Loading...

Chicken and Barley Soup with Root Vegetables

It’s cold, overcast and I’m hungry. Plus I have another child home from school with a cold. I hear my mom’s voice in my head. She says “Make chicken soup. The broth is good for them.” Mom’s Jedi powers are strong. I defrost some chicken, chop up some veggies and we’re good to go. Chicken soup is simmering on the stovetop, and Heather just said “It smells soooo good.” Thanks, Mom. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1.5 pounds chicken meat (breast and/or thigh), chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium rutabaga, chopped

3 parsnips, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

8 ounces brown and white mushroom, chopped

10 cups chicken broth

1 tsp parsley, sage and thyme

1 whole bay leaf

1/2 cup pearl barley

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Add olive oil to a large soup pot. Set heat to medium-high, then add chopped chicken meat. Stir frequently to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked and does not burn. Once chicken is no loner pink (about 10 minutes), add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once onions begin to sweat, add the rutabaga and parsnips. Then add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to boil. Once boiling, set heat to low, add barley, stir and cover. Let cook for 30 minutes. Ready to eat!

Another fantastic one pot meal!

Chicken and Barley Soup with Root Vegetables2020-01-30T13:33:18-06:00

Mung Bean Soup Recipe

 

Looking for a warm, filling and delicious recipe on a cold winter’s night? Then check out this Mung Bean Soup Recipe (adapted from PinchofYum.com).

Ingredients

2 cups dry mung beans, monggo beans or green lentils

8 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 cup coconut milk 

1 cup chopped spinach

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the rinsed mung beans and cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. * You can also add the broth and beans to the pot at the same time and then bring to a boil. Since this was the first time preparing the dish, I wasn’t sure what consistency to aim for. I have prepared both lentil soup and split pea soup before. With lentil soup, the beans are still intact (just soft), and with split peas, they often dissolve and it turns into more of a porridge.  
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in the oil until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add to the mung pot and allow the mixture to simmer together for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and chopped spinach. Serve over rice or plain.

Apparently this was so good that my oldest son asked to bring some for his school lunch today!

Mung Bean Soup Recipe2020-01-28T11:50:03-06:00

My New Favorite Protein Powder

A question I often get asked is “Should I be drinking a protein shake or take some kind of protein/amino acids supplement?” You already know my answer.  “It depends.” How many meals and snacks are you eating each day? Do you have a balanced diet? Are you a vegetarian? What are your health and fitness goals? How often, how intense and how long are your workouts? You’ve heard this routine of mine before.

Over the years I have run across all sorts of formulas to help calculate how much protein people need. Anywhere from 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight to over 1 gram per pound of weight. That’s a huge difference. Often these calculations are purely arbitrary. Having done extensive reading and research over my 24+ years of Personal Training, I’ve come to realize that the average person doesn’t require nearly as much protein as the high level elite athlete. Someone who is constantly breaking down muscle tissue and needs to repair, recover, prevent/reduce injury and improve his/her performance. That’s an entirely different thing all together. Just remember, though, that protein is just one part of your dietary equation. That’s why it is key to keep a journal of your food intake and workouts. The tendency is to focus on the workouts, specific training routines, amounts of weights, etc. When in fact, that should be secondary to a diet that complements your exercise program and will lead you to your health and fitness goal(s). 

