Friday, November 22, 2013

Triple Berry Truffle Shake

I've been trying to figure out how to get more vegetables into my diet.  And the biggest issue is that I like food to taste YUMMY-- and no matter how hard I try, steamed spinach and broccoli is not yummy -- to me at least.  I know veggies are good for me.  They fill me up; they are full of nutrients, but I just can't down a veggie shake just to get all that goodness.

Then my good friend Adrienne introduced me to her Triple Berry Truffle Shake.  I'm hooked. Chocolate, berries, protein and spinach make this shake filling, full of nutrients, remarkably filling and DELICIOUS!  All at the same time.  We've got a winner!  This baby gives will check off a serving of fruits, vegetables and protein from your to eat list.  I dare you to eat it all in one sitting too.  I'm full/satisfied with  just over half the recipe.

One caution though.  The longer it sits the more the spinach flavor will blossom.  I like to eat it fresh from the blender.  I would not love it a half hour later.  Just saying it might taste a little like eating grass at that point-- no offense to you grass lovers out there.

I dig this shake after a tough toning or weight lifting session.  Happy Eating.

Triple Berry Truffle Shake
1/2 cup frozen berries (raspberry, blueberry, I do a mix)
1 cup fresh spinach, stems torn off
1 scoop chocolate protein powder*

1 1/2 cup water

Puree together in your blender and enjoy!

* or 1 scoop vanilla protein powder plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder makes a good dark chocolate protein powder substitute.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Festive Cranberry Chicken and Rice

We had this meal for our "Holiday" Relief Society Dinner at church the other night and I fell in love.  Yummy flavors.  Not fried in oil.  Quick preparation.  Life and dinner is awesome!

Festive Cranberry Chicken and Rice
6 chicken breast pieces
2 boxes of Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain and Wild Rice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 can whole cranberry sauce
2 cups water

In a 9x13 pan dump the boxes of rice.  Sprinkle the seasoning packets over the rice.  Place the chicken breasts over the the rice.

In a separate bowl combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, butter, cranberry sauce and water.  Pour sauce over the chicken and rice.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour.  Serves 6

Now to make a substitute for the uncle ben's rice packet.....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Japanese Curry

My daughter had dinner at a friend's house and RAVED about their Japanese Curry.  So I had to make it.  Can I say YUM?

It was worth the trip to the store to find the curry-- everything else I had in the house.  How perfect is that!
Helpful directions on the Golden Curry box
Good thing you have me to translate for you!!! (or give Erica Style directions based on a neighbor's recipe.)

Japanese Curry Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tart apple, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
3 1/2 cups water
2 small squares Golden Curry
4 small squares to one large one
rice or noodles

Stir fry meat until well browned.  Push the meat to the side of the pan.  Stir fry the vegetables.  Mix the meat back in with the vegetables.  Cook one minute longer.

Pour the water into the pan and bring the water to a boil.  Add in the two small squares (break them off of the big square), and sir to incorporate completely.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Serve over noodles or rice.  Serves 6

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tortellini Meatball Soup

photo credit: Micky** via photopin cc

The leaves are changing, the wind is blowing.  It is soup weather!!!  Do you have favorite fall meals?  This is one of mine.  It combines yummy meatballs, cheesy tortellini, with sprinkles of Parmesan cheese in a

Tortellini Meatball Soup
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped vegetables (celery, zucchini, squash, carrots, peppers)
8 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14.75 oz) diced tomatoes
1 package (12 oz) frozen cheese tortellini
3 cups prepared meatballs

In a large pot brown vegetables until tender.  Add spiced, broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Add tortellini and meatballs.  Cook 10 more minutes.  Serve with Parmesan and Mozzarella.

Why We Plank!

Have you seen this on Facebook.  Want to try it with me!?!  We'll start adding theses into our AF East Exercise Class just after we finish our regular workout.  We'll start day one Tuesday, October 15.  Time to rock the core.

This routine will help you build a base for a strong core for the rest of your life.  Each day we will do ONE long plank hold.  We'll start with 20 seconds and build up to 4 + minutes of plank.

Need to start with the basics?  Check out my Plank How To and Problems Solved posts.

The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof!
Day 1 - 20 seconds
Day 2 - 20 seconds
Day 3 - 30 seconds
Day 4 - 30 seconds
Day 5 - 40 seconds
Day 6 - REST
Day 7 - 45 seconds
Day 8 - 45 seconds
Day 9 - 60 seconds
Day 10 - 60 seconds
Day 11 - 60 seconds
Day 12 - 90 seconds
Day 13 - REST
Day 14 - 90 seconds
Day 15 - 90 seconds
Day 16 - 120 seconds
Day 17 - 120 seconds
Day 18 - 150 seconds
Day 19 - REST
Day 20 - 150 seconds
Day 21 - 150 seconds
Day 22 - 180 seconds
Day 23 - 180 seconds
Day 24 - 210 seconds
Day 25 - 210 seconds
Day 26 - REST
Day 27 - 240 seconds
Day 28 - 240 seconds
Day 29 - 270 seconds

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Plank Problem SOLVED

A good friend at exercise complained this last week about her planks not working her core the way she wanted.  She was "jealous" of the strait as a board position that some others could achieve, but she couldn't.  I paused to check out her form and realized what she was missing.....

