Ronnie Paul: The fitness challenge |

Ronnie Paul: The fitness challenge

To jump-start my resolution for the New Year, I joined the gym last week. I didn’t anticipate the challenges I’d face.

With no time to fashionably outfit myself, I grabbed my old yoga leggings and ancient aerobic top, found the black sweatshirt my adult daughter wore in sixth grade, and headed to the gym.

I changed in the locker room and to rein in my over-achieverism, decided that I’d only use the cardio equipment. I stair stepped to what could have been the top of the Empire State building and treadmilled enough miles to get me to Roseville. Still feeling energetic, I biked the length of the Sahara.

When I dragged myself back to the locker room, I realized that an inevitable part of gym life was remembering my locker number. I’d tried to pick one that was the same as my age, but with a Silver Sneakers class going on, all the numbers from my decade were taken. I’d chosen my teenage granddaughter’s age, but in the future, I’ll feel more confident if I use a one digit number.

Those four-digit locks are also problematic. I punched in a family member’s birthday and decided that to be fair to everyone, I’d choose another person’s date next time. I hope I can remember who I was thinking of that day.

I’m always ready to work-out in the kitchen. Please roll up your sleeves and give these recipes a try.

Nana’s Bean Soup

Serves 3-4

It’s winter. Dust off your soup pot and fire up the stove.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pressed garlic clove

1 cup thinly sliced celery

½ cup chopped onion

5 cups veggie broth

1 bay leaf

5 ounces chopped spinach

15 ounces cooked navy beans

3 ounces of chicken sausage, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper

A few gratings of nutmeg

In your freshly dusted soup pot, heat the oil and stir in the garlic clove, celery and onion. Sauté over a low heat for five minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the flame, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes until the celery is tender.

Add the spinach, beans, sausage, lemon juice and spices and simmer for at least one hour.

Crustless Broccoli Quiche

Generously serves 6

It’s hard to believe that this elegant dish is easy to make.

10 ounces of broccoli florets

4 eggs

4 ounces cream cheese

½ cup milk

¼ cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil

½ cup crumbled Feta

¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

Salt and pepper

Boil the broccoli until just tender. Watch it closely because this only takes about two minutes.

With an electric beater, whip the eggs until they turn pale and fluffy. Then whip in the cream cheese and milk.

Drain and chop the tomatoes. Add them to the custard along with the crumbled Feta, broccoli, scallions, and salt and pepper.

This looks beautiful in a fluted quiche pan, but a pie pan will do, too. Whatever you use, grease it well and pour in the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees until the center is set and the top is nicely browned.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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