How To Get Your Exercise In: Bike Places

43537As part of our drive to get healthier, we went to a local bike store and each picked up some new bikes. For the longest time, I’ve never really spent a lot of money of bikes – I’ve always had a bike but I’ve never really had a decent one – the first time I actually did buy a decent bike, it was stolen about 2 weeks after I bought it, from a locked garage in an apartment complex no less. So I’ve always had cheap bikes. Now that we’ve decided to make our health a priority, we figured that spending more than a few bucks on something for our health was probably a good idea. Since every bike I’ve ever had prior to this one has been cheap, its always been heavy and the seats have always been uncomfortable. I figured that’s what bikes were like. Until now. Riding this bike is such a breeze, its light, its comfortable – even though the seat looks uncomfortable I can ride and ride and I never feel tired. It really is worth the money. Whereas before I sometimes dreaded getting on the bike, now I enjoy it so much that I prefer my bike over any method of transportation, assuming that I can get where I need to go in time. We even took the bikes to go for dinner the other day.

If you don’t have a decent bike, and have decided rightly that your health takes priority, this bike is highly recommended.

How To Save Money On Heating Using The Nest Thermostat

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One of the bet purchases we made at the beginning of the year when we got back from vacation was the Nest thermostat. If you haven’t heard of this, its an internet connected thermostat which you can control from your PC or mobile device. It’s a snap to install, controls both your heating and air conditioning (if you have any – we don’t) and literally learns your patterns over the course of the first week or two.

What do I mean by that?  Installing it is a snap, involving removing your old thermostat, mapping the wires from your old one onto new slots in the Nest, then connecting it to the internet via your homes WiFi connection.

Once its connected, you just use it like a regular thermostat, for about a week or two – turning it up when you find it bit cold and turning it down when its too warm. After that, it remembers when you want it hot and when you want it cool and it does the work for you. It even knows the outside temperature (during the setup process you give it a zip code and it checks the internet for local temps) – it even asks for the age of your home so it has an idea of the amount of insulation it has etc.

Once its connected, you get the app for it from the App Store or Google Play and you can control it from anywhere – forgot to turn it to away mode when you go on vacation? Do it from the airport or the beach (assuming you have internet) Lying in bed a bit cold? Turn it up without getting out of bed. The web and apps (the iPad app is especially nice) show you your current schedules and temperature settings and you can revise them at all from the apps as well.

But that’s not the best part – it will save you money by heating and cooling only when you need it to. An icon will tell you when its in money saving mode, and once its tuned to your habits you rarely need to touch it again.

It’s a bit expensive at $250, but it will likely make up for it easily in saving over time. Highly recommended.

Oh yeah, BTW, did I tell you it looks awesome as well? Apparently chosen as the first non-Apple product to be featured in the Apple store. Design, simplicity, functionality and savings – what could be better?

Paleo Tandoori Chicken

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We LOVE Indian food but it usually ain’t paleo! Although you can find some restaurants that use cashews instead of cream, cashews are still a no-no from some on paleo, like us.

Our favorite Indian place in San Jose is called Punjab Cafe and prior to paleo (we call it BP) we used to come here for all sorts of yummy curries etc. Our waistlines were however not too happy about it. We haven’t been for a while but my youngest wanted to go there for his birthday dinner – so off we went and scoured the menu for something more paleo than a cream filled curry sauce.

So Kitty ordered Tandoori Chicken – doesn’t it look good? While the pic above is not Paleo, we scoured the web for a paleo version and will be cooking it this weekend. Since we don’t have a Tandoori oven, your own oven should do just fine.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Penzeys tandoori seasoning (or pick your favorite)
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice

Directions:

Trim off any excess fat from the chicken. Season the chicken parts evenly with kosher salt. In a bowl combine yogurt, tandoori seasoning and lemon juice and mix well. Spoon marinade over  chicken and work it in with your hands. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours

To bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Grease rack with paper towel dipped in melted coconut oil.

Arrange chicken on the rack skin-side down and pop the tray in the oven for about 40 minutes. Flip the pieces skin-side up at the halfway mark.

The chicken’s done when the juices run clear when stabbed with a fork.

How To Make Paleo Mayonnaise

Since we’ve been on the Paleo diet, we haven’t been able to make our own mayonnaise so we wrer on a quest to find something pre-made that at least uses decent oil. That does not exist, people! You know all of those mayos that you see in the store which tout “olive oil”? Well, if you look at the label you’ll note that there is very little actual olive oil in it – its mostly soybean or canola oil with a little olive oil for flavor. There is basically no true paleo mayo on the store shelves – at least none that we could find, even at Whole Foods.

