Sausage and Asparagus over Mashed Cauliflower

CALI2Last week, I posted my new go to side dish. Here’s a recipe that incorporates that side dish into a delicious, fast and easy lunch or dinner entree.

INGREDIENTS (for one serving)

-1 to 1 1/2 cups of mashed cauliflower (warmed)

6-12 asparagus shoots (click on the link for directions to prepare)

-3-6 Banquet Brown n Serve Sausage Links

-1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded


  1. Warm cauliflower in microwave them spread out in bottom of bowl.
  2. Warm left over asparagus or fix using recipe detailed in link.
  3.  When asparagus is ready spread over the top of mashed cauliflower.
  4. Warm sausage, cut into slices and spread over top of asparagus.
  5. Top with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, you might want to put in microwave for 30 seconds or so to melt.
  6. Enjoy!




New go to side dish–mashed cauliflower

This next recipe met all my criteria:

  1. tastes good
  2. healthy
  3. filling
  4. inexpensive
  5. easy to make
  6. versatile



5-12 oz. bags of frozen califlower

Pepper (lots)

1 tablespoon butter (salted, unsalted doesn’t matter)

Parmesan Cheese

Optional: Paprika (doesn’t really add flavor but does dress it up a little)



  1. Boil cauliflower in large pot until it is soft
  2. Drain in colander and pour into a blender, add 1 tablespoon of butter.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds, then take a and mix blender contents. Try to get the cauliflower on the bottom up to the top. If you don’t you will puree the cauliflower. It still tastes good but due to high water content will separate and does not look as appealing. Repeat 2-3 times.
  4. Empty contents of  blender back into large pot, add pepper to taste and mix well.
  5. To serve: add one tablespoon of parmesan cheese to each serving and either brown in the oven or warm in microwave to melt cheese.


Meatza with green beans and cauliflower. I added the black arrow to point out the  consistency you are looking for.


Sausage, Asparagus and Parmesan Cheese served over mashed cauliflower.











Steak, Sautéed Mushrooms and Onion with Mashed Cauliflower and Parmesan Cheese




Spicy Mesquite Beef with Ranch (served over a bed of mashed cauliflower)



Chicken Salad with broccoli, sweet potatoes and mashed cauliflower. The black arrow shows you what happens if you puree. Like I said it still tastes good just not as visually appealing.



No picture but goes great with any type of omlette.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be adding the recipes for some of the dishes pictured above next week.

Black Bean Stuffed Omelet

black bean omlette3


Spring is here (so they tell me) but I did ride to work yesterday in the snow! However, whatever season it is, it’s always time for a black bean stuffed omelet. Give it a try and tell me what you think it pairs nicely with asparagus and a mimosa!

Black Bean Mix


2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed:keep 1/4 cup of liquid from the cans for later

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

2-3 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)

1/4 teaspoon cumin and oregano

handful of yellow sweet corn


  1. Rinse black bean can lids, open and pour into colander to drain and rinse. Keep 1/4 cup of liquid from cans and pour into large pot on the stove.
  2. Add beans to pot and set burner to medium
  3. Add chili powder, red pepper, cumin and oregano.
  4. Bring to a boil and make sure to mix well.
  5. Remove from heat and pour mix into blender. Pulse blend several times, you do not want to liquefy the mix. It should have a jello like consistency.
  6. After you pour mix out of blender, stir in some yellow corn. It won’t add to the taste but does add color.

Omelet Mix


1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs plus 4 egg whites

1/4-1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

lots of pepper

1/2-3/4 cup of black bean mixture


  1. Crack 6 eggs in bowl, remove 4 yolks and mix well so liquid has even consistency.
  2. Add oil to skillet and turn stove to medium high (let skillet warm before adding eggs).
  3. Pour eggs into skillet, if you wait for the oil and skillet to warm, the egg mix will spread thinly and evenly across the skillet, making it easier to fold and flip your omelet.
  4. Once the eggs have solidified, spread black beam mix on one side of the omelet and cheese and lots of pepper.
  5. Once the bottom of the egg mix is solid, fold ½ of it over to make your omelet.
  6. Cook for one to two minutes more and then flip and cook on 1-2 minutes on this side to insure omelet is cooked evenly throughout. When down, slide it out of skillet.



