Chicken & Yellow Rice

I’ve been making this dish for years but for some reason it tasted the best it ever has last night.  I had to ask myself why; I did two things different than I usually do.  I used a whole chicken leaving the skin on and fried it in bacon grease.  Who knew…

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Ingredients

1 whole pastured chicken, cut into pieces (reserve the backs and neck for future stock making)
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup organic basmati rice
1 3/4 -2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup sliced green olives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Cut the chicken into pieces reserving the backs and necks for future stock making.  Season the pieces with salt and pepper.  Melt the bacon fat in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Fry the chicken skin side down, about 6 minutes or until nice and golden.  Turn and fry about 3 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions for about 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and the peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes more or until just tender.  Stir in the rice and stir until just coated.  Add the stock and turmeric and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.  Put the chicken back in the pan along with any juices and nestle within the rice mixture.

Put the lid on the pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir in the peas and olives; cover with the lid and let set for 5 minutes to heat them through.

10 Tips For Better Living

Keeping it simple, keeping it real.  Here are 10 tips to incorporate into your life that will improve all areas.

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  1. Lift Heavy Things. Strength is more important than any other aspect of fitness.  If you are weak you will not survive let alone thrive.
  2. Move.  Quickly and often; you must elevate your heart rate on a frequent basis and breathe heavy.  There are many ways to accomplish this – find what works best for you.
  3. 3 Times a Week. Find the time to do #’s 1 & 2.  If you cannot find the time you need to re evaluate and change your ‘schedule’ so that you can.  There are no excuses.
  4. Eat Real Food. Eat meat, fish and fowl that were raised on pasture, eggs and wild seafood. Eat vegetables and fruits preferably local and organic.  Eat healthy fats from pastured animals and wild fish. Eat roots, tubers and some starch commensurate with your activity levels and goals.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: eat quantities of the above listed foods to support your activities but not excess body fat.
  6. Sleep.  At least 7-9 hours a night of sleep in a dark room with no LED distractions.  Avoid violent television and technological stimulation 2+ hours prior to bedtime
  7. Breathe & Focus. Find time for quiet reflection preferably in nature; if not, anywhere you can focus on the moment observing your breath and stillness.  Keep focused on your path and your goals. This can be done in many ways – find what works for best for you.
  8. Laugh. Find humor on a daily basis; learn to laugh and smile frequently.  See obstacles as opportunities. Maintain an optimistic yet realistic viewpoint.
  9. Find a Qualified Healer. Our healthcare system is rigged; seek a gifted alternative/holistic/functional medicine doctor to oversee your health care that focuses on preventative measures rather than disease and toxic drugs.
  10. Be Grateful. Appreciate and give thanks to a higher power for what you do have.  Ask for direction on how to achieve your goals and give back by helping those in need that also are willing to help themselves.

Creative Cookies

I dunno.  It was Sunday morning and I just felt like baking some cookies.  Sunday’s in the kitchen are very therapeutic for me and I was in a creative mood.  I also like to look around the pantry and see what needs using.  I found an overly large bag of pecans that  I didn’t want to hold onto until Thanksgiving and a half used bag of coconut nearing it’s expiration date.

In my fridge were a jar of natural maraschino cherries from hubby’s birthday pineapple upside down cake from last year. Hmmm.

My creativity was sparked.  I decided to make up a basic batch of cookie dough, divide it in half and make a butter pecan cookie and a cherry coconut.  Yum, here we go. . .

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Ingredients

Basic cookie dough
2 1/4 cups King Arthur measure for measure gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Butter Pecan
1/3 cup chopped pecans
24-30 pecan halves
maple sugar

Cherry Coconut
1/2 cup finely flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
12-15 all natural maraschino cherries, halves
finely flaked coconut
powdered sugar

Preparation

In a small mixing bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl beat the butter, sugars and vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time mixing until well combined.

Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Divide the dough in half.

To one half stir in the pecans.  To the other half stir in the coconut and chopped maraschino cherries.  Cover both with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Butter Pecan
Roll a tablespoon’s worth of dough into a ball.  Roll the dough in maple sugar and place on a cookie sheet.  Press the cookies down slightly with the bottom of a glass.  Gently press a pecan half into the center of each cookie.

