Stepping out of the box: Fall Curry Chicken

I think curry dishes are one of those “love it or hate it” types of dishes, right? It’s a very strong flavor and not something that everyone enjoys. I’ve never really loved curry dishes, so I was shocked when I came across a “Fall Curry Chicken” recipe in the November Shape magazine that just looked like I had to make it. Perhaps it was because it included butternut squash and apples and pumpkin seeds that made it so desirable? Whatever it is, I decided that it was a recipe that I had to make.

Unfortunately, as I am still building my herbs/seasoning collection, making this recipe meant that I had to buy most of the ingredients… probably part of the reason why my groceries were so much higher than normal (that, and Halloween candy!). Once I took a bite of the dish, though, I realized my expensive grocery trip was wellll worth it. The dish was incredibly flavorful and I loved the textures of the chicken, butternut squash, apples and seeds.

Fall Curry Chicken- Recipe from Shape Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 pods cardamom – I couldn’t find these at the grocery store so I skipped it. I don’t think it made a huge difference
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1lb), peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins – I forgot to buy these so I didn’t add them. I think I liked it better without.

IMG_5570

Directions

1. Preheat a sauté pan over medium-high. Season chicken with salt. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable oil and chicken strips to pan and sear for 2 minutes per side of until golden brown and cooked through. Remove cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.

IMG_5569

2. Add onion and remaining vegetable oil to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, cardamom, and tomato paste and mix. Deglaze pan with coconut milk, scraping up cooked-on bits with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the sauce.

IMG_5572

3. Add squash to sauce and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes (I ended up having to sauté for almost 30 minutes… therefore, I kept adding more coconut milk to ensure it wouldn’t get dried out) or until squash has softened. Return chicken and juices to pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add raisins and apple. Stir to combine.

IMG_5573 IMG_5574

Serve yourself (and your guests, if you have some) a nice heaping of this topped with some roasted pumpkin seeds.

IMG_5577

You guys. This was SO GOOD! If you like curry or are more adventurous with flavors when you eat/cook, I highly suggest trying this. One thing I might do if I made this again would be to cook up some brown rice to serve this atop. It didn’t need rice, but I felt like I would have liked it. Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything!

Questions for you: Curry- love it or hate it? What’s your favorite type of food (Italian, French, Indian, Asian, etc.)? Do you follow recipes to a T or do you leave things out if you don’t have them?

Happy Halloween, btw! I hope you all have a fun day and treat yourself to some candy. I’m a firm believer in “everything in moderation”, which means eating candy on a candy Halloween!

Advertisements

Wednesday Workout: 2 Hotel Room/At Home Workouts

As you know, I have been on the road a bit lately, meaning my workouts have been on the road, too. Since I know a lot of you like when I post workouts that don’t involve weights/equipment and can be completed in the comforts of your own home, I thought I would share 2 of the workouts I’ve done in various hotel rooms over the past couple of weeks.

This one is a total body workout, incorporating cardio, core and strength exercises for a full body workout. Each exercise should be performed for 60 seconds, so if you want a fast workout, do it once, but if you’re looking for more, do 2-3 rounds of it. I did 2 rounds since I was short on time, but it still left me sweaty and tired!

Cardio, Core & Strength Hotel Room Circuit

Most of the moves are fairly standard, but the lunge and lift is a walking lunge and as you lift the back leg to step forward and lunge, work your glutes to lift the leg and get an extra booty burn.

Lunge & Lift

This next workout, though, was one of my more favorite “at home” (or, hotel room, in my case) workouts that I’ve done in a while and I definitely see myself doing this again soon. I liked that it was 25 reps rather than 60 seconds. For some reason, the moves seemed less daunting knowing I could count down the reps until I got to zero.

25 Rep Cardio & Core workout

The workout, including a 5 minute warm up, took me about 28 minutes to finish, but that’s because I was on it and didn’t take any extra rest. I literally jumped from the cardio to core moves with no delay, so if you take your time, it may take a little longer than that.

Here are links to some moves that are not as commonly used on the blog:
Plank with hip drop
Hitch Kick

I hope you like these- definitely let me know if you try one 🙂

Questions for you: What is your favorite “at home” workout format? Do you prefer at home workouts or workouts to do at the gym?

Pizza night, Halloween party, relaxing

Overall, the past weekend was really quite relaxing… or at least for me. I didn’t spend a lot of time at my apartment since I screwed up and broke my heat. With the temps we had in Boston over the weekend, this wasn’t the best time to break the heat. Needless to say, I spent Friday working like this:

IMG_5542

I was so grumpy and frustrated with myself by the end of the day. There’s nothing I hate more than doing something stupid that ends up costing me money. I was tempted to just stay in and drink wine by myself, but I decided to pull myself together and take someone up on their offer to grab pizza and a drink at Santarpio’s Pizza.

IMG_5546

Totally worth it and I felt much better after! Santarpio’s has totally lived up to its name, too… loved, loved, loveddd the pizza!

Saturday started off with kickboxing and then I got to do one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen: frost cookies!! There is something so relaxing about frosting cookies… and, ok, maybe I love it so much because I get to eat frosting throughout the process. I could literally eat frosting by the spoonful. Anyone else like this?

