Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Healthy Chicken Strips - 21 Day Fix

44 Chicken Strips
Healthy Chicken Strips. That are delicious? It can be done. My favorite part of these is that they are great to pre-make and freeze for the future. And I love the avocado dipping sauce.

This recipe makes 15 servings of 3 chicken strips each. You can halve the recipe to make a smaller amount. The recipe is pretty forgiving and doesn't need to be precise.

Ingredients
  • 2 Pounds chicken strips (approximately 45 strips)
  • 2-3 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla, and I like it.)
  • 2-3 eggs (Use 1 egg per 1 cup of milk.)
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2.5 cups of whole wheat panko, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Breading Station
  • salt & pepper
Directions
  1. Wisk together the almond milk, eggs, and a few dashes of pepper. Soak chicken strips in mixture. (I used a very large bowl to place all the strips into.)
  2. In a food processor, combine the Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings. Blend well (up to 1 minute). Add in the remaining 1.5 cups of panko and pulse 2-3 times. (This leaves some of the panko in larger pieces.)
  3. Prepare for breading - take one strip from wet mix, place in dry coating, coat, place on parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  4. Use parchment paper in between layer of strips - I had three layers. 
  5. Place cookie tray in freezer and freeze until solid, approximately 6 or more hours.
To Cook: Cook from frozen. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil (spray the foil with cooking spray), place strips in a single layer, cook at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (PSA - Don't eat under cooked chicken or you'll get sick.)

A serving size is 3 strips - for 1 Red, 1/2 Blue, and 1/2 Yellow. The 3 strips will fill you up too, if you eat it with veggies or a salad. 

Avocado Sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 8 ounces or 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Makes approximately 2 cups of sauce. Approximately 1/4 cup of sauce counts as 1/2 Blue (the avocado) and 1/2 red (the Greek yogurt.) The salsa is negligible.


Helpful Tips
I recommend using your food processor for both the dry coating and making the avocado dipping sauce. It's my favorite kitchen gadget, next to the Mix n Chop. 

Set up your work space correctly so you make as little mess as possible. Keep one hand wet (or I used tongs) and keep one dry hand. I even wore a glove when touching the chicken so the coating wouldn't stick to my fingers. 

Cost: The chicken strips are the most expensive, I spent $18 on 2.88 pounds at Sam's Club. I set aside 10 strips to grill/cook later and used just over 2 pounds (44 strips) to make the chicken strips. I had a little coating left over that would have given me 2-3 more strips. I estimate buying the almond milk, eggs, cheese, panko, the avocado sauce ingredients, you'll spend less than $25 to make this bulk product. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dear #CardinalsNation

What now? What do we do? 

A lot of people are going to bed confused. Lost. Hurt. These feelings of irritability and hopelessness are invading our bodies. Trying to figure out what went wrong. What happened? 

And that's it. Just like that, baseball season is over for St. Louis. At least until next year. Only 129 days until Pitchers and Catchers report. 

I'm not sure it's ever been over this early. Or at least not in the past few years. This year the Cardinals overcame injury after injury and were the NUMBER ONE team of the entire MLB. Number 1 out of 30 teams. After playing 162 games. What an amazing record! 

They can boast 11 World Series Titles. Second only to the Yankees. And the Cardinals have only played in 19 World Series. (The Yankees are 27 for 40.)

So what now? I came up with a list of healhy things to do while we wait for our beloved team to grace the field in 2016. 

1) Watch Hockey. St. Louis still Bleeds Blue. You can check out their schedule here. They have four games this week! I was vaguely aware they started playing last Thursday.  

2) Sleep. Remember when the Cardinals would be playing those post season games and they wouldn't start until 9 freaking PM? No more staying up until midnight trying to catch the 9th inning. Go to bed at a decent time! 

3) Enjoy the outdoors. On the opposite note, these 3pm and 5pm games are really cutting into Liam's outdoor time after work. Sorry Liam, you have to watch Elmo in Grouchland, again, instead of playing outside because Mommy is watching baseball. But not tomorrow! Tomorrow after work we can go outside. At least for the next two weeks -- until Daylight Savings Time takes that away from us. (P.S. That's November 1st.) 

4) Work out. I no longer need to juggle a live baseball game with my evening workout schedule. 7:15pm Work Outs, you're back on the schedule! 

5) Concentrate on Work. I lost a good 15 minutes today following the game and trying to bring it up on my iPad via the Uverse app. Since there's nothing left to follow, I don't have to worry about early game times, losing sleeping over late game times, or wasting time during work hours following the game. I will be a much more efficient employee. I'm sure my boss will be happy to see another stack of reports on his desk. 

6) All the St. Louis people studying for the PE and EIT don't have to worry about post season games interfering with their studying time. They will have more time to devote to studying! 

