Fit Pantry - a Fit Foodie's thoughts, tips and recipe

Friday, August 23, 2013


I'm not a sadist, I just like to work you out hard. After all, it is what you're coming to the gym for, isn't it? To get a good workout, burn calories, get in shape. So I shall deliver.

If you have done Turbo Fire HIIT, then you are familiar with the concept. A short burst of intense workout follows by a short rest, repeated three times. Once a set of three is done, you get a longer rest, then on to the next set of 3 intense workout bouts.

The goal of HIIT is to achieve the Afterburn Effect, or in fitness term knows as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption)

"HIIT training increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) for the 24 hours following a workout due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which explains how a short interval workout can have a longer-lasting effect on body composition change than a much longer cardio session." [ Read more about HIIT in TurboFire here ]

Anyway, in Turbo Fire, there are 15, 20, 25 and 30 minutes HIIT.  The shorter session usually involves a lot more plyometric, or targets the major muscles groups to get your heart rate going to the max in a short time. In longer the sessions, there are more less intense workouts inserted in between the plyos - sort of a brief rest within the workout while keeping your heart rate high.

I had been applying that concept with 3x3 turbos this past week in my kickboxing classes. The last 30 minutes of the class needless to say was intense. It's something I like to do once in a while to break up the routine before it gets boring. Given the proper modification and enough motivation, everyone can participate safely and get a great workout.

Workout should be fun. 
         It should be challenging. 
                    It should transform you.

It makes my day to see members dripping sweat and smiling. I feel I have done my work if they get the workout they need and more.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Got Eggs?

(Fancy name of omelet LOL coz it looks like a pizza)
[ Recipe ]
Andy could hear panic in my voice when I said, "We're out of eggs!!"

Is it that bad? Well, to us it is. Egg is one of the staples in our household. The perfect quick meal maker, power breakfast, protein addition to any veggie dish I cook. We consume eggs by boxes a day and usually buy by a box of hundred eggs straight from the farm.

Ok. Before you all freak out on me about cholesterol, let me clarify: by eggs, I really mean EGG WHITES. Feel better? :)

I still use the yolk but not as much as the whites.  Egg white, not only it is a good source of protein, it is low in calories (17-20 cal per egg), fills you up and so versatile you can make a variety of quick meals with only a little creativity. So from this point on, when I type "egg" you read "egg white". Deal?

If I'm too tired to cook or don't have the time, omelet or scrambled eggs with some veggies (usually I already have a ziploc bag or two of diced veggie ready to use in the fridge) and/or extra protein (typically rotisserie chicken) is the way to go. It is a perfect one pan meal. I don't have much to wash after.

So here are some of the egg-venture meals I make. Obviously these are not all. Just the ones I wasn't so lazy to take photos every single step I cook. Yeah, try do that, you realize how cumbersome that is and time consuming ... especially when there is a hungry husband waiting to eat :)

Rainbow Bell Pepper Ommy
[ Recipe ]

Stove Top Low Fat Quiche with avocado, mushrooms, tomato
[ Recipe ]
California Scramble - Spinach, Tomato, avocado, chicken

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When Pissed Off, Go Workout

Come within 10 feet and I'd bite your head off!! I was so pissed off, steam was coming out of my ears.  People might see a smile plastered on my face, but that, my friend, beware for those are the smile before a kill.

Ranting, huffing, and glaring all day long never solve or change anything. I knew that. Yet that was what I did for a good couple hours at home. Finally decided that I had enough of, I stopped thinking, put on workout clothes and shoes for the second time today and headed out to the gym.

As always, nothing like a good kick boxing class to release all the aggression, annoyance, anger out of my system. Fueled with pissed-off adrenalin, I jumped high, kicked sharp, punched hard and squatted low.  I haven't done Turbo Kick with so much high energy and plyo jumps in a long while.
             I was focus.
      I was in the zone. 
          It was all about me and the workout, 
                          and it felt so damn good. 

