Chicken-Pineapple Stir-Fry

If you are looking for some new pungent fall flavors to warm you up, try this delicious stir-fry flavored with Chinese 5 Spices and Hoisin Sauce!

chicken-pineapple-stir-fry

Ingredients
3 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spices spice mix
1 1/2 lbs. chicken – cut up in small pieces
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 green onion (chopped; separate green from white parts)
2-3 small carrots, chopped in small pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped in small pieces
1 red or green pepper, chopped in medium pieces or strips
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
2 cups pineapple, cut in slices or chunks 
Approx 1 cup water or can use chicken broth for more flavor
2 tsp rice vinegar (optional)
Rice

Directions
1. Combine first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut up all veggies and have all other ingredients close at hand.
2. Heat oil in wok or stainless steel skillet on high heat until it begins to “smoke”.
3. Stir fry ginger and white parts of onion for 30-45 seconds
4. Add chicken and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add hard veggies: carrot, celery – stir fry a minute or two
6. Add pepper, mushrooms, pineapple, and water or broth plus rice vinegar
7. Cover with a mesh screen and let steam for approx. five minutes. 
*If you don’t have a mesh screen, use a lid, but let some steam escape out the side.
8. When veggies are cooked to desired tenderness and sauce is reduced 
down a bit take from the heat and let sit for a minute or so to encourage the sauce to set up a little.
9. Serve over rice 
10. Sit back and savor the flavors as you admire the beautiful fall colors!

4 Exercise Myths

Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist.

Here are four exercise myths revealed:

Exercise Myth 1. Strength training will bulk me up. Getting “bulked up” is a function of diet (lots of calories), genetics (lots of testosterone), and heavy weight lifting (lots of grunting). As a matter of fact, strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Exercise Myth 2. If you’re not working up a sweat, you’re not working hard enough. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion; it’s your body’s way of cooling itself. Sitting outside on a hot and sunny day (that would be nice right about now) can make you sweat. It’s also possible to burn calories without breaking a sweat. Just try walking.

Exercise Myth 3. Exercise Is the best way to lose weight. Exercise is one way to lose weight, but alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight. Long term and safe weight management is most effective when coupled with proper diet and nutrition.

Exercise Myth 4. There is one perfect workout routine. In my opinion, it’s all about moving more. Whether you go to the gym, dance, walk your dog, garden, or chase your spouse around the house, the best workout is whatever activities you enjoy and will do consistently.

Autumn Exercise

Autumn

Shorter days and cooler nights tell me that Autumn is here. It’s also reminder that we need to get outdoors as much as we can. Why? Well, there’s always yard work to do: raking leaves, harvesting veggies, and mulching trees. Second, outdoor activities are great exercise: the bending, lifting, lunging, hoisting, and jumping into piles of leaves. Third, the colors are beautiful! Lastly, it’s VERY important that we get sunshine. That’s how are bodies make vitamin D. And vitamin D helps our immune system stay strong. So be sure to get outside and enjoy this Fall.

— by Eric Foxman

For Daily Use

Another reason to take that multivitamin: At least in women, regular consumption of the pills seems to ward off potential chromosomal damage, according to research in the June 1 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A study of 586 women found that telomeres, regions of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes, were 5.1 percent longer among regular multivitamin users than nonusers, after controlling for age and other variables. Shorter telomeres have been associated with chromosome damage and aging. the vitamins’ value could come from their antioxidants, which neutralize chemicals that damage DNA, the research suggest.

(Science News, August 15, 2009)

Pesto Minestrone

Beans are a magical fruit. They’re high in fiber, high in protein and low in fat. A few days ago we made our own minestrone with blackeyes. Speaking of which, I think it’s lunch time.

