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This month has been super busy! When I wasn’t working, interviewing, working on a cookbook submission, chasing kids, making lunches, or blogging, I was most definitely exercising!


I am very close to goal weight now and that makes it harder to achieve weight-loss goals. I just can’t make the scale budge a pound a week anymore. Part of the issue is that I am gaining muscle, while I am losing fat. I can see this on my body as I drop a pants size and can visibly see some muscles now, but the number on the scale is going down painfully slowly. This phenomenon is discussed in a Fit Villains post I like. I think the picture they use illustrates the topic very well and I hope this is what is happening to me!


The article definitely helped me stop beating myself up over slow weight loss and remember to focus on my fitness goals. I decided to make a very BIG fitness goal for March: 27 workouts in 31 days. Only 4 rest days for the month! This was a challenge for me with my busy schedule, but I made it a priority and saw it through to the end. Today is day 31, workout 27, and I am very proud of myself for sticking with it, even on days when I was exhausted and just didn’t think I could! Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice I try to model for the kids, but there are plenty of times when I give in to something and exercise really helps me feel like I can balance those kinds of issues out.


So, what did I do with my 27 workouts?


I jogged during my lunchbreak. I covered a minimum of 5K during each session, 3 times a week, 14 workouts total. I did not keep track of total miles, but I’d guess I covered at least 55 miles for the month. I did track each individual outdoor run using MapMyRUN, an app I absolutely love for tracking distance, pace, and route details.

I did some a weights routine workout using 10 pound dumbbells in my basement workout space every Wednesday (4 workouts for the month). It is actually an old upper body/core routine I clipped out of a bridal magazine 8+ years ago, but I love it, so I still use it.

I worked out with a friend at the gym every Saturday AND every Sunday. I always did some cardio, but we mostly focused on weights. My friend is a great trainer and really kicked my butt week after week. Also, we have a goal of increasing the number of unassisted pullups by one a month, so we can hit 12 by the end of the year. We’re already ahead of schedule! I can do 4 and she can do 5! I love being able to see progress. So that’s another 9 workouts.

I spent a lot of this month exhausted and sore. However, I did find a lot of stress relief in the workouts and I really needed that this month! I think the exercise keeps my eating on track too.


Next month has potential to be even busier, especially with me starting a new job. I may need to reduce my exercise goal to 23 / 30. This will give me some extra days to take a pass if I need to. Then again, those are the days I probably need the endorphins most!


Do you have an April fitness goal? What is it? How do you stay accountable to it? Good luck!

Let’s Cut To The Chase – The Best Chef Knives


I was recently on the hunt for the best chef knives. I love making food and watch so many cooking shows and read so many cooking blogs to get ideas and increase my knowledge base. What I’ve noticed about all the shows and blogs are that they all seem to be using super sharp knives. The way they chop and slice like, well, a hot knife through butter; I realized that I need to find the best chef knives.

Being clueless as to what the best chef knife brand is, as well as shopping on somewhat of a budget, I asked a Chef friend of mine what would be the best option. She recommended that I look at the following 3 brands: Warther, LamsonSharp and Rada.

japanese kitchen knives

I absolutely loved the Warther Chef Knife. Not only is it pretty, with its shiny hand-hammered look, but the smaller size made it easier to control in rapid chopping scenarios (albeit only to look professional whilst doing it). It is sharp and really versatile. I found it reasonably priced and easy to find (you can even buy it online). Warther also provides a lifetime of free knife sharpening!

The Lamson Sharp 8-Inch Wide Forged Chef Knife was an utter dream to handle. It was well balanced and easy to handle. I went with the 8-inch blade instead of the 10-inch as I have smaller hands. I was not disappointment! This knife is razor sharp and goes from cutting through meat to finely slicing tomatoes with only a quick rinse needed. It is a bit pricey but I was looking for a quality knife that would last years.