Don’t despair though – making your own is not that hard. We found a large glass jar which used to hold mayo and blended it right in the jar. Real easy to do with a stick blender – if you don’t have a stick blender you can use a regular blender, but we found a stick blender also very useful in pureeing soups in the pot – and nowadays they are fairly inexpensive. Plus its a lot less messy to just leave it in the jar, otherwise you’ll be extracting the beautiful think mayo from around the blades for a while.

One thing we didn’t realize was how little mayonnaise a cup of oil makes. Kind of tell you how much fat is in mayo – a cup of mayo seems to only make about 4 tablespoons by eye, so if you think about it, there is an amazing amount of fat in mayo. Which is fine of course if its a good fat. Too bad most store bought mayo is bad fat. We have yet to try the Mac nut oil but as we both love mac nuts I’m sure that it will be damn good.

After a few attempts and failures using other oils, we finally found one that worked. Thank you macadamia nut oil. To quote Mark Sisson, “macadamia nuts are superior to all other nuts”. You can read more of Marks thoughts on macadamia nut oil here. This is a fantastic oil to add into your diet. It has a very mild buttery flavor, with a hint of the sweet macadamia nut, making it a perfect oil for homemade mayonnaise.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unrefined macadamia nut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

In a blender or food processor, blend egg, lemon juice, and mustard seed.Slowly add in oil, one tablespoon at a time, continuing to blend.When the oil has all emulsified and you have a creamy mayonnaise, add in salt and pepper.Keep in a jar in the fridge. This mayo will last about a week.

via The Food Lovers Primal Palate: Macadamia Nut Mayonnaise.

How To Spend $0 On A Complete Office Suite

Tight budgets, rejoice!

Starting a business in your garage instantly makes you realize the value of every little cent. You need stuff. A lot of stuff. And depending on your means, you likely cannot afford all of the stuff you need in order to make your business run. 99% of home businesses out there need some kind of software in order to create documents, share stuff, calculate things etc. You could go out and spend a ton of money of the Microsoft Suite, or you could simply download LibreOffice. It is 100% compatible with MS Office, costs $0, and comes on a wide range of operating systems. At the very least, it will definitely get you off the ground until you can afford something else. Who knows – you may end up not needing anything else.

LibreOffice is the power-packed free, libre and open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Support and documentation is free from our large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers. You, too, can get involved!

See what LibreOffice can do for you »

via Home » LibreOffice.

How To Invest In The Stock Market Wisely

money

Now I  can tell you that Kitty and I are not very experienced when it comes to investing, but we leverage a lot of good expertise which is out there. One of the most interesting pieces of advice we recently got – after asking our new financial advisor to recommend something to invest in was: what products and services do YOU buy? What companies do you frequent? If you use these products and services, and you think that there are plenty of people out there who use them as well, wouldn’t that be a good value stock to buy?

For example, lets say you hit Starbucks every day. While inside Starbucks, you note that its busy, and getting busier. Over time, don’t you think that might be a good stock to own? It seems obvious, but a lot of times people buy stock with the expectation to hit a huge jackpot. That is extremely unlikely – you may as well buy a lottery ticket!

Basically, the guy is just making sense. As long as you aren’t in it for a quick buck, which in this market is practically impossible, I figure that its not bad advice. Sure you might not see a huge jump in the stock price, but over time it will likely show good value. So here’s the money tip of the day, if you buy their stuff, then maybe the stock is worth a look. Just saying…

How To Bust The Clutter, One Stack At A Time

Gerrus-Clutter-Removal

We have encountered clutter at our house at alarming rates.  This is NOT our house, but it’s a picture people can relate to.  Too much paper, lost items and feeling overwhelmed.

Lately, we have started to de-clutter every weekend.  We take four hours every Sunday to tackle a room in the house.  You can start with one hour or even a dresser drawer.  In our bedroom we managed to remove four big bags of clothing for Goodwill, reclaim the fireplace and have a fire by the end of the day.  If you have left it too long it will take time and the mess while cleaning up and sorting does gets worst before it gets better.  By getting your rooms to maintaining “stuff”, you have control of the situation and will appreciate the organized drawers and wardrobes too.

Great stress reliever

Don’t wait for spring… start clutter busting now!

 

Stay Away From GREEK Yogurt Cereal…

greek-cereal

If you want Greek yogurt, get REAL Greek Yogurt.

