Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Healthier Tricked Out Treats

Healthier Treats to share & enjoy this Halloween

Right now you are most likely in great shape from working out in the cooler fall weather. Your diet is on track and you're looking in top form. Well nothing is trickier than navigating the high calorie, sugary treats of Halloween. You know the drill. You buy 4 bags of candy to give out to the children but days before they even arrive, you've eaten 3 bags yourself. Don't go down this path again this year.

I've begun departing from the high-sugar sweets to hand out and serve at our holiday parties. These are what I will be sharing and serving guests when the Goblins arrive at my door on Halloween:

Gourmet Halloween Treats
Madecasse 70% Cocoa and Toasted Coconut Bars
If you want to make a real impression with your chocolate fountain at your party this year, try adding just a few squares of Madecasse 70% Cocoa to the mix. It will rock your world! A little goes a long way in chocolate fondues, cookies, cakes and other recipes requiring baker's chocolate. It has a bright yet decidedly fruity flavor as it is made from heirloom Madagascar Cocoa.
Madecasse Toasted Coconut & 70% Dark Chocolate:  This is delicious! The toasted coconut sprinkled on the back gives the bright, fruity chocolate a smooth yet tropical finish. Both are loaded with healthy antioxidants, so a square a day will keep the (witch) doctor away. Check them out at Madecasse.com

Madecasse Dark Chocolates
Bauli Authentic Italian Mini Croissants-Filled Moist Pasteries
Made in Italy, these are oven-baked and taste a bit like a tender cream puff. The come six to a bag and only 300 calories for the whole sack. That's good because you most likely won't have too much self control once you open one!  Comes in Chocolate and Vanilla Custard and are made with NO artificial colors or hydrogenated fats.

Cases of 6 Mini Croissants
You can give these out or open them to serve to your party guests as they are ready to eat. They pack and travel really well too if you want a croissant to go with your morning coffee. See all the flavors at Bauliusa.com

Bauli Cream Filled Mini Croissants from Italy

Snyders of Hanover Mini Pretzels
In an effort to cut down on the sweets, last year I gave out little bags of corn chips, potato chips and pretzels to the children. They went WILD! You would think they would be disappointed that we were not offering the usual Halloween candy fare. Not at all. These mini bags of Mini Pretzels are perfect. Very fresh and crispy, they are a fat-free food with each bag being only 50 calories. Even if you go through a few of these yourself, you won't feel guilty.

Snyders's Mini Pretzels
I like that these .50 oz bags are easy to store and pass out. Fill your candy bowl with these instead and you'll cut out a LOT of calories as the average full sized candy bar is about 400 calories, most from fat and sugar. Nobody needs that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Cycling - Touring Light and Right

My Nishiki Sport Touring loaded for a day of touring.
Fall is the time to enjoy the cooler temps and change of the seasons. This past weekend I loaded my Nishiki with my Detours rear rack bag and hit the road to get some pictures of the autumn leaves turning. Here is some of what I saw while riding in Horse Country where I live in bucolic central New Jersey.

Roadway of colors just starting to turn
All of these photos were taken with my GoPro clone, the Pyle eXpo Mini Action Cam. I had it mounted to my Nutcase Helmet as that was the most secure lid that I own. It worked great!

Fields and a farmhouse in the distance on the left
The farm here on the left raises organic beef cattle. I've often seen them grazing and getting fat on the natural grass behind the white fence there.

Horse stables and riding corral
When I passed this horse farm there was a riding lesson in progress. The stables are there on the right and left (there are two) and I often see the horses grazing in the field.

Believe it or not, this is a road!
This may look like a hiking path but it is in fact a roadway. It is very narrow and quiet so it is perfect for my bicycle.

Peacock sighting! Look closely.
I was going by pretty quickly but if you look just left of center in this photo you will see a male peacock there in the grass. They are usually behind the fence but for some reason he was out today. NBC must have been having a casting call!

My Madison Touring Bag for the day by Detours
My Touring Bag: Detours D2R Madison Rear Rack Bag This bag is just perfect for a day out. It has a long carry strap but I usually just use the shorter straps which neatly tuck inside the side pouches. Inside has a zippered mesh pouch and pockets to hold items securely and separately. This rear trunk rack quickly clips to nearly any rear rack, (I have a Blackburn), and has a Blinkie Clip for your light.
Detours really thought this one out and it is very aerodynamic on the bicycle but looks like classic luggage off. Pop in a sandwich, energy bar, medical kit and extra water. It all fits and the bag does not shift or flop around. Best bag for a short tour!

Detours D2R Madison Rear Rack Bag with Blinkie Attached.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall Cycling Must Haves: Cat Ears for the Wind and Cold

Cat Ears help reduce wind noise while cycling.
Fall is like a second spring to many of us who enjoy the thrill of road cycling. It is an intense cardiovascular workout which does not put excessive stress on the knees or hip joints. The issue with fall riding is that the combined increase in cool breezes plus your usual noise from the wind rushing past your ears can make it hard to hear approaching traffic.

Cat Ears are furry little pads that attach by Velcro to your helmet straps. I tested the Classics Elite which is shown in the lead photo and installed on my Giro Amare helmet below but they also make other styles with varying widths to suit each rider's needs and helmets.

Classics Elite Tour 2.5
The Classics Elite size seems perfect for most road helmets including my Lazer, Giro and Rudy Project lids. Cat Ears were super easy to install as they have a left and right designation for your helmet straps. What I found is that there is still the sound of wind rushing past my ears especially when doing anything above 20+ mph. The thing is now with the Cat Ears,it is not so loud that I am unable to hear cars approaching from behind. I've road tested them at least three times at high speeds and was able to hear each and every vehicle coming up behind me. No more being startled or surprised when a car appears. I can hear them perfectly now. Great!

Cozy Cat Ears
As the weather continues to get cooler as autumn turns to winter, you should also check out Cat Ears Ear Covers which completely cover the entire ear. I have not personally tested these but would imagine they work in similar fashion to the Classics Elite models. The added benefit is of course having warm ears on a cold-windy ride. Those shown are the 200 series of Polartec. You can get increased warmth with the 300 series which uses a greater density of the same fleecy fabric.

Cat Ears 200 Series Ear Covers
Cat Ears come in many different colors to compliment your helmet and are very easy to install. I did not notice them shifting at all during my test rides and Cat Ears are super comfy to wear. Better still is the added safety feature of being able to hear what's going on behind you on the road. Check out all the styles and colors at Cat Ears Online