Who is your Health Hero?

HealthSuperhero2Have you ever stopped to consider who your “Health Hero” or “Health Heroes” might be? Who in your life inspires you to do better with your health? Encourages you to get up off the couch or out of bed to get moving for a few minutes a day? When I posed myself with this question… at first I didn’t have an answer at all. I asked myself, “Why do I get out of bed every day to work out?” “Why do I challenge myself to eat clean and make good food choices?” “Why do I decline that beer at the end of a long work day?????” Ok… most days I don’t decline the beer….. :) (Everything in moderation… right?)

Some people find their motivation in their children and that gets them going for the day. I don’t have kids. Some people are encouraged by their pet and knowing they need to get their pet exercise gets them moving. I have a goldendoodle and labradoodle… but most days, they’d be happy with an hourly cookie and a head scritch… lazy boys… they don’t beg to get out of the house.Doodles

When I really put some thought to it, there were two people who stood out in my mind. Kellie Gimenez and Camie Cragg-Lyman. My contact with these two people is vastly different.

CamieI’ve been going to Camie Cragg Fitness on and off for the past year. What keeps me going back (besides the killer work outs) is the amazing positive energy inside this place. Camie is one of the most energetic and happy people I have ever witnessed. And I’ve witnessed it a lot over the past year… sometimes I wonder, “Does this woman ever have a bad day??? EVER?!?!” Not likely. She has surrounded herself with an amazing team of like minded trainers which makes working out there… (dare I say it?)…FUN! Camie and her business Camie Cragg Fitness have a strong presence in Northern Nevada, so to say she has impacted me and is one of my “Health Heroes” probably doesn’t come as a surprise to people from this area.  However, my other “health hero” probably didn’t even know she was having an impact on me over the past year.

Kellie and I knew each other in college while we were both athletes at the University of Nevada, but we probably haven’t seen each other face to face since 2005!!! We’re friends on Facebook and I see her posts daily via social media, but when it comes to contact… that’s the extent of it. KelliePic
Kellie is a stay at home mom, who moves around the country supporting her husband and his career in Major League Baseball. She runs her own business as a Beach Body Coach, and it’s through her dedication to this business that she has been able to encourage me.

Unbeknownst to her, she has been encouraging me daily for the last year. I see her motivational posts on Facebook and I see the results from her workouts. These two things keep me going for my own fitness. “If she can do it, I can do it.” She has encouraged me SO MUCH that now I’d like to have that very same impact on people by being a Beach Body Coach.

The American Recall Center is running a campaign this month called “Who Keeps You Healthy?” To be honest, prior to last week I had never heard of this business, or really even knew who they were or what they do. When approached to write a blog on this topic, I loved the idea!! Their goal is “to empower their readers to take complete control of their health by being fully informed.” Now that’s a notion I can get behind and fully support!!

I hope that in even the smallest measure that I am able to help one person be a little bit more informed to make better health choices. So I want to know… Who is your Health Hero? Why do you work daily/weekly to be a healthier YOU?

Have a wonderful week everyone!

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Clean Eating: What does it mean??

I’m sure many of you out there keep hearing this catch phrase Clean Eating.  On the surface and at face value it seems pretty straight forward, logical and powerful.  “I’m going to eat CLEAN.” eat-real-food-300x294

But… if you’re like me… you hear these catch phrases and you ask… “OK, what does it really mean?”  My initial though on the phrase is that it means you eat fresh veggies, lean proteins and low Glycemic Index carbohydrates.  You try to stay away from “processed foods” and keep it as healthy and fresh as possible.

But what is processed and what isn’t?  Ketchup? Is that processed?  How about mustard?  Can one be clean eating and the other not? How about those great burritos from Chipotle; they seem to be made fresh. Protein bars? Those don’t come from a plant, tree or animal, they’re technically processed and packaged.  Or how about the All-You-Can-Eat Sushi in town?? They make it fresh right when you order, and it’s fish.  What about soy sauce?  Because let’s be honest… this Chinese girl LOVES her soy sauce, but technically it’s not “naturally occurring”, soy sauce is the byproduct of soy beans being processed… so does that make it not OK?

So much confusion!  So many questions!  It was time to do some research…

After pulling from a couple sources, here and here, this is my conclusion.

  1. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle
  2. Avoid processed and refined foods
  3. Consume food in its most natural state; eat whole foods
  4. Let the food label guide you (Long list of ingredients you’ve never heard of? Pass.)

Gosh? Only four points?  Must mean it’s easy to do… maybe, maybe not.  Since clean eating is a lifestyle it’s an ongoing process and something you must keep at if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’d like to think that many of the recipes I’ve shared on my blog in the past would be considered clean eating.  See… Roasted Broccoli, Siracha Kale Chips, Taboule Salad and many more.RoastBroc2SirachaChip1BulgurWheat1

This blog post is intentionally left open ended; I don’t want to force my own opinion down your potentially clean eating throat.  Maybe do your own research and get back to me.  I’d love to hear your comments below.  So tell me… what does clean eating mean to you?

