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Thai Chicken Thighs with Peanut Pesto

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup organic peanut butter
3 garlic cloves
1 piece (1/2″) ginger root, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place peanut butter, garlic, ginger root, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender. Process until finely ground. Place chicken thighs in baking pan and pour peanut pesto over. Bake in 375 degrees F oven about 35 minutes. Remove to serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and green onions. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from The Chicken Book: the 43rd national chicken cooking contest.

Thai Chicken Thighs with Peanut Pesto2012-02-29T11:48:20-06:00

How to Break Through Workout Plateaus

Do you feel like you’re not making any progress with your current workout program?  Do you feel bored doing the same things? Follow these ten tips to break through your workout plateaus:

1. Change the sequence of exercises. Let’s say your weight training workout consists of 7 different exercises: lat pulldowns, squats, knee raises, dumbbell chest press, lunges, EZ bar bicep curl, and back extensions.  Depending on your intensity, you might be slowing down by the time you get to biceps and low back.  How about doing it in the reverse order? Or you can mix n match. This way you’re not over-prioritizing certain body parts, and you’ll keep your muscles guessing “What’s next?”

2. Adjust your rep scheme.  10 seems like the number of repetitions that we always aim for.  How about 12 reps?  Or 8?  Or how about lifting based on time.  For example, see how many reps you can complete in 30 seconds while maintaining good form.

3. Shorten the duration of your workout.  Some of my best workouts are only 30 minutes long.  I keep a quick pace while giving myself little rest between sets.  When I’m finished, I feel energized versus in need of a nap.

4. Change your weight scheme.  There are days when you have more energy than others, so adjust your weights to match.  After a 10-hour workday, it’s okay to train a little lighter.  As I tell my clients, train by intuition.  Your body will thank you for it.

5. Try circuit training. Circuit training is a combination of high-intensity aerobics plus resistance training.  A “circuit” is one completion of all  exercises in the program.  When one circuit is complete, you can start at the beginning again for another circuit.

6. Exercise at a different time of day.  Look at your schedule and see when is another time to exercise.  Before work, during lunch, after work?  Changing just one workout time a week can help break through plateaus.

7. Change locations.  Get out of the gym and do something different.  Go for a walk, take a dance class, exercise to a video at home.  A change of scenery is always helpful.

8. Take a break.  Workout plateaus may be a sign of overtraining which can lead to injury.  So give your body a rest.  A few days break and you’ll come back refreshed.

9. Focus on food.  I often run into people who exercise several hours a week and don’t see any progress.  Instead of working out harder, work smarter.  Take a look at what you eat.  Just a slight change in your diet can lead to big results.

10. Revisit your WHY.  Remember WHY you’re waking up at 5AM to workout.  Remember WHY you’re preparing healthy meals for the week.  You have goals.  Spend more time with your goals and less time on the process.  You’ll enjoy the journey and achieve your goals faster.

How to Break Through Workout Plateaus2010-03-02T08:27:39-06:00

Lentil Minestrone with Greens

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt to taste
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 lb lentils (brown or beluga), washed and picked over
2 1/2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1/2 lb Swiss chard, mustard greens or kale, stemmed, washed and roughly chopped (~6 cups)
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup elbow macaroni or other soup pasta (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan for serving

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add half the garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir together for a minute, just until the garlic is fragrant, and add the tomatoes and their liquid. Turn up the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in lentils, water, bay leaf, sprigs of thyme and parsley, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, salt to taste and add the greens. Continue to simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in pasta, and continue to simmer until the pasta is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve. Yields 6 to 8.
(recipe from nytimes.com)

Lentil Minestrone with Greens2012-02-28T18:10:03-06:00

Green Curry Chicken

Heather recently bought me The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. Last week I tried this recipe and it turned out great!

