Exercise Space

Your exercise room can have a decorative element and still be highly functional.

When choosing an area of the home to use as exercise space, so many people go with a basement room.  I much prefer the idea of getting out of the basement and into a more engaging, inviting part of the home.

A great home gym.  Image via Zillow.
A great home gym. Image via Zillow.
Bright, open gym.  From Patio Cubee.
Bright, open gym. From Patio Cubee.
Gym desgined by Ilse Crawford.
Gym desgined by Ilse Crawford.

An exercise space should be an environment with plenty of light, not a sheet rock box.  If you plan for an an exercise room ahead of time, when building or remodeling, you can curate an area that’s derivative of the rest of the home.  Your exercise room can have a decorative element and still be highly functional.

Nice mix of materials in this exercise space.  From Elle Decor.
Nice mix of materials in this exercise space. From Elle Decor.
Work out with a view! From BilInterior.
Work out with a view! From BilInterior.
A contemporary home gym by Atelier AM.
A contemporary home gym by Atelier AM.

Stepping into a great space makes you feel motivated and inspired.  Being healthy and fit is all about feeling good.  A great exercise space enhances that experience.  Rather than retreat to a forgotten room, create a workout area that you always wan

Exercise in a space you enjoy! From Architectural Digest.
Exercise in a space you enjoy! From Architectural Digest.
Minimalist design makes the most of the scenery.  From Architectural Digest.
Minimalist design makes the most of the scenery. From Architectural Digest.



Food and Wine Magazine: Recipes

Part of making a healthy lifestyle a priority is taking the time to cook well rounded meals.

Part of making a healthy lifestyle a priority is taking the time to cook well rounded meals.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am not one to spend a lot of time in the kitchen; however, I do want to help my kids learn the importance of cooking at home rather than relying on pre-made, processed foods or indulgent takeout meals.  I love Food and Wine Magazine because it has really inspired me to cook at home.  Many of the recipes not only look delicious, but are dishes I can actually see myself preparing at home.

I’d like to feature some of the recipes that catch my eye from time to time as part of my commitment to sharing how important health and fitness are to me.  Preparing dinner at home more often is a reasonable goal for anyone, no matter how busy, and is a great part of an overall healthy approach to mealtimes.  Here are some recipes that recently caught my eye!

SalmonMustard Salmon with Cannellini Bean Ragu

Serves 4



3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp finely chopped thyme

salt and pepper

2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 head escarole (3/4 lb), with dark leaves discarded and remaining leaves torn

2 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest


extra virgin olive oil

4 skinless salmon fillets, 4 oz each

salt and pepper

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tsp dry white wine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp finely chopped thyme

1.  Make the ragu.  In a deep skillet, add the oil, shallot, and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes start to break down, 4 minutes.  Add the beans and stock and simmer until the beans are hot, 2 minutes.  Add the escarole, prosciutto, and lemon zest and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until the escarole is just wilted, 4 minutes.  If the bean ragu is too thick, add a little water.

2.  Prepare the salmon.  Preheat the broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and brush it with oil.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and set on the baking sheet.  In a bowl, whisk both mustards with the wine, 2 teaspoons of oil, the garlic, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Broil the salmon fillets 6 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until the top just starts to brown.  Spoon the mustard on the salmon and broil for 5 minutes, until the fish is nearly cooked through and the top is browned.  Spoon the bean ragu into bowls, top with the fish, and serve.

Balsamic Figs

Balsamic Figs

1 lb fresh Black Mission figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper

Toasted crostini, for serving

Goat cheese, for serving

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan.  Lightly brush the cut sides of the figs with olive oil and grill until lightly browned and warm, 2 minutes.  Transfer the figs to a bowl and top with the basil, balsamic vinegar, and the 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and let stand for 20 minutes.  To serve, top crostini with goat cheese and figs.

What is your favorite source for memorable recipes?


Swordfish Provencale

A favorite seafood of mine, swordfish is a mild tasting, white-fleshed fish.

A favorite seafood of mine, swordfish is a mild tasting, white-fleshed fish.  It is also a heart healthy choice because of its omega 3 fats.  Swordfish is particularly good grilled either as a steak or kebobs.  It’s also delicious broiled or sautéed.

During the times when I cannot the grill swordfish, I like to cook it in a provencale sauce made with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. When I cook this for my family, I will add clams and mussels to the dish, making it a much heartier meal.

