There was a lot of chicken making and eating in the house so far this week. OK, well not a lot, but more than the norm.
One recipe I made for dinner one night was new and super simple and quite delicious.
The other recipe was one that I have been making for years. And it usually just comes out for special occasions … like the Kansas City Royals playing in the World Series for the first time in 29 years.
Sauced ‘n’ simmered dijon chicken
The first recipe I made was another one of Hungry Girl’s creations: sauced ‘n’ simmered dijon chicken.
I was looking for something that was simple with few ingredients. And I just happened to have all the ingredients needed already.
If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner to make this is a good one.
I did alter the recipe because once the chicken was cooked it didn’t look like a lot of food, like the picture did.
Curt asked if we had any rice. And I have the brown rice from Trader Joe’s, which you can throw in the microwave and have hot and ready in three minutes.
I also made some carrots to go along with the meal and even poured a little balsamic vinegar over the carrots for a little tasty pizazz.
The sauce on the chicken was excellent and so simple. If you aren’t a meat eater, I would recommend trying the sauce on tofu. I think it would be rather tasty. (Though I haven’t tried the recipe this way. I may have to at some point.)
Baked “fried” chicken
The second was a recipe I found on the box of Safeway corn flakes years ago for baked “fried” chicken.
I made the baked “fried” chicken because it is one of Curt’s favorites. It tends to come out for certain special sporting events.
I taught a yoga class last night and didn’t get home until close to 9. So I prepared the chicken ahead of time and had The Husband throw the chicken in the oven before I got home from class.
The recipe from Epicurious is very similar to how I make my baked “fried” chicken. But here’s what I did:
- Six drumsticks (you can obviously make more–you will just have to adjust the corn flakes and butter used)
- 1 1/4 cup of corn flakes crushed
- Dash of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of egg whites
- 1 tablespoon of fat free milk
- 1/8 cup of melted Country Crock spread
To make these more healthy friendly you can remove the skin from the chicken, which I didn’t do. But I may next time.
I poured the corn flakes into a sandwich baggie and added salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (optional) into the bag. I then crushed the flakes with a rolling pin.
I poured the flakes into one bowl. In a second bowl I added the egg whites and milk. I hardly used any of the egg whites/milk concoction. Just enough the coat the chicken so the corn flakes would stick.
I sprayed Cooking Spray canola oil on a baking sheet. I took each drumstick and rolled it around in the egg whites/milk. Then dipped it in the corn flakes and put it on the baking sheet.
Once all the drumsticks were covered in the corn flakes I melted 2 tablespoons of Country Crock spread and poured a little over each drumstick.
Set the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Easy to make and marinate chicken breasts
Another easy chicken recipe my mother-in-law shared with me years ago is to marinate chicken breasts in light Italian dressing.
I took a cooking class years ago with my dad, Hilda and Curt in Napa. Our teacher Julie told us most marinades only need to “soak” for an hour.
I like to buy the chicken breast that is frozen and preferably individually packaged. I take one or two breasts out the night before or morning of the day we are planning to have them for dinner.
When I was still working full time I would defrost during the day. I would come home from work and put the chicken breasts into a baggie to marinate in the fridge while I headed to yoga class.
Once I got home I would fire up the George Foreman grill and about 10 minutes later we would have an easy and healthy dinner.
The marinated chicken breast in dressing may seem like a no-brainer to some of you. But to someone like me who is a novice in the kitchen thought it was brilliant and still make chicken this way pretty regularly.
Make sure to check out the Recipes tab for information on these recipes and others as well.
So there you go, cookin’ chicken in the kitchen. Happy Wednesday!
Recently I saw stuff about Jennifer Garner and her baby bump.
She’s had three kids and now there is a bump and she says it ain’t going away.
Society as a whole is so obsessed with women and their weight.
Why don’t we talk about men and their bellies? Wow, he musta put down a 6-pack last night and a bag of Doritos! How is he gonna show off his body in that bathing suit next month??!!