This is what she looked like.....  Can you spot the error in form?

Elbows directly below the shoulder.  Check
Bum tucked under.  Check
Abs pulled tight.  Check
Shoulder blades squeezed together.   DING, DING, DING!!!

Just fixing the shoulder blades changed the plank position to look like this.

Squeezing those shoulder blades together is the KEY to forcing your abdominal muscles to do the work in this exercise.  We want the abs to learn to lay flat (and hold in that pooch).  They can only truly engage when the shoulder blades are tucked in and down.

Happy Planking Ladies.  Tuck those shoulders back and down!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Malibu Chicken and Wild Rice

Broiled chicken, ham and pineapple with a teriyaki glaze served on a bed of wild rice with roasted bell peppers.  Yeah, it was that kind of heaven at my house last night.  Yes, it took a couple failed attempts at the glaze before I decided that a store prepared teriyaki would do just as well.  Yes, I overcooked one piece of chicken.  But, oh, was it good.

This recipe is an adaptation of DesertNowDinnerLater's crock-pot recipe.  If you are a fan of yummy crock-pot chicken, check it out.

Malibu Chicken
4 chicken breasts
8 slices of ham
1 can of pineapple, (or 1/4 of a fresh one)
1/4 cup of your favorite teriyaki sauce
2 cups cooked wild rice
3 bell peppers, sliced

Slice the bell peppers in long narrow strips.  Set aside.  To reduce the thickness of the  breast, (and to get a better portion size) slice the chicken breast in half from top to bottom and side to side .  Each breast will become two thin chicken patties.

Set the oven to broil.  Place chicken on a broiler pan.  With a pastry brush, paint the chicken with teriyaki sauce.  With the oven door cracked a tiny bit, cook the chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the heat.  Flip over.  Brush with teriyaki sauce.  Top each chicken breast with one slice of ham, and a pineapple slice.  Brush the ham and pineapple with teriyaki sacue.  Broil the chicken, ham and pineapple stack for 5 minutes more or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Remove from oven.  While the broiler is still hot, place the bell pepper strips on a cookie sheet.  Broil the peppers for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Serve on a bed of wild rice with a garnish of teriyaki sauce.

Happy Eating

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anna- Workout Wednesday

I love the story of Anna in the New Testament.  A widow of 80+ years, she worked in the temple day and night.  Luke reports that she fasted and prayed much.  While at the temple she recognized the infant Jesus as the Savior of the World.

I want to be like Anna.  In honor of Anna, I can work on being fast-- I know a bad pun.

Anna's Workout focus on upper body strength and speed and agility training.  Complete 50 repetitions or your Max of each of the strength exercises;  relax with just ten repetitions of each agility exercise.

Strength (50 repetitions or YOUR Max)
Crunches on an exercise ball
Bicep Curls with an exercise band
Tricep Push Back with an exercise band
Push Ups
Pull Ups (modified or however you can do them)

Agility (10 each)
Backwards Run & Sprint- run backwards the width of the gym, as you approach the end of the gym, plant a foot and sprint across the gym.
Side Shuffle with ball toss- shuffle your feet sideways across the gym.  Toss a basketball (weighted ball if you're awesome like that) at a wall and catch it as you travel across the width of a gym.
Burpees-- You know this one
Shuttle Run-- Relive the HORROR glory of elementary gym class with this exercise.  Remember doing this with chalkboard erasers?  2 erasers on one side, 2 on the other.  Run across the width of the gym carrying one eraser, drop it, grab another and repeat.  Check out this video for a reminder.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Grilled Peach & Chicken Salad

There is still time to break out that BBQ and grill this season.  And hopefully you can still find some garden fresh ripe peaches to add to this simple salad.

This recipe came about because my 10 year old was obsessed with grilling peaches.  He would not rest while peaches remained in the house and he had not gotten to taste their "luscious goodness" hot off the grill.  So, I figured what can go with grilled peaches?  Chinese BBQ chicken of course.  Place them both on a bed of greens, toss in some cucumbers from a neighbor's garden.  Voila, Grilled Peach and Chicken Salad was born.

Grilled Peach & Chicken Salad
3 ripe peaches, halved
2 chicken breasts
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup Chinese Barbeque Sauce
4 cups mixed greens for salad

Heat grill to medium.  Place peaches cut side down on the grill.  Cook 6 minutes.  Flip and cook until seared.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook chicken on the grill for 12-15 minutes turning once or until the internal temperature reaches 165.  Turn heat to high.  Brush Chinese Barbeque Sauce on the chicken.  Cook one minute more on each side, brushing more barbeque sauce on with each turn.

Slice chicken and peaches into bite sized pieces.  Toss chicken and peaches with the lettuce and cucumbers.  Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Barbeque Sauce over the top as a dressing.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Julia- Workout Wednesday

Who is Julia?  Well not only is she a fantastic friend and awesome work out groupie, she was also a woman in New Testament Times who lived in Rome.  All we know about her is that Paul sent her his greetings.  So I will assume that she was a woman of faith, virtue, hope and charity -- just like my friend Julia.

