Monthly Archives: December 2012

Healthy Creamy Creole Pasta with Chicken

I absolutely love pasta and the creamy goodness that comes along with it.  I however do not like the fat and how it sticks to my body from that creamy goodness.  Therefore, I set out on a quest to convert some of my pasta recipes that call for butter and a lot of heavy whipping cream.  For this recipe I substituted Greek yogurt and skim milk for the butter and heavy whipping cream. It came out perfectly!!

Creole Pasta

I must thank my friend from Bulgaria, Katie, for encouraging me to switch over to Greek yogurt in my cooking.  She told me about all the different dishes she makes using just Greek yogurt, and I became hooked and had to try it myself.  Thank you Katie!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz spaghetti or linguine pasta
  • 4-6 chicken breasts sliced or cubed into bite size pieces (depends on how much chicken you want in your dish)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 oz fresh sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 3 cloves of minced
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 c frozen sliced okra (optional)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 T flour
  • 12 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • 2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (you can add more if you want)
  • 1 tomato diced
  • sliced scallions
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and diced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add water to a large pot and boil pasta in it till it is al dente following the package directions.  In the mean time, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and sauté the chicken until completely cooked.  While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce for the pasta.  Combine the milk, flour, yogurt, and creole/Cajun seasoning.  Set sauce aside for later.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.  Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  Sauté until the veggies are tender.  Add the frozen okra about half way through the veggies cooking.  Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the chicken broth and the sauce prepared earlier.  Allow sauce to reduce for 2-5 minutes while occasionally stirring.  Return the cooked chicken to the pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  In a large serving bowl add the cooked pasta.  Pour the chicken and veggie mixture with sauce.  Lightly toss to coat the pasta.  I have the diced tomato, scallions, and jalapeno in separate bowls so everyone can garnish their pasta to their liking.  Enjoy!!

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Add water to a large pot and boil pasta in it till it is al dente following the package directions. In the mean time, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sauté the chicken until completely cooked.

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While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce for the pasta. Combine the milk, flour, yogurt, and creole/Cajun seasoning. Set sauce aside for later. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.

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Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Sauté until the veggies are tender. Add the frozen okra about half way through the veggies cooking. Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

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Add the chicken broth and the sauce prepared earlier. Allow sauce to reduce for 2-5 minutes while occasionally stirring.

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Pour the chicken and veggie mixture with sauce. Lightly toss to coat the pasta. I have the diced tomato, scallions, and jalapeno in separate bowls so everyone can garnish their pasta to their liking. Enjoy!!
Creole Pasta

What Happened to Me!?!

I won’t lie to you.  Some things come naturally to me and fitness is one of them.  Once I start in on something new in the fitness department it is not long before I’m hooked and working at a higher level earlier than others.

Running use to be something I did quite a bit back when we lived in Florida.  However, since moving to North Dakota I really haven’t “gone out for a run” in the past 2.5 years.  So, when I went to jog around the indoor track at the gym the other day I figured I would slip right back into running at a steady pace like I always have in the past (at this point the word “naive” should have slipped into my head.  I’m sure most of you are thinking it right now as you read this).  After all, I’m teaching 4-5 spinning classes each week, lifting weights, and doing insane amounts of burpees…Why shouldn’t I be able to go run 3 miles right off the bat?

Boy was I wrong!  After 8 minutes I thought I was going to have a heart attack or something.  I mean what the heck!?!  I can sprint on a heavy hill over and over again in spinning, but I cannot jog for 8 minutes without dying?  My ego just took a hard hit.  Then, when I told my husband about it he commented on me not being as young as I used to be.  The man is lucky he made it out of the house with his balls still attached.Angry smile

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Therefore, I’m now a beginner runner/jogger.  Oh how this is going to suck.  I’m not the most patient person when it comes to my own goals.  I also have a virtual 5K on the 12th, Once Upon a Time 5K.  Silly little me thought I really wouldn’t need to train that much for a little 5K.  HA (insert the word “naive” here again)!  That 5K is going to be a training experience more than an actual 5K run.