In the silly movie, Couples Retreat, all the women are in super amazing (dare I say, unrealistic) shape and the guy’s are a bunch of out of shape slobs. I realize our bodies can’t be perfect, but what message is that sending? This is the best picture I could find of the whole main cast.
Guess what, friends? You can have a “baby bump” and have never even had a baby.
It’s called a big meal, being bloated, stress, water retention, bad posture, a little extra weight on the tummy, etc.
Most of my life I was “skinny.” I seriously hate that word. And then one day I wasn’t and my metabolism changed and over many years I gained weight.
And then after seven years of weight gain I decided I needed to be and feel healthy. So I lost 30 pounds in seven months. But I still struggle to maintain my goal weight.
I have wide hips and a big butt and no matter how much weight I lose those will not go away. And if I am holding a little extra weight it goes to the tummy, hips, butt and thighs.
Weight gain for many women, especially in the tummy, can be because of stress.
This article on the Stress Cortisol Connection does a great job of describing stress hormones and how they work in our bodies. It’s a scientific paper, but it is written well that a laywoman can understand.
I seriously encourage everyone to do some research on cortisol and adrenaline. We are living in a highly-stressed society and we need to find ways to change that (such as Restorative Yoga).
I figured since I left my highly stressful job that the weight would just fall off. I have been so much less stressed, eating healthy and exercising regularly and the weight has slowly lowered (but not at the pace I was hoping for).
And then I went on vacation and ate and drank what I wanted and enjoyed it and now I am back to a healthy routine.
But for myself I need to be patient with my life getting back to healthy. I definitely feel a lot better and shouldn’t fret so much over the weight.
Analyzing whether a woman is pregnant or not is a form of fat shaming and it needs to stop. Who cares if someone is pregnant. Or not. Isn’t that their business?
How would you feel if someone asked you if you were pregnant and you weren’t? Or blasted it all over the Internet?
Let’s celebrate our bumps, curves and anything else our bodies come with.
I literally (pen to paper) wrote this post on Wednesday (October 15).
As a native Arizonan and Tucsonan (born, bred and educated) I spent many summers in San Diego, as did many other Arizonans.
Getting a tan, running my toes through the sand and the smell of salt water … that’s my ideal and dream vacation. Throw in an exotic location and it’s my paradise.
As I am handwriting this post (will take to the keyboard later–aka now) I am sitting on a private island on Bora Bora soaking up the sun (I am fully covered in sun screen), looking at the turquoise water, hearing the waves roll in and feeling so lucky … and happy.
(The photo above was taken right after I wrote this post.)
As you know my dear readers, things have changed a lot on my life in the past month. September 15 was my last day in the corporate world. Today as I take pen to paper it is Wednesday, October 15.
Six days ago (now, nine days) I turned 40. In 10 days (now seven) I celebrate my 11th wedding anniversary.
While on probably the most exotic vacation I will ever take I have been really trying to enjoy it, which means limiting my time on Facebook. (I can’t believe the people I have seen glued to their phones while on the beach or at the bar during an amazing sunset.)
But I, of course, have been on Facebook somewhat. In the past few days I have been made aware that elementary school friends lost their dad unexpectedly … and a high school friend who was only a year or two older than me died.
Wow! Life really is too short. And we really don’t know how much time we have on this precious earth.
We all must pay our bills and be adults. We have responsibilities.
But let’s not forget what is really important: Being happy. Finding your paradise.
And that means different things for each and everyone of us.
Paradise for me is heading to Hawaii, Europe, Turks & Caicos, Bora Bora, spending time with my family (well, most of the time), among a few other amazing things …
Your paradise may be climbing to the top of Mt. Everest, sipping wine in your beautiful backyard, riding a roller coaster, skydiving, preparing and eating a delicious meal, going to Burning Man, taking on your dream job, buying a house, going to Disneyland, embarking the Camino de Santiago, renovating a bathroom in your home, swimming with sharks, quitting a dead end job, reading a great book, fitting into those leather pants from college, completing a marathon, binge watching a favorite or new TV show, having your team play in the World Series for the first time in 29 years, watching an amazing movie, completing your first or you 101st spin class, making a new great friend, unconditional love, taking a trek on the Inca trail …
Whatever your paradise is, grab on and do it. Because life is too short to forget to make yourself happy.