Bushel of asparagus

1 beef bouillon cube

1/4 tablespoon of butter

1 cup of water


  1. Cut woody ends of asparagus and rinse
  2. Add water, butter and bouillon cube to small saucepan, place on stove on high heat
  3. Bring water to a boil, drop asparagus in, cover and turn heat to medium
  4. Check asparagus after 5-6 minutes it should be firm not soggy so stay close as its easy to over cook


Now that everything’s done, load up your plate with the omelet and asparagus. Don’t forget that mimosa.

Leftovers—No problems this black bean mix is perfect for burritos later in the week.


Life might be a marathon but……………

It’s also a knock down drag out battle with gravity that requires muscle power and strength.  I know you’re thinking “ Mark, I’m a runner, jogger, swimmer, cyclist, or yogini do I really need to add more to my routine?” YES! Maintaining your health and independence over a lifetime—–something I think more and more about now that I’ve turned 51——–requires working all aspects of fitness not just the ones you like.


Powerful individuals quickly generate strength to overcome gravity. For example, when you slip getting out of the bathtub—–who ya gonna call?

That’s right, you’re calling on the muscle power you’re enhancing with training to save the day. Now, if you haven’t been working on maximizing your muscle power as you age, you’ll be calling EMS. The good news is improving in this area doesn’t require countless additional hours in the gym.


Let’s face it, you have to move stuff. It could be a TV. It could be dog. It could be a grandchild. It could be a cooler of beer (if it is, give me a call I’d be happy to help with that). All these activities require muscle strength which if we don’t maintain, we lose. So get to work!


The workouts listed below would be a great start. Make sure you perform power  exercises at the beginning of your workout before fatigue sets in. Also, your form needs to be perfect. As you improve try to increase how quickly you finish each rep. All of the exercises are linked to videos to help you master the form. If you have any questions, let me know!

Before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to participate. Also, some exercises might not be suitable for everyone. If you feel pain, dizziness or something just doesn’t feel right—stop!



POWER—1 set of 10 repetitions

STRENGTH—1 set of 10-15 repetitions


POWER—1 set of 6-8 repetitions

STRENGTH—2 sets of 10-12 repetitions


POWER—1-2 sets of 6 repetitions

STRENGTH—2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions


Healthy Comfort Food—3 Layer Sweet Potato Casserole

casserole 2

I served this to my family at both Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was gone it no time. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

• 3-5 large sweet potatoes
• 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Cinnamon (to taste)
•  5 tablespoons of butter (plus what you use to great the dish)
• ½ cup of flour
• ½ cup of Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
• 1 ½ cups nut mix (pecans, almonds and walnuts)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, while oven is heating line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. This will save you a ton of time when it comes time to clean up as the juices from the potato are impossible to get off of baking pans. Wash the sweet potatoes in the sink and repeatedly poke holes in them with a knife or fork.

2. Slide them in the oven and wait, should take about 45 minutes (give or take). You know they are done when they look like this and they are soft to the touch. Be careful as they will be very hot! Don’t turn your oven off, re-set the temperature to 350 degrees as you’ll be using it in just a minute.

Sweet 1

3. Let them cool for a bit, then remove the skins, place them in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with ½ a tablespoon of butter.

Sweet 2

4. Using an electric mixer, mix until smooth like pudding.

sweet 3


5. Grease a large oven safe bowl or baking pan with butter. I use a circular bowl. You don’t want to use a bowl or pan that’s too big as you want the sweet potato layer to be fairly thick. After you’ve greased the pan add the sweet potato mix to it and spread evenly.

6. To make the 2nd layer, combine ½ cup of flour, 4 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup of Turbinado sugar, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix with a spoon. It will clump up after just a few minutes, make sure you mix it thoroughly.

sweet 4

7. Sprinkle over the top of the 1st layer.

sweet 5

8. Chop up nuts using a blender and combine them in a bowl with ½ a tablespoon of butter. Microwave for 30 seconds and mix to coat the nuts with the melted butter.

sweet 6


9. Spread the nuts over the 2nd layer and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

10. This next step is very important as it really maximizes the flavor. Switch your oven seting to broil (high) to brown/roast the nuts. Keep a close eye on it as it’s very easy to burn! Depending on the height of your oven racks it could take as little as 2 or 3 minutes.
The first picture below is what the casserole looks like after 35 minutes of baking in the oven. The 2nd picture is after you broil it. Broiling really takes the taste to the next level.

sweet 7



sweet 8

11. This tastes much better after it cools and is re-heated. So fix ahead of time an re-heat for best results.

This recipe makes anywhere from 6-10 servings. Give it a try, if you have any questions send me an email and as usual keep moving and keep visiting!