IMG_5549

For me, holiday’s are not complete without funfetti cookies, so I make a point to bring them to every holiday party that I go to.

Rachel and her husband, Dan, had a Halloween party on Saturday night, so I headed over to my old apartment to hang out with my sister and Amy before going to the party. I reused a costume and went as a flapper.

IMG_5557

Rachel’s apartment was so festive! Everywhere I looked there was glitter and cobwebs and other “Halloween” stuff. I couldn’t help but have some of her famous sangria… my favorite part of every party she has 😉

IMG_5554IMG_5552

It was so nice to go to a house party where you can actually have conversations with people… and snuggle babies!

IMG_5561 IMG_5560

Thanks for a fun party, Rachel!

Sunday was another relaxing day… spent mostly at my old apartment. Since they had heat and I did not, it made sense to go hang out with them. My sister and I also had to plan our Chicago trip, so it made for a good afternoon to hang out there! She made us pizza for lunch… yummm.

IMG_5565

When I left the girls’ apartment, I did my weekly grocery shopping and was so excited to have time to make a real meal! It’s been far too long. I’ll share the recipe with you later this week, but it was delicious and a perfect warm, fall meal to eat.

And here we are… another week! I am happy to have heat back, that’s for darn sure!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite pizza place? Do you love frosting or are you more of a cake person? Do you have a Halloween costume? If so, what were you? What was the best part of your weekend?

Weekly Workouts: Awesome on the road workouts & finally back at teaching!

I have to say, it feels pretty darn good knowing that I don’t have to travel for work this week! I need to soak it in because next week I will be in Dallas from Tuesday-Thursday and then I am flying directly to Chicago for a long weekend getaway. This week/weekend is also a bit crazy, but all of the craziness is good stuff, so I can’t really complain 🙂

Last week, I was in Ohio for my workouts on Monday and Tuesday, but both workouts were strong and didn’t feel like “on the road” or hotel room workouts which is always a plus! I was really excited to get back to teaching, though, which I think was a little scary for my members 😉

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I often workout in my hotel room because it can save 10 minutes or more of my morning by eliminating the travel time to the gym and equipment set up time. I’m all about efficiency in the morning and sleeping for as long as possible, so extra sleep and a hotel room workout generally trump all else. With that said, I knew I would have more time on Monday morning to workout so I decided to head to the gym. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then completed a short strength circuit, including the Monday and Tuesday moves for the Fall Into Fitness challenge that I am participating in. Loved the Monkey Curls!

IMG_5529

  • Tuesday- I completed a 25 rep core and cardio workout that I will post for you this week. No equipment necessary and even with a warm up, I finished in 28 minutes. Win, win if you ask me!

IMG_5531

  • Wednesday- I was finally back in the gym!!! I ran a 5K on the treadmill before teaching a killer UXF Burn class. I did the usual format that my class enjoys (Face off, but staying in their own spots) and after the Strength & Core exercises, we did 10 burpee tuck jumps. By the end of class, we did 100 burpees!
  • Thursday- I taught SHRED and Kickboxing. Felt good to be back for my double.
  • Friday- I did not have a great day on Friday and when I have bad days I usually like to workout, but I knew I should rest since I was teaching kickboxing on Saturday, so I drank wine instead… while doing my Fall Into Fitness Bridge & Crunch move. Whoops.

IMG_5544

  • Saturday- I taught a fun kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA. There were 33 people in class and the energy was so high- I was in instructor heaven. Judging by Jen’s Facebook status, it was a good workout for them, too!

IMG_5550

  • Sunday- I decided I wanted to try the “Y Pump” at the East Boston YMCA. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love BodyPump and have been working on increasing my strength workouts so since I was around yesterday morning, I decided to try it out (it was hard to not just go to the 11am BodyPump class at the Wellington, BSC, though, since I know what to expect there!). The class ended up being awesome! We did a lot of reps and I really struggled to finish a number of the sets. In addition to the bars, we also used a band, something I don’t do often. I was sore by the end of the day yesterday, so I’m sure that will continue today!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- To be honest, I am not sure! Since I did weights yesterday, I’ll probably focus more on cardio today. I hate that it’s getting colder and darker out after workout because I loved my Monday night runs!
  • Tuesday- Pending on whether or not I’m still sore from Sunday, I would like to do a lower or upper body strength workout. If I am still sore, I’ll do a core-focused workout.
  • Wednesday- The usual: cardio and then teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Another usual: SHRED and Kickboxing. I may bring back a circuit/stations workout this week since it’s been a while since I’ve done that!
  • Friday- Rest day? I am babysitting after work and since I’m teaching on Saturday again, a rest day is perfect.
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing again at the Oak Square YMCA. Since I will be in Chicago next weekend, which was my weekend to teach, the other instructor was nice enough to switch with me so I wouldn’t miss out on a class. Thanks, Amy!
  • Sunday- I have a feeling this will be a rest day, too. My weekend is: babysitting Friday night, teaching Saturday morning, heading to ME for the afternoon and then heading back to MA for a gym friend’s party so I think by Sunday, I am going to be exhausted!

