Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sugar is kind of a crazy little guy.

It's the most energy ready molecule we can eat, it plays well with other food, and especially here in the South, it's both sweet potato and tea's best friend.

I was recently contacted by the big daddy of all sugar companies, Domino/C&H, and they asked me to make a sweeeet recipe off of their website for the holidays. They even gave me a $20 gift card to help me pay for expenses for the sweets. That was a very awesome day for me.

It was like they read my student loan/mortgage/eat 8 times a day mind :)

So I scanned though the recipe index they have, and honestly, their list is super extensive. I was flooded with tons of good looking recipes. It reminds me to always check out the back of your flour and sugar bags, because there's some really interesting gold on there. Perfect for those days when I am out of baking ideas :)

My neighbor used to always make this caramel-y, almost maple sugar tasting candy for the holidays called Penuche. It's a really, really funny word... but it tastes really good. It's like an anti-fudge fudge, with minimal ingredients, and no chocolate. It's a whole lot of brown sugar, which gives it this maple/molasses flavor.

It's pretty awesome, and def worth a taste at least once. Especially if you like blondies or something like that.

Plus, I think if brown and white sugar got in a fight... brown sugar would probably win. It sticks together better... and we all know there's strength in numbers :)

Domino Sugar

Recipe found here

-1 lb Domino Brown Sugar
- about 2 1/2 cups

-3/4 cup milk

-1/8 tsp salt

-2 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

Grease 8x8 pan; set aside.

Combine sugar, milk and salt in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Wipe sugar crystals from side of pan as necessary.

Cook without stirring until candy reaches 238°F or soft ball stage. Remove from heat; add butter. Without stirring, cool to 110°F or lukewarm.
Add vanilla and nuts.

Stir continuously until thick and creamy. Spread into prepared pan at once. When firm, cut into squares. Store in airtight container.

Makes 24 pieces or (1 1/4 lbs.)

Sweet looking bricks...

This was actually my first candy making experience, which was pretty neat. I am proud to say that yes, I am a football loving male that weight trains and owns a candy thermometer :) I really liked the flavor, it's simple and smooth... just be careful because a little goes a loooong way. Make sure to share with friends. Enjoy your weekend, and to everyone in the 10in10 group, keep going, you guys are doing great!

So You Have a New Gym Membership....


Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, January 06, 2010

This is going to be gym related post. I'll follow up with a recipe one later, but as you can imagine, it's tough to make yet more sweets in the post-holiday aftermath of indulgence and perhaps a sprinkle of regret :)

I got the idea after some great responses to the last post I had, and just like in class, if someone has a question, it's very likely that another person is thinking the same thing. I think it's a topic that is as popular and misunderstood as the high school prom queen... or our beloved Micheal Jackson.

Should I use machines, or free weights, or both? I hear free weights are better, but they are kinda intimating, and all these sweaty guys are around... (I'm paraphrasing of course)

This is a great question, and my opinion has definitely changed over the years. Ask me 3 years ago, and I wouldn't of touched a machine. Ask today, and I just used a machine or two on Monday.

My answer is an indecisive, grey colored... it depends. What do I mean? Well, it depends on your goals, and what you are looking to change about yourself or improve on. Even if you had the most stacked gym ever... with all sorts of equipment, you should pick exercises that focus on a couple of things:
  1. Do you feel the appropriate muscles being worked during the exercise?
  2. Can you progress with the exercise each week?
  3. While you may not enjoy doing the exercise, do you at least not hate it's guts?
These are the most important things to consider when working out. While there are THOUSANDS of weight training routines available, there is no perfect one. Why? Because people aren't all the same. What works for you might not for me. It's the same thing with foods, diet, hair cut styles, eye sight ability, sport team favoritism... on and on. As long as you pick something and stick to it... and progress... you'll be good. You body does not want to change. Trust me. Why would it want to lose weight and gain muscle? That takes work. So you have to give it a reason to :)

I like machines for a number of reasons. I don't need a spotter, and they are great at teaching because they kinda force your muscles into learning a movement pattern, which will allow them to be 'felt' and contract correctly (as long as you focus on the muscle). So that fulfills rule #1.