The Julia Workout focuses on the back side of the body-- you know those parts we don't see in the mirror and don't always think about.  The back side is essential to balancing muscles, range of motion and real strength.  In fact, as you strengthen your back your body becomes free to do more work.  So as you are doing these exercises remember to pinch those shoulder blades together and push them down your back.  While your at it you might as well tighten that tush too (think holding a penny between your two cheeks)!

Julia's Workout  complete 50 of each exercise using good form (pinch those shoulder blades together and push them down the back)  When your form deteriorates, move on to the next exercise.  Check out the video/image links for more information about each exercise.

Seated Row
Lat Row
Bicep/Tricep Curls Using a medium weight, hold your arms near your torso.  Curl your arms up into a bicep curl.  Rotate the wrists to the floor and push back behind you into a tricep curl.  The upper arm remains stationary throughout the exercise.
Push ups
Box Jumps Lunge Combo  Imagine jumping over a box, then lunging forward.  That is this exercise.  Tuck jump over an imaginary box then lunge forward.  Alternate which leg walks forward into the lunge.  When you are lunging, make sure you take a large step forward and your weight stays in the front heel.
Bum Lift- lay on the floor with your knees bent and your feet elevated on a chair. Squeeze that tush as you lift your bum off the floor.
Side Plank (1 minute each side total)
Plank Set (High, Low) 30 seconds each, twice

Monday, September 9, 2013

Barbeque Pork Chops

Are you ready for some divine (and easy) dinners?  A few months ago I told you about a FANTASTIC Chinese Barbeque Sauce we tried at my mom's house.  It has become a staple at the Miller Dinner Table.  The next few weeks I'll be sharing the many ways we have used this yummy sauce in healthy easy meals.

On today's menu, Chinese Barbeque Pork Chop, served on a bed of quinoa or rice, with sauteed vegetables.

Chinese Barbeque Pork Chops
1/4 cup Chinese Barbeque Sauce
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
5 oz sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 boneless pork chops
2 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked) or
2 cups cooked quinoa

Heat the grill to medium.  Grill pork chops six minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  The last 3 minutes, brush Chinese Barbeque Sauce over the pork chops. Flip and repeat.

While the meat is cooking on the grill, heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Pour in the vegetables and garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables have browned and softened slightly.

Serve the pork chops and vegetables on a bed of rice or quinoa.  Some kids like extra barbeque sauce on the vegetables.

Want to expedite dinner.  This makes an easy freezer meal.  Chop vegetables and freeze them in a zip bag.   Place pork chops in a zip bag.  Portion 1/4 cup barbeque sauce in a zip bag.  Toss all zip bags in one gallon zip bag.  Freeze.  Thaw 12-24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.

Happy Healthy Eating!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's About Love

To my 3 loyal readers out there, I apologize in advance.  This blog post isn't about health, wellness, fitness, or food.  Just some thoughts that have been swimming in my mind for a few weeks that I want to get down on "paper."

You might know that I have started working a temporary, part-time job.  12 hours a week for 6-8 weeks.  It is a fairly mindless, monotonous job.  I work in an assembly line preparing cosmetics for shipping.  At work, the radio blasts out popular tunes.  I have been saddened by the suggestive and sometimes blatantly immoral lyrics suggesting the fun of getting wasted and laid.

I know the debate over morality in music has ragged for decades-- watch out for Elvis' gyrating hips-- but one song in particular has forced me to think and question and wonder.  Have you heard it?  Same Love, by Macklemore, with Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert.

Same Love points out the hypocrisy in America regarding homosexuality-- the stereotypes that flood the media and the minds of the American public, the words used to label others laced with hate and hurt, and the inability to love those who are different.

"America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God still loves his children is somehow forgotten"

Same Love calls for progress, for love and for kindness,

"Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love"

 I love these parts of the song.  Yes, we need to love.  Yes, we need to be kind!  But while Same Love is preaching love, it condemns religion and those who struggle to embrace love, kindness, tolerance, and Biblical morality.  Those of us who love our friends, but do not condone the acts of homosexuality.

I am saddned at the labels used to describe conservitive Christians:

"The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go"

Same Love urges us to, "Live on and be yourself," but is there tolerance for those who agree to love and be kind, but choose not to agree with homosexuality?  Is there patience, kindness and concern for individuals who are coming to grips with their own views on Gay Rights in an political climate pushing for immediate change?

It seems to me that both view points need to up their kindness quotient.

I am labeled a hater, a hypocrite and a religious zealot because I teach my children (all in the same breath) that God LOVES EVERY ONE OF HIS CHILDREN, and He has called homosexuality immoral-- humans do all sorts of things God has asked us not to and yet he loves us.

I also teach my children (in the same breath-- or maybe I breath twice-- it's a lot of words to get out...) that smoking is bad for your body and mind, but WE LOVE PEOPLE and are kind to our neighbors who smoke-- we just choose not to.

