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Zero to Delicious in Five Minutes

Delicious, fresh, filling salad in five minutes.

You need:
mixed greens (pre-washed)


goat cheese

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

                                                              raspberry jam

Toast pecans on small pan over low heat, tossing often.
Place 3 cups of mixed greens in large bowl.
Seal 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam into a small plastic-ware container, lid, then shake vigorously.
Pour dressing over greens.
Toss to coat.
Scrape 1 ounce of soft coat cheese over greens with fork.
Remove pecans from heat once they start to lightly brown (should begin to smell delicious at this point) and place over salad.

Add to a protein for a spring meal or alone as a filling snack.


Love it? Share your favorite salad with us on our Facebook page.


Side note: This picture includes fresh raspberries. Although delicious on their own, it didn’t work in the salad for me. Save them for dessert.

Unique Mother’s Day Gifts

Here are a few healthy gift ideas

for the mom that has been asking for a little help:


  • Pedometer and a Promise -if she has expressed an interest in exercising more, why not schedule a weekly date to go for gentle walks together?
  • Activity tracker: consider her needs and mobile devices to find one that fits best
  • Class – pay for and gift a water aerobics, fitness class or dance class to take together
  • Picnic in the Park – pack a Sunday morning picnic and enjoy it together in a beautiful park, fresh air, time to talk and walk, few distractions
  • Advocate to Mom – attend her next doctor’s appointment with her, exchange contact info with her doctor, ask questions when appropriate and take notes so your mother can feel supported
  • New Kicks – a great new pair of walking shoes or workout clothes can help with getting moving again
  • Mix Tape – inexpensive and heartfelt -why not make Mom a new walking or workout CD of all of HER favorite music
  • Fun with Flowers – buy your mom flowers for her outdoor spaces and plant them together (remember use proper body mechanics)
  • Basket of goodies – reusable water bottle, dried fruit, dark chocolate, homemade banana bread (use apple sauce instead of oil), and any other small items that would make healthy snacking or exercise easier for her.  Spring Flowers

Taste of Summer

The quickest of “quickies” – a recipe via pictures!

I told both my daughters: “pick out any fruit you’d like as a special treat” during a recent must-get-out-of-the-house-trip to Mariano’s. What did they select? Lemons.

Initially perplexed as to how to serve these fruits, I, of course landed on… lemonade. An easy, fun, 128 calorie sweet treat with 36% of your RDA of Vitamin C. Couldn’t we all use a taste of summer right now? Fun, easy, inexpensive and terribly refreshing – enjoy!

No martini shaker?
Fill pint glass with ice.
Place two tablespoons of sugar into pint glass
Cut one large lemon and squeeze both halves over strainer into bowl to separate seeds from juice.
Pour juice from bowl into pint glass full of ice and sugar.
Fill glass with water.
Pour full pint glass into empty glass of equal size.
Repeat transfer back and forth until well mixed.
Strain and serve.

Have a martini shaker?

Fill shaker with ice.
Place two tablespoons of sugar into shaker.
Cut one large lemon and squeeze over strainer over bowl to separate seeds from juice.
Pour juice from bowl into shaker full of ice and sugar.
Fill with water.
Close and shake well.
Strain and serve.

Call or email to start your preparation for summer:
Strength Training Exclusively for Women
Chicago, IL

Women Are Missing Out

Precor conducted a study of 500 women ages 18 to 55+ years of age and discovered women are not strength training as much as they would like to. Why are they holding back from utilizing this incredible tool? Here are the top ten reasons women do not strength train. We have included Blakely Fit’s solution to each. train@blakelyfit.comBlakelyFitDumbbells

1. Happy doing their cardio workouts I must say, I love to hear women are happy doing their cardio workouts. However, cardio does not provide the daily metabolism improvements, bone density improvements and appearance changes (among others) that strength training does.
2. Don’t want to look big and bulky, like a bodybuilder I understand this concern but it is unfounded. We, as women, do not have enough testosterone. It is VERY difficult for women to create a body builder physique.
3. Boring New Blakely FIT client tweet:@BlakelyFit It was really fun- I’m actually looking forward to more. Not something I say a lot about exercise. 🙂 #healthy
4. No one ever showed them how to use the equipment Valid excuse but your gym should have floor staff on hand at all times waiting to help you. If not, train with us for three months, we’ll show you.
5. Don’t have time for strength training All Blakely Fit sessions are 25 minutes in length for this reason. My Squat, RDL, Pull Up, Dumbbell Press workout yesterday took 21 minutes. You have the time.
6. Feel self-conscious doing strength training I often encourage self-concious clients to rely on the vanity of others. People in the gym are often more concerned about how they look than how you look.
7. Strength training is too complicated Program design is complicated. Strength training itself if pretty simple if you have a basic understanding of what you are doing.
8. Strength training is for serious athletes Of course, but, it is also an incredible tool for women wanting to lose weight, prevent osteopenia / osteoporosis, increase their resting metabolism, improve their self esteem, brain cognition, depression, and anxiety, reduce chronic fatigue, acquire better glucose and insulin sensitivity, and change the state of their body.
9. Need to hire a personal trainer to learn how to use equipment,
cannot afford personal trainer Yes, you do need to hire a great personal trainer to strength train well (just as you hire a hairdresser and mechanic.) Strength In Numbers is our lower price point solution. Women love it.
10. Have injury that prevents from participating This is an important concern. All Blakely Fit clients undergo a complete Assessment and quarterly Reassessment to ensure safety as well as addressing individual medical considerations.