Friends, today I turned 40.
I have no issues with being 40. In fact, I am excited about it.
I have looked forward to this day for many years.
I have always looked much younger than I actually am. So I like shocking people with my true age. Just the other day someone told me they thought I was in my 20s.
Plus, years ago I decided my 40th birthday trip would be in Tahiti. And tomorrow Curt and I head off to Tahiti for a week! Eeeekkk! Can’t wait.
(For Curt’s 40th birthday trip we hit Oktoberfest in Munich. We also visited Budapest and Prague and had dinner with friends one night in Vienna. And had a chance to visit our German “family” in Stuttgart. That was a great trip.)
I remember when I thought 40 was old. Let me tell you kids … it isn’t.
For a long time in my early adulthood life was challenging. But that molded me to be the person I am today.
So far I have lived a fulfilling life. I have had to work hard for everything I have and everything I have done. And I am proud of that.
Today I am sporting a shirt that says: Made in 1974. 40 years of being awesome. (Check out the Facebook page here.)
A few months back I found an article titled, 10 things no one tells women about turning 40.
Some great take aways from the article:
- … You turn a corner and start feeling comfortable in your own skin. …
- You go to bed when you are tired. …
- You become resilient. …
- You remember to tell people that you love them. …
- You have a close knit circle of amazing friends. …
- And the best one of all: You don’t have to buy into the cultural messages that you get bombarded with about getting older. It is all crap. Being 40 is awesome.
I started out as a journalist, working as an editor at two different newspapers; then took a leap of faith and moved to the Bay Area with The Husband (who had gotten a good job) with no job and got lucky with a chance to prove I could learn new skills and work in the legal department of a biotech for 9+ years.
And now I am starting a new chapter.
As I have mentioned in the past since my FUNemployment began I have a long to do list of things, including getting healthy.
And one of the many ways I am working on getting back to healthy (and hopefully lose a few pounds in the process) is by experimenting with recipes and cooking.
I will be out of town next week and the amount of blogging (and cooking for sure) will be minimal if at all.
So I thought this week I would share three recipes I have been experimenting with lately.
My friend and GFG! reader who suggested the Recipes tab told me about a soup she easily makes in the blender.
I experimented with her idea and came up with this:
- 3 medium raw tomatoes
- 1/4 onion
- fresh basil
Throw all the ingredients into a blender. Apparently some blenders, such as the Vitamix, have a heat function. My Ninja doesn’t. If your blender has the heat function you can blend and warm your soup at the same time. I had to pour my cold soup into a pot and heat up. I guess you could also put in the microwave.
The soup was easy to make and healthy. If you have a high powered blender you don’t have to chop your veggies up too much before putting in the blender.
If you want the soup more liquidy you could always add water or broth as well, which I didn’t do.
This soup was good for a light lunch. I don’t remember now what else I had with it. But I likely paired it with a salad or something with some protein.
One night for dinner I made Hungry Girl’s healthy beef empanada recipe. Curt and I both enjoyed the empanadas. I used fresh homemade salsa as a topping and had refried beans as a side.
One of the ingredients in the recipe called for Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet. I had trouble finding this. I found what seemed like all the rest of Pillsbury’s creations.
So I decided to try pie crusts instead. They worked. They just weren’t shaped as pretty as they could be.
I had no idea what broccoli cole slaw (another ingredient for the recipe) was or that something like that even existed. But I found it with the bagged salads.
The empanadas were easy to make and were quite tasty. My recipe made 12 small empanadas.