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Since I’m doing the 13 in 13 Challenge I need to get to training.  I already have 3 races in January, and I plan on getting in running shape for those.  So, it is time for me to put my big girl running panties on and get to it.  I’m actually going to train for running.  My plan is to start out with the walk for 2 minutes and run for 3 minutes.  Hopefully that will go well, and I will be able to move on from there.

In the grand picture, I’m looking forward to training the right way and the progress that goes along with it.  Here is to becoming a better runner!!  I hope all you beginners out there join me by starting out running too!  We can be each others cheerleaders (and gripe with each other tooWinking smile)!!!  Are there any newer runners out there?  If so, how are your runs going?

Since I’m also working on my core strength for my upcoming trip to Florida, (to train for aerial silks and hammock yoga) I’m doing more core work during the week.  In the theme of 300 workouts that I have posted earlier, here is a 300 rep core/abdominal workout!  Remember to stretch afterwards!!

300 Core Workout

The Last Week…Till January

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few months, then you know how much I have been loving Tina’s Best Body BootCamp.  I have loved all of our workouts, and I really see quite a difference in my muscle tone and strength.

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Tina Reale has came up with a great 8 week workout program! I was lucky enough to have met Tina ages ago, and I can tell you that she is the real deal. Not only is she an amazing trainer she is also an amazing and caring person, and she wants to see everyone succeed.  Did I mention that she is great at kicking my butt!?!

Sadly this upcoming week is our last week of Best Body Bootcamp.  I’m not happy about it ending, but there is another Best Body Bootcamp starting back up on January 7, 2013!!!!  Guess who has already signed up?  Yup that’s right…I have.  I’m totally in love with Tina’s workouts, and I’m already excited about all the new workouts Tina will have for us, and the great shape I’m going to be in!  Registration is currently open till December 31st for the next round of Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp, and I highly suggest you sign up too.

It is only $25, and you get great workouts for every week!!  Where can you go wrong?  Not only do you get 8 weeks worth of amazing workouts you can do at home…you get huge cash prizes! At the end of the 8 weeks there will be five $1000 cash prizes! Then each week there will be a $100 cash prize! The prizes are determined/based on your consistency and commitment to staying active and achieving personal health and fitness goals of your choosing. This is NOT about who loses the most weight/inches or looks “the best” in progress photos. It IS about staying committed to better choices and habits, challenging yourself, and making a lifestyle change for the better.

Here is an overview of how the program works:

  • Every two weeks, Tina emails everyone in the group new workouts with detailed instructions and links to online videos to watch in case you’re unsure about how to do certain exercises.  Tina also offers modifications of each exercise in case you need an easier version of the exercise or a harder version of the exercise.  About 90% of the workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home using free weights and stability balls.  If it is an exercise that calls for a machine at the gym, Tina gives you an at-home version of the exercise in case you cannot go to the gym.

My advice is for you to sign up today!!  It will be a great post Christmas gift to yourself, that will keep giving for the 2 months to followSmile

Virtual Fun Run for Children!!!

Boy have I got something for your kids!!!  A virtual run with fun bling for our children!!!  Both boys and girls will love these 3 fun medals, and this is a great way to keep our kids excited about fitness during the winter months.  My son is already registered and beyond excited about running for another medal.  For all of you running the 13 in 13 this is a great opportunity for our kids to be out there having fun and setting their own running goals for 2013!

The Kid’s Fun Run is hosted by FUNd Run 4 Bling.  The entry fee is only $10, and all the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The distance is up to your and your child (you know what they can and cannot handle running wise).  Sandra always mails out the medals as soon as she gets them, and you do not have to post your time or pic in order to recieve your medal.  However, she would love it if you did post something about your run (pic too) on the FUNd Run 4 Bling Facebook Page.

FUNd Run 4 Bling will also host several more virtual runs throughout the year of 2013.  I know my son is already waiting to sign up for the next oneSmile!

How Did It Get Here So Fast!?!

This week has been absolutely chaotic for our family.  All of us have had something to go to every day and evening.  Therefore, it was no surprise that I ran out of clean socks yesterday morning.  I ended up having to wear my son’s socks to the gym, and change into an extra pair I had in my locker.  Thankfully my husband and son still had plenty of clean clothing.  One of these days I’m going to get all the laundry caught up…I’m just not sure when.  Is there a mom out there who has ever been able to stay caught up on laundry?  If so, please share your secret, because it is starting to get out of control here.