When the sweat poured out so did the negative charges in my blood. Dripping down on the wooden floor of the groupX room and got stepped on. More sweat dripped down, more toxins got flushed out.

At the end of the hour, flinging sweat drops all over the place, clothes drenched, hair heavy and salty, I was in a happy place. Tension was released from my muscles and all I longed for now was a good long hot shower, warm dinner and perhaps a bottle of cold Stella with cheese plate. Well, may be not the last part just yet, for tomorrow I have a kick boxing to teach.

Nothing to be pissed off about. All was good in the world. Knowing is one thing, acting on what you know is different. Especially when it involves emotion. Whatever it was that I got me going, it has passed and nothing would change that fact. What I could change is how I proceed from here on.

Working out helps me get out of a negative situations like this. It helps clearing my mind. Some people might do meditation, some go for a walk in the park, but for me, intense workout is my zen. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stew ala Tomato Italiano

What I like about this recipe is you can swing it your own way - vegan, seafood, meaty or simply poultry. You can even use this recipe to clean up your fridge! The base is what puts the ingredients together. As always, I am keeping it as simple as possible.

The ingredients shown in the picture might seem to be a lot, but that's because I was cleaning my fridge :) By the way, I came about this dish from trying to use all of the over ripened tomato in the fridge...

Note: I hardly ever measure my cooking. Unless you count "eye-balling" and "feeling" as measurements :)

In this pics I was making a lot for 6 people. I will do my best to approximate the quantity, but if you cook, you will know how much you need for how many portion. This dish is really easy. And if you make too much, put it in the fridge for next meal.

Zoodle with Stew ala Tomato Italiano

Servings: 4
Prep and cooking time: about 45 min

The Noodle:
1 large zucchini - julienne long way
(or 2 regular sized ones)

The Base:
2 roma tomato - better when they are ripe or just starting to get soft
2 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
italian herbs - start with 1 tbs then add to taste
sea salt - to taste
black pepper - to taste
(you want heat?) Cayenne pepper  - to taste
(not on detox?) Dry Sherry - 1/4 cup

Veggie: (choose a couple, or all)
1/4 zucchini
bell pepper
parsley - coarsely chopped for garnish and fresh flavor on the cooked dish

Choose your protein(s): 
mushroom - shitake, white, or portabello
beans - fava, garbanzos, kidney, etc.
ground beef/chicken/turkey/pork

  • Make the zucchini noodle.
  • Cut the tomato into large chunks. Diced the onions, minced the garlic.
  • Diced small the zucchini, celery, bell pepper, kale.
  • Prep your protein accordingly - e.g. For chunky texture, diced large the mushrooms/chicken. If you are using dried beans make sure to soak and pre boil them before using. If using canned, rinse the heck out of them to get rid most of the preservatives.

On med-low heat, sweat the onion in a large pot with a little olive oil (or spray oil). Add a little salt to draw the water out.  When onion starts to turn transparent, add in garlic. Toss for a minute until you can smell the fragrance of the garlic.

If you are using ground chicken/turkey, add them in at this point. Turn up the heat to high. Stir around until the meat is cooked. 

Add in tomato and other protein, and the Italian herb. Mix them in on high heat until you see the tomato starts softening.

Add the rest of the veggie (except Kale) ON TOP - don't mix them in. Then lower heat to med-high. Cover.

When it starts boiling, open the lid, mix the veggie in with the now soft and all watery tomato base. Change heat to high, stir and bring to boil.

Add in kale still on high heat, cover again for a minute, open the lid, stir the kale in.

Lid open, turn heat to low. Add pepper, salt (more herb if needed) and simmer the stew. If you're adding Sherry, add it in before you turn the heat down.

Cook the zucchini noodle while waiting for the stew to simmer. Boil water, add in the zoodles, it only takes a couple of minute, when the water boils again wait for about 10 sec, turn off heat, drain the water.
At this point the stew should be ready to serve. Garnish with parsley on top and enjoy :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

626 Night Market - A Walk in the Park

With Andy ^_^ Gotta love a handy hubby.
He installed the banner, lights and fixtures.
We did it! My first experience ever as a food vendor. And of all the events, I chose 626 Night market with over 50,000 attendance.... Great. I mean, really, GREAT!!