Because the recipe made 12 empanadas there were plenty of leftovers. The night after I made them Curt had friends over to watch baseball. (I was gone teaching a yoga class and attending a 5-hour yoga workshop.) I encouraged him to share the empanadas since there were so many.
As I was coming home from the workshop I was hungry and looking forward to an empanada or two. I got home and they were all GONE!
I am pleased the gang liked them. And apparently they really liked the pie crust used in the recipe. I had thought I would try to find the right dough next time I make these. But maybe I will just try to reshape the pie crusts.
During my first week off from work I asked Curt what his mom made when he was a kid that he really enjoyed.
He said pot roast and “you make a really good apple crisp.”
At that point I am not sure if I had ever even had pot roast before and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was.
Of course, Hungry Girl to the rescue with a recipe with her Crock-pot roast.
Her recipe is loaded with a lot of vegetables. You throw everything in the Crock Pot and cook all day long. The house smelled so good while the beef and veggies cooked away.
And it made for some good leftovers.
I also made an apple crisp, a recipe of Curt’s mom. You use a whole stick of butter for it so I am gonna go thinking it is not so healthy. But I did notice Hungry Girl has a similar recipe on her site and it calls for a lot less butter. I may try that one at some point. Stay tuned.
Make sure to check out the Recipes tab for information on these three recipes and others as well.
Over this past weekend I attended two 5-hour yoga workshops.
There were supposed to be three, but unfortunately the Friday Fibromyalgia yoga workshop was canceled.
I attended the two workshops at Piedmont Yoga Studio.
Piedmont explains a little about the workshops: Adaptive yoga is the tailoring of the practice to people who are not “sick” but have physical limitations. This 2-day workshop explains the benefits of yoga in helping with issues such as pain, mobility and emotional states.
Saturday was on yoga and Parkinson’s with one of my favorite yoga teachers and people, Vickie.
Vickie has been teaching people with Parkinson’s for many years and has learned so much along that journey.
During my yoga teacher training we were required to observe and assist 25 hours of classes with any of the teachers who were part of the program.
I observed some of Vickie’s Parkinson’s classes. It was fascinating and I always felt happy while there. And I learned so much. There are so many ways to do Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations).
And the best thing I learned was that yoga is accessible to everyone, no matter your limitations.
Something I really like that Vickie says is to teach to the possibility not the disability.
A simple and great way to explain what Parkinson’s does to someone is that the brain fails to communicate with the body.
In the workshop we learned some great tips on how to work with someone with Parkinson’s or any other mobility issues or even beginners.
I am excited to show my 93-year-old grandpa at some point how he can easily get himself up off the floor. He always jokes that he can’t do yoga because he can get on the floor but he can’t get up. No more excuses, Grandpa!
Sunday was on yoga and emotional challenges.
We all need healing at some point in our lives.
The energy for healing lies in ourselves. Your yoga teacher (or therapist) is just your guide. I think that is important for all of us to remember.
Right now I am trying to absorb and learn as much as I can. I feel lucky to live in an area that provides so much learning. Since June (when I graduated from yoga teacher training) I have taken at least four workshops and attended a 20-hour Restorative Yoga teacher training.
You want to know the real reason I quit my job?
I wasn’t happy.
I was also becoming a person I didn’t like.
And that definitely needed to change.
When I started my yoga teacher training about a year ago (can’t believe that was a year ago) it wasn’t my intention to quit my job and solely be a yoga teacher.
I planned to teach on the side and maybe eventually move more full time into health and wellness, which would include being a yoga teacher and blogger (and maybe a few other things I have up my sleeve), but like everything in life, things changed.
I have many things to do on my to do list. But the No. 1 item is to be happy.
I can’t be the best me if I am not happy and good to myself.
A few friends have asked me: Are you teaching full time? Where are you teaching?
No to the first question. Keep reading for an answer to the second question.
First, yoga teachers can’t possibly work 40 hours a week as a yoga teacher. Most teachers have to travel to multiple studios (or gyms) for classes, teaching can be emotionally and physically draining and part of teaching is planning a sequence, doing research, practicing the sequence, etc.