Swordfish ProvencalSwordfish Provencal 10Serve a side dish of linguini for those who want pasta, add crusty bread for dipping, and you have a meal that pleases everyone.

Swordfish Provencale


4 8 oz swordfish steaks, 1 inch thick

1 lb mussels, cleaned (optional)

12 little neck clams, cleaned (optional)

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

1 c white wine

1/2 c fresh basil, chopped

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

¼ tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)

crushed black pepper

Sea salt to taste

½ to 1lb fresh or dry linguini (optional)

Serves 4

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil.  Sauté the garlic and onions till golden,  then add the black crushed pepper and red crushed pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the white wine and stir the mixture, letting the flavors absorb.  Crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pan.  Stir in the chopped basil and parsley, then season with the sea salt.  Add more pepper if needed.  Let the mixture simmer.

Remove the skin from swordfish, and cut away the darker areas, and place in the sauté pan, spooning sauce over fish.  Cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the cleaned clams and mussels in a separate pot.  Once they are opened, add to the sauce and simmer until ready to serve.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.

If you are preparing the linguini as a side dish, boil water in a separate pot, add linguini, and cook as directed.  Drain the linguini and place in bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Chop some basil and parsley to add to the linguini and  toss until all ingredients are absorbed.

Transfer the swordfish steaks to warmed individual plates, add the clams and mussels with the sauce.  If serving linguini with the meal, place the swordfish, clams, and musses over the linguini and top with fresh chopped parsley.

Swordfish Provencal 2

swordfish recipe

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and, of course, a salad.  Enjoy this delicious meal!

CST 50

My friend Felice Marcy and her business partner Annabel Marisca opened a fitness studio called CST 50 that fits all of my criteria for a really great workout.

I’ve talked before about the role of fitness in my life, as both a way to take care of myself, stay focused, and provide an example for my daughters.  I like to mix up my fitness routine with cross training, running, and other effective workouts.  I’m always excited to find something new that is interesting and challenging, especially when it’s being done by someone I know.  My friend Felice Marcy and her business partner Annabel Marisca opened a fitness studio called CST 50 that fits all of my criteria for a really great workout.

CST 50 Darien CT 5The CST in the studio name stands for Cardio, Strengthen, and Transform, while the 50 indicates the 50 minute workout session that makes up each class.  Classes at CST 50 feature an innovative piece of equipment called the Megaformer.  Invented by certified weight and Pilates trainer Sebastian Lagree, the Megaformer uses resistance and counter-resistance for a workout that challenges your entire body.

CST 50 Darien CT 4Felice and Annabel have known each other for a long time; they went to high school together in Greenwich and had careers in finance.  They commuted to the city together for years, but both maintained an interest in fitness that started when they were young.  Felice took a Megaformer class in the city and quickly noticed how it changed her body from the inside out, improving her strength in ways that she could easily see in the mirror.  She appreciated how the workout was easy on her joints, too.  When she and Annabel started talking about making family-friendly career changes, they decided to bring the Megaformer to Darien where they are both raising young families.  Together they opened CST 50 and their passion for the benefits of the Megaformer workout continue to inspire people to achieve new levels of fitness.

CST 50 Darien CT 3Felice refers to the Megaformer as a deconstructed Pilates machine, but makes it clear the benefits far outweigh other fitness routines.  The Megaformer stimulates and engages muscle groups so that you immediately start to sweat.  It is an intense, but safe, workout that can easily be modified for people with injuries or joint problems, but also grows with you as your fitness level improves.  The core benefits of a workout with the Megaformer are enormous.  No other workout engages your core during the entire routine, making it an efficient way to achieve a highly effective workout in under an hour.  It’s ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels.  While some men may look at the Megaformer and think it is a Pilates style workout more suited for women, in reality it is just as challenging and highly effective for men.  Felice and Annabel’s husbands both attend CST 50 classes about three times a week, finding it a time-effective way of keeping fit for the sports they enjoy.

CST 50 Darien CT 2CST 50 Darien CTAll of the instructors at CST 50 are trained and certified in both movements and sequences on the Megaformer.  To see a schedule of classes or learn more, visit the CST 50 website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  Their 1 Year Anniversary is approaching, so keep an eye out for upcoming special events at CST 50!


Nutribullet: The Healthy Green Drink Diet

I was happily surprised at how good and easy to drink these recipes are!

The idea of using whole, healthy foods for their healing properties isn’t necessarily new, but with increasing awareness about the negative long-term health effects of our over-processed Western diet, it has been getting more attention lately.  We’ve recently had good reason to improve our diet at home; my husband was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a genetic disease that causes the body to absorb too much iron from the foods you eat.  Learning about this condition has inspired us to focus on adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to our diet, which isn’t as easy as it might sound for a busy family that doesn’t have time for cooking.  We bought a Nutribullet and accompanying book called The Healthy Green Diet.


the healthy green drink diet

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical.  How could drinks made from a combination of greens, vegetables, and fruit be tasty enough to keep us on track?  However, I was happily surprised at how good and easy to drink these recipes are!

The benefit to the Nutribullet, as opposed to a juicer, is that you are using the whole fruit or vegetable.  Instead of only the juice, you get all of the fiber as well as nutrients in parts of the food that are discarded with a juicer.  The difference between the Nutribullet and a regular blender is that you can easily obtain a smooth texture from foods you wouldn’t normally be able to blend.  This means you can create drinks from raw, whole foods in very little time, giving your body a big dose of nutrients all at once.


I will admit, my husband and I have a slightly different focus on the recipes we like to try from the The Healthy Green Drink Diet book.  Because he is concerned with improving his diet for health, he uses more of the detoxifying and anti-inflammatory recipes.  Before each section of recipes, the book describes the benefits of certain greens, vegetables, and fruits, as well as other ingredients like spices and green tea.  You can then focus on recipes using the foods that offer the benefits you want.  Here’s an example of a detoxifying recipe:

Toxin Tamer

50% beet greens (i.e. half-full container)

2 stalks celery

1 lemon, peeled

1 pinch cayenne pepper

water:  fill to MAX line.

Extract, and enjoy!

I really was surprised at how good the drinks are that we’ve tried, including some designed for other benefits like beauty or a good night’s sleep.  My favorite drink, which tastes like a dessert, helps you sleep.  It’s so good!

Sleepy Pie

1/4 cup cooked oatmeal

2 dates

12 cashews

1 tsp cinnamon

almond milk to MAX line

The beauty recipes are designed to give you nutrients that contribute to healthy skin, hair, and nails.  This example contains goji berries, which are good for your skin, and almonds, which have been shown to clear the skin and heal blemishes.

Sipping Pretty

1/4 cup goji berries

1/4 cup almonds

2 tbsp raw cocoa

1 1/2 cups almond milk

chocolate oatmeal drink

These recipes aren’t meant to replace meals, but to supplement a healthy diet.  They are also a great way to get greens and other veggies into kids.  If the color isn’t appealing, you can hide it in a colorful cup with a lid and straw.  As you try recipes and adjust for your taste, you learn what food combinations you enjoy and can customize the recipes.  You can also add your own ingredients, such as protein powder.

nutribullet drink

The Nutribullet is a worthy investment for other reasons as well.  In addition to making drinks, you can use the included flat (or milling) blade to grind fresh herbs, chop nuts, and mill grains.  You can even make your own nut butters as well as custom spice blends.  In other words, the Nutribullet isn’t one of those kitchen gadgets that has one specific use.  It is versatile, easy to clean, and definitely more capable than a basic blender.  The Nutribullet Blog is an incredible resource for additional recipes, including soups and salad dressings, so you can get the most out of this handy appliance.

Do you have any green smoothie or Nutribullet recipes you love?

Heart Healthy Foods

By eating a variety of foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and more, you are getting the different nutrients which are needed to protect your heart and blood vessels.

February is American Heart Month.  Keeping this in mind, I went to the Web MD website with a list of the 25 Top Heart Healthy Foods.  These foods are loaded with heart healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system.  By eating a variety of foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and more, you are getting the different nutrients which are needed to protect your heart and
blood vessels.  I am very conscious of the meals I prepare and the ingredients I use in those meals.  I buy fresh herbs, produce, and vegetables and use olive oil when I cook.  We eat fish more than once a week and eat plenty of fresh fruit, so I am definitely into eating healthy.

I decided to highlight a few of the foods they recommended in the Web MD article.  It would be well worth your time to read the entire article.  You might be surprised to see that many of the foods are ones you probably already eat regularly!