I chose this venue because it's focusing on Asian food, the location is prime and close to home, and they are organized. I heard about their first infamous venture in Pasadena. Hey, when the first time you made a mess, you learned and do better next time and the next and each time you will improve, right? The organizer of 626 Night Market did just that.

One Foodie-Fated Afternoon

I went to the June 2013 event unplanned. Literally came across it as Andy and I were chilling at the Santa Anita Mall one Saturday afternoon while casually discussing about other things I could do beside design or fitness. "Of course cooking," I said to him. Then we talked about what kind of food and how we could make it into a business. Typical husband and wife conversation, I bet...

In short, we started talking about food fair. With a quick google-ing skill on my iPhone I found out that the 626 Night Market was actually going on that very weekend! Coincidence? Well, I don't believe in coincidence :)

June event. I wasn't prepared
to walk around surveying a
fair. Those sandals were
killing me!
So we went and check it out. Far from being the infamous worst night market ever, this event was clean and well organized. There were a lot of staff and volunteers around the park and all of them friendly and helpful. I love the set up too. Santa Anita Park is beautiful, with lots of trees and open spaces. We talked to the staff at the information booth about joining the next event and guess what, they were ready with all of the information a girl needs to be one, including step by step how-to's with pictures. The organizer of the 626 Night Market has made it very easy to join.

Decision made, I signed up.

Now, the prep works and logistic. Deciding on what to sell was only the beginning. How to produce it in large quantity, how to store them, transport, prepare and serve them were another challenge.

I was psyching myself up to invest on equipment and put in my time. I know it was not going to be a walk in the park. I had to be ready for long hours ahead.

Gym time pays off!! LOL
It was a bit unnerving, I got to admit. I have never done a large scale food fair before. Closest I did was school fair or church. All of the preparations, permits I had to acquire, the amount of food I had to make, investment on equipments, the crew/labor and the total cost involved.... whew! Basically I was taking a risk of the whole thing bombed and losing money.

Then again, it is part of starting your own business, right? Taking the risk, keeping your head high and your cost as low as possible. Many of the equipments used for the fair were borrowed from family and friends. In a short time, I had piles of ice boxes in our garage, burners & propane tanks, large steamers, boxes of supplies, and two new box freezers.

Fitness, Food & Fun

While the idea is to test the food in an open market, we also strive to enjoy the whole experience. I had help from friends I made at the gym. What do you expect, my hang out is the gym :)

So there you have it. What happened when a bunch of fitness people high on endorphin, loaded with positive attitude and over flowing passion for good food got together, added a pumped up music?? Well, we workout!!

More videos can be found on FitPantry YouTube channel.

Fun aside, I learned a lot from that weekend. How much food I could expect to sell, on marketing and branding, what to change on the banner, how to make things more interesting, how to control the lines, etc. Things that I would not have known unless I jumped in with both legs in the water sort to speak.

Not a cheap school, but we did all right. We break even on this first venture and we are going to join the next night market on Labor Day weekend, Aug 31 - Sep 1. 

There will be more items in the menu, more drinks, re-branding and tweaking the presentation. Even a talk of glow sticks and disco ball... wha... ??.....  Anyway, we will be more ready this time :)

 I Love You Guys!!

At the end of the day, I know that I couldn't have made it on my own. I am blessed to have a slew of support from friends and families, who are all the way behind me on this from the making and preparation of the food, to the day of the event, when we had to set up, serving customers, and cleaning up (through midnight and later!).

So, friends, family, husband, thank you sooooo so much for your support, your energy and your love. BIG TIME! And to the organizers of 626 Night Market, excellent work in controlling the masses and the army of vendors; you guys made it easy and painless for a green-vendor like myself get this experience.

All of you have made this event a walk in the park :) 

 More photos on Facebook -->