I also teach my children, that it is best to pay cash for purchases and to avoid debt if at all possible.  Yet, I don't condemn the person who lives off a credit card.  I just don't live that way.  I have the right to teach my children what I believe is right, and to teach them to LOVE others, regardless of their choices, political persuasions, or sexual orientation.

I honor and love my GBLT friends.  They have made terribly difficult, heart rending decisions in their lives.  I can not for one instant imagine the pain and heart ache they have endured learning to love themselves for who they are and facing the criticisms of people who are unkind.  My friends, be strong in what you believe and in who you are.

I, too, will stand strong in who I am and in what I believe.  I believe in LOVE, hope and kindness.  I believe in  a world where we can agree to disagree and still go out for drinks after work (make mine a virgin)!  I believe in a world where we don't judge others based on their political agendas, life choices, hair color, skin color or sexual orientation; rather we see each other through the lenses of love, forgiving weaknesses, showing kindness and allowing God, who knows us and loves us best, to guide our hearts.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Apple Cake- In a Jar

I had dinner with a friend the other night and she served this for dessert.  My first thought was, "Jump Back!  You can can a CAKE!?!"  Well her mom has been doing it for years (half a century) so if you're brave like her and want a fun after school snack or dessert you can pull out of your pantry, this is for you.

If' you're not up for canning it, try the cake anyway.  Apple Cake is a dense rich cake full of spicy aromas and flavors.  It is good eats-- especially served with a lemon sauce.

This recipe has not been approved by the USDA. Foods not canned according to USDA-endorsed recommendations present a risk of botulism. Please consult your local local university's extension office for comprehensive canning information. (I like USU's  Complete Guide To Home Canning)

Apple Cake in a Jar
2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2/3 cup water
3 cups grated, peeled apple
2/3 cups rasins
2/3 cup chopped nuts

Mix ingredients together.  Sterilize 7-9 wide mouth pint jars and lids.  Grease each jar with shortening.  Fill each jar 1/2 full.  Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the oven at 325 for 45 minutes. (lids off)

The last 5 minutes the jars are in the oven, boil the lids and rims.

Remove one jar from the oven.  Wipe the the rim of the jar clean.  Place a rim and lid on.  Let cool on a cooling rack over night.  Repeat the process with each jar, keeping space on the cooling rack for air circulation.

Will keep one year.  Each pint serves 4-6 easily.

Lemon Sauce
In a pan stir together:
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Gradually stir in 1 cup boiling water.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the mixture boils.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Mix in:
2 Tablespoons butter,
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Pour over Apple Cake in a Jar or just eat off a spoon.  Best when warm.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Emma-- Work Out Wednesday

photo credit: Irwin-Scott via photopin cc

 I love Emma Smith.  That woman endured so many problems and struggled in so many ways.  She faced her problems with faith and stamina.  And just when things calmed down again, she was put back into the refiners' fire.

In honor of Emma, I can Max Out my workout.  Then Max it out Again for good measure.

For each exercise, complete repetitions until muscle fatigue/failure inhibits good form-- This is Maxing Out.  Take 30-60 seconds to recover by doing a cardiovascular exercise like jumping jacks, high knees or running in place.  Complete each exercise.  Repeat the process to exhaust and BURN the muscles.

  • Push Ups
  • Side Plank (each side)
  • Wall Sit
  • Alternating Side Planks (Push Up In Between)
  • Crunches on a Ball
  • Burpees
  • Low Plank

Friday, August 23, 2013


Tomorrow is it!  You're chance to join me in a Teeny Tiny Triathlon.  Are you ready to give it a tri?

Here are the details:

Meet at the A.F. Fitness Center at 6:30 by the bike racks near the front door.  Adrienne and I will be there to help you get your stuff organized and ready to go.

You will park your bike in a bike stall.  Adrienne will hang out near the bikes to make sure they are safe while we swim.

You will place your biking gear (shoes, socks, helmet, shorts, shirt, etc.) near your bike.

You will place your running gear (visor, different shoes if desired,) in grocery bag, and place it in the running gear tote.  Adrienne will transport it to the running transition site... (Barratt LDS Building)

You will bring an extra bag for your wet things to go in (towel, goggles, swim cap) and place it near your bike.

We will enter the fitness center with our swimsuits on and towels in hand.  We will swim, towel dry and head out to Transition one near the bike racks where we will throw on some shorts and a shirt (or you can bike in a swimsuit if you are cool like that).  We'll strap on our helmets and head out on the bike.

While we are biking, Adrienne will bring our things over to the Barratt LDS Building where we will finish our ride.

At the Barratt Building, we'll park our bikes at the bike rack.  My husband, Bill, will be the designated volunteer to keep thieves at bay.  We'll take off our helmets, change shoes if needed, chug some water and head out on the run.

The run will finish back at the Barratt LDS Building, where you will collect your belongings, trash and equipment; do a happy dance; pat your fellow triathletes on the back; and celebrate your accomplishment.

CAN'T WAIT!!!!   Below is a Gear Check List and a Course Non-Map-- be familiar with it in case you are separated from the group.

