Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Anti-process Series: Simple & Delicious Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles:
Simple & Delicious!

We have a ton of cucumbers this year in our garden so I decided to find a recipe for pickles.
I wanted it to be simple & delicious, use whole ingredients, & keep the nutrients in the food.

By making this type of refrigerator pickle, the ingredients go to work pickling the cucumbers in the refrigerator so that there is no cooking involved. By limiting the process of the pickle, more nutrients are left in the jar for you to eat; & the pickles stay crispy & fresh-tasting!

I found two cucumbers suitable for pickling (generally 2-3 cucumbers will do the trick).
I cut the cucumbers into long diagonal slices but you can 
leave them whole or cut spears, circle chips, etc. 

(I cut them this way because, let's face it, I'm going to fry some of these suckers! 
NO, fried pickles are NOT good for you!)

Put the cucumbers in the jar with five sprigs of fresh dill.

(You can use 1 Tbsp. dried dill instead, but why?)

3 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed & minced
15-20 peppercorns
1/2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

This is just a picture of my ingredients.

Then top off the jar with distilled water, enough to fill the jar.

Let them sit for 12 hours, then flip the jars upside down for 12 hours.
Finally, store in the refrigerator & enjoy for up to three months.

TA-DA! See how easy that was? Enjoy!

Stay FNT, Natalie

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Preview of Fittsburgh's Review of Dietary Weight Loss Supplements: Taking Control & Supporting Each Other.

I am so excited to announce Fittsburgh's upcoming post

Dietary Weight Loss Supplements: 
What Works, & What's a Waste of Time & Money... & Possibly Your Health.

In preparation for this post I want to give people an idea 
of what they can do to begin to take control of their own lives; 
& also just how important it is to be supportive of the people about whom you care.

This is a very exciting post for me because things like this are the reason I do what I do now. I love helping people better understand the science behind their bodies so that they can take control of their personal health journey. When people gain knowledge, they develop that control; and, in turn, gain power over the decisions that affect their health.

Like I always say, you only have this one body -- this one life. Don't waste another minute feeling helpless. I know I have wasted many moments in my life, but everyday is a chance to start over. Your body -- your life -- is a work in progress. Just because you live your life a certain way one day does not mean that you do not have the right to change your mind the next.

And speaking of taking control, take a look at the people with whom you are surrounding yourself. Please, please, PLEASE... support each other! When you see a friend post on Facebook that they are at the gym, 'like' that post! If you see a friend trying to reach a goal, help them reach as high as they can! I am saying this especially to the women out there. I see, even in families, where the other women involved are almost rooting for the others to fail; & that makes me shake my head in disbelief because something was lost in those relationships along the way.

If you look within yourself & see this sort of behavior, take a minute to recognize that you feel this way. Has someone achieved or created something & you simply glazed over it? What made you decide not to support them? At the American Council on Exercise, trainers are taught to encourage any positive behavior they see. Praising friends on social media & being a shoulder to lean on in real life are great ways to do this.

I have made a considerable effort in my own life to squash any negativity creeping into my own head before it even has a voice. I decided to support any healthy or positive behavior that I see -- not because I have all of this "free time" to be concerned with what other people are out there trying to achieve, but because if they are truly my friends or people about which I actually care, it is important that I make the time. Finally, if you truly love or care about someone, never tear them down; but build them up!

Say hi to other women at the gym! Ask your family for support! Meet healthy friends who can aid you in your own journey! Finally, you do not have to ban people from your life; but sort of take an inventory of who is your mental & emotional support out there. They do not have to be family or even people you would usually think of aligning with yourself. I hope this makes someone out there rethink how they want to be treated & how to treat other people, in turn.

I am really looking forward to this post, but it has a lot of research in it & I want it presented in an appropriate manner. In the meantime, take care of each other!!!

Stay FNT! ~ Natalie

*****SIDE NOTE*****
While I was typing this, I received a text from a friend. It simply stated:

"GO YOU on getting back into training at the gym! I'm so proud of you, lady! It's great to have friends like you in my life to help motivate me to better myself. You're taking on so much right now & I'm just in awe at how far you've come! And so grateful to call you a friend."

You know who you are! And I'm so grateful you're in my life, too!

