get about 4 dozen out of this recipe.

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Nia in San Jose, Nia in the San Francisco Bay Area, SFBayNia, SF Bay Area Nia, http://www.sfbaynia.com/

I am going to keep this version of the recipe, but also do some alterations sometimes when I make them.  I have some ideas I want to try.  I want to try LESS butter.  I also might try the chocolate chips again, but maybe less of them (I only used ¾ of a cup the first time!) and maybe WITH nuts, oh (!) and with my nutmeg addition.  That might make a big difference.  But I somewhat agree with my husband about adding chocolate chips to a cookie, it just makes it a chocolate chip cookie.

I want to let you know the path that led me to making this recipe.  First I went looking for recipes and ideas on what to do with over ripe banana and I found 100 Things to Do with a Banana (yeah, really).  Since they have pictures I just scrolled through clicking on pictures I liked and it led to A little bit of this, a little bit of that .

So, what do you think?  Are you a chocolate lover?  Then you might want to add a cup or so of chocolate chips.  What else can you think of to make this better?  Let me know.  I am always interested in hearing about alterations.

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Banana Cookies – Homemade and Delicious

Posted by terrepruitt on August 11, 2011

My husband and I buy bananas and we don’t eat them fast enough before they get too ripe.  His idea of “too ripe” is one tiny little brown spot.  The entire banana can still be GREEN, but if he sees a spot it is too ripe.  I used to like them REALLY ripe, all covered in spots and almost — ALMOST, not quite, mushy.  But now I like them a little less ripe.  I don’t like them when they “snap”, but I don’t like them when I touch it and my finger mushes into it.  So . . . I had been making a lot of banana bread.  I honestly think that my husband buys a huge bunch of bananas knowing full well that he will only eat one or two and then I will make bread out of them.  I somewhat have an issue with the banana bread.  It doesn’t seem to cook on the top.  The first time I sent it to work with him he came home and said that his co-worker loved it.  I was so embarrassed and I told him that he was NOT supposed to share it because it was uncooked.  He and his co-worker like it like that.  He also likes it without nuts, which I think is just not right.  I had been making it so much, I got tired of doing so.  I went online (but, of course) to find other ways to use ripe bananas.  I found a banana cookie recipe.  Yeah, bananas in the cookies.

Nia teacher makes banana cookies, Nia workout, Nia dance class, Nia San Jose, San Jose workoutThis woman found a banana cookie recipe on the internet and changed it up a bit. I decided to try her recipe, but wanted to change it a bit.  The recipe called for chocolate chips.  My plan was to make some without chocolate chips, then put some chips in and make some with chocolate chips. It turned out I didn’t have any chocolate chips, and unlike Carson, I didn’t even have any big chocolate drops. So I made the entire batch without chips. I liked them but they were missing something. Even though I put in the cinnamon she has listed and even though I put in twice as much vanilla they were still a little “blah”.  To me.  Blah to me was actually good because even though they were good they weren’t so good that I found myself eating them non-stop.  So it was nice that I could actually eat them as a treat should be eaten.

The next time I made them I decided to try it with the chocolate chips.  But I thought that regular sized chips would be to over powering so I bought mini chocolate chips.  Nia Classes, San Jose Nia Classes, Los Gatos Nia classes, Nia Cardio Dance WorkoutI also used three bananas instead of two.  I also used different oats, which were much larger than the first ones I had.  I DID NOT like that large oat in my cookie.  Made it seem like I was chewing cud instead of a cookie, so I made a mental note to change that.  So this batch was ok.  But as my husband said, “If you put chocolate chips in a cookie it makes it a chocolate chip cookie.”  I liked them and so did he, but we decided we liked them better without chocolate chips.

So my third attempt—-HAZZAH!  I finally got it!  I pulsed the “too big” oats, I added more cinnamon, I stuck with three bananas, I added walnuts, and I sprinkled in some nutmeg!  So yay!!!!!  I got it.  Finally turned what to me seemed blah into . . . now I have to STOP myself from eating them.  Ok, not really.  That is why I like this cookie so much.  It is almost as if it is so satisfying I don’t have a desire to eat a whole plate.

They are a really nice cookie.  I think that homemade is so much better than packaged because you know what goes in them and it is usually a lot less chemicals and even some fruit.  These are kind like little circles of banana bread, really, but a little less dense.  And these I can manage to cook all the way through.

Here is the recipe .  . . . Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Potholders Really CAN Hold Your Pots and Pans

Posted by terrepruitt on August 9, 2011

Pot holders, Nia teacher, pot protectors, pan holders, pan protectors, I have potholders and oven mitts that I don’t really want to use as potholders.  Ya know, they could be those ones that you received as a gift and they are pretty, but when you use them and realize that they aren’t really as useful as they are pretty because you can still feel the heat/burn through it.  Or you bought them as part of a set of hand towels, so they really are just for show because they are too thin to use.  Why yes, you COULD get rid of them.  But I would NEVER think to do that.  (See my last post where I state I have a house full of stuff.)  There are other uses for potholders.  If they are really pretty but too thin to use to keep the heat away from your hand you can use them for other things.  Or if you accidentally touched the oven element and just one little corner is singed you could use it for something else.  Some times the pretty ones work very well as trivets.  You might want to use them when company is over.  You just set them out and then place the hot dish on them.  Perfect.  The slightly singed one can be used as a trivit too.  It is really the surface that you are setting something hot (or even cold) on that you are trying to protect.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.

Pot and pan separator, Nia Teacher, pot and pan protectorWhat they can also be used for is separating your pots and pans. There are protectors specifically made for that.  I have some of those too (that is what the blue one is on the bottom), but I have a lot of potholders that have come with towel sets that aren’t that great as potholders.  I also have a few that I have connected with the oven element with.  In fact right after I took this picture one of the cat ones suffered that fate.  So I use them to separate my pots and pans.  I have found that along with the dishwasher the pots and pans scratch each other up a bit.  So I put the potholders in between.  I believe this annoys my hubby and I am sorry for that, because it really does help protect the pots and pans.  I think having a glass top stove has made me a little more aware of what is on the bottom of my pans.  A glass top is much easier to clean – to me – than a spiral element stove, but it helps if you start of with a pot/pan with a clean bottom.  Also it shouldn’t have any rough edges or gouges in it that can scratch the glass.  So I just like to use layer of protection between my pots and pans.

With the pots I try to get the pot holder to protect both the bottom of the pot and the handle.  We have some pots with handles coated in a thin layer of plastic and the pot edges scratch it off.  So I try to put the pots in with the potholder sticking over the edge.  Works with big potholders, but not really the small ones.

So if you are like me and you wanna try to keep you pots looking nice and keep them smooth for the stove, you don’t like to throw “perfectly good things away”, and you like to find new/other uses for things this might be one of those things that helps you.

What about you?  Any of you really crafty people have another way potholders can be put to use?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »