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48 Birthday Push-ups

How did I celebrate my 48th birthday today? With 48 push-ups of course. Watch the video.

48 Birthday Push-ups2021-03-25T13:53:02-05:00

Pumpkin Chicken Curry Recipe

Looking for an easy to prepare and tasty chicken curry recipe? Here’s one from Costco Connection magazine that we tried yesterday. How did it turn out?  It was nice, but compared to my Mom’s chicken curry recipe that uses chicken thigh meat and drumsticks, it was not quite as rich and flavorful. And remember that you can make adjustments to this recipe based on what ingredients you have in the kitchen and your own personal tastes. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp canola oil, divided (we used grape seed oil)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

3/4 cup chopped yellow onion

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced (we used 2 cloves)

2 Tbsp yellow curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (we used homemade pumpkin puree)

1/2 cup coconut milk

 

Directions

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Add chicken. Cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from skillet.

Lower heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp oil, then add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.  

Stir in the curry powder, spices and salt. Cook mixture 1 minute. 

Add chicken back to skillet. Stir in pumpkin and coconut milk. Once sauce is simmering, reduce heat to low and let cook additional 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or another grain. Makes 6 servings. 

 

Optional: Garnish with shredded coconut, peanuts, raisins, diced apple and sliced banana.

My Recommendation: For more flavor, use chicken thigh meat and cook in cow ghee (clarified butter). 

Also, remember that curry powders are not all the same.  I like to kick it up a notch and add more chili powder.

Pumpkin Chicken Curry Recipe2021-03-24T10:54:02-05:00

Deep Breathing Technique for Reducing Stress and Increasing Relaxation

If you ever feel uptight, anxious or stressed, you might notice a headache coming on, an upset stomach or muscles tightening in your face, neck or back. The solution? You rub your temples with your fingers, drink some ginger tea, and stretch your shoulders. Another way to increase relaxation is by doing some deep breathing. Watch my video and learn a breathing technique to reduce stress in seconds.

Deep Breathing Technique for Reducing Stress and Increasing Relaxation2021-03-15T12:14:50-05:00

Ramen with Charred Pork Recipe

My son, Bruce, has been watching a Japanese animated TV series where the main character attends culinary school. In various episodes, the 15 year old boy challenges and is challenged by other students to see who’s the best Freshman chef. At the end of the season, there is a big tournament. Sounds a lot like Iron Chef. Bruce really enjoyed the episodes, and as a result, expressed interest in preparing a meal for the family. Yay! He researched and chose Ramen with Charred Pork recipe from Food Network Magazine. Pretty ambitious for his first time. How did it turn out? I thought the soup was excellent. Fresh ingredients and flavorful. And the broth was not overly seasoned or salty. The most challenging thing for Bruce was timing the cooking of the noodles, pork, broth and eggs. Lots of things needed to happen at once. So if you’re in the mood for a delicious challenge, give this ramen recipe a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine the chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water, the sliced ginger, 3 smashed garlic cloves, 2 cut-up scallions, the shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and rice wine in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are soft and the broth is flavorful, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, minced garlic, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Prick the pork chops all over with a fork and add to the bowl; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the pork chops until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. (*I interceded at this point and suggested cooking the pork for longer. I’m glad I did. Otherwise, the pork would have been seriously undercooked.) Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice the pork chops.
  4. Bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Gently add the eggs in their shells, return to a simmer and cook 6 1/2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel the eggs and cut in half. 
  5. Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, stirring often. Drain and divide among 4 bowls.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate pot. Add the spinach and stir to wilt slightly. Ladle the broth and spinach over the noodles and top with the pork, sliced scallions and eggs; season with shichimi togarashi. (We didn’t have the seasoning.)

 

Ramen with Charred Pork Recipe2021-03-11T15:54:07-06:00

We Made Homemade Sushi

For the first time ever, we made sushi the other night. We used smoked salmon and cooked shrimp, and it turned out delicious. The rolls didn’t look as perfect as the ones at Restaurant Muramoto, but I was pleased nonetheless. For guidance, we followed the directions on the back of the Organic Pacific Sushi Nori (edible seaweed) package. It was a fun family activity and definitely a learning experience. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Ingredients

10 sheets Emerald Cove Organic Sushi Nori

2 cups sushi rice (we used white long grain rice and it didn’t work very well)

2 1/4 cups water

1/4 cup brown rice vinegar (we used regular rice vinegar)

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp salt (we used 1/2 tsp)

a bamboo mat or thick cloth napkin (We used a cloth napkin, and I feel that the rigidity of a bamboo mat would be preferable. I will pick one up the next time we make sushi.)

 

Rice Preparation

Rinse and drain rice in water three times or until rinse water is clear. Allow the rice to rest for about 30 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups water and a pinch of salt to a pot, then bring to boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until rice has absorbed almost all the water. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes before removing cover. Mix sugar, salt and vinegar and pour over rice. Stir rice thoroughly but gently with wooden fork or bamboo rice paddle. Rice is ready to use when it has cooled to room temperature. (Do not refrigerate, as this will harden rice, making it impossible to roll.)

* Since I used regular long grain white rice, I used 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water. Simmering time was double almost triple the time. 

 

Fillings

Any combination of long, thin slices of avocado, cucumber, carrot, daikon, cooked burdock root, tofu, raw sashimi-style fish, cooked shrimp, egg, chicken . . .whatever you wish. Garnish with umeboshi paste, pickled ginger, wasabi, toasted sesame seeds or your own favorite.

* We used avocado, cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, cucumber, carrot and wasabi. I really wish we had some pickled ginger.

 

Rolling the Sushi

Place nori sheet on bamboo mat or napkin. Wet hands in cold, salted water to prevent rice from sticking to them. Spread rice evenly over the nori about 3/8 inch thick, covering all but a two inch strip along the farthest edge from you. (Be careful that you don’t spread rice too close along side edges.)

Lay first choice of fillings in a row at the near edge and add garnish.

Moisten the far edge of the nori with fingers dipped in water, and roll the mat firmly. Remove the mat as you go, and press the moistened end edge against the roll to seal. 

Place the roll seam side down, moisten knife to prevent sticking, and carefully slice roll into 6 to 8 pieces. (Make sure you are using a sharp knife.) To serve, pour shoyu or tamari in a shallow bowl to dip sushi slices in. 

 

We Made Homemade Sushi2021-02-26T13:59:57-06:00

Middleton Chamber of Commerce Member Spotlight

Hey, Everyone! It’s Eric here, and I hope you’re having a fantastic February. I’d like to share with you a Q & A that I recently did with the Middleton Chamber of Commerce.  I have been a member of the chamber for over 16 years, attended numerous events and have made some wonderful connections. Not only have I learned firsthand what’s going on in Middleton (ie: new developments, updates about the school district, downtown businesses, etc.) but ways to get involved and help make our community even better. Enjoy!  It’s called Member Spotlight.

Middleton Chamber of Commerce Member Spotlight2021-02-19T16:42:11-06:00

Rows, Rows, Rows for Your Back

We all have our favorite strengthening exercises. Mine have always been prone bench rows. Why? I like how the movement feels and how my body responds. While performing dumbbell or barbell rows, my shoulders remain secure and my arms never feel overstretched like when I do heavy lat pulls. Rows work the rhomboids (muscles of the inner back that are between the shoulder blades and spine), upper and lower trapezius muscles (together they make the shape of a diamond), posterior deltoids (rear shoulders), biceps and latissimus dorsi (muscles on the sides of the back). So as you can see, back rows cover a lot of territory. Below are 3 video demos to get you started. Enjoy!

 

Rows, Rows, Rows for Your Back2021-01-19T09:08:24-06:00

Colombian Ajiaco (Chicken and Potato Soup)

With 4-5 inches of snow expected today, it is definitely soup weather. Yesterday I perused the December issue of the Willy Street Co-op Reader and looked at the recipe section. The Chicken and Potato Soup recipe looked great. We had most of the ingredients, so I didn’t need to go to the grocery store. As always, we made some adjustments for taste and what was available. It turned out absolutely delicious. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

1.5 pounds boneless skinless thigh meat, chopped (recipe called for breast meat, but I prefer the flavor of dark meat)

1 yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt (recipe called for 1 tbsp)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground black pepper

4 cups chicken stock

1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped

1.5 cups corn kernels

1 green onion, chopped (recipe called for a bunch, but we didn’t have that much)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp dried oregano

2 avocadoes, cut into cubes

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (recipe called for sour cream)

 

Directions

Place chicken in a casserole dish and top with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. (Recipe suggests 8 to 24 hours.)  

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken with the garlic and onion and brown for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock and raise heat to high. Bring to boil, then lower to medium-low heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender.   

[At this point we made a significant change. The recipe calls for removing the chicken and then cooking the potatoes in the pot of cooking liquid. This is followed by adding some of the herbs and vegetables, then removing/discarding some of the vegetation and then returning the chicken to the pot. I find this entirely unnecessary and wasteful.]

While the chicken was simmering, we peeled and chopped the potatoes. To save time, we microwaved the potatoes for a few minutes. Just enough so that a fork or knife could penetrate. 

We stir in the potatoes, corn, green onion and oregano. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Serve the soup with avocado and yogurt. (The recipe suggests garnishing with 2 tbsp capers. We left that out.) 

Colombian Ajiaco (Chicken and Potato Soup)2021-01-14T09:48:49-06:00

A New Client Testimonial!

I don’t often toot my own horn, but I like to share a new client testimonial every once in a while. Here is one from Steven P of Madison. 

“I enthusiastically recommend Eric.  I’m a  68-year old man, fairly active, but have been looking to improve my strength and flexibility. I sought a routine which I could perform at home.  Eric gave me a wide variety of exercises which were tailored to my goals and  modest ability.  He devised a comprehensive routine which incorporated the equipment  I already had available to me, but also introduced me to some other equipment that I could potentially use as well.  He ensured that I was using the proper form and technique while performing the exercises so as to avoid injury. He answered all my questions, and his experience and expertise were very useful in sorting through all the advice one might find on the internet.   The sessions were very enjoyable and worthwhile!  — Steven P.”

A New Client Testimonial!2020-12-21T09:43:48-06:00
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