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Archive for January, 2012

I don’t know about you, but last week seemed to last forever. I’m hoping this week speeds on by because I’m headed to Indianapolis on Thursday for all of the Super Bowl festivities. I can’t wait to see the city all dressed up for the big event!

A quick update on my hip: it’s getting better each week. Last week was a big one in physical therapy. I started doing walking and side lunges, really focusing on building up the strength and flexibility in my legs. There’s some core work as well, like a 2 minute plank and alternating side planks for 45 seconds each, repeated three times. I am dying after those! And, I’m still waiting for my six-pack to show up…I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens 😉

Swimming has been a big relief since I actually am able to get my heart rate up. I’ve been swimming three times a week for about 45-50 minutes. For most of the workout, I am alternating between fast and recovery laps…so basically a swimming interval workout.

Before I get to the recipe for this post, if you haven’t taken my poll yet, please do! It will only take you 30 seconds to complete, and I would really appreciate it!

Now, to the good stuff.

This is one of my go-to recipes. I’ve been making it since college! If you’ve noticed, I prefer recipes with few ingredients and that are easy. Here’s another one for you, courtesy of Rachael Ray.

Bake chicken.

Cook pasta.

Cook tomatoes, onion and garlic.

Chop basil.

Open bag of arugula.

Mix everything together.

Top with cheese.

Yep, that’s pretty much it. And, it makes enough to feed an army, so you’ll have leftovers for the week!

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

Whole wheat penne

2 or 3 cloves garlic

1 large red onion

2 pints grape tomatoes

Fresh basil, chopped

3 cups arugula or spinach

1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Instructions

Fill a large pasta pot with water and place it over high heat. Once the water comes up to a boil, salt it and drop in the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve a mugful of starchy cooking water, then drain and reserve.

While the water is coming up to a boil, place a large skillet over high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Season the chicken pieces with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper then add it to the preheated skillet. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 4 minutes per side. (Or, bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then chop up and add in at the end.)

Once the chicken is brown, add the onions to the pan, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook a couple of minutes more then add the tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes burst open and begin to release their juices, about 6-7 minutes (if they haven’t started to burst open by that time, mash them lightly with a potato masher or wooden spoon). Season the mixture with salt and pepper. 

Add the drained pasta and reserved starchy cooking water to the skillet with the chicken and tomatoes, and toss over the heat until combined, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil, arugula, and cheese.

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Who Are You?

The title of this post reminds me of my Dad. He’s a fan of The Who, and the song “Who Are You” (who who, who who) is one of his favorites. I actually like it too, it’s a catchy tune.

But in all seriousness, who are you? I’d like for my blog to grow and knowing who you are, why you read my blog and what types of posts you like most is going to be so helpful moving forward. Please, please take the time to fill out the surveys in this post! It’s for your own good, really…

And, if you’d like, please leave a comment on this post about ways you think I can improve!

Stay tuned for a Surgery Series update coming soon!

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The weather in Chicago is crazy. Last winter we had feet upon feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures.

This winter, we’ve only had two “snow storms” of about 6-8 inches.

And, we had a thunderstorm. In January.

Ice and snow was melting right outside our bedroom window, making a constant “drip,” “drip,” drip.”

I couldn’t sleep. Not even with the fan on. So, into the guest room we went. An annoying way to start the week, but not the end of the world. Just enough of a change to make me hit the “Dismiss” button on my phone when the alarm went off at 6 a.m.

Oh well.

On to something more enjoyable.

Food.

I don’t enjoy cooking when there are too many steps. It’s just not fun to me.

Luckily, coconut chicken is one of those things that does not take a lot of time to make and does not require a ton of ingredients. That’s my kind of cooking.

Plus, this recipe involves dipping and coating the chicken into what will turn into a delicious flakey crust.

And on a bed of lettuce with lots of veggies and homemade honey mustard dressing, you can’t go wrong. You just can’t. Such a great way to dress up chicken and make it more exciting!

Enjoy!

