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winter



Treat Yourself to a Frozen Hot Chocolate This Warm Winter Season

Where I live, it was 71 degrees while I raked the leaves out of my yard yesterday, and last week I comfortably wore flip flops. All of this warm weather is backed up by a new report from the National Climatic Data Center that says 2012 will go down as the hottest year on record. It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than four weeks away when we’ve yet to pull out our winter coats!

While any other winter we’d be stirring up hot chocolate by now to stay warm and cozy, this year we need something to keep us cool. That’s right, we’re making Frozen Hot Chocolate and think you should, too!

It’s still creamy, chocolatey, and topped with marshmallows, but it’s blended with ice and sipped with a straw instead. Our Frozen Hot Chocolate was inspired by the original at New York’s Serendipity. As delightful an experience as that candy shop trip can be, their version has 340 calories. Ours, however, makes 140 calories sound pretty indulgent!
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4 Stay-Warm Strategies for Winter’s Outdoor Workouts

By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com

I usually prefer outdoor workouts to indoor workouts—you don’t have to worry about fighting for the treadmill at the gym, the scenery can be inspiring and the fresh air is invigorating. But as the temperature drops, you might be tempted to head indoors. Don’t let the weather ruin your workout plans. Use the tips below to stay warm until spring.  

Step One: Select the right shirt.

Layers are an exerciser’s best friend. Your first layer should consist of a long-sleeve undershirt (I love turtleneck and mock turtleneck athleticwear) made of wicking fabric without any buttons or zippers. Then, cover it with a sweatshirt made of a “Polar-guard” type of material. If needed, add a final layer of a wind-resistant shell or jacket. Even though it’s cooler out, you still have to worry about sun protection. I recommend choosing sun-protective clothing, like Coolibar.

Step Two: Go light on your lower half.

Your legs will stay pretty warm once you get going, so you don’t need as many layers on your lower half. Jogging tights are a good option because they don’t move and won’t chafe your skin. When it’s cold, you can add a layer of pants made of a “Polar-guard” type of material.  
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Use Yoga to Reduce Aches and Pains after Snow Skiing

If someone told you how much their body ached after a day of skiing, you’d probably never want to click into a pair of bindings and hit the slopes. Do not fret. Pain and agony are not the only words you need to describe the first day of your ski vacation. With a little bit of preparation and maintenance, freedom from post-ski day soreness can be yours.

The following are a few yoga-inspired tips and techniques that will help sharpen your fitness edge and get your body tuned up for some downhill fun.

Just say no to quivering quads

At least six weeks before a ski vacation, take every opportunity you can to strengthen your quadriceps. Perform wall sits, yoga chair pose, warrior lunges, and horse stance squats as often as you can, intermittently throughout the day. There is no need to try and fit a full yoga class into your already busy schedule. A little bit of time spent here and there will suffice. Just be sure and do it, or you will suffer the consequences of tired legs too early in the ski day.
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Homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Beats Any Canned Soup in Your Pantry

I’d much rather eat something fresh and homemade than something out of a box or can. Sure, it can be a little more time consuming, but that’s what my weekends are for. I feel a lot better serving a meal in which I can name every single ingredient. Plus, I don’t mind the bragging rights that come with a little honest-to-goodness made-from-scratch cooking!

One of my husband’s favorite meals is my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. As soon as the temperatures start cooling off, I’m more than happy to spend a Sunday in the kitchen making this cool-weather meal for him.

I only have to make this once or twice each winter because it fills my Crock Pot completely full and then several containers for freezing. While I may have to invest an afternoon to prepare it once, I’ve got several effortless meals later. 
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3 Core Exercises to Increase Stamina and Prevent Injury This Winter

Fall is a busy and active time of year. While many have been hectically scurrying to settle in to a new school year, others have been expending enormous amounts of energy winterizing the yard, gathering wood for the stove, and unpacking the shovels in anticipation of calorie-burning snow removal. These fall and winter activities take strength and stamina to endure.

A strong core is paramount to having increased energy and to prevent back pain or injury. The following are a few basic core exercises that will help you stack that last load of wood and leave you with enough energy to shovel yours and your neighbor’s drive.

Windmills

No, this is not the same thing as the classic 1950’s physical education exercise that wreaked havoc on people’s lower backs. It is however, a more modern and adaptable version of it that is much more effective, plus a lot safer.
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