kosher kitchen

Working up to working out


The time had finally come. There was no putting it off anymore. It was time to start some sort of exercise routine.

I thought back to years ago when, with the help of my friend Carol Grob, I had embarked on a twice-a-week, one-on-one exercise regime. Those of you who know Carol know that she is an amazing personal trainer. I would show up at her house and hate every minute of it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing hour, if you enjoy exercising. I don’t! I can stay up all night prepping, cooking and baking for a party. I can get by sleeping two hours a night for two nights and then not sleep at all the night before. I can be on my feet all day and spend three hours washing, drying and packing up all my set-up glass. I just can’t seem to build up the stamina or enthusiasm for weight repetitions, treadmills, stair masters and ellipticals. And to make matters worse, there was no cheating allowed with Carol. L-rd knows I tried.

I was in the best shape of my life, and I felt great. But after two years, I thought I could do all the exercises on my own, because I was motivated. But what I was motivated for was thinking up excuses not to exercise.

Over the years I would start again every now and then, but never really got into it. And with digital scales I could always hop off when it reached the weight I wanted. That was a joke!

It always amazed me how my husband Jerry loved to exercise. That’s why he’s in amazing shape and I’m not. I’d rather be strict about what I eat than exercise, but the truth is I’m about to hit a big birthday, and it’s in my best interest to build up my core, to protect my back and posture.

Every now and then, my friend Renee Zylberberg and I talk about getting together and doing a twenty-minute exercise video routine once or twice a week, but we never got around to it. After months of talking, we decide last week would be a good time. I was dog sitting for my son and daughter-in-law’s English cocker spaniel, Penny. She and Renee’s golden retriever could have a play date, and Renee and I could exercise. I was almost looking forward to it. Emphasis on “almost.”

Penny and I arrived, and the time had come. Of course I had no yoga mat or weights, so Renee supplied me with a mat, and I was so out of shape it was good that I had no weights. She put on the video, and I thought, “How bad could this be? It’s 20 minutes.”

Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser fame, along with two other women, stood before us. Jillian represented the regular workout, the woman on the left was there to demonstrate an intensified workout, and the woman on the right was going to do a low-intensity workout. I think she was there just for me.

We started with some sort of arm rows. I was doing pretty well. This wasn’t so hard, I thought. Until Renee pointed out that I was doing the backstroke, not the correct exercise. (Well, it worked for Mark Spitz, he was in great shape back in 1972!) Next came jumping jacks, which I was able to master, then lunges. I don’t like lunges. I hate them, but I weathered through.

Push-ups, unfortunately, were next. For the life of me I couldn’t get the hang of it. I kept arching my back. Renee tried to teach me the technique, but I was pathetic. Thankfully, every time I had to get down on the mat, Penny would come over and kiss my face until I got up. Thank you, Penny, I thought. Good girl!

The next morning I bent over to the hamper and felt something pop in my back. It was two days before I could stand up straight.

I chalked it up to the fact that I was really out of shape and needed to work my way up to a real workout. Since then, I bought an exercise mat and found all the weights I used 20 years ago, when I was in shape. I’m all set.

To be continued … but don’t hold your breath!

This is a great recipe that happens to be healthy as well.

BBQ Chicken En Papillote

This quick and easy recipe combines chicken, sweet potato, butter beans, green beans and tangy BBQ sauce. It’s simple, the meat turns out tender, and there’s virtually no clean up! Be sure to slice the sweet potato very thin, as you want it to be tender at the end of the 30-minute baking time.

This is also why we are using thin sliced chicken breast, in order to make sure that the meat is cooked through. Courtesy of


2 shallots, thinly sliced into half moons

1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons

1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 16-oz. can butter beans

1/2 cup natural BBQ sauce (avoid ones with added sugars)

4 chicken breast, thin sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced


1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.

2. In a large bowl toss the shallots, sweet potatoes, green beans and butter beans with half of the BBQ sauce. Rub the remaining sauce over the chicken breasts.

3. Cut four 12-by-16-inch pieces of parchment paper and fold each in half. Open the parchment paper and arrange 1/4 of the sweet potato and green beans and a chicken breast in the center of the top half of each parchment. Generously season with salt and pepper. Top with a sprinkle of chives.

4. Fold the bottom half of the parchment paper over the chicken and veggies. Start folding and crimping the parchment paper ends together from one end all the way around to the other end, creating a sealed envelope. Fold the end under the packet. The packet should be fully encased, with no breaks in the parchment paper for steam to escape — we need that steam as part of the cooking process! Place the packets on a pan.

5. Bake the chicken and veggie packets for 30 minutes and remove from the oven. Serve the packets on plates, tearing them open just before serving. Serves 4.

Nutritional Analysis

One serving contains 268 calories, 4g fat, 22g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, 625mg sodium, 5g fiber, and 35g protein.