Gear Check
Swim Gear
$4 entry fee (if not a Fitness Center Member)
Swim Suit (on your body)  (I wear a sports bra under the suit...)
Swim Cap
Plastic Bag (to put wet things in)

Bike Gear
Sun Glasses
Water Bottle

Running Gear (in a labeled plastic bag)
Shoes (if you need to change them)
Sun Glasses
Water Bottle

Course NON-Map
Swim: 150 meters at the AFFC -- that is 1 1/2 laps on the long lanes. (We'll be sharing the pool with other swimmers --swim on the right side of the lane to allow for passing)
Transition 1: Walk carefully off of the pool deck, through the building to the trusty bike racks, add a layer of clothing, and hop on your bike.  Adrienne will bring your stuff to the finish.
BikeLeave the Fitness Center heading north toward the cemetery-- being sure to ride on the right side of the road.  Turn right onto 600 North.  Stop at the stop sign.  Signal a left turn.  Wait for traffic to allow a safe left turn.  Turn left onto 100 East.  Obeying all traffic laws, bike north into Highland.  Turn right onto 11000 North (Timpanogos Highway/ Highland Highway).  Bike east to 4800 West (North County BVLD/ Lone Peak HS Road).  Turn Right onto 4800 West.  Obeying all traffic laws, bike south past the LDS Temple into American Fork.  Turn Right onto 300 North.  Bike 2 blocks to 900 East.  Signal a left turn.  Wait for traffic to allow a safe left turn.  Turn onto 900 East.  Arrive at the Barratt LDS Chapel.
Transition 2:  Leave your bike with the trusty volunteer, Bill (my husband).  Hydrate/Nourish with the things you provided.
Running Like Motion:  Leave the church heading north.  (Be safe.  Look for cars! Stay on the left side of the road/sidewalk)  Move in a running like motion to 300 North.  Turn left onto 300 North.  Run/Walk west to 700 East.  Turn left onto 700 East.  Relish the down hill portion of the run.  Continue to Main Street/50 South.  Turn left onto Main/50.  Run (or are you walking by now) to 900 East.  Turn left onto 900 East.  You are on the home stretch now.  Only 3 blocks left.  Make it back to the church with a smile on your face 'cause YOU ARE AWESOME!
Awards:  Great big sweaty hugs from Erica and the other TRI- athletes.  Feel free to provide your own trophy, finisher's medals, or sweet finish line snacks.  I'll have a cooler of water or Gatorade.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Easy Tomato Soup

This recipe uses that Basic Soup Mix.  Again, I am loving that I know what is in my food when I am eating it!  And it takes just as much effort to make this as to open a can and heat up some soup.

Easy Tomato Soup
1/3 cup basic soup mix
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce
Basil, dash
Pepper, dash

Combine the mix with water.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened.  Add tomato sauce, and a dash of basil and pepper.  Heat through.  Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eve- Wednesday Workout

For my daily study, I am reading about the women in the Bible.  And I thought, why not name our workouts in honor of these fantastic women.

Eve-- You may know her story, but do you know that she was 230 years old when she gave birth to Seth?  What a tough cookie!  In honor of Eve's toughness, I can do 100 burpees!

Eve- 100 of each exercise
Bicep curl into a Triceps kick back.  (Hold a squat)
Sit ups (The real deal.  Relax that neck.  Elbows behind the ears.)
Lat- Rows

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cream Soup Mix

This mix has become a staple in my kitchen.  Not only can I control what goes into this mix, I now know what is going into my casseroles, soups, and skillet dinners.  Loving it!

This has been floating around for years, but, being Erica, I have made a couple changes.  I swapped out half of the corn starch for flour.  Now it thickens more quickly and doesn't separate if I bake it in a casserole in the oven.  Happy Cooking!

Basic Soup Mix
2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 cup flour
1/c cup instant chicken bouillon*
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a container.  Mix well.  Equal to 9 cans of cream soup.

How to Use Soup Mix
To substitute for 1 can of condensed cream soup (before you add the liquid to the stuff in the can)

Combine 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup COLD water (cold helps reduce/eliminate clumping)
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened.  Add thickened soup to any recipe as you would a can of cream soup.

*be sure to read your bouillon label so you know what is in it.  Can be omitted if desired.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

YUMMM.  I love the flavor combination of ham, swiss and a little mustard.  Wrap it up in a piece of deep fried chicken, and most people would say it is heavenly.  Except for the calories, the effort of frying, and assembling the darn thing.  What can save the day?  Why, the casserole can.

I have seen my fair share of casseroles intended to mix the flavors of the Cordon Bleu, but they didn't quite do it justice. Or they introduced fiendish additives, like boxed stuffing to the party.  Not my style.  But this recipe rocks the palate!  It has the breaded chicken texture with the creamy sauce and melted ham and Swiss.  And it bakes in 30 minutes-- plenty of time to whip up a salad or mashed potatoes to go with it.  You could even double it, assemble,  then freeze half  before cooking!!!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp oil
4 oz Swiss cheese, cubed
4 oz ham, cubed
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup*
1 cup milk

Whisk together the egg and 1/2 cup milk. Dip chunks of chicken in egg mixture, then into bread crumbs, coating well. Brown in a little oil until golden.

