Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder

Today I worked out.  30 minute run on the treadmill plus level one of Jillian’s Ripped in 30.  Here’s to making it a good week.

And I also wanted a cozy soup for dinner so I made up a recipe.

Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can regular corn (drained)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6-8 red potatoes (small cubes)
  • Chopped cilantro (about a half of a bunch you’d buy at the store)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 4 chipotle peppers (from a can of peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 4 T adobo sauce
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 block fat free cream cheese cut in half
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions: put everything in the crockpot with the 2 chicken breasts on top. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it and put it back in the soup.

Now, because I made this recipe up I had to make some on the fly additions while it was cooking.  The soup was pretty watery. Not in a bad way, just more of a broth based soup when I had my heart set on chowder.  I’m thinking you could choose to remedy this a couple of ways.

You could:

1. Start with less chicken broth (next time)
2. Add in heavy cream (delicious but don’t need those calories)
3. Add in some cornstarch (wanted to but didn’t have any)
4. Add in some flour

Ding ding.  Winner is….#4.  I mixed about a half cup of flour with hot water to make sort of liquid flour (kind of a roux minus the fat) and then I dumped it into the crock pot at around hour 3.

This definitely helped thicken up my soup but next time I’ll make sure to use a little less broth and keep cornstarch on hand. Chris thought it was fine but I think just knowing I had to toss in some flour bugged me.

I also whipped up some cornbread, from scratch!  I normally use a mix from Marie Callendar but the last time we made it I read that you could make the cornbread in the microwave.  Um, that doesn’t seem normal to me so I said buh bye to random preservatives and used actual corn meal.

I am such a grownup.

Cornbread
Recipe adapted from here.

  • 1 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 Degrees.

And there you go.  Cozy soup and corn bread.  You really can’t beat it.  Only thing better would be to eat this soup out of a cornbread bread bowl.  A girl can dream right?

PS We will be eating this chowder for the next 3 days at least.  It makes a lot.

PPS as I scheduled this post I realized tomorrow (or today when you’re reading this post) is my half birthday.  6 months left to be 30.

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Orange Juice

Today I can’t wait to wear this shirt (under my layers of black…down vest, rain jacket etc – 48 degrees at kickoff).

I’m so proud of my husband for helping to bring this to market :)  Go here for some info on the whole Beaver juice  story.

In other orange juice news, I used the freshly squeezed variety to make a super tasty dinner earlier this week.

Orange Paleo Chicken (adapted from original recipe here)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sriracha

Directions
In a medium size sauce pot, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, soy sauce and sriracha. Set over medium heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks.  For the chicken – heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a separate pan. Add the chopped chicken and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes). Add the chicken to the sauce pot and stir to coat with the orange sauce. These were the directions from the original recipe which I followed.  However, to cut down on pans I think you would be fine to cook the chicken until almost done and then just add all the sauce mix to the chicken and let everything thicken that way.

Serve over quinoa with a side of spicy green beans (olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, cooked over medium heat).

And unrelated to orange juice but more related to my overall health – I finished week two of the new job and am still alive (but tired).  I also managed to get in a workout every day this week even though some of it had to happen before and after work.  Here’s how they shook out:

  • Monday – Lunchtime pilates (with new work friends) + 30 minute incline treadmill walk after work
  • Tuesday: 45 minute run on the treadmill before work
  • Wednesday: 30 min cardio + lunchtime pilates (leaving a few minutes early)
  • Thursday: Quick 2.5 mile run after work on a new to me trail while waiting for Chris to get out of a meeting
  • Friday: 30 minutes of elliptical intervals + 30 minute butts & Guts class with my new workout pal Laura.

And finally, I wrapped up the week with half a high school football game (sideline view was nice).

Followed by dinner and a delicious sour beer at the Racoon.

And a cider at Journey’s.

And that brings me to now.  Off to pull myself together for game day.  Hope you all have great Saturdays.

Lunches and meal plans

So I sat down on Sunday will full intentions of posting all of this – my meal plan for the week complete with pictures of all my food prep. But then I didn’t. So you’re getting it two days late. And somehow without photo evidence of everything. Apparently I was so busy making things that I forgot to take pictures of two of my creations? What IS going on?