Don’t ditch exercise during the holidays HIIT it!

Wouldn’t it be great, if you could exercise less and still get the benefits? Guess what, there is! It’s called high intensity interval training or HIIT and it’s an effective way to:

  • spend less time in the gym.
  • decrease abdominal fat and body weight.
  • lower blood pressure.
  • improve insulin sensitivity and your cholesterol profile.
  • increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness.



Workouts range from 20-40 minutes in length. How long you exercise depends on the intensity of the workout and your current fitness level. In addition to the time aspect, the great thing about HIIT is it doesn’t require investing in a lot of equipment or a gym membership. All you need is a watch. Keep in mind that while you’re decreasing your volume (total time exercising) you are increasing your intensity (how hard you work) so limit your HIIT workouts to 2-3 times a week. HIIT is not for everyone! Before diving headfirst into one of these workouts do two things.

  1. If you have a condition that’s aggravated by exercise consult your physician. Be specific, tell them exactly what you’re going to do.


  1. Develop a base fitness level: This means consistently exercising 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes for several weeks at an intensity level that results in cardiovascular and skeletal muscle adaptations.1


With your physicians OK and a base fitness level, you’re ready to go. As you can see in the templates below. You warm up and cool-down just like you would during any exercise session. The difference is what you do in-between which I refer to as the MAIN SET. Performing one rep of high intensity (hard activity) followed by one rep of active rest (light activity) then repeat for the listed number (anywhere from 2-10 times). What you’re doing is decreasing your volume while increasing your intensity which results in higher calorie expenditure, fat loss, improvements in cardiac function and positive changes in lipid profile and insulin sensitivity (lowers your Type II diabetes risk).



In my experience after people have established a base fitness level they become fairly adept at determining how hard they are working. So track your intensity by utilizing  your rating of perceived exertion scale (RPE) to monitor your workouts (see chart below). Your goal during the work phase of your interval is to hit an RPE of 5-8. What’s this feel like? You should be able to carry on a conversation with difficulty.

That being said if you’re new to HIIT, initially shoot for a 5. Work hard but still have some  left in the tank. After you have a few workouts under your belt then crank up your RPE to a 7 or 8.


During the rest interval continue to move if you can, your RPE should be anywhere from a 2-3 on the scale below. You can also use the talk test. Once you catch your breath you should be able to carry on a conversation without any difficulty.



Try one of the workouts below to maintain your exercise habit and your waistline during the holiday season.




Give one of these workouts a try and tell me what you think. Make sure you spend some time stretching after your workout to minimize soreness and risk of injury. Keep moving and keep visiting!

SPOILER ALERT: Starting in January 2018, I’ll be posting a daily workout to help you improve your strength and cardiovascular fitness.




  1. accessed 11/29/2017
  2. Schoenfeld B and Dawes J. High Intensity Interval Training: Applications for General Fitness Training. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 31(6): 44-46, 2009.






Perfect Cold Weather Breakfast!

Perfect Cold Breakfast 1

I’ve been waiting til it got cold to spring this recipe on yall!

It’s fast, filling and is a crowd pleaser at my house.

Ingredients: (one serving)

-1/2 cup dry old fashioned oats

-1/4 tablespoon real butter

-1 cup water

-3 brown and serve link sausage (I use the Banquet brand—for vegetarians sub an additional handful of nuts)

-large handful almonds, pecans or walnuts. Make sure you have sliced or crushed almonds and whole almonds can be hard to chew especially for small children.

-large handful of raisins

-1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (do not substitute, this gives this dish it’s rich flavor)


  1. Add oats, water and butter to a pot bring to boil. Let boil for one minute then set aside.
  2. Microwave sausage for about 1 minute
  3. Pour oatmeal into a bowl, add sausage, nuts, raisins and top with sugar.
  4. Mix and eat

To add additional serving sizes just multiply ingredients by the number of people you want to serve. For example, to prepare this for a family of four you would need:

2 cups of oats

1 tablespoon of butter

4 cups of water

12 brown and serve link sausage

a really big handful of nuts and raisins

4 teaspoons of turbinado sugar

Give it a try and let me know what you think!