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
2 cups coconut milk (I used low-fat)
1-2 tbsp green curry paste
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil or coriander leaves
4 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Cook chicken pieces in 2 tbsp peanut oil. Once lightly browned, add coconut milk and curry paste. Cook for approx 15 minutes. Add fish sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add basil simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Green Curry Chicken2012-02-28T18:01:43-06:00

Give the Gift of Fitness this Holiday Season

Here are 5 reasons to pick Eric (in his own words) as your Fitness Professional:

1. Experience. I am a nationally certified personal trainer with over 15 years of experience. My clients come from all walks of life: from 11 to 89 years of age, from eating disorders to sports rehabilitation, from elite athletes to people living with cancer, from expectant mothers to competitive body builders, and with everyday people who just want to be in better shape.

2. Fun! While I may not be a standup comedian, I do my best to make your workouts fun and one of the highlights of your day.

3. Privacy. You’ll enjoy 60-minute training sessions with NO distractions. It’s just you and me. You can even pick your preferred music station, listen to your favorite CD, or bring your iPOD.

4. Safety. My goal is to create a safe and positive environment. Not only is the workout equipment in tip-top shape, but the exercises that you’ll learn are safe and tailored for you.

5. Competitive Rates. Prices are $55-$70 per session depending on the package you purchase. Click here for more info.

Give the Gift of Fitness this Holiday Season2010-01-20T13:33:04-06:00

Carrot-Ginger Soup


Salute the last of the fresh root vegetables dug out of the earth before winter’s freeze, and cook up this comforting and savory soup.

1 1/2 cups onions, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups peeled and sliced carrots
4 small redskin potatoes, chopped
2 tbsp ginger roots, finely minced (about 2 inches)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch hot curry powder
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Half pint cream (or substitute 1 can coconut milk)

In a large pot over low heat, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 4 minutes, allowing them to sweat but not brown. Add carrots, potatoes, ginger and broth (add coconut milk, if using) and simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in the blender (we used a hand-held immersion blender) and return to pot. Add salt, paprika, turmeric and curry powder and stir in orange juice and cream (if using). Heat through but do not allow to boil. Garnish soup with roasted pumpkin seeds or big croutons.

Recipe by Emily Betz Tyra associate editor of Traverse magazine

Carrot-Ginger Soup2009-12-03T09:12:35-06:00

Chili Pie

If you’re in a hurry, you can serve this spicy Tex-Mex chili in a prepared pie crust, without the crust, or in taco shells. For an extra flourish, top it with sliced avocado and a generous spoonful of sour cream.


For the crust:
1 cup pie crust mix
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium-size green pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
4 scallions, white part thinly sliced; green tops thinly sliced (optional garnish)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, coriander, and cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives
1 can (10 oz) red kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (optional topping)

For the crust: In a medium-size bowl, combine the pie crust mix, cornmeal, sugar, and red pepper. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and stir just until mixture comes together.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to make a pastry shell. Press the dough into the pie pan and flute the edges. Poke the pastry with a fork in several places to prevent it from bubbling up when cooking. Bake, uncovered, until lightly crisped around the edges – about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the filling: Heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat for 1 minute. Saute the scallions and garlic for a minute or so.. Stir in cocoa, chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and salt, and saute 1 minute longer. Add the beef and saute until browned – about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft – about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and corn and black olives.
Spoon the filling into the baked pie shell and bake, uncovered, until bubbling – 12 to 15 minutes. Spoon dollops of sour cream on top of the pie and sprinkle with sliced scallion tops if desired. (Instead of sour cream, we used yogurt and also added cilantro as a garnish)
Recipe from Reader’s Digest One Dish Meals, The Easy Way

Chili Pie2009-12-03T09:10:03-06:00

Junk food turns rats into addicts

Junk food elicits addictive behavior in rats similar to that caused by heroin, a new study finds. Pleasure centers in the brains of rats addicted to high-fat, high-calorie diets become less responsive as bingeing wears on, making the rats consume more and more food, researchers reported October 20. The findings may help explain how changes in the brain could lead people to overeat. Click here to read the whole story.

Junk food turns rats into addicts2009-12-03T09:06:50-06:00
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