Lastly, I tested the Rada 8-inch French Chef Knife. This knife has a special place in my heart. It is by far the cheapest knife I tried. Yes, it’s cheap and light weight but it really packs a punch. Going from the more expensive knives to this gem was a total surprise. I thought perhaps it wasn’t going to be as sharp as the others, but oh boy, did it deliver! It was easy to handle, easy to clean and super sharp. They also come with a lifetime guarantee!

In the end I found myself reaching for the Rada 9 out of 10 times, even though I kept all 3!

More on kitchen knives:


Best Brands of Non Stick Pans

Whether you’re an avid cook, or rarely step foot in your kitchen, I think nearly everyone can agree that non-stick pans offer the best services to all types of “chefs.” But when it comes to choosing the best non stick pans, how do you know which one is going to work best for you and your budget? Fear not, this article is here to help!

nonstick pans

Woll Diamond Plus
If you’re looking for a set that could get you through years of heavy-duty cooking, you should look into the German brand, Woll Diamond Plus. Be warned, this is going to cost a pretty penny- around $500 to be exact. The price can be reasonably explained, as this set is literally embedded with diamonds- that’s right, the kind you put on your fingers, ladies. This method creates a coating so strong, the product can resist any cuts or scratches, both inside and out. The high-quality coating also makes the pans extremely heat resistant, meaning you can actually sear in the pan- whereas most normal non stick coatings melt from the heat. Oh, and there are also detachable handles to allow use in the oven without fear of burning yourself.

T-Fal Nonstick Cookware
Another good set, and definitely more affordable at a little under $100, is T-Fal. I personally use this brand, and I love them. They’re not too heavy, very durable, and they’re easy to clean when everything is said and done. There’s an indicator in the center of the pans that becomes prominent when the pan is hot enough for use. The handles may not be detachable, but their silicone material is soft on the hands and heat-resistant. The non stick quality is surprisingly high, and they’re dishwasher safe- although you really only need to run them under water to rinse everything off. Overall, I strongly recommend them.

Le Creuset Porcelain Nonstick Cookware
The last brand I’m going to recommend is Le Creuset, a porcelain-coated cast iron set. Getting back up into the more pricey range, at roughly $500, this set is a new spin on your grandma’s cookware. The coating makes for a scratch-resistant surface, and chip-resistant surface on the outside, while also making clean up very easy. Designed with larger handles than most, the pots are easy to pick up, even with thick oven mitts on. If you’re looking for the best non stick pans without worrying about any chemicals or other health issues, porcelain is the safest you’re going to get.

Hopefully this article has helped with your search for the best non stick pans you can buy. I left out the most expensive brands, as they can reach values of over $1,000. These are brands I have either personal experience with, or have known somebody who has owned them. But don’t just take my word for it, try them out yourself!

We Made Gummies!



I’ve been promising Girlie that we’d try making our own gummy snacks ever since I saw my friend Kendra’s recipe a couple of months ago.  Kendra’s Blog is always full of great inspiration for my bentos and she frequently posts other non-bento ideas too.  Her article on How To: Mess Up Home-Made Fruit Juice Gummies was perfect for inspiring me to try!  And thanks to her advice, we did NOT mess up our batch!


The recipe is simple: 2/3 cup of fruit juice concentrate plus 4 packets (1 box) of gelatin.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the juice in the saucepan.  Let it sit a few minutes, then heat it a little and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Pour into molds and wait 20 minutes for the gummies to set.   Easy-peasy!


I read the directions to Girlie and explained everything to her the first time.  When we made the second batch later in the day, she did everything on her own, except for pouring the hot juice/gelatin mix into the molds.   She and I swapped and she became the photographer on that step.  We are such a good team.


Here’s our pictoral demonstration:


1) Pour 2/3 cup fruit juice concentrate (we used apple, grape, cherry) into a pan:


2) Sprinkle in 4 packages of gelatin and let it sit for a few minutes:


3) Heat the juice/gelatin mixture on medium and stir until dissolved:


4) Pour into molds and wait 20 minutes for gummies to set:


5) Enjoy your finished product!