Meal plan:

Sunday: Papa Murphys

Monday
: On the fly made-up balsamic blackberry shredded chicken with quinoa and spicy green beans (this is going up on the blog sometime in the next week. I’m just one women. This post is taking all that I have).

Tuesday: Spaghetti. Nothing special here. Just whole wheat noodles, ground turkey breast, canned (organic) sauce plus red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning blend and garlic.

Lunches also involved some work. I went with shredded balsamic chicken with roasted balsamic veggies – brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. All of these were inspired by recipes but none were followed exactly.

This meal has been delicious so far, lets see how I feel about it on Friday. At this point, it’s definitely one I’ll re-create. I also made a few sides for pre and post workouts:

Pumpkin Amazeballs by fitnessista
Paleo pumpkin bars by eating bird food.

And now apparently I’m a grandma because it’s 8:47 and I’m falling alseep at the computer. That’s what busy days to to you right? Not to mention I got up at 5 to run on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Monday I tried pilates using the shuttle and it was a hassle but if I want to keep working out at lunch I’m going to have to make it work. I’m trying it again tomorrow.

And with that, I’m out. Hope you’re having a great week.

Efficient workouts + shrimp pasta

Week one of the new job is one the books.  Done and done.

I also tried out my new lunchtime workout schedule for the 1st time and I feel like it’s going to be doable.  Honestly the only negative thing that was going through my mind when I was dealing with all this job stuff was the fact that the building was off campus which meant I could no longer walk to the gym at lunch and will have to drive.  Huge bummer since that’s a massive part of my day but in the end I realized I can’t base my career on gym access.  So I’ve vowed to make it work.

The commute definitely adds some time into the equation so I’m realizing I’m going to have to get a lot smarter about my workouts.  Gone are the leisurely hour and a half sessions + locker room time.  From now on, it’s 60 min or less in the gym with 15 minutes to get ready, giving me 15 minutes for commuting.  Here’s how things shook out for day one:

30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Varying between resistance levels 7 -12, I alternated 30 sec to 1 minutes bursts to really get my heart rate going.  After that I did a quick dumbbell weight circuit 3 times through:

  • Front Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Lateral Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Single Arm Tricep extensions 8lbs x 12
  • Bent over rows 8lbs x 10
  • Squats 25 (varied between regular, side and sumo)
  • Side ab bends 16lbs x 25 per side
  • Step Ups on the weight bench 8lbs x 10

I did all of that in under an hour.  Nice.

And you know where else I was efficient this week?  With our Thursday night dinner.  I was still tired from my trip and Chris had firewood delivered and had to deal with stacking that.  We were going to go out or get pizza but I really wanted something healthy so I raided the kitchen and this is what I came up with.  It was delish.

Spicy shrimp Parmesan Pasta

  • 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • Whole Wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder

But because I was being so efficient I didn’t measure anything.  Here’s my best guess at directions to recreate:

Spray some olive oil on the shrimp, and toss with red pepper flakes, garlic and sea salt.  Steam the broccoli on the stove in a steamer basket while your noodles are cookie.  Cook your shrimp on a pan over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and broccoli to the noodles. Toss in a bit of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking and top with parmesan cheese.  I probably added about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup?

And of course, I topped it with sriracha.  So good.

Travel Zombie

I got home from North Carolina last night around 10:30 which for those of you unfamiliar with time zones is equal to 1:30 Eastern time.  Which normally wouldn’t seem that bad except that I’d gotten up at 5:30 EST to go running with one of my new co-workers (having gone to bed at midnight the night before).  So really, when talking PST, I was up from 2:30 AM – 11:30 PM and ran 4.3 miles, listened to 5+ hours of presentations, spent 3+ hours in airports and about 7 hours on various airplanes.  And then I had to be to work today by 8.

No wonder I handed Chris the cheese grader when he asked for the slicer this morning (duh, doesn’t everyone want shredded cheese on their sandwich).

But yeah, exhaustion aside, North Carolina was awesome and my new teammates are great.  I am so happy I went.  I didn’t take my big camera but here’s what I managed to capture on the ‘ole iphone.