We could all use some more junk in our trunk!

Ahhh……..aging ya gotta love it! NO really, cause there’s not a lot of choices. So in addition to scheduling your colonoscopy, joining AARP and meeting with your retirement planner. You need to start working on your glutes. You know the junk in your trunk!


Moving from a sitting to a standing position, propelling yourself forward when you’re walking, climbing stairs or avoiding a fall after slipping all require hip extension. The primary muscle responsible for this movement, gluteus maximus.

As we age we lose muscle mass, strength and power. Only part of this is due to the natural aging process; the quantity of loss depends on your activity level and the exercises you incorporate into your workouts. While many exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts work the glutes to a certain degree.  It’s not enough.


In the video and workout below, I’ll run you through several exercises that target the glutes. To insure you improve all the facets of this muscle,  change the number of repetitions you perform and the load you use. If you have a history of low back problems or any pre-existing conditions that might be aggravated by starting an exercise program check with you physician before trying these.

Exercises Targeting The Glutes (click link to view video)

Week 1: 2 sets of 15 repetitions (2 x15) frogs, bridging (2 x a week)

Week 2:  2 sets of 20 repetitions (2 x 20) frogs, bridging (2 x a week)

Week 3: 3 x 20 frogs, bridging (2 x a week)

Week 4: 2 x 10 weighted frogs, single leg bridging (2 x a week)

Week 5 and on: Slowly work up to 3 x 20, and once you’re there increase the weight. Also add a third exercise, bird dogs, starting with 2-3 x 10 and continue performing the exercises 2 x a week.



  • Intensity beats volume, make sure you’re contracting and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Don’t go overboard with the weight! How much you increase the weight depends on your medical history and training level. Remember, it’s better to go too light then too heavy.
  • Utilize these lifts at the end of the workout
  • If it doesn’t feel right—STOP!

As usual, if you have any questions let me know.


  1.  Tobeyis K and Mikeis J. Single Leg Glute Bridge. Strength and Conditioning Journal.  August 2017.
  2. Force Vector Training by Bret Contreras on

Simple, Fast and Filling!

Simple and filling

It’s Monday what did you have for breakfast? Maybe you got up late, the kids were cranky and slow to get out of bed and pushed your schedule over the edge or you just didn’t want to fix anything and dirty up the kitchen and dishes. I get it. Here’s a breakfast that takes just a few seconds to prepare, has virtually no cleanup, is easy to transport and will stick with you while you rocket through your day

Why plain Greek yogurt? Simple, it’s higher in protein and since it’s plain you can control how much sugar you consume. Give it try and let me know what you think.



1 cup FAGE Plain Greek Yogurt (either 2% or total) topped with 1 teaspoon Turbinado Sugar

¼ cup of salted cashews

1 small handful raisins or craisins

1 large wedge of marbled Monterey Jack and Colby cheese


Dinner and then some!

I found this recipe on Girls Gone Strong and made a few changes. This is perfect for those nights when you’re in a hurry to get something on the table and it makes a lot which cuts down on lunch prep later in the week.


2 pounds ground beef (80% lean, 20% fat)

2 eggs

1 can stewed Italian tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano

1 small can of mushrooms

½ – 1 cup of old fashioned oats (stops shrinkage)

1-yellow onion diced

Extras: diced olives, diced peppers (any type), pizza sauce

Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Combine ground beef, eggs, ½ liquid from stewed tomatoes, oats, onions , mushrooms, and peppers, in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer.
  3. Once you’ve got a homogeneous mixture, spread it out in an 11”x 17” baking pan that has at least a one-inch rim.Lunchleftovers1
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until it’s cooked through.Lunchleftovers2
  5. Take it out and drain the excess grease.
  6. Sprinkle the top with tomatoes, the rest of the liquid in the can, parmesan cheese and if you want pizza sauce. I don’t use it as I feel like the stewed tomatoes and cheese is enough for me.Lunchleftovers3
  7. Place back in the oven and broil on high for 5-9 minutes until its golden brown.Lunchleftovers4
  8. Cut it up and serve over the top of my summer veggies with avocado or on a broccoli or spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette. It also works great paired with sides of green beans and carrots.Lunchleftovers9


If you do take this for lunch, make sure you warm it up to really bring out the all the flavors of the meat, spices and veggies.