Second, when you first start off as a yoga teacher you have to hustle your gigs. I was lucky enough to have a friend who is also a part-time yoga teacher (she has a 40+ hour a week job in the corporate world) help me get a subbing gig at her gym.
I have periodically been subbing for the regular yoga teacher at Alameda Athletic Club, conveniently located next to Doggy Style, a hot dog place. She is going on maternity leave and I will take over her three classes a week while she is out.
I am contacting a few other gyms near me (Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville) to see if they need yoga teacher subs.
As I get sub gigs or my own regular class (which would be the ultimate) I will keep that information updated on the tab: My Yoga Classes.
A friend at the gym recently asked me, what do you do all day?
I am not sitting on the couch eating bon-bons, drinking flavored vodka and binge watching terrible daytime TV. Though that sounds pretty awesome.
First, all that crap I had to cram in while working 40+ hours and enduring a long commute I am getting done with no stress: grocery shopping, Target shopping, other errands, cooking, running the household, paying bills, etc.
I am working on the blog: research for better and more in-depth posts, the new Recipes tab, and other blog tasks. And I’ve been working on getting my e-mail inbox under control.
I am back with my regular yoga home practice while also working on sequences I will be teaching (check out My Yoga Class tab here), going to the gym regularly (noon spin class is so much easier to get to these days) and getting in lots of yoga classes, some of which are during the day.
I’ve been able to be a Lady Who Lunches with a few friends recently.
I am researching gyms and yoga studios in the area and hustling some more gigs.
I am cooking more. I am taking time to research recipes (which is good for the blog, too, and especially the Recipes tab) and make nutritious and healthy meals for Curt and me.
There are all those projects at home that have been neglected. The pantry was a disaster and has already been reorganized. There are some scary closets in this house that need to be tackled. There is a pile of bills and receipts I need to file away–yes, I do that. I could go on …
I try not to get too wrapped up into Facebook or get hooked on the TV. I have my laptop set up at the kitchen table. For some reason I prefer sitting in the kitchen for now instead of the spare room/office/yoga room. I work at the computer usually a few hours a day.
So yea, I am keeping myself busy. And occasionally during the day I watch an episode or two of Queer as Folk–the show I am currently obsessed with. But I limit myself on how much I am watching in one sitting.
I am getting a lot of stuff done. But I am also taking care of me and getting back the Ann I want to be. So far it is going pretty great.
Since my recent “FUNemployment” began I have been trying to cook more. It’s not something I enjoy. But really to ensure I eat healthy (and not spend a ton of money) I need to cook at home often.
Because I have more time to plan meals, look up healthy recipes online, shop and execute the deliciously healthy nutritious meals cooking is much more tolerable.
A lot of my meal research comes from Hungry Girl. The website description says: healthy recipes, low-calories foods, weight-loss advice, diet tips ‘n’ tricks.
I have been a fan of Hungry Girl for years. I have a few of her cookbooks. I even went to one of her book signings.
Hungry Girl comes up with recipes we know and love and finds healthier and/or lower calorie versions of so many dishes.
My goal is to feature a recipe every week (or so) on the new Recipes tab here on GFG!
Last week one night for dinner I made ahi tuna steaks. I asked Curt what he wanted with the tuna. He requested a starch. (Don’t worry, we also had green beens.)
My research on the World Wide Web told me that mashed potatoes were a good starch with tuna.
For myself I made Hungry Girl’s miracle mashies. For Curt I used the same recipe minus the cauliflower.
(When looking up the recipe on the link above scroll down passed the cheesy-good cornbread muffins, which now I have to make. Yum! AND, I am also gonna try that HG’s hot tamale pie.)
If you are trying to get more vegetables in your diet or someone else’s this is a great way to sneak it in. The cauliflower is almost undetectable.
I seriously had no ideas for an October Monthly Challenge. I was just not going to do one.