Questions for you: Do you like trying new classes at the gym or do you stick to the classes you know will be a good workout? What was your best workout last week?

Excessive Dining Out

Dining out- do you do it often or not? I know it may seem like I dine out a lot, but in all honesty, I really do eat at home more often than out at a restaurant. I make my lunches every day and I try to cook at least one big meal every Sunday so I can have leftovers throughout the week. I rarely order pizza out anymore and always try to find a way to eat what I have in my fridge/freezer/cabinets.

IMG_4870

But, with that said, over the past few weeks I’ve been eating out a LOT more than usual. Most of it has been related to work travel, which is unavoidable, but I’ve also gone out to dinner more and splurged on getting lunch out on the weekends in the middle of running errands.

IMG_5496IMG_5506

Granted, I’m trying to choose healthy or healthier options when I eat out (Subway, sushi, salads, etc.), but on the past work trip I had a lot more French fries, chips and generally not-so-healthy meals. For instance, here are the meals I had when I was in Ohio for work earlier this week:

  • Sunday- PinkBerry at the airport as a “snack” and a chicken quesadilla for dinner out of ease since there were not a lot of options, it was late and I just needed a little something to take back to my room since I cannot go to bed on an empty stomach (and it was the lowest calorie option on the menu).
  • Monday- Breakfast was healthy and normal, but lunch was a turkey club pita with chips… of which I ate more than I would like to admit. Dinner was a turkey burger and beer & cheddar coated sweet potato fries. Even though I didn’t eat the bun and only had a small amount of taters (and had a salad, but it was basically iceberg lettuce and 1 cucumber. no joke!), pair that with beer and it’s not the healthiest meal.
  • Tuesday- again, healthy breakfast, but lunch was French onion soup and half a BBQ chicken wrap… oh, and sweet potato tater tots. See the reoccurring theme? Dinner was at the airport… a nice, big salad… and another quesadilla.

IMG_5524 IMG_5538IMG_5540IMG_5050

For me, these eats were normal for me, but you know what? It’s ok. Now that I am back home I’m able to get back on track with incorporating more veggies in my meals and less French fries and chips.

I got to thinking, though, that when I go through phases where I dine out a lot, I try to follow a few “rules” (I put that in quotations because I hate rules regarding food and eating… so it’s more like guidelines that I like to keep in mind) to help keep me somewhat on track. I thought I’d share those with you today!

Stay away from fruity drinks

When dining out, it’s almost assumed that drinks go along with that, at least with my friends, family and coworkers. I always try to stick to wine or lighter beers and always have water alongside them. Before automatically saying “yes” to another drink, I take a few minutes to drink water and decide if I actually want another drink or not. If I feel like I’m having one just to have one, I’ll generally skip out on another round, but, if I really want another drink, I’ll have one.

IMG_5536

Choose a healthier option on the menu

If something sounds so deliciously good that you know it cannot be healthy, it’s probably not and it’s probably the total opposite: really unhealthy. On the other hand, I know not to order a boring salad because it will leave me hungry and unsatisfied, which is also a bad situation. I try to choose something in the middle: something that is a little bit of a splurge and will satisfy me, but something that won’t leave me feeling gross and heavy after eating it.

IMG_4327

Include a salad in at least one meal

Even if it’s just a side salad, it’s important to get some greens into your diet! Also, if you have a salad before your meal, it will curb your hunger and you will generally eat less of your main meal. Eating more salad and less French fries is never a bad thing 😉

IMG_5539

Start off with a healthy breakfast

Do NOT skip breakfast in anticipation of eating lunch out and splurging on a big sandwich and chips/fries. It’s so important to “break your fast” first thing in the morning with a healthy meal. I always incorporate fruit, carbs and protein, which keeps me full throughout the morning. Kicking off your day with a meal that makes you feel good will set you on a better path for your meals throughout the rest of the day.

IMG_4207

Workout

Even if it’s just a 20 minute workout, it’s something and that counts! It’s so easy to go into “vaca” mode when on the road, even for work travel, and therefore workouts usually go out the window in favor of cocktail hour (or you skip your morning alarm since you were out late the night before). I always try to make workouts a priority when on the road because it helps to counteract a few cocktails 😉

IMG_5401

Drink water throughout the day

A lot of time we think we are hungry when in fact, we are just thirsty. Before you reach for a snack or office treat, have some water. You’ll be surprised by how much that can help your “hunger”. It’s also easy to drink coffee throughout the day to help keep you awake (see above, you might have had drinks and/or stayed out late), but the coffee will only end up causing you to be more dehydrated. Water will keep everything flushed out and also cause you to have to get up and go to the bathroom more… thus getting more movement into your day!

Your turn! Did I miss any? When you know you’ll be enjoying drinks and indulgent food  throughout the day night, what do you do to help you stay on the right track? It doesn’t have to be anything big, because I’m a firm believer that every little bit counts! I want to know your “tricks” for staying healthy in not-so-healthy situations.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m having a low key night tonight, teaching tomorrow, running errands and then going to my friends’ (Rachel and Dan) Halloween Party!