So why do I have a pic of me holding a tub of protein powder? To promote it? Partially. To educate you? Yes, that too.  My wife, Heather, recently picked up a container of Orgain Protein Powder from Costco.  She knew that I liked to make smoothies and thought this would be a tasty and healthy addition. My typical smoothie (without any protein powder) consists of 1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup dairy, soy or almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen fruit, a couple kale leaves chopped and one medium size banana.  The reason for these amounts is that it fits in the 16-ounce cup of my Ninja Blender. I looked at the protein powder ingredients and was pleasantly surprised: Organic vegetarian protein blend (organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein and organic chia seed), organic acacia, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic rice dextrin, organic rice bran extract, organic rosemary extract, organic erythritol, organic alkalized cocoa, organic acacia, sea salt, organic stevia, organic guar gum, natural flavors, xantham gum and probiotic (bacillus subtilis). Plus it has 21 grams of protein per serving, 6 grams fiber and 255mg of potassium.   I added the protein powder to my regular smoothie ingredients and blended it up. Since it was a little thicker than usual, I needed to add a bit of water. Now came the official taste test.  Drum roll please. It was delicious, and the chocolate flavor did not have an artificial/synthetic taste. I’m a bit of a chocolate snob. The fiber made it filling too. Overall, I really enjoyed it and felt satisfied. Best of all, I had no gastrointestinal issues with it. And let me tell you, over the years, I have tried many supplements: protein powders, shakes, pills, meal replacement shakes, pre and post workout powders, etc. Many of them would absolutely rip my insides apart. 

After drinking the shake, did I feel a surge of power like when Popeye eats his spinach? Nope. This is not a pre-workout drink loaded with caffeine and other stimulants.  For me it’s an excellent accountability and motivation tool. . . and I get my chocolate fix. It’s like buying a new pair of athletic shoes, purchasing personal training sessions or picking up a healthy recipe book, they all encourage you to make healthy choices. Each time you look at those athletic shoes, hopefully you’ll think of exercising and doing something good for yourself. When you see your PT appointments in your calendar you’ll be motivated to stay on track between workouts. That healthy cookbook sitting on your kitchen counter is just begging you to open it and try a new delicious recipe. For me, this protein powder is a keeper.

My New Favorite Protein Powder2020-01-22T10:47:56-06:00

How to Make Time for Exercise

We are all busy, and sometimes it can be challenging to carve out time for yourself for exercise. There’s work obligations, family commitments, social events, etc. Days fill up fast, but what’s left for you? Watch my 12-minute video and learn step-by-step how to free up your schedule and make time for your health and fitness. Enjoy! 

How to Make Time for Exercise2019-12-19T08:45:32-06:00

Give the Gift of Health for 2020

Not sure what to get your spouse, relative or friend this holiday season? Give a gift that will make a positive difference in their life. Buy a package of personal training for that special person. Don’t stress out standing in long lines at the store, throwing money at another electronic device that will break or be obsolete in a year or wonder if your on-line order will be delivered in time. Personal training is an experience and not just another thing that you pull off a shelf. A Personal Training Gift Certificate shows that you care about a person’s health and well-being. It’s also a great way to help someone achieve their fitness goals faster, stay on track, and have fun along the way. I have four private training packages to choose from. If you are having difficulty choosing, here’s some motivation. From now through the end of the month, you can buy any training package (1, 5, 10 or 20 sessions) at my best session price of $70/session if paid by check or cash. That’s a $15 savings for a single session and a $50 savings on both the 5  and 10 session packages. For your convenience, I can attach a gift certificate to print out or email. So don’t wait. The clock is ticking.

Contact me today (608)798-0081 or balancepersonaltraining4u@gmail.com.

*For new clients only.

Happy Holidays from Eric and Bob ❄️

Give the Gift of Health for 20202019-12-04T13:28:34-06:00

Bison and Root Vegetable Crock Pot

Root vegetables like parsnips, rutabagas and beets are often overlooked. Instead, we go for carrots, onions and sweet potatoes.  Why? Familiarity and taste. Depending on where you do your grocery shopping, you might need to rummage around the produce section to find certain root vegetables. Also, many root vegetables have an earthy flavor and may not be as sweet as carrots or sweet potatoes. But if you’re trying to manage your weight, eating earthy root vegetables is a good thing. They won’t leave a sweet and sugary taste in your mouth, which makes you want to eat more high carbohydrate foods. This Bison and Root Vegetable Crock Pot Recipe is high in protein and antioxidants, low in fat and full of flavor. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 pounds bison stew meat, cubed

5 parsnips, chopped

5 golden beets, chopped

3 red potatoes, chopped

3 yellow potatoes, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

10 white and brown mushroom, chopped or left whole

1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, crushed

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon ground rosemary

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Directions

Chop all vegetables and place in crock pot. Add cubed stew meat and cover with crushed tomatoes, herbs and spices. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

 

 

 

 

Vegetables in the crock pot.

