Friday, September 28, 2012

Couch-To-5K: Still on Week 3

So I lost some weight and then gained it back.  Oh the joy of failure.  Not.  

I am back on the band wagon though my friends.  I am running again and it's easier then ever! Don't you love that feeling of working hard and having it pay off? I know I do.  

This Couch-to-5K program is 9 weeks long and I have been doing it almost 9 weeks and I am still on Week 3? Why? I hurt my foot and got lazy.  The program also says that if you feel like you need to stay on a week to do that until you feel comfortable enough to move on.  I am going to do Week 3 for one more week and then move to Week 4.  Hopefully I will go faster through the weeks now that I have definitely gotten over a running plateau.  

It was so strange today.  When I was running I could feel that my body was stronger and that I wasn't breathing nearly as hard as I had been. That was a nice feeling.  I will be back with my update about Week 4 when I start it.  I am nervous but need to trust my body and realize that it is getting stronger and that I CAN push myself harder than I think.  

By the way, have you seen the cute hoodie on this website that says "Keep Calm And Run On"? I really want it! But it's $47! Maybe for Christmas.  =-) Take a look at it, you'll want one too!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beyond Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

I'm sure you've heard about this recipe from everyone.  Your Mom, your Grandma, your Sister, your dog.  Basically everyone.  I would like to think that I'm being original by adding some spices and walnuts to this recipe but I'm sure I'm not.  

These cookies are DELICIOUS regardless of where they come from though! I say PROPS to whateva Mama thought these up.  You...are my biggest fan.  And if you didn't get the reference go watch "That Thing You Do" this moment.  I mean it.  This moment.

Back to the task at hand.

These cookies are amazing! I feel like I am biting into Fall when I have them.  Pumpkin, spices, chocolate chips and walnuts! Hollah!

Beyond Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies:
1 box yellow cake mix
15 oz can pumpkin
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (if you don't use parchment paper for baking start using it now because your life will never be the same).  Mix all ingredients together. Eat about 5 spoonfuls of dough.  Measure out the rest with a cookie scoop and place on cookie sheets.  Bake one sheet at a time for 9-12 minutes.  

Makes about 36 cookies

Spicy Honey Chicken Mango Salad

I love trying new things.  That's why you'll always see me try new recipes on the blog.  I don't want to get stuck in a rut and always have pancakes or cereal for dinner (this happens MUCH more then it should).  I also want to be cooking healthier.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some decadent and comforting food but I am making some life changes and cooking healthy can be fun and easy!

The salad is comprised of romaine lettuce, chilled, cubed mangos, avocado and an avocado ranch dressing.  I am already in the planning stages of changing this salad up again for the future and making it better.  It will be Spicy Honey Chicken Mango Salad 2.0.  Let's just say there's going to be some sugared nuts and a mango salad dressing instead of the avocado ranch.   Oh yeah.  It's going to happen.

The chicken I put in this salad is from Our Best Bites.  Click here for the link.  It is DA BOMB yo! Spicy, but not too spicy.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  The best of both worlds as Hannah Montana would say.  What? You never watched Hannah Montana? I feel ashamed.

I did some things differently but you can click on the link above and read how they do their recipe.  This is just my slightly different adaption and I LOVED it.  They advised to serve the chicken in a salad with mango and avocado which I did and it was sooo good! They also suggested serving it with a Honey Citrus Vinaigrette but I kinddaaa forgot to get some ingredients and tried to make due with what I had and it turned out horrible.  So I'm going to stick with my avocado ranch dressing until I make my mango one for next time.

I hope you enjoy this salad.  It is supa dupa healthy and flavorful and a great change to an otherwise monotonous dinner menu during the week.

For some reason I feel like I should be eating this in the Caribbean!

Spicy Honey Chicken Mango Salad:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder (if you like spicy food then put more in!)
1/4 c. honey
1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
Red Leaf or Romaine lettuce (I made it with Romaine but would use Red Leaf next time)
2 chilled, cubed mangos
2 avocados sliced or diced
good Ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay a piece of tin foil on a cookie sheet and lay a cooling rack on top.

Mix garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, kosher salt, cumin and chipotle chili powder in a small bowl until completely combined.

Place chicken on cooling rack and sprinkle the dry spices over the top.  Bake chicken until completely cooked through, about 50-65 minutes depending on size.

While the chicken is cooking prep your salad ingredients.  Wash and tear you lettuce and cut up your chilled mangos and avocado.  For the avocado ranch dressing mash together desired amount of ranch dressing and about half an avocado till nice and combined.  Let that chill.