These are yummy and easy to make. I like that you can control the ingredients and keep dyes and excess sugar out of the food.  I also like that I could pick shapes that my kids loved and that it was easy for Girlie could be in charge of the project.  She brought a container of them in to school today to share with all of her friends.  She’s so proud of herself! This is project we will definitely do over and over.


I bought the train molds and animal molds at amazon.com. If you look around, you will find lots of other choices. I am sure I’ll be ordering more soon.  One batch filled up both sheets of molds plus a tiny bit leftover that I poured into a glass ramekin and can either serve as a large circle or cut up for the kids.  They could be good for sandwich decorations in the kids’ bento lunches!


Let me know if you try these and how they came out! They were a hit at our house!

We are going to order a juicer grinder this week

I hate too many things on my kitchen counter top. It makes cleaning extremely difficult. We also live in a very congested locality. So dust often settles on my appliances, making them look ugly. It increases my work load. Placing them inside and pulling them out is no longer an option. Earlier, my daughter used to stay with us, so she used to pull out that juicer or grinder and wipe them clean. My back will give way if I did that regularly. My husband suggested that I buy a juicer grinder, after (936) 243-6115.  I have always been against combination of functions. This is because if the machine gives way, I cannot make juices, or grind the batter for Sunday breakfast.


Now, however, the idea is beginning to appeal to me. I would still have to bend down to place the jars in, and pull out the required jars. But these are lighter compared to pulling out whole grinder, or whole juicer from the cabinet below my kitchen counter top. Moreover, stainless steel jars can simply be pushed in that dishwasher. I don’t have to do a thing for cleaning those jars. My problem is, my memory is failing. How would I remember which jar is for what? My husband told me that the polycarbonate jar will be for juices, and the other still jar is for grinding, including some wet grinding. The smallest one is for grinding coffee seeds. It is a bit difficult to remember, but since my husband helps me with kitchen work nowadays, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Yes, it sure will send two voluminous appliances inside, which I have been using for more than 10 years I think. My husband wants me to sell them off in garage sales, but I want to hold on to them, at least till I become familiar with the new juicer grinder he plans on ordering. Who knows how the appliances nowadays work.

More on Juicer: (219) 615-5442


As a fan of hot beverages, I decided to buy an espresso machine to ensure that I would enjoy preparing my own beverages at home. I made this decision after getting tired of having to pay prices for something that I would make on my own at home. Just like when buying other machines used to make beverages, there are certain factors I had to consider to ensure that I got the best results. Making the final decision on the machine to buy was not an easy process because there are many models available in the market, I would recommend you to look for further information at Bisuzs Coffee. Here are some of the things I had to consider during the shopping process.



One of the factors I had to put into consideration is the price of the different machines provided in the market. As I shopped, I realized that different machines cost different prices. So, I had to consider the machine sold at an affordable and reasonable price according to my budget. What I understood is that higher price does not guarantee better results and on the other hand, I also understood that those sold at a very cheap price might not be of the best quality. I had to ensure that I considered all the features I wanted in an espresso machine without overspending on my budget.

Features and functions

I also had to shop for an espresso machine that had features that would make it do more than just brewing. I needed a machine that would offer high level versatility from shot to shot. In addition, I had to buy a machine that allowed me to make hot beverages with different tastes.

Time spent using the machine

During the shopping process, I also considered the time investment required to make a great espresso from the machine I selected. I had to consider if I wanted an automatic, manual or programmable machine because the different ones deliver a brew at different speed. In this aspect, I went for an automatic one because I found it more convenient in terms of speed and efficiency.

Flavor from the machine

Before I went out to shop for the machine, I learnt that the machine itself determines the overall taste of the hot beverage prepared. This is because the processes that measure and grind the coffee, steam the water and apply pressure to the brew differ from one espresso machine to the other. Therefore, I had to consider my preferences and tasted a shot from the different machines I considered to purchase. This helped me select the one that offered the flavor I was looking for.