See how something so small can help boost someone & show them how much you care?
I can guarantee this will make me smile all night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Anti-process Series: Making Egg Noodles

REMEMBER: Anything that you make at home yourself is better than even the "healthiest" (processed) alternative at the store. KNOW YOUR FOOD! BE AWARE!

So let's just dive right in...

I start with:

4 cups flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
A cup with warm water nearby

Mix salt into the flour. 
Then make a nest with the flour, like a mountain with a hole in the middle. 
Pour the oil into the center.
Crack the eggs into the center as well. 
Start working the dry flour into the liquid center & 
add water while kneading as necessary to get a consistency of tough dough. 

It looks like this:

*****SIDE NOTE!*****
You can't really screw up this recipe. If you add too much liquid, you just add more flour & vice-versa. Just knead until you have the right consistency. Noodles are not made from fluffy dough like pizza crust. They do not contain yeast so they will be tough & flat. 

Also, live & learn!!! The more you make them, the easier it is to gauge proper consistency. 
So practice, practice, practice!

OK, now to roll out the noodles. 
Use your fists to flatten out the dough ball as much as you can. I usually break the dough into two or three smaller balls first so I can work with smaller batches. 

Take a rolling pin & just start rolling the dough flat. 

I get it as thin as I can & then put the dough through my pasta machine, but I didn't always have a pasta machine so I used a rolling pin for the whole thing. 

It turns out great either way, so don't worry about the machine if you don't have one.

 Either way, this is the machine I use:


Rolling Pin: just roll out the dough as thin as you can, adding flour so that they don't stick to the surface. 
Machine: Crank the dough through the machine.

Both Rolling Pin & Machine:
Fold the dough over itself as shown below.

Put it through the machine or roll out again.

Repeat step three until the dough looks smooth. 
It doesn't have to be perfect, that's what makes homemade taste so good!

It usually takes me about three times, 
adjusting the thickness of the machine roller each time to a smaller level.


Cut the noodles to the size you desire or is necessary for your dish.

*****SIDE NOTE*****
Yes, yes, yes... I could have used a noodle attachment to make all of the noodles uniform, which I would have done if this batch had been for pasta; but if I'm using them for something like chicken noodle soup (as I am here), I really love to cut them by hand. 
I still try to keep them a similar size because you want them to cook uniformly, but I like the noodles just the way my Grandmother made!


Either cook or store. 
To cook, bring your water or broth to a rolling boil & drop the noodles in one at a time
This keeps them from getting stuck together. 

Boil for 5-7 minutes or until the noodles are thoroughly cooked, but still chewy.

Finished homemade chicken noodle soup, just like my Mam used to make, 
paired with a delicious serving of homemade bread!

Stay FNT, people!


Fittsburgh is BACK at Fitness 19!

I am so excited to be BACK at Fitness 19 in McIntyre Square (3380 McKnight Rd) 
in the fabulous North Hills of Pittsburgh!

        For those of you who are in the blogosphere & don't know me in person, I went & had another baby in 2013! (You can see her beautiful face on an earlier post.) Anyway, I had to make a few sacrifices in order to make my goal of nursing for 9 months, but now that we are weaned it was time to get back out of the house & stretch my legs. I've kept my certifications active, which means I've continued learning new courses, so this is an easy transition back to the gym life.

        I've been focusing a lot on nutrition at this point & get to share nutrition counseling to my clients at the gym. Stop in today or call Fitness 19 at (412) 366-9919 for more information. You can sign up for the gym now online & even get a free guest pass to come & get in a free workout!

        I stopped in today to do some paperwork & see how the baby would do in the Kids Club. She did ok at first... then she cried for ten minutes straight before I came to get her! I'm not super excited about that, but I'm sure she will get the hang of it after a few tries. It is the best feeling in the world to have a job where my baby is around the corner at all times. Give me a break --- I just love that little girl! My son is FOUR years old now (!!!!!!!) and is in preschool but will be joining us at the Kids Club once school is out. Plus, my schedule will still be a little choppy for the next month because of that.

        I look forward to seeing everybody & please contact me privately if you have any questions or wish to gather some more information about working with me or just about getting healthy in general. This life is a journey & I would love the chance to take part in yours. Thanks everybody & once again, 

Stop in today or call Fitness 19 at 
(412) 366-9919 for more information. 

In Good Health & With Much Love
~Natalie *FNT*~