In the last few minutes of the chicken cooking heat up the honey in the microwave for 25 seconds.  Add the apple cider vinegar and mix together with a basting brush.  Baste the chicken with the honey mixture.  You're going to be thinking that it's a LOT of liquid to put over the chicken and you would be right! But that's what makes it so scrumdidilyumpkish.  Once again, I apologize for making up my own language when it comes to food.  I get carried away.

Take the chicken out of the oven and cube it up or slice it.  I cubed mine but personally think it would be lovely to slice that chicken on a diagonal and lay it over your bed of lettuce in a "hey I'm much better then an expensive restaurant salad" sort of way.

Once you've got your chicken and lettuce ready to go sprinkle over desired amounts of mango, avocado and avocado ranch dressing.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dining In Utah: Kneaders Peach Tart

I love food.  Have you noticed yet? One of my favorite things to do is to go out to eat.  So I am starting a new series called "Dining In Utah".  We may not have the fanciest restaurants in the world but we have some GOOD places to eat! 

One of my all time favorite places is called Kneaders Bakery and Cafe.  They sell soup, salads, sandwiches, an amazing breakfast, pastries, etc.  Just a fun place to go and eat! 

They are a chain with locations in Utah (where I live), Idaho, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado.  Click here to learn more about them.  Looks like they are going to be featuring some of their recipes soon which is sooo exciting! What can I say, I'm easily amused.

Any who, I went to Kneader's today and got a peach tart because I thought it just looked so pretty!

After eating it I realized that all in all it was good.  Not great, but good.  Usually with Kneaders I go bananas over every thing but this was just not as good as some of their other pastry and dessert items.

The crust almost tasted like a shortbread cookie.  It had a nice crunch and sweetness to it.  The filling was very creamy which was nice with the crunch and sweetness of the crust.  The whipped cream had a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg and I really, really liked that! I wish there had been more on it.  Definitely going to remember that next time I make whipped cream for something.  One of the disappointments was the peaches.  They were kind of crunchy.  I guess because of the glazed look they had I thought that they would be more like peach pie filling type peaches but they weren't.  Don't get me wrong, they were just fine but I would have liked soft, really sweet and cinnamon-y (pardon the invention of my own language) peaches instead.  

I would definitely recommend this tart! Even though I felt like it could have been better it was very good! Delicious!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

White Chicken Chili

I LOVE spicy food.  I used to be a complete wimp about spicy food but man sometimes Mama just needs something SPICY now and then! 

I found this recipe out of the "Our Best Bites" cookbook.  Honestly, what's new? I seriously don't cook from anything else.  I am determined to try recipes from other cookbooks soon but for today, we're cooking out of "Our Best Bites".  

I know that this recipe is named "White Chicken Chili" but to me it also kind of tastes like a taco soup.  It's got a very clean, crisp taste.  I love the taste of cilantro, cumin and lime in it.  

I hope you enjoy trying it.  It's a fun and tasty soup to make!

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 (15 ounce) cans Great Northern Beans (I would use 3 next time)
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (next time I would shred instead)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3.5 ounce) can green chilies
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. coriander (I didn't use this.  I just put in a little extra cumin)
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (32-ounce) box chicken broth
1 lime, juiced
1/2 c. roughly chopped cilantro

Toppings: sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese, avocado (a must), tortilla chips and lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook for about 2 minutes, just until it starts to become translucent (did mine for more like 5-6 minutes to make sure those pieces wouldn't be crunchy at all).  

While the onions are cooking, drain the beans and rinse with cold water; set aside.  Sprinkle the chopped chicken with a little salt and pepper and add to pot (I mentioned that I would shred my chicken next time.  I would half the chicken breasts, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and add them to the pot.  I would cook them till they were almost done.  Once the other ingredients are added later on I would let the chicken cook completely through, remove it from the pot, shred it and then return it to the pot so it could cook a little more).  Add the garlic.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or until there's no more visible pink on the chicken.

Add green chilies along with all of the juices in the can.  Add the beans, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.  Stir to combine and then add the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes (did mine for more like 20 minutes).  Remove from heat and add the juice from one lime and 1/2 c. chopped cilantro.  Add the salt and pepper to taste (I didn't do this.  Everyone can salt and pepper their own portions).

Ladle into bowls and top as desired with sour cream, chopped cilantro, cheese, avocado, chips and lime wedges (I used all of those except the cilantro and it is mandatory you use them all too! Makes it soo yummy!).