So what I'm saying is what good is a free weight dumbbell chest press if you only feel it in your shoulders? Sure it's a free weight, so stabilizing muscles come into play, but if it's not working the muscle you want it too... see what I mean.

But I will add another caveat when it comes to exercise selection...

Make it relevant to your goals. Let's say your goal is to do one pullup, all the way up and down. While there are a couple of exercises you can pick from, the best would probably be assisted pullups. You need to train to your goals more than half the time. A pulldown machine will help, but different movement patterns require different activation from your brain. Because of motor units, neural activation, torque angles of force created, etc, the skills aren't exactly transferable.

I mean like, all cars can drive... but ever notice how it takes a minute to "get used to it"... same kind of deal...

I can't tell you how many times I've switched from bar and dumbbell bench presses in the past, and got shocked when I didn't feel stronger right away. It's not because of muscle, it's because you need to learn how to recruit muscles for that particular exercise all over again :)

So you need to focus on the exercise that is direct to your goals. You need to swap out movements when you stall, but you need to change back once you stall out again.

So, the short of the long of that question is... do what works for you, and what will bring you closer to your goals. I think a mix of the two methods each has risks and benefits. One time I had someone younger and smaller than me call me lame for using machines. I smiled...

Just remember results take time. Time is def on your side, and soon you'll become a gym fanatic that's the envy of the town :)

Now if you're asking what exercises give you the most bang for your buck, and you're lost with free weights... well that's another day :)

Oatmeal Creme Bars


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Saturday, January 02, 2010

I'm glad everyone had a safe and Happy New Years. I've looked around, and there are some awesome resolutions out there, and it's great that everyone is starting out so goal oriented and focused. In a world filled with so many distractions and events that are always happening, it's sooo easy to loose sight of things. If you don't believe me, check out your Facebook Live Feed, or how many texts you have sent on your phone this week. I bet the number will surprise you :)

On that note, there was 13930480 people on the treadmills today. Ok, that's not the exact number, I just rounded up to the next one :) While I'm happy people are taking their bodies and health into their own hands, I was surprised to see the weight training area more empty. Seriously... strength training is really where it's at if you want a body transformation folks :) Promise...

Maybe I need to post a weekly exercise to get people motivated.

Anyways, here's a cookie recipe from last month that I really enjoyed. It has my old powerhouse boy Oatmeal, and I was asked to actually make this recipe not once, but twice. Aaaand a patient asked for the recipe.

Do you really need to know anything else to see if it passes the 'try me delicious' test?

Having someone ask you to make something again is like being out on a second date. Apparently something went right the first time :)

Oatmeal Creme Bars (Look I spelled Cream all European like)
Dr. Adam

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

-1 cup brown sugar

-1 cup rolled oats

-1 1/2 cups AP flour
-1 tsp cinnamon

-Dash of salt

1 pkg. cream cheese, soft at room temperature

-1 can sweetened condensed milk

-1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350*. Line a 13x9 pan with foil, and grease it well.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well, until it is clumpy, and dough forms. It should be a little dry, but able to hold it's shape when packed together. Test it with your hands first.

Press HALF of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. It should stay together and form a crust on the pan.

In another bowl, beat the cream cheese, condensed milk, and vanilla together, until no lumps remain and it is smooth.
Pour this over the bottom crust in the pan, and smooth over evenly. Sprinkle the remaining oat/flour mixture over the filling so it completely covers the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown on top. Let it cool completely on a wire rack for a few hours, lift it out of the foil, and cut into squares.

Ah... a bar fit for breakfast champions. Ok, maybe not exactly... but come on, just like a half of one :)

Everyone have a fantastic rest of the weekend, stay warm, and if you have any exercises in particular you have questions about, let me know. Sure, you can probably find form and technique pictures and advice anywhere on the Internet, but they probably won't have movie references and make you laugh :)