January 29, 2017

(Instant Pot) Rotisserie Chicken and Vegetables

Let me help you make life easier. I'm just paying forward all those times my friends told me to get an Instant Pot. It took me a while to believe that it was really worth it. Trust me - it is worth it.

Ok, so here is how life is easier - maybe quicker is the right word.
Instead of cooking a whole rotisserie chicken with potatoes and carrots in the crockpot for 6-7 hours, you can cook the same ingredients in the Instant Pot for 55ish minutes start to finish. Of that time, only about 10 minutes requires your attention. You choose how to spent the other time and that that little silver bucket called Instant Pot do the rest!
Whole Chicken, 5-6 lbs
Baby Potatoes, 2 lbs
Carrots, 3 large or 1 bag of baby
Thyme, 4-5 sprigs
Garlic Powder, 1 tsp
Onion Powder, 1 tsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Grapeseed Oil, 1 Tbsp

1. Remove the giblets and neck. Rinse the chicken in cool water. Trim any excessive skin. Dry with paper towels and set aside.
2. Combine all the dried seasonings.
3. Wash the potatoes and carrots.
4. Rub the seasonings on top and bottom of the chicken. Stuff with the sprigs of thyme.
5. Turn Instant Pot on and push the Sauté button. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil in the Instant Pot. Let the pot heat.
6. Place the chicken inside the Instant Pot, breast side down. Brown for 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken and brown the other side for 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside just for a moment.
7. Place the potatoes and carrots inside the Instant Pot. Now, place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
8. Cook on high pressure by pressing Manual and adjusting time up to 35 minutes. Make sure the sealing valve is turned to Sealing not Venting.
9. Immediately follow the quick release method (make sure to wear an oven mitten).
10. Remove from the Instant Pot and either serve or store for later.  

January 23, 2017

Greek Chicken: Lunch Meal Prep

I have lunch goals, how about you?
My lunch goals consist of things like including super simple recipes on my meal plan, following that meal plan, inexpensive, something my husband will eat, and nutritious.

This Greek Chicken meal prep recipe that I saw on Facebook and Pinterest no less than 15 times last week, checks all the boxes for my lunch goals. So, I tried it with a very minimal variation.

We will have this for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

So, here is how I prepared this in a short time from cook to packed and stocked in the fridge.

Greek Chicken
1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (I was out of red wine vinegar...)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers, peeled, diced
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (Again, still out...)
1 Tbsp mincled garlic
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Tzatziki Sauce
5 oz cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, finely diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp dried dill weed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place a gallon zip bag (I am a fan of Hefty sliders) in a large cup for stability. Combine the oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk to mix.

2. Place chicken in the bag. Marinate for 30 minutes up to 12 hours.

3. Drain the chicken from marinade. Discard the marinade.

4. Heat some additional grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

5. Cook chicken, flipping to avoid burning the exterior. Cook approximately 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of chicken. Always make sure chicken is at least 165 degrees internal temp.

6. Remove from pan and let cool. Once cool, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

7. While chicken is cooling, you can make the cucumber salad. Toss the cucumbers and all other salad ingredients in a medium size bowl. Set aside until time to assemble.

8. To make the tzatkiki sauce combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Divide sauce in four, using small dressing containers or small zip bags.

9. Portion the chicken and cucumber salad among four lunch containers of choice.

10. These lunch boxes will stay fresh 3 - 5 days in airtight containers. Serve cold or warm the chicken only.

The original recipe can be found HERE.

January 17, 2017

Goodbye Comfort Zone! Hello Results! Core De Force Review

Guess who almost didn’t do Beachbody’s newest workout program, Core De Force….ME!
Guess who loved it…ME!

This workout is fun!
Core De Force is based on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) moves and created to target the core region. The abdominal muscles can be such a difficult area to work, so each move in Core De Force is rotational, working the core from 360 degrees. It sounded awesome, but I was hesitant. The trainers have fun personalities and kept me engaged. It really is unlike any program I have done before! Of course, I felt goofy doing some of the moves, but I modified when I needed and kept moving.
Goodbye comfort zone!
I made up a lot of excuses why I didn’t want to do it. MMA isn’t my personal style of working out; it doesn’t require weights (I have this thing that I really, really like workouts with weights – even light ones.); was already thinking about starting a different program. I was full of the excuses.

I realized that I was really making excuses to stay within my comfort zone. See, I’m not coordinated (at all) and not a huge fan of cardio. Then, I began thinking how I encourage women on a daily basis to step outside their comfort zones and do something different. If I want to lead my fitness Challenge Groups with integrity, how can I not step out myself?! Once I conceded with this – and saw some results of a fellow Coach – I changed my attitude, committed, and ordered it.

Workout structure.
Just like a boxing match, each set of moves lasts 3 minutes. Each workout has between 6 – 12 rounds. There is a cardio spike in each round to get your heart rate up which in turn burns fat. The program is designed for 30 days, but it did take me a bit longer. I repeated Week 2 after missing multiple workouts during my first attempt at Week 2.
Core focus, plus more.
The focus is core, but it also worked my arms and back with all the push-ups and planks. The MMA moves and tempo also increased my heart rate enough to create a cardio effect. I don’t usually sweat a lot during my workouts, but some of these left me drenched. I recently noticed that I am lifting my 26 pound toddler a higher and able to hold him longer without fatigue. My mama arms can appreciate this!

I admit it was a struggle to stay focused between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, I am so thankful to have done it during that time, because nutrition is key to defining our abs. Those workouts intentionally targeting my core helped counter much of the extra food consumed during all the holiday gatherings.
Hello Results!
I am SO happy with my results!
Physically, I maintained my current weight during the holidays, increased my upper strength, and now see more definition in my abs.
Mentally, this workout boosted my confidence by doing something so different than my preferred workouts with weights.
As a Coach, I can now share my personal experience to support other women hesitant to try this program!

If you are interested in more details about Core De Force or would like support in finding the right fitness program to meet your health goals, I would love to be your Coach! Each month, I support women through fitness accountability challenge groups.
Complete this form for more information!

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