Tuna is a good source of Omega-3s.
Asparagus has B-complex vitamins and heart protective antioxidants.
Carrots are a top cholesterol fighting food and may help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Walnuts: a small handful a day may lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation of the arteries of the heart.
Oatmeal can help your heart by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol.
Blueberries have an extensive list of nutrients that support heart health.

I have a great recipe featuring a popular heart-healthy food.  This tuna dish is a favorite in our house, especially when my husband returns from an offshore fishing trip with fresh tuna.  The original recipe is from a Williams Sonoma cookbook titled “Essentials of Grilling,” a great book to have!  I have changed it some to suit our tastes, of course, and I hope you enjoy it!

Tuna with Wasabi Creme

Tuna with Wasabi Creme

Soy sauce, less sodium preferred
½ cup White Sesame seeds
½ cup Black Sesame seeds
4 Ahi Tuna Steaks, 6oz each, 1 inch thick

Wasabi Creme
1 cup crème fraiche
2 tsp. wasabi powder, or to taste
Chopped chives for garnish

In a shallow dish, add the soy sauce.  On a piece of wax paper, mix the white and black sesame seeds.  Dredge each piece of tuna in the mixture, then place in soy sauce, turning to coat.  Add any left over sesame seeds to tuna, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hrs.

To make wasabi crème, in a small bowl stir together the crème fraiche and wasabi powder.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Add chives just before serving.

Grill your fish, turning once, until it is seared on the outside and rare on the inside,  3-5 minutes per side. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, leave it on the grill for 1 – 2 minutes longer per side. You can also cook the fish in a heavy skillet on high heat.

Transfer the tuna steaks to warm individual plates.  Garnish the wasabi crème with the chives, and pass at the table.

Serve with grilled or lightly steamed asparagus, dressed with an olive oil and herb mixture of chopped basil, parsley, and black pepper.  Enjoy!



Superfoods for 2013

Superfoods are known to prevent disease, help control weight, and maintain overall health.

Here we are at the start of the New Year, when many people are feeling more health conscious!  Between the television shows, tabloids, and fitness club offers, we’re all reminded of our options for eating and staying healthy.  Hopefully, the motivation to create healthier eating habits and consistent exercise routines will turn into long-term commitments that last throughout the year.

I recently came across a recipe for kale and knew I wanted to try it.  Then I thought, “Why not write about healthy eating in general?”  While looking through magazines and websites for ideas and recipes, I came across a Cooking Channel article called Superfoods:  Nutrient-Rich Foods to Eat Every Day.  These superfoods are known to prevent disease, help control weight, and maintain overall health.

Here are a few of the 21 foods recommended by the Cooking Channel.  To see the rest of the list, click here for the full article.

Kale: High in lutein and several vitamins, lowers the risk of cancer, and helps detoxify the body.
Sweet Potato: Great source of Vitamin B-6 and dietary fiber as well as Vitamin A. Good for eye and skin health.
Wild Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids provide a number of important health benefits. Salmon is also a good source of Vitamins D and B-12, selenium, and protein.
Almonds: Protein, healthy fats, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and Vitamin E. Enjoy them whole, raw, and without salt for maximum benefit.
Dark Chocolate: A powerful antioxidant with many benefits for the heart.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for kale from Giada DiLaurentiis.  She is a favorite chef and author of mine!  Her cookbooks are great, and her recipes are delicious and easy to follow.  Her Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale will convince you that eating healthy doesn’t mean eating bland or boring!

A beautiful and healthy side dish!

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and slice into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

SERVES: 6 (SIDE); Calories: 138; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Total carbohydrates: 15 grams; Sugar: 5 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 1 milligram; Sodium: 830 milligrams

A Fit Lifestyle

I’m not an obsessive health nut, but I do love the way a good workout clears my head and energizes me for the day to come.

Each morning, I wake up early to exercise.  I’m not an obsessive health nut, but I do love the way a good workout clears my head and energizes me for the day to come.  Between my work and my family, my head is constantly buzzing away with things I need to do and remember.  Running gives my mind a rest and focuses me like nothing else.

Besides running, I also do Cross Fit and circuit training so, overall, I feel strong to the core and ready to take on whatever challenges might come my way.

Also, I think it’s really important for my kids to see me making my workout a priority but not going overboard with crazy diets.  In fact, you’re much more likely to see me enjoying a big steak than picking away at a salad!

For workout clothes, my favorite source is Lululemon.  They are the best and have different styles all the time.

What’s your fitness routine, and how does it impact your lifestyle?