Bison stew meat from Catnip Hollow Bison in Mount Horeb. Thanks, Mark Koeppl. 

Everybody in the pool and covered with herbs and spices.

Served and ready to eat.

Bison and Root Vegetable Crock Pot2019-11-19T10:38:43-06:00

Get Stronger Legs with the Compact Leg Sled

For years I have wanted a quality leg press machine that wasn’t too expensive and didn’t have a big footprint. It had to be solidly built and not a flimsy throw-away piece of exercise equipment. Most importantly, it had to be safe and ergonomically correct to protect the knees and the back. Looks like I found it!  My new compact leg sled is cost effective and doesn’t take up much space. It’s sturdy, like what you expect at a fitness club.  The pressing action is smooth due to the nylon rollers, while the firm seat and backrest are comfortable. There is no compression of the spine as with most inverted leg press machines or hack squats. Lastly, it’s easy to get in and out of the sled.  Watch my 4 minute video and learn how to get stronger legs.

Get Stronger Legs with the Compact Leg Sled2019-11-17T21:56:45-06:00

Mom’s Chili con Carne

Snow is falling outside and the temperatures are dropping, so it’s time to heat things up with my Mom’s Chili con Carne recipe. It’s perfect on a chilly day. Get it? Chilly. Chili. Okay, enough of the puns. As you might know, I am a fan of one-pot meals. You cut stuff up, throw it in a pot, get things brown, lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and walk away. Plus the clean up is easy since it’s just one pot. You can also prepare chili in a crock pot. Unlike baking, this is a forgiving recipe. It’s hard to make a mistake. Depending on what ingredients you have in the refrigerator or the pantry, you can make any number of adjustments. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium-size bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground coriander 

1 tbsp Mexican oregano

2 tbsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1 pound lean ground bison, beef or turkey

1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 15-oz can tomato sauce or puree

1 can (10 oz) red kidney and/or black and/or red beans, drained and rinsed

½-1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained

1 bay leaf

ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup black olives
(optional)

2 scallions, white part thinly sliced; green tops thinly sliced (optional cooked or as garnish)

Directions
Heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add onions, garlic and meat. Cook until meat is brown stirring occasionally. Add peppers and sauté for a couple minutes. Stir in chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, corn, black olives and green onions.  Add bay leaf. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour.

Ground bison has been browned with onions and garlic in vegetable oil.

Everybody is in the pool. After adding the remaining ingredients, the pot is covered with a lid and simmers until read to eat.

Mom’s Chili con Carne2019-11-06T12:27:58-06:00

Kyle’s Quiche with Broccoli

My oldest son, Kyle, has recently gotten into cooking. And with as much food as my three boys eat, it’s extremely helpful. So why quiche? Egg recipes are a popular dish around my house since we have 15 laying chickens. You might be asking, How did it turn out? Was it edible? As a matter of fact, it was one of the best quiches I ever ate. Kyle knocked this one out of the park. Check out the recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup organic broccoli crowns, cut into bite size pieces
6 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup sliced mushroom
1 Roma tomato cut into wedges
1 Tbsp mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
*salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Then add broccoli crowns, mushrooms, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, ham, mustard and thyme. Mix thoroughly. Pour into 8 inch baking dish. Lay tomato wedges on top of quiche and sprinkle with paprika. Place in oven and cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until set. Quiche should be slightly brown on top.

Kyle’s Quiche with Broccoli2019-08-26T11:08:49-06:00

How to Perform Assisted Dips on a Wall-Mounted Dip/Knee Raise Station

Is it your goal to do bodyweight dips, but you can’t do it yet? Then get some assistance with exercise/resistance bands. Start with the thickest gauge (most assistance) and work your way to the thinnest gauge (least assistance), and you’ll be doing bodyweight dips in no time. Watch my 2-minute video!

How to Perform Assisted Dips on a Wall-Mounted Dip/Knee Raise Station2019-08-06T11:12:06-06:00