Friday, January 13, 2012

An Amazing New Chicken Recipe AND Some Friday Fun!

With my newfound love for all things healthy, I have discovered the joy of cooking, and with cooking came experimenting! Luckily, everything I've made has come out amazing (with the exception of my first green smoothie.... I'm still hoping Muscle Man forgives me for that one... Too much superfood green powder= BAD), and this latest dish is no exception! Try it out!

Crockpot Chicken With Mushroom Gravy and Quinoa

I used Williams-Sonoma All-Natural Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy Base, but that's not necessary. Use another kind of mushroom gravy base or just a gravy base that you add mushrooms to, whatever floats your boat. We got this for Christmas, and I just happen to have fallen in love with it thanks to this dish.

Besides the mushroom gravy base:

* chicken stock, vegetable stock, or even just water
* 1/2 cup raw, diced onions (I used sweet onions)
* 2 raw chicken breasts (or more if you are feeding an army a family)
* Spices: I used rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper, parsley, and basil
* Get out your crockpot!

  1. Put the gravy in the crockpot and add the stock of your choice. I just filled this jar up with 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock, but again that's your choice. It's going to taste great regardless. :-)
  2. Add in the onions and spices of your choice. Just a DASH of cayenne pepper, as it does not take much to spice this up. The others I used VERY liberally because it cooks down nicely together and makes for an amazing flavor. Stir this all together until it's a nice mixture.
  3. Put in the chicken breasts. Make sure they're covered. If they aren't completely submerged, add more liquid.
  4. Set the crockpot on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8. I personally came home at lunch and put it on high for 4 and it turned out great.
Once I got home and saw it was done, I made a plate of quinoa for both me and Muscle Man, and carefully (the chicken falls apart easily after being in the crockpot) put the chicken on the bed of quinoa and ladeled the gravy (if you want to call it that by this point) over it. You want to know my go-to recipe for fluffy, perfect quinoa? Go HERE.

This was the result. I was so excited I made my own recipe! And it turned out amazing at that. :-)

Seriously, try it out. It's healthy, it's quick (to make that is), it's simple, and it tastes amazing. Bold flavors, very filling, and chicken does NOT get anymore tender than that. :-)

Moving right along...

One quick memo... At my age, I believe I am on the borderline of a MASSIVE generation gap. I was raised on simple yet effective mathematics (You know, 21-10= 11, that kind of stuff), I went outside to play, I knew what it meant to "adjust the antenna so we can watch the football game"... You get the picture... Well, I bought something today, and the conversation went like this:

*Total was $6.31, and I hand the guy $21.31*
Guy: "You handed me a dollar too much..."
Me: "Yeah, I don't want to deal with ones."
Guy: *Stares at me with a blank, confused look for a full 5 seconds*
Me: "Uh... My change?? It's 15 dollars...."
Guy: *Stares with a look that was either calculating or he didn't believe me*
Finally after, as I counted, 5 seconds, he hands me my change.

Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.

And now for your Friday Fun!!

I got this little gem from this wonderful woman, and it's hilarious! Put together by part of the Fitfluential team, and it's so true, yet great for a laugh. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Becoming a Krav Maga and Weight Loss Ninja

First off, tell me this isn't the cutest thing ever...
We had Christmas a little late with Muscle Man's family because some of them went on a cruise for actual Christmas (so jealous btw), and this is Muscle Man with his nephew. I told him to look at me and smile, and I got the cutest little grin EVER. His entire face scrunched up and he smiled ear to ear. Just felt like I had to share. :-)

Moving on...

So, my mom bought a Groupon for me for a month of Krav Maga classes. For those of you that don't know, Krav Maga (pronounced like "Krah-v Muh-gah") is a type of martial art that is used largely for self-defense. You can learn about it here and here if you're interested. You learn a lot of interesting fighting techniques to apply to self-defense in real-life situations. Not to mention I came home with a few abrasions and bruises.