Place chunks in a 9x13 baking dish, add cubes of Swiss cheese and small pieces of ham. Mix cream of chicken soup with 1 cup of milk and Dijon mustard; mix well and pour over all. Bake about 30 minutes at 350° or until tender and bubbly.

Not loving the junk in the condensed cream soup?  Check out this Cream Soup recipe. 
Can you believe I forgot to snap a picture of this baby !?!  Who Am I?!?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"More Fit For The Kingdom"

photo credit: CliffMuller via photopin cc

I am getting stoked for a new school year.  All those bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils inspire me to buckle down and get back to work,-- working out-- same thing,  right?  With the beginning of the school year we are breaking out a a new exercise time, a new fall line up of exercise classes, and a new theme/mission statement to inspire us to greatness this next year.

The new time...  9:15-10:15  This should give those mom's with school aged kids enough time to get them out the door ready to learn before rushing of to sweat.

The new class line up will rock your mind and body!  We'll be doing a Cross Fit inspired workout Mondays, Zumba Tuesday & Thursdays, Turbo on Wednesdays, and Last Chance for Fridays.  Check out the AF East Exercise Page for a full description of each class.
Erica's Exercise Mission Statement for 2013-2014 comes from the beloved hymn "More Holiness Give Me."  The third verse of the hymn is a plea for purity, freedom from the stains of sin, and strength to endure and overcome the challenges of life. These and other qualities make us "fit for the kingdom" of God and able to be "used" in the service of others.

While these qualities are spiritual in nature, each has a physical analog.  Purity of body and nutrition; freedom from the addictions to food, chemicals and stimulants that limit the body and spirit; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stamina to endure life with joy and contentment.

We can be Physically, Mentally, Emotionally and Spiritually Fit for God's Kingdom and have the capacity to serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength as we seek for purity, freedom, and strength.

This year we will become More Fit For The Kingdom and More Used In His Service by
  • providing emotional support and strength to our fellow sisters,
  • using the workouts enhance mental stamina and conditioning, &
  • increasing our cardiovascular endurance and raw physical power.
See You MONDAY!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Veronique With Fresh Peaches

Chicken Veronique
Yesterday I was flipping through a cookbook and chanced upon this recipe.  We had all the ingredients and nothing else sounded good, so voila, dinner.  Today I am mourning the lack of leftovers.  This chicken was melt in your mouth moist, full of flavor, and simply DIVINE.  Yes, mom, I liked it!!!!!   I liked it enough to eat what was on my plate!  (Isn't it pathetic how picky I am?  I'll eat a little chicken at a restaurant occasionally.  I eat my own chicken if the application includes other textures and flavors.  I just don't like chicken on it's own.) I liked this CHICKEN!  You HAVE TO TRY THIS!
Don't let the fancy name fool you.  Is isn't a long and hard recipe.

Chicken Veronique with Fresh Peaches
1 cup seedless grapes (I used red)
2 fresh peaches, peeled, sliced into quarters
1/4 cup white wine (I substituted with orange juice)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 Tablespoons butter

Combine the grapes, peaches, wine (o.j.), and sugar in a bowl.  Let the flavors meld together at room temperature for 1 hour, or 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Mix the flour, paprika, ginger, salt and pepper in a bag.  Toss chicken in the spices.

Melt the butter in an oven proof skillet.  Brown the chicken and garlic in the skillet.  Remove from heat.  Drain the juice from the fruit and pour over the chicken in the skillet.  Cover.

Bake the chicken, covered, for 12 minutes at 375 or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.  Add the grapes and peaches.  Bake uncovered just until the fruit is heated through, about 3 minutes.  Serve on a bed of Citrus Quinoa

Citrus Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest

Rinse quinoa well.  In a pot combine the quinoa with the water, juice and zest.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Cook on low for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Allow to sit for a few minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Get Out And TRI With Me

We all know I geek exercise, triathlons, fitness and such.  My sadness... I haven't had much time or funds for racing.  But I LOVE my triathlons.  So I am doing a Teeny Tiny Tri on August 24 at 8:30 am.  Care to join me?  There will be no timing chips, race clocks, aid stations, traffic monitoring or any of that traditional race stuff. 

There will be 150 meters of swimming in the American Fork Fitness Center (pay for your own entry - $4), 9.5 miles of biking and 1.7 miles of moving in a running like fashion. (All distances are approximate.) 

There are no race rules-- so swim with floaties, fins and a kick board if you feel like it!

No winners medals -- everyone who tri's ROCKS!  You can go as slow as you want or as fast as you want.  You are in control of your TRI.  .

Not Local?  Do a Teeny Tiny Tri of your own and let me know how it goes.  Can't tri with us.  Do it when you can.  Let us know how it goes.

Just get out and TRI

Want to volunteer?  Let me know.

