Happy, Healthy Heart

February is heart month! Yes, I know February is almost to an end, but a healthy heart should be promoted all year, not just for one month. Did you know that 1 of every 4 deaths are caused by heart disease? Small changes in your diet and lifestyle can have a HUGE impact and help prevent heart disease. Simple things like replacing salt with seasonings on your food and having 20 minutes of physical activity per day can help your heart stay healthy.

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Cutting salt is one of the easiest things. You don’t even have to exercise for this change. Technically you have to do even less than you have to do now since you no longer have to reach for the salt shaker at dinner. Yesterday, Runner’s World posted this article providing 6 Super foods that can protect your heart. In summary (ok…mostly word for word… I wanted to get my facts right!):

SPRING SALAD MIX

These delicate salad greens are rich in phytonutrients and the B vitamins folate and B6. Together, these nutrients help protect blood vessels from damage that leads to clogged arteries.

Not a salad fan? Stuff greens into sandwiches and wraps or stir a handful into soup and allow them to wilt.

SOY MILK

Soy contains compounds called isoflavones that studies show help lower blood cholesterol. Additionally, people who regularly eat soy have a lower risk for heart disease.

Put it in what you already eat: Use soy milk in your morning cereal, blend into fruit smoothies, and substitute it in recipes calling for regular milk.

NUTS

Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and the like contain heart-healthy fats that won’t elevate circulating cholesterol levels. Nuts are also rich in an array of phytonutrients that help lessen the inflammatory response in arteries that may lead to the progression of heart disease.

Eat it Aside from eating nuts as a snack, they add delicious crunch to salads and yogurt (including frozen yogurt!). BONUS: Throw them on your spring salad mix.

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FISH

From canned tuna to fresh salmon, seafood contains essential omega-3 fats. These fats help moderate the inflammatory response that occurs inside arteries, which is one of the reasons why eating fish twice a week has been shown to lower heart disease risk.

Eat it Canned salmon is an easy way to boost the protein and healthy fats in any meal. Add it on top of a salad or stir it into a soup for a quick “chowder.” SUPER BONUS: Eat with your spring mix salad with nuts.

POMEGRANATE JUICE

The rich red color of this fruit (and juice) provides protection to your heart by lowering the likelihood that circulating cholesterol will clog arteries. One study showed that drinking pomegranate juice daily improved blood flow in heart disease patients.

Drink it Mix with sparkling water as a refreshing, re-hydrating drink after a run. This of it as a heart cocktail.

OATMEAL

This super cereal is rich in soluble fiber that helps block cholesterol absorption. Studies show that simply eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can significantly bring down cholesterol levels.

Eat it Oatmeal makes a great recovery meal any time of day—add savory flavors, like herbs, vegetable broth, and a sprinkle of nuts or Parmesan to tailor it for lunch or even a quick dinner. Or try adding a scoop of protein powder and Greek yogurt, along with a piece of fruit to round it out. HELLOOOOO OVERNIGHT OATS I LOVE YOU.

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The best part about this list? For me, I eat half these things daily. However, if you are a picky eater, you can hide almost all these items in other foods. It’s like magic. Be a wizard.

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Pancakes, Two Ways

Lately, I have been craving pancakes. Maybe it’s been the cold weather we have been having lately. Nothing seems to represent a snowed-in weekend morning better than heating up the griddle and brewing a hot pot of coffee. After many experiments, I have come up with two recipes that are going to be my “go to” recipes from now on. The first one is a classic fluffy recipe. This one is perfect when you want a relaxing Sunday brunch or are looking for a crowd pleaser. The second one is a heartier pancake that would be the perfect fuel before heading out on a long run. They will stick with you and provide plenty of carbohydrates.

Fluffy Pancakes

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  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray
  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice. Special points if you serve with bacon.

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Multigrain Pancakes

(adapted from the Runner’s World Cookbook)

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toppings of your choice (I like to go with a variety of smooshed and warmed fruit or a nut butter!)
  1. Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda in a bowl.
  2. Pour the buttermilk and milk into a 2-cup measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Which together with the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and which until just combined
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
  4. Cover in toppings of your choice.

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Happy flipping!

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Monday Motivation

Greetings! I hope this Monday finds you well. I think my past week of an average of four hours of sleep a night finally caught up to me and I’m looking forward to going to bed as soon as possible. Hopefully I can make it through this post. Originally, I thought I would make it for a run this evening, but I think sleep is more important at this point. i wouldn’t want to be getting sick for my birthday week!

Here’s some motivation for your Monday:

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And some jokes. Because laughing is good for you.

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See ya Sunday

I’ve been a bad blogger. Note to self: don’t try and take a CPA exam… During tax season… While running…. With blizzards…. And blog. So, the good news is the biggest pain on that list will be over with. Saturday, At 1:30 I have an appointment to take my exam and then I can move onto doing more than studying every waking moment. I have a lost of so many great topics and ideas to post about I can’t wait to get started!

So. Since it is Monday, I will leave you with some jokes (I really need these at this point)

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Be thankful I just didn’t tell you five different ways to depreciate an asset or how to tell if goodwill is impaired! See ya Sunday!