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With our busy week I somehow thought that the holidays were farther away than they really are.  We are a half Jewish half Catholic household, so December can get pretty busy with Hanukkah and Christmas all in one month.  Somehow, I thought I had more time to prepare for Hanukkah…I don’t.  Hanukkah starts tomorrow evening at sundown, and I don’t even have the potatoes for the latkes!!!  What kind of Jew have I become!?!  I will be making a mad dash to the grocery store after I teach my spinning class to stock up on all the food for our Hanukah feast!   I’m planning on brisket, latkes, garlic grits, roasted veggies, and baked blueberry glazed doughnuts!  I’ll post all the recipes soon!

This year I’m going to bake doughnuts instead of frying them.  Jelly filled doughnuts are a Hanukah tradition in most Jewish households.  This year I’m going to make baked blueberry glazed doughnuts, in an attempt to try to make the holidays a bit healthier.  I found a great recipe at the Country Cleaver blog.  This actually looks like a delicious and somewhat healthy (it is as healthy as a doughnut can get) doughnut.  The recipe even uses Greek yogurt!

Blueberry doughnuts

I do have the menorah out, polished, and ready to go!  At least I can get that part done.Smile

In the meantime, here is the treadmill workout I’ll be doing before I workout with Rita and teach my spinning class.
30 Minute Treadmill Hills with Runs

Workout Wednesday

I hope everyone is having a great week!

I have had a great week except for the at-home exercise department.  My dear sweet dog Hank has been thwarting my workout efforts more than usual this week.  I had to spend about 15 extra minutes just moving him away from my workout zone yesterday.  Hank has never liked me exercising at home, and he has always felt the need to force me to stop.  If I’m on my spinning bike, he will bark at me.  If I’m doing push-ups or planks he will crawl underneath me and roll on his back.  If I’m doing an exercise while standing, he will lay on my feet.  And, if I’m doing concentration curls he will crawl under my legs and lay down, as you can see below.  He is not neglected either.  This boy gets a ton of cuddle and play time everyday.  I really have no idea why he hates me exercising so much.  Do any of you have furbutts that do not like it when you exercise at home, or am I the only one?

Hank

Since everyone was really getting into the virtual races after my last post, I figured I would continue to list others that I come across.  You can also check out my 13 Races in 2013 page…I will have the races posted that I have signed up for, and a big chunk of the winter ones will be virtual races.  Here is another virtual race with awesome medals:

FUNd Run 4 Bling is having a Princess or Fairy in Training Run starting in January.  Earn some PRINCESS bling – Princess In Training!! Or FAIRY in Training bling 🙂 princess in trainingThe proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
INCLUDED WITH REGISTRATION IS:
the medal for the race you registered for
matching digital photo
run bib(s)
temporary tattoo – will run 4 bling
prizes
There is a 5/10km option or if you need motivation for a long run there is a 10 mile option!!
You can register for one, two or all 4 . Registration is limited to 50 of each. You will get an actual medal in the mail.

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I’ve decided to post a new workout every Wednesday, making it Workout Wednesdays.  I will still post other workouts during the week, but Wednesday will always be a workout post day.  Today is the elliptical workout I will do this evening at the gym…This elliptical workout focuses on strength with a few sprints thrown in to give your endurance a boost!  Feel free to add an incline for an extra challenge!  Remember to stretch afterwardsSmile
30 Min Elliptical

Finding Great Challenges!

I have been so fortunate to have found some wonderful challenges to keep me healthy and fit over this winter and the holidays, and I have found a new challenge to start off 2013!!

Thirteen in Twenty-Thirteen!!

13 in 13

This is an amazing challenge put together by Jill Conyers and Jen, Marathon Mom.  It is totally free and there are prizes too!  I think this is a great challenge for anyone out there.  Even the beginner or the walker would really love this challenge.  Your only goal is to run, jog, or walk 13 different races in 2013.  Here are the details:

Details:

  1. Run 13 registered virtual or real life races in 2013.
  2. The number of participants will not be limited.
  3. Prizes throughout the year. Hint: Some of my favorite running and fitness products!
  4. They have set up a 13 In 2013 Facebook group to support and encourage each other and share the experience.
  5. To support everyone reaching their goal Jen and Jill will host 4 virtual races throughout the year. The first virtual race will be in February. More information coming soon.
  6. Share with Instagram and Twitter using the #13in2013 hashtag.