Ingredients
1 can (16 oz) dice tomatoes, undrained (or you can use fresh tomatoes)
2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower (1/2 small head)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrot
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
3 cups cooked (1 cup dry makes 3 cups cooked) or 2 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans or blackeyes, drained and rinsed
3 cans (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni or small pasta shells
For pesto:
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves OR 1 cup flat parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 cloves garlic

Directions
In a 5-6 quart saucepan bring to boil 1/2 cup water, tomatoes, cauliflower, onion, and carrots; reduce heat and simmer covered 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add zucchini, beans, broth and pasta. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put all pesto ingredients in food processor or blender and process until finely chopped. Just before serving, remove soup from heat and stir in pesto. Makes 8-10 servings.

Rainbow Garden Ratatouille

As some of you know, my wife, Heather, has a passion for organic gardening. And her vegetable garden is “off the hook”. After harvesting some zucchini, onions, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and a few herbs, she thought she’d take a stab at this recipe. All I can say is “Mmm, mmm, goood.”

Ingredients
2 zucchini, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
Saute zucchini, onion, yellow squash, eggplant, celery, green pepper and garlic in oil for 7 to 10 minutes. or until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme and pepper; mix well. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings. (4-H Children’s Garden, Michigan State University)

Jump Rope

Jaci and Eric Boxing

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaSzBJp7kCM[/youtube]

It’s All Greek To Me

Turkey burgers are a nice change from ground beef. To me it has such different flavors and textures. Recently, I took it to the next level by giving it a Mediterranean flair.

Ingredients:
1) 1 tsp garlic powder
2) 1 tsp onion powder
3) 1/2 – 1/4 tsp black pepper
4) 2 Tbsp parsley (dried or fresh)
5) 1 tsp thyme
6) 2 Tbsp dried oregano
7) 1/2 tsp lemon peel
8) 1/4 cup ketchup
9) 1 slice whole wheat bread toasted, finely chopped or 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

In a medium bowl, mix ingredients together. Add 2 pounds extra lean ground turkey to mixture. Make patties and it’s grillin’ time!

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Inside Out Ravioli Casserole

ravioli

This is a recipe I adapted from my old Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook. You will notice that exact measurements aren’t important – just wing it – keep the proportions roughly the same, and have fun substituting different veggies/pasta/ground meats. This recipe is a great one to get veggies into kids’ tummies without them even realizing it!

  1. 1-3 Tbsp olive oil
  2. approx. 16 oz. pasta – rotini or shells work well
  3. 1 small onion
  4. 1-2 clove garlic
  5. handful mushrooms – sliced
  6. 1 cup zucchini and/or eggplant diced into small pieces
  7. approx. 16 oz. supreme lean ground beef
  8. approx. 16 oz. tomato sauce
  9. approx. 8-10 oz. tomato paste
  10. fistful fresh oregano, basil, and thyme – chopped (if use dried about 1/2 Tbsp. each basil and oregano, 1 tsp. thyme)
  11. fresh ground pepper
  12. (optional splash of red wine)
  13. 2 eggs or 3 egg whites (reminder: all the fat in eggs comes from the yolk; the white is pure protein)
  14. 1 cup grated cheese (I usually use used a cheddar – mozzarella or monterey jack mix)
  15. approx. 1/4 cup parmesan
  16. 2-3 cups chopped fresh or thawed spinach (if frozen squeeze gently to remove excess moisture – then “fluff separate spinach leaves for mixing)

Directions:

  1. Heat water for pasta.
  2. Heat oil in large pan. Saute items 3-6 until just soft but not overcooked. Set aside.
  3. When water boils, cook pasta until al dente (just soft but not mushy), drain and rinse.
  4. Cook ground beef over high heat in same pan for flavor – stir and separate as it cooks to prevent clumping.
  5. When cooked, lower heat to medium, add sauteed veggies back in.
  6. Add items 8-11, wine if desired, cook 5-10 minutes until excess moisture is removed.
  7. While cooking meat sauce mix ingredients 12-15, pour and spread into a 13 x 9 baking dish.
  8. Preheat oven to 350.

When meat sauce has reach desired consistency, (the casserole will hold together better if the sauce is less runny), pour over pasta mixture in baking dish, sprinkle some parmesan over the top, bake for 30 minutes at 350.