I'm sure are more. But for the rest of October and beginning of November, instead of my blood pressure fluctuating like it has been, I plan to:
  • Focus on Work
  • Sleep More
  • Focus on the work outs
  • Enjoy the Fall with my amazing husband and wonderful Son. 



Saturday, October 3, 2015

12 Weeks Left!

Just checking in. My own accountability.
12 Weeks until the new year.
Weight Checks - Note - I weigh myself on Saturdays, so I'm switching this to Saturdays.
September 16th  - 208.8 pounds
September 19th  - 208.0 pounds
September 26th - 208.2 pounds
October 3rd - 206.8 pounds

Remember how I mentioned that plateau? There it is. I've also decided it's mostly mental. I've lost 1.2 pounds over three weeks. But I've LOST, I could have gained. I need to stay FOCUSED on my goals.
  • I need to stay focused on my workouts. 
  • I need to stay focused on the food. 

Food
My diet isn't perfect. I eat mostly 21 Day Fix approved foods, and I cook 90% of my own food. But sometimes, I still want junk - I grew up on snacking on junk. I believe that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% fitness. And it shows. If I let myself shrink back into bad eating habits, the weight comes on quickly. A daily 300-calorie burn can only negate so much food, and I need an approximate daily 500 calorie deficit to lose one-pound a week. 

Things that are ~300 calories (that I might binge on)

  • One donut. Only 1. And if donuts are in the break room - how can you limit yourself one? 
  • 6 Oreos or 2-3 homemade cookies
  • 3 cups of SmartFood White Cheddar Popcorn. But it says Smart food!
  • Panera's  broccoli cheddar soup
  • Small Margarita
  • 2 Olive Garden Breadsticks (I had a twice that at lunch the other day.) 
  • and the most important -- the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino without Whip and made with nonfat milk is 300 calories. How much workout are you willing to put in to have one?
Just a few examples. It's easy to overeat while snacking, and really easy to rack up calories while eating out. I'm not sure I want to admit that my all time favorite food is the Chimichanga from the Mexican restaurant near my house. And it's smothered in Queso. We usually go there once every 2-3 months. And I just looked up the calories for a Chimichanga at a chain restaurant, 1,500 calories. Maybe I shouldn't eat those but once a year. 

Fitness
I'm ashamed to admit my fitness has been lacking. Yea. And I know I need to work out to help my weight loss. That 20% *is* a part of it. A 30 minute work out is only 2% of my day. I spend around 30% sleeping and 42% driving/working. I have room for 2%. I can only try to do better. 

The next four weeks:

  • Next weekend I am going to the Lake of the Ozarks with Liam and my parents. Jason will be left at home all alone (with Monday) to study.  
  • My parents are taking Liam Friday the 16th since I have Beachbody Super Saturday the morning of the 17th. I hope to get Grocery shopping completed before going to pick Liam up. 
  • And my parents are taking Liam the weekend of the 25th because it's the weekend before the PE exam. It's also Jason's birthday weekend so we'll probably go out to eat. But he'll still spend the weekend studying and I can spend the weekend 
  • Then it's Halloween weekend. I only really love Twix. We do have a Halloween party to attend, and will take Liam trick or treating. Otherwise I am not worried about Halloween. 
So far nothing big planned in November. Oh, except that holiday known as Thanksgiving. Which only centers around the *BIGGEST* meal of the year. 

Stay Tuned for the rest of my check ins!

Friday, October 2, 2015

21 Day Fix - Mozzarella Chicken Florentine

This was one of those meals where I realized I had a lot of leftover spinach that I was not going to manage to eat before it went bad. So what do to... what do to... I have some chicken... what else?

So I threw together this concoction. 
  • Chicken
  • Spinach like Pesto
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Garlic/Salt/Pepper/EVOO
Those are your main ingredients. I had chicken tenders, but you can use 4-ounce boneless skinless breasts and cut them in half (so they are thinner) and/or pound it out a little. 

I had 4 cups of spinach and I put it in the food processor with some pressed garlic, a tablespoon of EVOO, and some salt and pepper. I had to get flavor into this dish. 

I sliced my Roma Tomatoes using the Mandolin.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Grease two 9x13 pans with spray EVOO
  3. In each pan, arrange 9 chicken strips in groups of three. See the picture for the spacing - this will help them quick more evenly. Salt and pepper the chicken! 
  4. Spoon the 2 tablespoons of the Spinach "Pesto" over the chicken and spread it out. 
  5. Layer 3-4 tomato slices over the Spinach Pesto (half a tomato)
  6. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. I did 1 full blue container. It was *way* too much, I recommend 1/2 blue container. 
  7. Bake in the oven for ~30 minutes. 
This counts as 1 Red, 1 Green, ~2 tsps, and 1/2 Blue (unless you used more.).