Don’t miss out on Strength Training, ladies! It really is an incredible tool. Email or call with questions.  773-680-6824

All You Need Is Love…

LOVE SOUP that is!

Love soup in jar

Sometimes a delicious, healthy, home cooked meal makes all the difference. Love Soup is high in fiber, inexpensive and something you could make a month in advance or even give as a gift. How many recipes can tout that? Enjoy!

Jar ingredients: bottom up layers in a quart sized jar (pasta sauce jars work well)

  • 10 beef bullion cubes (or 10 vegetarian soup base cubes for vegetarians)
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onion
  • 1/2 cup dried split peas (green or yellow or combo)
  • 1/2 cup Creamettes
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/3 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup uncooked tricolor rotini or spiral pasta to fill jar

Love soup in bowl

Soup cooking instructions to include with jar:


In a large kettle, brown 1 or 2 lbs of lean ground beef or meat alternative. Remove tricolor pasta from top of jar and reserve. Add the rest of the jar contents to the kettle with 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Then, simmer 45 minutes. Add tricolor pasta and simmer 15 minutes more. Serve with your favorite bread and salad. Serves six to eight.  Enjoy!

Note: You may also use Italian sausage, meat substitute or stew meat, instead of ground round.  Feel free to add any leftover cooked vegetables or chopped tomatoes (add any raw vegetables at beginning.)

If too thick, add a can of broth or water.

Child Making Love Soup Blakely Fit

I had my daughter help with her teachers’ gifts last year. She loved it! Make a funnel out of foil or parchment paper to help with their aim. We tied ribbons on the jars and included a little card with instructions (email if you would like a copy.)

Love soup in bag

To help with future dinners, I actually make several at a time in resealable bags. Then, when it’s time to cook, I just brown some ground round, add water, bag ingredients and simmer. Everything cooks in one pot. Dinner is ready in an hour with little actual work in the kitchen.


Treats, Tweets and the Twins

First, the treats. Yesterday was Halloween and each of us are surrounded by candy. My advice? TOSS IT. TODAY.
Or, if you are guilt ridden at the idea of placing unwrapped food in the garbage (I hear you), give it to Operation Halloween Candy Buy Back and share your sweet treats with our troops.
Second, some of you have asked, “why is Blakely Fit on twitter?” Here are a few answers (in 140 characters or less of course)

  • 140 characters is the perfect format for hilarious comments. I’m not hilarious, but it’s the perfect format if I was.
  • Plenty of immediate inspiration for those wanting to be fit
  • Brief daily recap of client revelations – fascinating
  • Candid client struggles and dilemmas – learn from those in the trenches
  • Congratulatory shout outs – our digital “high-five”
  • It’s where we share reputable research worth your time – be informed and empowered
  • Excellent opportunity to watch me fumble through social media, every post is NOT a winner
  • Help this little bird fly… the more followers the better for our Blakely Fit business
  • Connect. We love hearing from you … dialogues on twitter are easy and simple.
  • Although you can just join and watch, I love saying “tweet” every time I post. Say it with me, “tweet.” Fun, right?

Hope you’ll join us and help spread the word. Peek our tweets here and see if it’s worthy of your time.

Third, October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. In addition to contributing to Bright Pink, Blakely Fit has been posting breast exam advice on twitter form our very own, Blakely Fit client, Dr. Shayna Rubin. In case you missed it, here is her very accessible advice for keeping the twins safe and inspected.


  • So it’s all about learning your body over time. Learning what’s normal for YOU helps you to be the best person to detect if anything ever changes.
  • Approximately monthly, feel around. There’s no perfect way to do it. Feel around until you feel like you felt it all.
  • Also, if you feel something you’re not quite sure of, feel the other breast in the same place. In general, symmetry is reassuring.
  • Over time you’ll learn what’s normal for you, and should something CHANGE, then you can alert your doctor.


George and Grandma Blakely

My little brother passed along this quote: “If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it, don’t eat it.” Simple, memorable and a strong deterrent from ingesting overly processed and artificially flavored/colored foods.
Grandparents still around? Why not take them to the grocery store or out to a restaurant? I’m sure it will be an enlightening conversation. Have a great week!

The Toughest Part of the Job

I am striving as a business owner, I am striving as a trainer. In doing so, I reach out to others – for counsel and advice. Addressing one specific area of business, someone I consider a bit of a mentor, reminded me: “it’s the toughest part of the job.” This was comforting and discouraging at the same time.

My dear readers, I have the same message for you. The fact is, the day in, day out healthy decision making is the toughest part of your being fit job. Understanding what we SHOULD do is not all that difficult. Drop me an email, do some homework and the answers are pretty easy to find. Actually doing it? That is the mountain in front of you. “So, thanks for pointing out the mountain Michelle, but now what?” Recognize the challenge and take a step. Take a moment to acknowledge that it’s not easy. This nonsense that we should easily be able to completely change our habits and suddenly behave healthfully is ridiculous. Remind yourself that although simple – this healthy living stuff is work. Worth every single drop of blood, sweat and tear, but work. So applaud yourself for the effort, applaud your self for making the right decision because your body and loved ones deserve a healthy you, imagine you are G.I. Jane if it helps you soldier on. Just don’t forget to keep your perspective as you fight the good fight. I am rooting for you!!!