Tuesday, January 15, 2013


    Have you given any thought to your holiday meal? Whether preparing it or eating it, consider the calories in the average Thanksgiving dinner. The folks at Smooth Fitness put together this simple infographic that tells you exactly how many calories you’re likely going to eat, and how long it’s going to take to burn those calories off again.
   Many of us consider Thanksgiving to be a day when it is perfectly acceptable to eat as much as we can for as long as we can and then just sit and let euphoria take over. A day when we have an endless supply of food with endless amounts of people to share it with, and if you are lucky like I have been in the past you actually have a couple of Turkey Day meals ahead of you. However there are some people who choose to not give into all their urges and remain healthy eaters today.
   Today’s infographic is for those of you who dare not over eat and want to make sure your calorie count does not go over what it is supposed to be. Although some of you, who are like me and will eat until you can eat no more, may find this infographic to be entertaining and perhaps it will help you out in the gym tomorrow. This infographic provides us with serving sizes, time it will take to work something off and shows that Americans, on average, will eat 1600 calories at their Thanksgiving meal today.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Calories

We’re all for the practice of moderation, even on Thanksgiving. That’s why we love the following healthy recipes for stuffing, pumpkin pie, turkey, gravy and the rest of the feast. They offer all of the flavor of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes, but use more wholesome ingredients, have fewer calories and fat, and will let you enjoy each savory bite guilt free.


   Tough Guy claims to be the world's most demanding 1 day survival contest.
   First stages in 1986, the Tough Guy Challenge is held on a 600 acre farm in Perton, Staffordshire, near Wolverhampton, England, and is organized by Billy Wilson.  It has been widely described as "the toughest race in the world", with up to 1/3rd of the starters of the racing failing to finish in a typical year.
   After the 24 stages of this winter event, Wilson still claimed nobody had ever finished all the course according to his extremely demanding rules.  The race, and its summer equivalent, has suffered 2 deaths during its history.
   Taking place at the end of January, often in freezing winter conditions, the Tough Guy race is staged over a course of between 7 and 8 miles.  It consists of  a cross country run followed by an assault course.  The organizers claim that running the course involves risking barbed wire, cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydration, hypothermia, acrophobia, claustrophobia, electric shocks, sprains, twists, joint dislocation and broken bones.
   Although the course is adjusted each year, its features have included a 40 foot crawl through flooded underground tunnels, balancing planks across a fire pit, and a 1-2 mile wade through chest deep muddy water.  Marshals dressed as commandos fire machine-gun blanks and let off thunder flashes and smoke bombs over the heads of competitors as they crawl under a 210 foot section of barbed wire.  Until 2000, some runners took part in the event carrying heavy wooden crosses.

   Entry fees range from 80 British pounds to 1000, depending on the sign up date.  Entrants have to be 16 years old or older.  The event regularly attracts fields of up to 6,000 competitors, many from the U.S. and more than 20 countries around the world.
   Before taking part, entrants must sign a "death warrant", which acknowledges the risks and dangers, and which the organizers claim absolves them of any legally liability.  First aid is provided.
   The winner of Tough Guy in 2009 was James Appleton, a 23 year old student from Cambridge University in 1 hour and 18 minutes.
   In 2010, despite especially cold conditions, Paul Jones (1:18:53)  won the race and  5 other men were
 inside 1 hr. 21 min.

Deaths and Injuries

   In 2000, 1 competitor collapsed midway through the race and later died in the hospital, reportedly of a massive heart attack brought on by extreme hypothermia.  According to race records, this was the first fatality in 15 years of the race.
   In 2007 a man in his 30's collapsed and died when taking part in the summer version of the competition, the "Nettle Warrior".
   Other injuries suffered in the event are common.  Local newspaper reports suggested that among the competitors in the 2009 event, one suffered a broken neck, while there were a dozen broken or dislocated bones and 600 runners, including the winner, suffered hypothermia.

