Welcome to Weekend Wellness! Each Friday I share tips, ideas or knowledge on four of my favorite F-words – finance, fitness, food & fun – offer a new recipe – today’s is Chicken, Tomatoes, Basil & Arugula – and feature some great posts from around the web.
Finance – Sleep on It. Before making spending decisions, especially large spending decisions, sleep on it for a day or more. Don’t let the fear of missing out rush you into a decision that you may later regret. You may often find that what you thought you desired in the moment is really not what you want at all once you weigh out the options. (I shared this tip in a collaborative post here but wanted to make sure all my readers saw it. Check out the article for 17 other great tips from top financial bloggers!)
Fitness – An exercise that’s good for nearly everyone – and yes that probably includes you – which also happens to be my favorite exercise is body weight squats. They are a functional exercise that can be performed anywhere at anytime. They build strength in your legs and glutes, as well as your core, and will help you increase and maintain mobility and balance. Which, in turn, can help make everyday activities easier and safer.
To perform body weight squats follow these tips:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and point your toes slightly outward.
Squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. If this is difficult for you initially please have a chair behind you or hold onto something secure.
Do not allow your knees to extend past your toes. Stick that butt out! You should be sitting back, butt out and back straight.
Don’t arch your back. Keep your abs tight and keep your head up when you squat throughout the whole exercise. Arms can be at your sides, out in front of you or rest your hands on your shoulders.
As you rise up don’t lean forward but press up through your heels.
Perform 2-3 sets of 15 – 20 body weight squats 2-3 times per week, or try incorporating them into a daily routine of 20 – 25 squats. I do squats daily as I’m brushing my teeth, but you could make them a part of any daily routine by stacking them with another habit. Just get started. If you can only do 10 or 5 or even just 1 right now, do that. You’ll get stronger in no time and before you know it you’ll feel and see the benefits!
Food – Check your plate, are you eating the rainbow? Strive to make half of your plate veggies and fruit. They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are super important to your health and energy level. Choose foods with vibrant colors such as:
Red: bell peppers, cherries, cranberries, onions, raspberries, red beets, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Green: avocado, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, dark lettuce, grapes, honeydew, kale, kiwi, spinach, zucchini
Orange and yellow: apricots, bananas, carrots, mangoes, oranges, peaches, squash, sweet potatoes
Blue and purple: blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, grapes, plums, purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple potatoes
Fun – One thing I enjoy doing fairly often is exploring new towns. With many flowers and trees now blooming this would be a great weekend to take a little road trip to adventure out and take in the beautiful scenery. Pack a lunch and snacks and search out their parks or walking trails. Explore the downtown. Look at old buildings and learn some history. Visit antique shops or artisan markets. Perhaps you’ll run across a festival, fair or craft show. You get the picture – go explore and have some fun!
There are many great blogs on the web and I enjoy reading quite a few. Here is a small sampling of some articles I read over the last couple of weeks that you may enjoy as well.
How good are you at doing nothing? The blogger behind Retire Before Dad, recently updated his article – ‘Strive to Wake Up and Do Nothing With Your Finances’ – and I think it’s a good wake-up call and a reminder to simplify our finances and follow a more hands-off approach to them when we can.
Earth Day was last Saturday, did you do anything meaningful for it? Kathryn at Making Your Money Matter wrote up a great post of things you can do to help save the Earth any day of the year, with many tips that also benefit your wallet. Check out Ways to Save the Earth.
Speaking of saving things, how about saving yourself. In – Why you need a balance sheet for your soul – Primal Prosperity gives us something to think about in this short post that discusses soul-saving things versus soul-sucking things in life.
Are you years away from retirement or getting somewhat close? Erith, a UK blogger at Having Fun Cracking Retirement provides tips on how to make the most of the planning for and enjoyment of retirement no matter how close or far it is away, in this post.
I recently discovered a new blog, TalkingInClass.org, started by nationally recognized personal finance expert, Matt Schulz.
“Matt was inspired to start TalkingInClass.org after visiting his son’s 5th-grade class to talk about credit and debit cards, which the class had recently studied. He was so impressed with the kids’ interest in the topic and their questions about it that he wanted to do more to help other kids around the nation. Thus, the idea behind TalkingInClass.org was born.”
Matt is looking for others interested in helping with his mission. To learn more and see how you might get involved visit this link.
So try a new recipe, get out and explore, do some squats, sleep on any big spending decisions and have a wonderful weekend!
Chicken, Tomato, Basil & Arugula/Spinach
4 organic, skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1.5 to 2 pounds)
1/4-1/2 cup thinly sliced packed fresh basil leaves
1 pound ripe tomatoes (plum, beefsteak, whatever looks fresh and preferably local) diced into 1/2 inch cubes.
4-6 cups baby arugula or spinach (or a combination of both, washed and air or spun dried)
5-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash and pat dry chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering.
Cook chicken on one side for 8-10 minutes (depending on how thick breasts are) until golden brown then flip and continue to cook on that side another 8-10 minutes, scraping together any brown bits. (Add a little extra olive oil if needed and cook a few minutes longer if needed at a medium heat–always check to make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly!)
While the chicken is cooking:
In a medium size bowl, combine and toss together tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinegar, 3 tablespoons of oil and about 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste).
Let the chicken cool a few minutes then slice into 2-inch strips (or you can serve the breasts whole, whatever you fancy!)
On a large platter make a bed with the arugula or spinach mixture.
Arrange the chicken on top and spoon on the tomato mixture and drizzle the juice over all.