Hmm. Should I be offended that they are leveraging “greekness” by plastering the word “GREEK” in faux Greek script across this cereal box? Or should I be more offended by the ingredients:

Whole Grain Flakes (Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Rice, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Meal, Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Malted Barley Flour, Salt, Canola And/Or Sunflower Oil, Honey, Natural Flavor), Greek Yogurt Granola [Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Brown Sugar, Whole Grain Wheat, Rice Flour, Canola And/Or Sunflower Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Greek Yogurt Powder (Heat Treated After Culturing), Honey, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid], Greek Yogurt Style Coated Granola [Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Brown Sugar, Whole Grain Wheat, Rice Flour, Canola And/Or Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup, Whey, Sugar, Honey, Greek Yogurt Style Coating (Sugar, Palm Kernel And Palm Oil, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, Greek Yogurt Powder (Heat Treated After Culturing), Lactic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor)]. Bht Added To Packaging Material To Preserve Product Freshness.

Who was it who said that anything over 4 ingredients is bad? Or if you can’t recognize the ingredients you should stay clear? This baby’s got 13g of sugar and a whopping 47g of carbs per 1 cup serving, 270 calories with milk! That’s 30 minutes on an exercise bike at high speed!

Note that the list says Greek “style” – so its not even Greek yogurt? I doubt that this stuff even has any of the ingredients that are supposed to make yogurt good: like probiotics and stuff.

If you want Greek yogurt, you should get real Greek yogurt. And eat it like the Greeks do, plain with a little Greek honey. My recommendation? FAGE (which means EAT! in Greek) is probably the best one that you will find anywhere, but make sure that you get the full fat, aka Total Classic. Stay away from Chobani, Oikos, Greek Gods or anything that looks overly GREEK! (Like cereal with the GIANT GREEK on the side!)

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Even better, go to an middle-eastern or Greek market in your neighborhood, its very likely that you have one, and get a name you don’t recognize, like Krinos! Make sure that you are getting “pressed yogurt”, which is what Greek yogurt is – yogurt with most of the water pressed out of it. In future, we’ll feature how to make it yourself. While you are at it, pair it with Attiki brand honey:

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This whole “Greek Yogurt” thing has gotten out of hand. I guess it was Oprah who started it all way back when. The reality is that most of the products that you see out there nowadays are cheap knockoffs trying to leverage the whole Greek yogurt movement. Be smarter! Take it from a Greek, if its really Greek, I doubt that it will say GREEK in giant letters. Maybe a big flag instead!

greekgarage
Not Me Or My Immediate Family

Opa!

No More Excuses

NoMoreExcuses

Kitty and I just got back from the doctors office, and the prognosis is grim: yes, folks we are getting old. Well, older. Things don’t move as well as they should. Pounds don’t drop off as easily as they should. And you know that once you’ve been told that you have to take a daily vitamin then you’ve passed back into that space where only kids and old people live: the augmented life space. Both kids and old people need augmentation to live a normal life, no? Actually, it’s probably not due to aging, but the fact that we’ve all not put the right foods in our bodies nor exercised as much as we should. We’ve already taken steps on our diet, made attempts at exercise which we going really well until Christmas, until we fell off the wagon. But no more. Not a resolution, but a promise, a commitment. No more excuses.

I know it. It’s tough to balance everything that is going on in life with maintaining both the proper food and exercise. But it’s not really an option. It’s mandatory.

Too many of us just pass things on, saying that we will get to it someday, and just put it off and put it off. There’s a powerful scene in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead where the brother of the guy who is on the diet keeps saying that he knows that he needs to do something about diet and exercise, but he doesn’t. Eventually he has a heart attack, which doesn’t kill him, but ends up putting him on very expensive drugs. This event is enough to get him to change.

None of us can afford to wait for that climactic event to occur in order for us to DO SOMETHING about our health. This event is YOU, NOW, making that decision to prioritize your health and welfare over everything. Make it so, Number One.

Awesome Shoes : Sanuk Standard Streaker

Living in California, most of the time we all go “cazh” you know – “casual” so if you are looking for some really comfortable shoes which go with almost any occasion – except of course board meeting where you must where your silk Donald Trump tie with your custom made shirts and suit from your Hong Kong tailor, these totally fit the bill. If I could I woudl live in my Sanuks: they’ve taken me from the office to the club in style. They just haven’t been to the boardroom, yet. Maybe someday – we do live in Silicon Valley after all.

Sanuk Standard Streaker – Zappos.com