The Nettle Warrior

   Nettle Warrior is the summer version of Tough Guy, first stages in 1998, and is normally run at the end of July.  Though the course is essentially the same as Tough Guy, there are some differences.  Nettle Warrior involves 2 laps of an area the organizers have called "The killing fields", a log carry and some rafting as part of "The Lake" obstacle.

The Competition Course

   The Race consists of a cross country run, followed by an obstacle course, referred as the "Killing Fields".

  • Country miles-A 6 mile cross country run.
  • Slalom-An up and down slalom, consisting of running up a hill and back down.
  • Ghurkha Grand National-A series of fences, ditches and jumps with cargo nets to scramble under.
  • The Tiger (followed by Sting in the Tail)-A 40 foot A-frame, crossing through hanging electrified cables and another 40 foot A-frame.
  • Scaffold Bridge-This is traditionally the location of a water break.
  • Colditz Walls-Three progressively higher walls-6, 9 and 12 feet high.
  • Behemoth-Four tall platforms with ropes stretching between them.

Battle of the Somme

  • Fiery Holes-A series of muddy water ditches, followed by burning bales of hay.
  • Tire Crawl-Tunnels created from tires.
  • Swamp-Knee deep mud crossing with a vacuum that will suck in the strongest of men.
  • Vietcong Tunnels-Underground tunnels created from concrete pipes.
  • Sky Walk and Paradise Climb-A cargo net which leads out to ropes draped across a pond.
  • Splosh Pool-A recreation of walking the plank.
  • Underwater Tunnel-Three poles to duck under, leading up to the underwater tunnel.
  • Brandenburger Gate-40 foot vertical wall climb.

Deux Chevaux Island

  • Death Plunge-Planks of wood extending out over a lake.
  • Jesus Bridge-A bridge of barrels and planks of wood.
  • Dans Deceiver-A vertical cargo net, followed by a declined cargo net.
  • Dragon Pools-Series of ropes stretched across the pool.
  • Somme Surprise-Barrel rafts tied together to form a bridge.
  • Stalag Escape-20 foot crawl through mud, under barbed wire.
  • Tire Torture-A path of randomly laid tires to stumble across.
Pedestrian Bridge

  • The Anaconda-A series of large concrete pipes.
  • Viagra Falls-A steep muddy hill.

Last Man Standing

   There is also a smaller course for participant of that day's event. It consits of:
  • 45 foot underwater swim.
  • Scottish Thistle Hill roll.
  • Lassoed Legs Lake Lope.
  • Highwire Brandenburg Bootlace Struggle.
  • Highwire TG bootlace Blaney Kiss.
  • Bite electric wire.


   This recipe was found at www.laraferroni.com .  A great little twist of two great ingredients.

Over Labor Day weekend, Cam and I found ourselves visiting the Ferry Market Building and Cam waited in line for me at Blue Bottle while I got my window shopping fix. When Cam finally made it through the line (which was particularly bad on the holiday weekend), he showed up with an adorable little loaf cake in addition to my latte. The cake was a seriously rich, moist gingerbread, but Cam was expecting a little chocolate cake, so the cake became mine.
As delicious as it was, I was kind of with him. I like gingerbread, but it's no chocolate cake. Unless, of course, you make chocolate gingerbread. Now, how come I had never thought of that before?

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These little cakes are moist and spiced like gingerbread but with a serious bite of chocolate from both cocoa powder and chocolate chunks. It doesn't hurt to use really good chocolate, and lots of it. I used Tcho baking drops, which are dark, but not too dark with a great chocolately flavor that pairs really well with the ginger and molasses.

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My recipe is an adaptation from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth" (Jill O'Connor)'s recipe for an upside-down gingerbread cake with pears and walnuts. I left out the upside down part (although that did sound incredible) for the chocolate cakes, keeping to a simple gingerbread. I am also intrigued by the gingerbread recipe from "Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours" (Kim Boyce) which uses Kamut flour... I think it would work beautifully with an infusion of chocolate as well. To bump the nutrition in my (simpler) recipe, I added a bit of flaxseed meal. It's not necessary, but why not?
These cakes are my newest addiction. Paired with a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee, I think a slice (or three) is just about the perfect treat for the brink of fall.