Recipe from Skinnytaste

Ingredients 

For the chicken:

  • chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp crushed cornflake crumbs or other crunchy cereal
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute or egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • olive oil spray
For the salad:
  • Mixed baby greens
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced red pepper
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced cucumber
For the dressing:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar (balsamic would work too)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine coconut flakes, panko, cornflake crumbs and salt in a bowl. Put egg whites or egg beaters in another bowl.

Lightly season chicken with salt. Dip the chicken in the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment for easy cleanup. Lightly spray with olive oil spray and bake for 30 minutes turning halfway, or until chicken is cooked through.

Prepare salad and add chicken. Serve with honey mustard dressing.

What do you think of this crazy winter weather?

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Earlier this week, Paula Deen admitted to having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago. Now, she is endorsing a product, Victoza, a noninsulin injectable diabetes medication made by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

We all know who Paula Deen is, and chances are, we all know what kind of food she cooks.

Delicious. That’s what kind.

Delicious and the opposite of healthy. The sticks of butter, cups of sugar and loads of salt make her recipes so high in calories. Even on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have a hard time making one of her recipes because I know there is a healthier version that tastes just as good somewhere out there.

And, most of the time I can find a healthier version and no one can tell the difference.

Or, maybe they can and they are just being nice and tell me what I’ve cooked is good anyway.

I have a few reactions to this news:

  • I don’t think revealing this news three years earlier would have harmed her career. She could have acknowledged the insane amount of calories in her recipes and decided to make a change to the way she cooks. Instead, I’m DVRing her sons new show, “Not My Mama’s Meals.”
  • I don’t really think becoming the spokesperson for a new drug is the best PR move. I think admitting that her recipes probably have had something to do with her diagnosis would have been a better way to handle the situation.
  • I don’t fault her for continuing to cook the way she does for professional reasons. She is very successful and is fun to watch on TV. What she cooks is delicious, but should be eaten in moderation or on special occasions.

So, those are my thoughts on the situation. What are your thoughts?

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I have the same thing for breakfast five days out of the week. The. Same. Thing.

I’m not complaining, it’s my own choice. It’s just a fact.

Non-fat vanilla greek yogurt, chia seeds, and Honey Nut Cheerios or other cereals on top. It’s fast, healthy and is a great start to the day.

Greek yogurt is loaded with protein and has much less sugar than traditional yogurt. We are talking around 14 grams of protein! Chobani makes my favorite greek yogurt, and they just came out with some exciting new flavors.

So, since my breakfasts tend to be repetitive, I’ve decided to have breakfast for dinner regularly.

Since I’m omelette-challenged, I make scrambled eggs with loads of veggies. One egg and two egg whites, red peppers, spinach, tomato and broccoli.

Topped with cheese and salsa.

Delicious and so easy.

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What’s your favorite “breakfast for dinner” food?

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It’s Friday, Friday…John did not appreciate me singing this song at 7:45 this morning.

Yesterday I had my six week follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check my progress after having hip surgery. So, how am I doing?

Overall, I’m making good progress. I’ve been able to return to my normal everyday activities, such as going to work, going to the grocery, going shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. After being on crutches for over three weeks, it feels great to be able to move around and carry things.

When it comes to more physical activities, here is what I can do and what I need to work on:

  • Walking: I still have a slight limp and usually need to stop after about 15 minutes. With physical therapy, the limp should go away in the coming weeks.
  • Stairs: I can make it up a few without using the banister, but it’s not very comfortable. So, I’m usually the one holding up traffic and taking my time using the banister. Maybe I should put a sign on my back that says, “I just had hip surgery,” so people will be more understanding? Again, with physical therapy and strengthening my leg muscles, I’ll be able to handle stairs without pain.
  • “Exercise”: 40 minutes on the elliptical each day at a very low resistance
  • Swimming: freestyle only, light flutter kick or no kick
  • Scar tissue build up: I have scar tissue building up around the incisions and need to be better about massaging those areas throughout the day. The area around the scars feel a bit swollen compared to my other leg.

Two big pieces of information came out of the surgeon’s mouth during my appointment.