Hot White Chick

It brings me much shame and embarrassment to admit that I read the trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey.  These books were downright horrible.  I loathed them.  I kept hoping and wishing they’d get better… that maybe the plot was going somewhere.  But no.  It continued to be horrible.  I’m the type of person that if I start a book, I must finish it.  Somehow I pushed myself through all three of these books and then felt like I had wasted precious time in my life that could have been better spent elsewhere.  Usually, when I’m this angry at a book when I finish it, I literally chuck it across the room in disgust.  Unfortunately, I was reading them on my friend’s Kindle so I couldn’t exert my anger on the device.

Fast forward a few months, and that same friend introduces me to this book: 50 Shades of Chicken.  It is HILARIOUS!! I highly recommend it to anyone who also felt their time and effort of reading 50 Shades of Grey was stripped away from them.  This book redeems some of the time lost reading the original trilogy because you would only understand the humor if you had suffered through the writing in the original three books.photo-11

The idea of this book is that Shifty Blades, the Chef, is going to make Chicken for dinner.  “No Chicken… I don’t MAKE dinner…. I cook. HARD.”  And there is a little blurb before each recipe that’s written so similarly to the original books in style that it’s hilarious.

To give you a sample of what you might find in this book, I’ve written my own 50 Shades of Chicken recipe complete with cooking innuendo.  A side note: I’ve talked before in previous blogs, Chicken Avocado Salad, about how poaching chicken is a great way to cook lean and keep it from drying out.  Here’s that process.

I’m suddenly awakened by a tight, firm grip around my breasts. “Where are we going?” I ask sleepily.  “I’ve got something special planned for you Miss Hen…” Shifty teases.  My skin is warming underneath his grip…he’s so devious sometimes. Two can play that game.  “What could possibly be more special than making dinner with me like you did last night?”  I retort.  “Today, I’m going to turn you into a Hot White Chick.”  I feel my skin flush with anger.  Turn me into a hot white chick? I’m not some art project.  My inner goddess is winding up to smack that smirk off his face with her wing. 

Shifty eases me into the hot boiling water.  The heat is so intense all around me, it’s suffocating.  I’ve sunk to the bottom of the pot, then I start feelingevery morsel of my being come alive.   The swirling water has my head spinning… I’ve lost track of time.  Suddenly, I’m floating at the top of the pot.  I catch my reflection in a nearby blade… OH MY!!!  I’m so white and lean and piping hot!!!  My inner goddess is striking poses left and right.  Stay calm.  Shifty eases me out of the pot to rest on a nearby cutting board.  I see the desire and hunger in his eyes.  Yes, he wants me. His HOT WHITE CHICK. I stretch out on the cutting board flexing my taut body….

I’m fully self-aware at how horrible of an attempt that was at fowl mockery.  You want the real thing… read the book.photo-12

Ingredients:
Chicken (pieces, whole chicken, whatever your preference may be)

Method: Bring large pot of liquid (broth, water, wine…anything) to a boil.  Ease in chicken (thighs, breasts, whole chicken).  Turn temperature down to low, just enough to where the liquid is slightly swirling.  Typically, once the chicken floats, it is cooked.

Cooking times may vary based on frozen or fresh and size of pieces.

Who is excited for the 50 Shades of Grey movie? HMMMM?? Not me.  However, maybe it will prompt me to make a chicken video blog in the future.

Enjoy!

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

It’s a gloomy day today in NYC, so I’m taking advantage of being inside by writing up this yummy recipe for baby bok choy with cashews.  This is a really simple, healthy recipe that’s great as a side dish.

Bok Choy is essentially a Chinese cabbage.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but I tend to gravitate towards buying the baby bok choy.  Like most leafy greens, you want to make sure you do a very good job washing this prior to cooking it.  The layers of leaves make for good hiding spots for bugs and dirt.BokChoy1

When preparing this dish, I usually break the outer leaves off and wash each individually (I know; tedious) and then leave the center as a piece of it’s own.  Depending on the time of year, the baby bok choy can even vary in side.  If your outer leaves seem too big and inconsistent with the cooking size you’re going for, just chop them into large pieces (that’s what I did in this recipe).

I love how quick this dish comes together.  After prepping the ingredients, cook time takes no time at all.  I hope you enjoy this…. If you master this side dish, you’re only a pot of white rice with steamed Chinese Sausage and Pork Wontons away from what my family considers traditional Chinese dinner.

Ingredients:
10 Baby Bok Choy
2 garlic cloves chopped
3-4 green onions chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ C cashews chopped

Directions:  In a large pan (or wok) heat on med to med-high heat.  Add canola oil; allow to warm then add green onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Next, add in the cashews, and cook for another minute.  Add cleaned baby bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil; stir then cover with lid.  Covering the pan will help the bok choy wilt and steam.  Keep a close eye on and it make sure to stir it a few times.