Here's the race course.
Swim: 150 meters at the AFFC -- that is 1 1/2 laps on the long lanes or 3 laps of the short lanes (we'll be sharing the pool with other swimmers --swim on the right side of the lane to allow for passing)
Transition 1: Walk carefully off of the pool deck, through the building to the trusty bike racks (you may want to lock your bike while you swim) and hop on your bike.  We'll have a volunteer bring your stuff to the finish.
Bike:  Leave the Fitness Center heading north toward the cemetery-- being sure to ride on the right side of the road.  Turn right onto 600 North.  Stop at the stop sign.  Signal a left turn.  Wait for traffic to allow a safe left turn.  Turn left onto 100 East.  Obeying all traffic laws, bike north into Highland.  Turn right onto 11000 North (Timpanogos Highway/ Highland Highway).  Bike east to 4800 West (North County BVLD/ Lone Peak HS Road).  Turn Right onto 4800 West.  Obeying all traffic laws, bike south past the LDS Temple into American Fork.  Turn Right onto 300 North.  Bike 2 blocks to 900 East.  Signal a left turn.  Wait for traffic to allow a safe left turn.  Turn onto 900 East.  Arrive at the Barratt LDS Chapel.
Transition 2:  Leave your bike with a trusty volunteer.  Hydrate/Nourish with the things you provided.
Running Like Motion:  Leave the church heading north.  (Be safe.  Look for cars! Stay on the left side of the road/sidewalk)  Move in a running like motion to 300 North.  Turn left onto 300 North.  Run/Walk west to 700 East.  Turn left onto 700 East.  Relish the down hill portion of the run.  Continue to Main Street/50 South.  Turn left onto Main/50.  Run (or are you walking by now) to 900 East.  Turn left onto 900 East.  You are on the home stretch now.  Only 3 blocks left.  Make it back to the church with a smile on your face 'cause YOU ARE AWESOME!
Awards:  Great big sweaty hugs from Erica and the other TRI- athleates.  Feel free to provide your own trophy, finisher's medals, or sweet finish line snacks.  I'll have a cooler of water or gatorade.

Are You In?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can You Say Summer?

Being the best/worst mom in the universe has dominated my life the past few weeks.  
Here's a Pictoral Recap of Erica's Summer...

Playing at the Pool
Swimming is fun right?

Hitting the Volleyball Around
Pioneer Reenacting

Laundry, Cleaning & More Laundry

Finding a Hidden Collection of Writing Instruments in the CLEAN (hooray) room of a child

The glory of Nature (Hiking)

Relishing time on the Puget Sound
Playing with/in the newest member of the family: VANessa

No Summer would be complete without  FOOD....
(don't fret, recipes will be coming soon)
Asian BBQ Pork
Berries fresh from the garden
Bacon Cheddar Potato Salad
Italian Quinoa Salad

Monday, July 1, 2013

Healthy Frozen Treats

You know it is summer when the marching band is out in full force and the day time temperatures hit the triple digits. I have A/C, but by the evening I am ready to cool down with a frozen treat.  Yes, I am an summer ice cream addict.  I know it is not good for my body to eat ice cream daily (or twice daily) but it cools me down and tastes sooooo good.

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc

Maybe I shouldn't be eating SO much ice cream...

So I've been looking for ice cream substitutes-- cool treat items that I can replace my ice cream for.  Here are a couple fun ones.

Banana Soft Serve
Exercise buddy Emily makes a fantastic soft serve ice cream with soft ripe bananas.  She says to place soft bananas, sliced, in a zip baggie. Freeze for 24 hours.  Blend in food processor until smooth.  Now the bananas are soft serve ice cream.  Stir in some mini-chocolate chips or refreeze in a popsicle container for a fun treat.

Grape Delights
Wash, dry and separate grapes from the stem.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment, wax or freezer paper. (Forget to do this and you will have a hard time removing the frozen grapes.)  Freeze grapes (red or green) 4- 24 hours.  Unstick from paper lining and replace in a freezer bag.  Eat a guilt-free handful at a time-- just don't eat the whole bag in a day!

Wendy's Frosty Substitute
So I have been seeing these recipes pinned all over pinterest and on facebook.  My question were they any good.  NO!  at least the recipes I tried.  TOO much cocoa powder. Not enough sweetener.  Too much banana flavor.  Here is my creation, based on all the recipes I found.

15 ice cubes
3/4 cup milk
1-2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons sugar (equal to the cocoa powder)
1/3 ripe banana

Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Runner's Arms & Back Workout

I've been running a lot more recently.  (By a lot more, I mean once or twice a week.)  And I have noticed that my quads and hamstrings are getting strong (by strong, I mean sore).  On my days off (not teaching Zumba or running) I needed a workout that would strengthen all the muscles I wasn't getting running and dancing, while still giving my quads a day off.

 The Runner's Arms and Back (and other body parts besides the quads and hams) Workout

The sets go like this: Upper Body, Abs, Run Drill, 10 Push Ups (Repeat 10 times)  By the end of the workout you will have done 100 push ups, PLUS 500+ crunches (ab reps), PLUS a ton of arm work. Sounds exciting YES?  We tried this out last week and I was so excited to have fresh legs on a run (bragging... 7.5 miles :)  the next day!!!  Plus we finished in less than an hour.