You might be wondering what distance we will be challenged to run? Unlike 2012, when everyone was running the same distance, in 2013 you pick and commit to one of the following: 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, trails, or races that vary in length.

How to join:

  1. Sign up [and commit] using the Google document. Sign ups close midnight (EST) on December 31.
  2. Post the button with the distance of your choice on your blog on your sidebar (HTML will be provided if needed).
  3. Update the Google document with your progress and completed races.

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I have signed up for this wonderful challenge and will be doing 13 mixed races in 2013!

What I find really great about this challenge is the introduction of virtual races!  Virtual races are races that you sign up for on the internet, and then you do the race wherever and whenever you want (most do have a set time frame).  This is great!  I live where there are no races in the winter and the closest races are usually 2 or more hours away.

Virtual races are also great for the beginning runner.  Some people are afraid to enter a race due to the fear of coming in last.  I had this fear during my very first race too.  Others don’t enter because they fear other’s will judge them and their performance (I hear this one all the time from people and I wish they would realize that everyone will be cheering them on).  A virtual race will give those beginners with fears a chance to do a 5K or even a Marathon without having to worry about times or other people.

I have already signed up for a few virtual races myself, and you get a medal for them too!

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Mom’s Run This Town is hosting an amazing Winter Runnerland 2013
5k / 10k / Half Marathon.  It will run from January 1-31st.  With this race you even get a medal!!  I have signed up for the 5K!

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New Years Resolution Run is a 5k and/or half marathon that runs from Dec 30th to January 1st, 2013.  This is a great way to start off your new year!  What could be better than a race to start out the year in a healthy fashion!?!  I know I’ll be doing their 5K!!  Plus all the proceeds go to For the Love of the Kids.

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Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K Winter Blast is another virtual race with great swag and a medal.  I runs from Dec 22-January 1, 2013.  Just check out the picture above and see the cool swag you get!

Muffins to Marathons also has some great virtual races coming up in 2013!  With their races you get a t-shirt and a medal!!  There are also big cash prizes!  I know I will be doing some of these races.  See below for dates and t-shirt images.

  • New Years Day Rock’n Run 5K: December 30, 2012 – January 2, 2013
  • Love on the Run 5K: February 12, 2013 – February 15, 2013
  • Run, Rock, Shamrock 5K: March 16, 2013 – March 19, 2013
Images Below are what the t-shirts will look like.

On to a recap of my week in the workout department for the other challenges I’m part of.

HBBC2012-Option2_thumb The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge has been absolutely wonderful in the motivation department.  By earning points for exercising and eating healthy I have gotten on a great health kick.  My family and I are now eating our daily servings of fruits and veggies.  I have gotten to the point that I get all my servings without thinking about it!  For example, right now I’m munching on fruit while I’m typing instead of drinking a latte or cup of coffee.  I have also been working out and teaching a bunch this week, so I was really able to rack up the points.  I also have to credit HBBC for getting me to enjoy my yoga time.  I have had to do longer yoga sessions each day due to the extra cardio and weights I have been doing.  Thanks HBBC!!!  Here is a break down of my points from this last week.

HBBC 11/23 – 12/1

Spinning: 35
Strength and/or Core Workouts: 16
Yoga: 12
Pilates: 2
Fruits/Veggie Servings: 7 days

Week 2 Goal: Eat 5-7 servings of fruits/veggies!!  One great way I got a big chunk of veggies was from soup.  My Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup was a healthy addition to my meals.

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Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp has been just amazing!  I love the workouts Tina has us doing each week.  They are challenging and motivating.  You find yourself doing better and increasing weights each workout.  The next round of Bootcamp will start the first week in January.  If you would like to join in on the next round of Bootcamp, registration will begin on December 3rd.  I highly suggest you join in on the next roundSmile