1. You may swim. (But don’t be stupid about it.)

2. Don’t forget you had surgery. I know you’re feeling good, but you cannot forget what we did to your hip and that it needs time to heal. Don’t do anything stupid to set yourself back. Doing more for your hip isn’t always what’s best for it (in terms of exercise, PT workouts, etc.).

Got it, doc. I can’t be stupid.

So, this morning I hopped in the pool for the first time, in oh, I don’t know, 4 years? It was great! I swam for about 40 minutes and will be paying for it tomorrow when I can’t move my arms. Even though it wasn’t an intense swim by any means, it was the first activity I’ve done since the surgery that actually made me feel like I was physically working my entire body.

I’ve been slacking on the food part of this blog, so I’ll try to get back into that!

John requested his favorite Scotcheroos for his birthday dessert (back in December!). I’d never made them before myself, but have enjoyed them with his family many times. My first attempt at making them was a success, as it’s impossible to mess these up. While these aren’t the healthiest treat, it only takes a few small bites to satisfy your sweet tooth. So, in the end, they’re really not that bad for you 🙂

Start with the sugar and corn syrup…(I try to forget this step exists, as it grossed me out while I was standing over the stove.)

Mix in the peanut butter… (I felt better after this.)

Stir in the Rice Krispies… (I started nibbling at this point.)

Put in the pan…

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips…(Don’t forget to lick the bowl!)

Layer the chocolate on the Rice Krispies…

Cut into bars…

Have a great weekend!!!

Scotcheroos (Recipe from Rice Krispies)

Ingredients:

    •    1 cup  light corn syrup
    •    1 cup  sugar
    •    1 cup  peanut butter
    •    6 cups   Kellogg’s® Cocoa Krispies® cereal
    •    or 6 cups   Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
    •    1 package  (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
    •    1 cup  butterscotch chips

Instructions:

1. Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

Note: Before measuring the corn syrup, coat your measuring cup with cooking spray–the syrup will pour easily out of the cup.

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Question: What type of exercise makes you feel like you’re working your whole body? Running? Pilates? Hiking?

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It seems like the first few weeks of the new year are always filled with “shoulds.” You know, the typical “I should go to the gym more,” or “I should keep in better touch with my friends,” or “I should clean out my closet.”

I’m not quite sure where I stand on the word “should.” Who says you should do something? Sometimes the word “should” just makes me feel like I’m falling short instead of serving as motivation. When I accomplish something it’s because I want to, not because I should.

Since my exercise routine is still very limited (and I’d still like to fit into the same pants I wore before surgery), eating healthy is important. While I was off from work from surgery, I had plenty of time to watch daytime TV. The Dr. Oz Show can be hit or miss in my opinion, but one show really caught my attention where he provided a list of the “100 foods you should have in your shopping cart.”

There’s that word again, “should.” But, since this list relates to staying healthy (and zipping up my jeans), something I want to do, I actually paid attention to it.

So, here it is.

After a little self-evaluation, here are the items that I would like to include in my diet that I would actually eat, because let’s face it, if I don’t like something, I’m not going to buy it just because Dr. Oz says I should.

Fresh Produce:

  • Melon

Frozen:

  • Berries

Seafood/Meats: (I rarely eat red meat, so I am ignoring those items)

  • Lean pork
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Canned tuna

Canned/Bottled Items:

  • Canned beans
  • Canned artichokes
  • Low-sodium sauerkraut

Deli/Cheese/Dairy

  • Eggs

Pasta/Grains/Cereals

  • Microwavable steel-cut oatmeal

Beans and Soy:

  • Lentils
  • Frozen soy burgers
  • Soy hot dots

Condiments/Herbs/Spices/Dressings/Oil

  • Vegan mayo
  • Ginger
  • Agave nectar
  • Tomato paste (Not on the list, but he mentioned it during the show as a good substitute for ketchup.)

Snack Foods/Desserts/Treats

  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Popcorn

Beverages:

  • Tea
  • Orange juice

Question: What items on this list do you want to incorporate into your diet?

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