Happy Tax Season!

As many of you are aware, it’s filing season! Since I deal with many different types of clients and businesses, I thought I would share a few tips on how to make this tax season stress-less for both you and your tax preparer. Caution: this could be boring. So I have jokes included.

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  1. Talk to your tax reparer as if they were your BFF. We want to know important life events. Did you buy a house? Sell a house? Get married? Divorced? Have a child?
  2. Keep good records. It may be too late for 2013, but try to keep all tax documents you receive in one place. This way, you aren’t piece mailing everything to us and you won’t be frantically tearing apart your house to find out what you donated to the Red Cross in August.
  3. Many small firms send out tax organizers to help you get everything together… use them! This is the easiest for you and the tax repairer to get up to date on what is going on in your life. The organizers allow you to see what you had last year and mark anything that is no longer applicable. This will save time and questions if we don’t think you forgot anything.
  4. If you don’t have an organizer available, look at last year’s return! This will help jog your memory on what you need.
  5. If you can’t get your act together in time or are waiting on forms, you can go on an extension. This form is due April 15th as well.
  6. However, if you think you are going to owe, that amount is still due April 15th. Even if you go on extension. So, if you think this is you, you should also include a check with your extension to avoid penalties and interest later on when you finally do file.
  7. Please remember that you are not your accountant’s only client. We would love to immediately call you back and have a one hour turn around for your return, but unfortunately, that is not always possible during fling season. However, if you do need it in a hurry (ex: to fill out the FAFSA) please tell us in advance, not the day before you need it. The most notice we have, the more likely you are to get it when you want it.
  8. Ask us questions! If you are confused about something or wondering if it is deductible, let us know your wonder! You will not look silly, sometimes you may even stump us.
  9. Did you owe a significant amount? Get too much refunded? (yes, this is a thing believe it or not) Then now is a good time to talk with your tax accountant about tax planning for 2014!

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Happy filing!!!

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Monday Motivation

Happy Monday! Not sure what it is all of a sudden, but I’m finally feeling super motivated. When I got home from work I had a great 30 minute cycle workout before dinner which is just what I needed. My day started off in a pretty foul mood since it was snowing and I had to brave the roads to go to work. Like… when is it not snowing? It can calm down.

So if you started off your day like mine, here’s a little pick-me-up:

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And lucky for you, my mood this morning left me feeling super sassy:

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I hope you all have a great week!

Life Lately

Happy Saturday!!! I actually have no idea what day it is… I just wrote Friday and earlier today I could have sworn it was a Tuesday. Tax season is really throwing me for a loop and a half here. At least I have tomorrow off and I plan on making it feel as much of a Sunday as possible. After a few rides on the trainer and runs on the treadmill this week, I was happy to get out this afternoon and breathe some fresh air.

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A nice easy three was just what I needed to feel loosened up. However, I definitely should have made today my long run since it looks like there is a chance of snow tomorrow. By chance I mean there is. There always is. In fact, it’s even snowing a little right now.

Meanwhile, while I am running around all week and every week from now until April 15th, Coco is doing what she does second best. Sleep. (Barking is what she is best at)

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After taking that photo, she gave me the worst look for waking her up. She wouldn’t last a day in my shoes, but I would gladly trade places with her for even a few hours.

As you all know, busy schedules come with weird eating habits. I’ve eaten lunch out the past two days and I hate myself for it. Not only does it add up, but it’s hard to pick the healthiest options all the time. Packing my own lunch generally saves me money and calories. Please feel free to leave me suggestions on what to pack for lunch that is easy, delicious, and I can possibly make ahead of time! I need all the help I can get. I’m also not picky.

Breakfast on the other hand, I can handle. I can’t eat right when I wake up so I usually pack that to go as well and eat it when I get to work. Lately, I’ve been making a lot of nutrient packed smoothies and overnight oats:

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Ok that doesn’t look appetizing at all… but it tastes delicious! It was pretty tragic when I ran out of oatmeal in the middle of the week. My favorite part of overnight oats is that all I have to do is remember to grab the mason jar out of the fridge in the morning before heading out. Right before leaving I through in some frozen fruit which keeps it cold on my 45 minute commute.

Not sure when I decided to turn this into a post about food… but other things I’m loving lately are blueberries and hummus! (not together…) Maybe it was just that I read Tom Brady eats a lot of both, but I’m addicted. I buy the party size tubs and go through them so quickly with pita chips and carrots. What I really want to do is make my own… So if you have a recipe for that, let me know! (Ok… this is also quickly become an “help me!” post”)

Other things I’m loving this week include the fact that Pro Compression came out with their sock of the month earlier this week and I heart it with all my heart!

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Sizes are selling out, so if yours is still available, act fast!

One final thing I’m loving is this quote:

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With everything going on in the news, work, life… everything… it’s very easy to lose faith in human nature. However, when I think back to my marathon (and every race I’ve ever done), nothing beats the excitement around the finish line and the support along the way. You can’t control human nature in general, but you can control the humans you surround yourself with, and the most important human of all: yourself.

Have a great weekend! Go eat some oatmeal!