I am breaking this down into Upper Body, Abs, Run Drills.  Pick one from each category for each set.

Upper Body
Biceps (2 Sets of 15)
Military Presses (2 sets of 20)
Peck Flies (2 sets of 15)
Tricep Push Ups (3 sets of 15)
Super Mans (3 sets of 10)
Lat-rows (1 set of 25)
Skull Crushers (3 sets of 15)
Peck Squeezers (2 sets of 10) (holding weights squeeze elbows together above the bust)
Delt Flies (2 sets of 15 -forward and side)
Lateral Biceps (2 sets of 15)

Sitting Legs In & Out (2 sets of 25, wide leg and narrow leg)  Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you.  Keeping your feet on the floor, push your feet out & drag them back in to you)
Laying Bicycle (25 each side)
Cross Leg/Wide Leg Sit ups  25 each kind (reach opposite arm to leg)
Laying crunches with legs straight crunch 20, cross one foot over the other crunch 20, repeat other side
Sledge Hammers standing in a half squat with a weight held in hands , with controlled power, swing weight over head then slam toward floor
Side Plank  hold for 15, 15 body wraps, 15 hip dips each side
Low Plank hold 20 second, calf raise 20 times, toe tap 20 times
Scissor Crunches (25 each side)
In and Out seated with feet off the floor, take your feet out and in-- balance on the bum
Misery-- My favorite Set!!!  20 Crunches w/feet on the floor, 20 Crunches UP with one foot on the knee, 20 crunches Across to the ankle, 20 Reverse (with ankle still on knee, bring knee toward chest while lifting bum off the floor, 20 Crunch with both feet on the floor.  Repeat for the other side

Run Drills (run the length of the gym or 100meters)
Walk on toes
Walk on toes (Heels in)
Walk on toes (Heels out)
Walk on Heels
Walk on Heels (Toes in for half, and out for the other half)
Butt Kickers
Skipping with high knees
High Knees
Run Backwards then Sprint forward


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smart Women

Front CoverA book at the library caught my attention.  Its title?  Men Like Women Who Like Themselves.  Learning to love myself has been a focus of my self improvement quest and this book fit the bill.  OK the book was all about building relationships with men from a single women's perspective and wasn't as awesome as I had hopped it would be, but the title got me thinking.  People generally like people who like themselves.

This paragraph in the introduction caught my attention...

The smartest women is a women who has a clear indisputable sense of her worth and her power.  She knows what she brings to a relationship, and she knows what she deserves in return.  The smartest Woman knows how to meet and survive difficult challenges; she also knows how to "tend the field" during gentler times.  The hard work of relationships is rewarded because she is getting back as much as she puts in.  In simple terms, the Smartest Woman knows and respects who she is.  Because of this inner knowledge she is in control of herself and her life.

Then a little later...
The Smartest Women knows... If you want to be successful in your personal life, you have to "come to your senses."   You need a sense of balance, a sense of worth, a sense of values, a sense of priorities, a sense of self and a sense of humor.

When I know who I am and what I stand for, my life flows more smoothly and happily.  I am in control of myself-- It doesn't matter if the world is falling to pieces around me.  I have inner peace because I am centered.   Love It!

Men Like Women Who Like Themselves (And other Secrets That the Smartest Women Know About Partnership And Power).  Steven Carter & Julia Sokol; Delacorte Press, 1996. pp2-3

Monday, June 24, 2013

Confessions of A Picky Eater-- A call for recipes

photo credit: jeffreyw via photopin cc
We were visiting my parents a few weeks ago, and we had a delicious picnic dinner.  Chinese BBQ, Chips, Jello Salad, Potato Salad, Veggies, Lemonade, Watermelon.... The Works... (I may be exaggerating the menu)  But I do remember the potato salad.  My kids looked at it and asked, "Potato Salad?  What is that?"

Hi, my name is Erica.  Growing up I feared, disliked and generally abhorred mayonnaise and miracle whip like substances.  As an adult, I have learned that I don't have to fear it, but I still don't like it. I still avoid using it in recipes.  As a result my kids don't know potato salad, pasta salad, and deviled eggs and the like.  My preferences have warped my kids perception of what an American picnic ought to include.

Besides the mayo issue, Potato Salad seems like a ton of work-- cooking the potatoes, the eggs.  Chopping stuff, chilling stuff...  All for a measly side dish.  It has never been worth the effort to me.

This summer I am repenting.  I want to find a potato salad recipe worthy of my time, taste-buds, and effort.  Will you help me?  PLEASE!?!  I can't have my kids growing up and going away to college without knowing what potato salad is! (Thankfully I have a couple years left to make amends.)

Thus, I hereby announce the TriHarderLiveBetter Potato Salad Recipe Collection Week--  Reply with your favorite potato salad recipe (German, Pink, Purple, what have you).  Everyone can try some new recipes and I will FINALLY learn to like potato salad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yeah, I'm a Geek

I saw this picture today and had to share.  Enjoy the laugh.

Where do you fit in the spectrum?
photo credit: technovore via photopin cc