I went to my first Krav Maga class on Saturday, and LOVED it. I learned how to NOT punch like a girl (wasn't sure if I should take offense to this or not), and we did a lot of groundwork, i.e. what to do if an assailant gets you to the ground. A few things I learned:
  • Don't wear your hair in a ponytail for class- When we switched from instruction into "real-life scenarios", the first thing the instructor did was grab my neck and ponytail and put me to the ground. Given, it was a mat and he wouldn't intentionally hurt me, but yes, it's a shock to the system. Ha.
  • You get friendly with a stranger very quickly, so get used to it- I met a girl, learned her name, and then the instructor told everyone to get in the "mount" position- i.e. on top of her like I'm the assailant. Well hello there...??!? Personal space issues anyone?!?
  • It doesn't matter if you're only in practice/instruction mode, BLOCK THE PUNCHES- I think my little 5 foot nothing, 110 lb partner had some pent-up aggression issues or something, because that girl CAN THROW A PUNCH. While I was the assailant, she flipped me and did the punches we learned, and that girl throws some crazy fast punches! I put my hands up to block, and thought she fractured my wrist bone. Note to self: DO NOT MAKE HER MAD.
  • Most important: I know how to flip people now. :-)
And due to the last important fact, the conversation with Muscle Man when I got home went like this:

Jonas: "So how was class?"
Me: "It was great!! I learned so much, and I know how to flip people now! Come here, I wanna show you what I learned!"
Jonas: *crazy look* "Uh, no."
Me: "Oh, come on! I'll go easy on you! We'll do it in slow motion so I can show you!"
Jonas: "Do I look stupid? No, I'm not attacking you. I don't want to get carpet burns."
Me: *walk over and get blanket, lay down on floor, lay out blanket beside me* "There, now come on!"
Jonas: "Why is the blanket over here?!?"
Me: "Because that's where I'm going to flip you!"
Jonas: *eyes go wide* "Flip me?!? No, hell no! I think it's great you're doing this, I support you, but I think you telling me about it will be enough. I love you, you're not flipping me."

So after realizing he would not budge on being the test dummy for my newly acquired ninja skills, I told him all about the class and how I'm looking forward to the rest of it. And that was all. :-)

I did some figuring over the weekend (yes, I know, "over the weekend" and yet I'm posting on a Wednesday... Shoot me.) and I figured out some more specific, concrete goals that I'm shooting for for 2012. I did NOT make these resolutions simply because last year I learned what happens when you set to stringent of goals too soon: Injury occurs, disappointment follows. So this year, as previously mentioned, my only true goal is to reach my goal weight by the end of the year. BUT, me being the OCD uber-planner I am, I took it a step further and made more of an action plan.

  1. Run a 10K at the Little Rock Marathon on March 4th. I have just the right amount of time until this event, and I have two other friends (at least) that are doing this race. I did the 5K last year, and I think it would be cool to have a tradition. 5K last year, 10K this year, half marathon next year, and mayyyybe full marathon in 2014? We shall see. :-)
  2. Reach goal weight by my birthday! I figured it out... 60 lbs to lose/ 30 weeks until my birthday= 2 lbs to lose a week. It is both tough yet doable. It will take a lot of focus and dedication, but I always work better under pressure. I am doing Krav Maga right now (hence the aforementioned amazing ninja skills), and also doing a long term bootcamp (utilizes a lot of TABATA, HIIT, Crossfit type, etc etc... very effective already! Details to come I'm sure!), plus the work I've been doing on my nutrition, I think this is definitely doable. And of course, let's not forget, getting in the occasional run still... :-) (As mentioned here, my love of running had to be put on a backburner until I lose a little more weight in order to avoid injury)
  3. My birthday is the starting point for a 12 week training plan for the Soaring Wings Half Marathon that I had planned to run last year, so why not aim for it this year? Regardless of whether I have reached my goal weight by my birthday, I will hopefully have lost a substantial enough amount of weight to begin a 12 week training plan for the Soaring Wings Half Marathon.
So those are more solid goals. Yes, I'm being a little harder on myself this year fitness-wise and setting some stricter goals, but the beauty of this is that it is over a year's time, which I am so happy to say is actually doable this year!

There are steps that I'm taking to help me stay focused through this. One was the action plan above. And the other two main pieces are my fitness journal (which I will describe at a later date) and my mini vision board I will be creating this weekend to stick in my cubicle (yes, cubicle... Ugh...) at work as a constant reminder. After all, we spend the majority of our time working (at least most of us do... the independently wealthy can bear with me on this one), so why not have a little piece of motivation right there? Because your board at home isn't doing you any good when someone brings donuts to the office! I will post pictures of that one later as well.

So this is me- Krav Maga and Weight Loss Ninja! I hope you'll stick around for the journey! Weight loss updates, fitness and nutrition tips, random happenings, recipes, and something I have in the works as we speak- GIVEAWAYS!! That's right ladies and gentlemen, yours truly is already getting the opportunity for giveaways, and I'm so excited! So stay tuned! :-)