Trip highlights include a round of golf (in much colder weather than anticipated), an amazing mexican feast (with the best tiramisu I’d ever had) at a co-worker’s house, and the early morning run around the UNC campus.  It was an awesome experience.

And because my blog is supposed to be about healthy living – I should mention that I actually ran both days.  Tuesday was on the treadmill and Wednesday was the outside run.  I make sure every time I get to a hotel to check out their workout facilities and the Carolina Inn had a great little room with some nice treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weights.  And I planned ahead and brought oatmeal and peanut flour mixes and just heated up water with the hotel room coffee pot so that I could still work-out, eat breakfast and make it to the lobby at the designated 7:30 am departure time.

Am I coherent?  All the sudden I feel like I’m tying random things and I really should stop.  I’m off to try to find some sort of dinner.  Nothing really sounds good so we’ll see what I come up with. Can’t believe tomorrow is only Friday.  I feel like it’s been ages since I was packing my bag up on Sunday.  Whew.  Time flies when you’re having fun?

Work trips + guest post

I’m officially on day 2 of the new gig and I’m coming to you from Chapel Hill North Carolina. Apparently starting a new job wasn’t enough…instead, my boss wanted me to start it in NC during a 3 day offsite with people I’d never met before. While I was totally freaking out Sunday night, I’ve made it through the travel and the awkwardness of meeting everyone so hopefully the next 2 days will be smooth sailing.

I can’t wait to get home and chat more about staying healthy while traveling but for now it’s off to a meeting.

I’ll leave you with 2 things.

This is what my morning looked like: 4 miles on the hotel treadmill (PS 5:30 AM EST = 2:30 AM PST).

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And if you really miss me you can head on over to Healthy Living Blogs where I’m guest posting today.

Growing up is scary

When I first met Chris I remember walking into his condo and seeing this magnet on his fridge. “Do something every day that scares you.” Fast forward 4.5 years later (actually as I write this I realize we have been together 4.5 years to the day – happy half-year 1st date anniversary to my husband) and I still look at that magnet every day. Since our fridge can’t hold magnets (the one downfall of stainless steel) it sits on the corner of our bulletin board. Tucked between the garbage schedule, our favorite pizza place and pictures from last year’s New Years Eve, sits the piece of advice that resonates more with me right now that I ever thought possible.

Do something every day that scares you.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I have been scared every day this week. And as of tomorrow at 5, things are about to get a whole lot scarier. See, back here I alluded to good things happening and they did. Very good things. I was offered an incredible job. Still with my same company so don’t think I’m all the sudden packing up and moving, but with an entirely different group. And the fact that tomorrow is my last day with the team of people I’ve spent the last 5.5 years of my life with both terrifies and thrills me at the same time.

I’m terrified to leave my comfort bubble – this place where every day when I go into work I know exactly what to do and who to do it with. I’m terrified to start over. To be the low girl on the totem pole. To have to make new friends. To start an entirely new routine. The last 5.5 years have been amazing. I have learned so much and really become the woman I am today. This wasn’t my first job out of college but it was the job where I learned what I’m good at and what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was at this place that I’ve met some of my best friends. It was through this team that I met a woman who later would become one of my bridesmaids. It was with this team that I met a guy I liked so much I invited him on a trip to Vegas and it was on that trip that he met his future wife. It was with this group that I took my first trip to Europe. It was with this group that I met an amazing fellow WSU Cougar who has worked right next to me for almost the entire 5.5 years, where we shared stories of dating our boyfriends who became our fiancés who became our husbands and just recently for her, became the father of her child. It was because of the people on this team that I’m a member of a once a month dinner club. It was because of a friend on this team that I became interested in photography and started blogging. It was through this team that I became fast friends with the woman who sat in front of me, who I hope is part of my life for a long time (it’s not every day you meet someone who loves fitness and health as much as you do). It was because of this team that I met my husband. And on 9.11.10 when I looked out at all our friends and family it was this team that filled the audience.