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Cherry Coconut
Roll a tablespoon’s worth of dough into a ball.  Roll the dough in a mixture of half coconut, half powdered sugar. Press the cookies down slightly with the bottom of a glass.  Gently press a half of a maraschino cherry into the center of each cookie.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Where are the weights? Bahahaha. . .

Some days you need a little lighter load.  That may seem contrary to what I typically preach but it feels good every once in awhile to go a little longer and not always at ramming speed.  In addition taking it outside and getting a little dirty is a lot of fun.  Try this one. . .

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Warm up:  2
x – 200 m run, 10 squats, 10 spidey lunges, 10 calf raises

Test:
1 mile run for time; rest 5- 10 minutes

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Wod:
Min 1:  25 yd bear crawl
Min 2:  10 tire flips
Min 3:  100 m sprint
Min 4:  30 s plank hold
5 rds (20 min)

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Score:  mile time and minutes completed

Elephant Meat – Part 1

Eat a lot of elephant meat.  Is it high in protein and grass fed?  Not sure but it will certainly allow you to get a lot done, simplify your life and enable you to better achieve your goals in many situations. You’ve heard the saying ‘how do you eat an elephant – one bite at a time’.

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That mentality has helped me tremendously since I first heard the expression.  In today’s fast paced 24/7 now now now technology laden world we have less time than ever.  The majority of people feel overwhelmed most of the time. This is not a good or healthy way to live.

Trying to get everything done all at once is the same thing as attempting to inhale an elephant in one sitting. You’re going to have some pretty severe indigestion.  And a lot of frustration.

I am a big believer in goals; setting them, planning and strategizing on the best ways to achieve them.  While it is important to aim high and have lofty goals one must first break them down into smaller or shorter term goals that will ultimately lead to the big one.

For example if your long term goal is to compete in the CF Games what smaller goals should you come up with to achieve along the way?  Maybe for now you’d be best served with finding a coach to help establish a periodized training plan.

When you have smaller goals it gives you a couple of advantages.  First, it simplifies the process and gives you something concrete to focus on.  The idea of qualifying for the CF Games can be quite daunting to say the least. Not knowing what to do specifically will lead to frustration.  It’s a lot easier to seek out a qualified coach to develop an initial plan for you.

Secondly, it’s far more achievable and will give you the satisfaction of completing it and checking it off your to do list. While you still have along way to go to your ultimate goal you are on the right path and moving in the right direction.

Viewing your life’s goals as a series of smaller ones will lead to an overall better quality of life, satisfaction, happiness and success.  Keep the lofty goals within your sight while focusing on smaller ones along the way.  This series of small successes will keep you on track.  Often before you realize it you will look down at your plate and be amazed that there’s not much of the elephant left.  It all adds up.

Cajun Lobster Pasta

I had a pound of lobster meat in my freezer that I didn’t quite know what to do with.  I also had some time to finally cook being it was a holiday weekend and three days long.  Saturday morning had me pulling it out to thaw and seeking some inspiration from the internet.

This delicious Cajun Lobster Pasta from Food52 sounded amazing and it was. . .

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It tasted like something you’d be served at a five star restaurant and the beauty of it was it didn’t take much time at all to whip up. The changes I made to the original recipe were minimal based on ingredients I had on hand, personal preference and to make it gluten free

Ingredients

3 strips of nitrate/nitrite free bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock*
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 pound lobster, raw
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons non GMO cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
Sea salt to taste
*include any reserved lobster ‘juice’ for a total of 3/4 liquid

I used DeBoles gluten free spaghetti (cooked according to package directions)

Preparation

Fry up the bacon in a large cast iron skillet until crisp; remove to paper towel to drain reserving about a tablespoon of bacon fat.  Crumble the bacon and set aside.

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Add the bell pepper and cook on medium heat for about two to threes minutes or until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic and green onions and cook a minute longer.  Add in the lobster and stir fry until just barely opaque.  Drain off any liquid that accumulates.  Add enough chicken stock to that to equal 3/4 cup. (You may use all chicken stock but I feel the lobster ‘juice’ added additional flavor).

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Add the broth to the mixture along with the spices.  Allow the mixture to heat back up and come to barely a boil.  Add in the cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and cook stirring constantly for one minute or until thickened. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream.

Serve your finished lobster over the fresh cooked pasta with a few pinches of parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped green onions over the top.