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Once bok choy has achieved desired doneness (I like it wilted, but with a crunch when you bite it; not mushy) remove from heat.  Top with reserved chopped cashews and serve.

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Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

Pork Wontons

I’ve been on quite the heath food blogging kick lately, and I think it’s time I that take it back a notch and prove I am still human and that I love fried food.  I try to stay away from deep fried food at home as much as possible, but there are just some foods that are better cooked using this method than any other.  For these pork wontons, I’m sure you could brush them slightly with oil and bake them, but I’ve never personally tried it that way.wontons3

The wontons I make are unlike most wontons you’ll find in restaurants.  First difference, I hand make them and they’re not a product conveniently purchased nearly cooked and just to be thrown in the deep fryer for a few seconds like you’d find at most restaurants.  Second, I fold mine differently than the traditional wonton.  I’m not sure if there is a perfect way to fold a wonton, but this is how my grandpa did it, so that’s how I do it.

I have strayed from the family recipe before and used ground chicken because someone I knew couldn’t eat pork, and they turned out just as good.  When I substituted the chicken I used a little bit of Panko breadcrumbs to help the wonton mixture retain moisture.  I liked it so much, that I’ve now incorporated that into my pork wontons as well.  It’s not a necessity in this recipe, but I think it makes them a little fluffier and not so dense in the middle.

Ingredients:
1 package round wonton wrappers (or gyoza wrappers)
½ lb ground pork
¼ c green onion (chopped fine)
1 can water chestnuts (chopped fine)
1 egg (beaten)
¼ c breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
Water or a 2nd beaten egg for sealing wontons

Directions:  Preheat frying oil at 375 degrees in fryer.  In a bowl, combine green onion, water chestnuts, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil.  Mix together.  Then add the pork and fold in.  *I like to get all my flavors together, then add the meat, if you mix the meat too long it can sometimes get tough.  Once meat mixture is combined you can assemble the wontons.  Place a small spoon full in the center of the wrapper and then seal the wonton by coating the edge with water or beaten egg.  Press the edges of the wonton together well, do not allow air into the wonton.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s smart to have a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper and plastic wrap on reserve to cover the made wontons.  If they dry out too much they can crack which then makes a mess when you deep fry.

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After you’ve assembled all the wontons, fry them just prior to serving.  In the fryer be sure to fry both sides, and when they are golden brown you know they’re fully cooked.

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Enjoy!  If someone has baked wontons, please share your experience with me because I’d like to know how they turn out.  Also, the Green Onion Condiment I made goes EXCELLENT with these wontons.

Have a great week!

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Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

Ingredients:RoastBroc1
1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.

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Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Avocado Chicken Salad

It seems like spring just flew by us and Reno decided it was summer over the course of two days.  You gotta love that summer time heat.  To me it means backyard BBQs, going to the lake and spending lots of time in the sunshine (don’t forget the SPF).

Can you believe half of 2013 has already passed us by??  Have you been diligent in keeping up with that New Year’s resolution to be bikini ready by the time summer arrives?  Mentally – I wanted to.  Physically- well that’s another story…  Since I haven’t really had the time to work out, I just try to remember to eat as healthy as I can, and control that portion size.

One of my first posts for Like Write on Rice was Arepas de Venezuela.  The reason I bring this up is because the Avocado Chicken Salad is derived from a common filling Venezuelans like to stuff their arepas with.  La Renia Pepiada is often what this filling is called (in case you ever find yourself in a Venezuelan restaurant).  I’ve altered the recipe just slightly to make it healthier. AvocadoChicken2

One last tid-bit I’d like to express with you is my distaste of canned chicken.  Sure – it’s easy and convenient.  For me, I just can’t seem to get myself to like it.  So, in this recipe feel free to substitute canned chicken.  I like poaching my own chicken and shredding it.  It tastes fresher to me.

To poach chicken (breasts, tenders or any chicken part really) bring a pot of water to boiling.  You can season the chicken ahead of time if you wish, but I usually poach is plain if I’m adding it to another dish.  When the water is boiling throw in your chicken (frozen or fresh).  Turn the heat down to where it no longer comes to a rolling boil.  You want the water to slightly swirl, but absolutely not boiling.  Let the chicken sit in there until it is cooked through.  Time varies based on size and fresh or frozen.

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Tenders (poached, shredded)
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion (like relish)
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/3-1/4 C plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp lime juice
½ an avocado (cubed)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Combine chicken, onion, cilantro, lime juice, Greek yogurt.  Add avocado last and fold in.  Serve and enjoy!

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Another nice substitute/addition to make to this salad is celery.  You can replace the onion with celery if you don’t like onions.  Or add it in as an additional source of crunchiness.

What do you think?  Will you be making this for lunch, dinner or a snack this week?

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