And Monday when I start my new job all of that is gone. Not the people. Definitely not the people. They’ll be around forever. But this chapter of my life. And that is scary. This new job is big. And different. And out of my comfort zone. And I won’t know the answers. And I will fail. And I will struggle. And I will be pushed. But I know that this is the right decision. That this is the right thing for me, for my career. And once I get through the first couple weeks and the first-day-of-school butterflies leave my stomach it will be exciting – this new challenge, this new group, this new team. And I hope that 5.5 years from now I get to look back and feel the exact same way about my new group that I feel about the one I’m leaving right now.

And as my pal Sandra Bullock says in Hope Floats,

Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s everything in between that makes it all worth living.

So as I seal up my last box and send my final email tomorrow, I get to leave, taking with me some awesome memories because everything between the time I started in February 2007 and the time I’m leaving in October 2012 has been one crazy, awesome ride. Thank you to everyone who made that possible. I would not be where I am today without every single one of you.

Can you believe this is October? + My favorite Salmon

Um seriously how are we still getting weather like this?  We are living on borrowed time my friends because any day now the rains will come.  But until they do, we’re taking advantage of it.

Like yesterday when we decided to hit up Journeys after work (me in flip flops and shorts).

Sadly they are no longer serving hard cider on draft.  This may be a blessing in disguise.  I certainly don’t need those extra calories.

And before we hit up Journey’s we had a delicious salmon dinner.  This is one of the 1st meals Chris made for me when we were dating and I’ve always loved it.

Sweet & Spicy Salmon rub (courtesy of Chris)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 ingredients.  How easy is that?  Dump them directly onto the (fresh) salmon filet, rub it around and throw it all on the grill.

We served it with grilled, spicy asparagus (olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes) and wild rice (from a box – not my finest moment).

So good.  I could eat that meal every day but I admit that salmon is the one protein we don’t eat enough around here but we need to be better.  So many nutritional benefits.

In other news, my workout yesterday was pretty typical – a pilates reformer class and 30 minutes on the elliptical split into before and after class segments.  And as for my two challenges, I am not at all doing good with the sugar-free variety.  Those darn M&M’s from my mom are just too tough to exist.

And with that, I’m out.  I shall leave you with this picture of my night.  How glorious is that for this time of year?

Spicy chicken tomato cream sauce over broccoli

Wait, what is going on here? Someone is blogging about her day the day it actually happened? Like for real, on an actual computer? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

And what great things do I have to share with you today? How about a little twist on a classic? Like I’ve mentioned here before, Chris looooves pasta. If it were up to him, we would have some sort of penne pasta every night (or maybe bean and cheese burritos). And tonight was no exception. I needed to use up some of the last tomatoes from our yard and had chicken thawed from earlier in the week (note – we buy organic chicken breasts from Costco but I split each breast in two. They are gigantic). So of course, we had pasta. I pretty much followed this spicy shrimp pasta recipe, tweaking things ever so slightly.

I chopped up 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Sautéed them in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Then I chopped up a bunch of smallish tomatoes (probably 8-10).

Then I added said tomatoes to chicken (and sprinkled in more garlic and flakes).

I stirred that around on medium heat for 5ish minutes. The sauce will start to thicken just a bit.

Then I added in goat cheese (about half of a container) and about 1/4 cup non-fat, plain greek yogurt.

I poured it over noodles for Chris.

And steamed broccoli for me.

Don’t forget to top with sriracha.

Lemme tell you, this meal was delicious. I’ve been trying to tone back my noodle intake but it’s been hard since Chris loves them so much and tonight’s dinner proved a great solution. Besides steaming the broccoli, this wasn’t any more work than making one big batch of pasta and I felt so much better about what I was eating. Highly recommend it.

In other news, I have become obsessed with the gym stepmills. I’ve always loved these machines but they hurt my knees. I hopped on one the other day to test things out and at I realized that the machines store all the other people’s workouts. You hop on and you can see the weekly average and highest “score” (stairs and calories). Um, are you kidding me? Amazing. I did 30 minutes on one Tuesday and got the 2nd highest score (you can actually enter your name into the machine) and then today did 28 minutes and climbed 130 floors to take the top spot. I am a dork. And also my knees hurt. Clearly I cannot continue this.

Um ok, now it’s time to watch Grey’s. They totally jumped the shark last season…hello plane crash? But I’m too invested in it to quit watching. Hope you had a great night and happy Friday.