But I decided to post on the Monthly Challenge Facebook page asking friends if they had any suggestions. And I got two almost immediately. Thanks, Rosie and Jen!
My friend Rosie is from the UK and this month is Stoptober, which means being sober and smoke-free for the month. Read more about it here.
If you’re a smoker, this might be a great time to think about quitting. It may not happen this month. But think about how much healthier (and nicer smelling) you will be if you quit.
I told Rosie that this is my birthday month and there is no way I am gonna give up drinking even with the supposed gold pass of one time to cheat this month. I mean, I am going to Tahiti next week and plan on having a lot of fuu-fuu drinks!
But hey, it’s always a good idea to limit alcohol. So maybe keep your drinking to only the weekends. Or cut your usual alcohol intake in half. Or if you really want to get crazy, try not drinking for the whole month. We wanna hear all about that. Maybe even a guest post?
My friend Jen mentioned that it is breast cancer awareness month, which means we will be seeing a lot of pink.
Being active and eating healthy is what we can do for our preventive health. All of us women know that we should be going to the doctor for our annual check up AND doing breast self-exams also as a form of preventive health.
If you haven’t seen your doctor yet this year for your annual, call and make an appointment. If you are on the mammogram schedule, have you had yours this year? If not, call and make an appointment. Have you been keeping up with your monthly breast self-exams? If not, next time you are in the shower, just do it.
If you are one of my male readers, no reason you can’t participate in the preventive health part of this month’s challenge. Have you gone for your physical this year? If you are on the prostate check schedule, have you had your exam this year?
There are so many ways we can (and should) stay healthy. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else.
Feel free to make comments below on how the challenges are going this month. You can also post on the GFG! Monthly Challenge Facebook page.
For about 2 1/2-three weeks earlier this month my lips were super dry, like I have never felt before.
It started about a week before I left my job. So there was a lot of stress and a lot of super unhealthy eating and drinking going on.
The cheesy potluck at work seemed to trigger it, or at least that was when I first noticed.
I believe that stress, unhealthy eating and drinking were causes of the dry lips. But I also believe vata also played into this as well.
As we transition into Autumn in the ayurveda system, which is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment and yogic breathing, we are in vata.
Vata represents chaos, movement and wind.
Vata is the dosha (three fundamental principles formed by a combination of two elements) that represents the air and ether elements, according to ayurvedic construct; vata controls the movement of fluids and cells through the body, as well as the activity of organs, muscles, nerves and thought.
Because my regular lips balms of choice were not working I started doing some research. I also altered my diet a bit (nothing too drastic) on my first day of not working.
My water intake increasing heavily as I have been taking in more than the norm of my at least eight 8 oz. servings of water a day (thought it is usually close to 10) with anywhere from 11-16 servings of water a day. I started a minor morning detox with having a morning green smoothie for breakfast during the week and much healthier snacks and meals along with no alcohol for a few days.
My healthy eating habits have remained while tracking my food intake. And I am still monitoring my alcohol intake and keeping it to a minimum.
In my research on dry lips I found some information about petrolatum, which is petroleum jelly. Some research shows (from a Livestrong article) that the side effects of petrolatum including finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne.
The eos lip balm I like is packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E and natural conditioning oils to keep your lips moist and soft while protecting them from the sun while being petrolatum and paraben free, according to the eos website.
According to How Stuff Works, you should avoid buying lips balms containing phenyl salicylate (salon) or propyl gallate as they can cause contact allergies.
Also from How Stuff Works, when looking for a lip palm you should check for ingredients such as petrolatum, beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, or oils such as almond or jojoba to help lock in moisture and soften and protect lips.
So as you can see, I am getting different information from different sources. Some say petrolatum is not good for you, others seem to think it is.
I don’t know if it was the change in my diet, my environment, that I was using Vaseline and Blistex or s combination of all but my lips are back to normal.
I had to use what worked for me. We can do research and read lots of stuff. But in the end you have to decide what is best for you, which is what I did.