Dec 152014
 

Saturday morning I went to the Warrior Room for the Kettlebell Conditioning class. This class focuses more on the kettle bell moves and perfecting form. We worked on “complexes” this class. A complex is basically three or four moves put together in a sequence without putting the kettlebells down or resting in between the moves. The complexes are a lot harder because of this–no resting! Power through it!

Here is an example of one of the complexes: With one kettlebell, rack the bell (basically holding the rack position with the kettlebell close to your body) like this:

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Then we put one leg bag, kneeled down and put the other leg back and kneeled down. Then with one arm out (similar to above photo) press the kettlebell up for 4 reps, then stand back up and with the kettlebell still in the rack position, 4 squats. Then it was a set of lunges followed by 6 one-armed kettlebell swings. (Here is a good video of the alternating single arm swing to give you an example of good form–even though in class we didn’t do alternating swings.) That was one set. Then the same thing on the other side. Doing these complexes always gets my heart pounding and I do find that I fatigued quicker than when we do regular sets. But the complexes are fun to do and clearly are a good workout:

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The class also included lots of burpees, mountain climbers and hill sprints. It was a fantastic class and I felt strong throughout the entire class, which was nice!

Later that day I went grocery shopping to get a bunch of veggies and stuff to make this new recipe I wanted to try. I don’t know where I found this recipe–maybe Pinterest? But it sounded so tasty and I love curry.

I substituted kale for the swiss chard. It had been ages since I’d had kale and when I was in the grocery store looking at that glorious green bunch of kale, I decided to just get that instead. Plus I’ve never cooked with swiss chard (or eaten it I think…) and wasn’t really sure if I’d like it. I knew I loved kale. Also, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs because we didn’t have thighs. I liked the breasts in this recipe better anyway; it was easier to chop into small bite-sized pieces.

Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 624

From: http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2014/02/14/green-chickpea-chicken-coconut-curry/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add in your cubed chicken and cook over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add in your shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are softened, about another 5-6 minutes. Add in the curry paste, chili paste, kosher salt, ginger, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add in the additional cup of water. Bring back up to a boil, then add in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. After simmering, add in the trimmed and sliced Swiss chard. When you're trimming the chard, the thicker, whiter parts are generally too tough to eat, but the smaller, more tender colored stalks and all of the leafy greens will soften as they cook. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve alone or with some naan or pita bread.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=45137

The kitchen smelled so good while I was cooking this! It was a little higher in calories than I would have liked but it was a healthy, filling recipe so I tried not to give it too much thought. I used light coconut milk to lighten it up a little bit. Really, the calories come from the chickpeas.

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While it was cooking it seemed like there was too much liquid but I still followed the recipe as it said. When I added the kale it soaked up a ton of the liquid! Mystery solved. I let it simmer for another 15 minutes and then it was done.

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I served it with a piece of sourdough bread. The dish was delicious with one exception. OMIT THE SALT. I have no idea why the recipe called for salt at all. Maybe it was because I used jarred chili paste and green curry that already had salt as one of their ingredients, but it was JUST on the borderline of being too salty.

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I liked the spice in this and the flavors. I would make this recipe again but would not add any salt. I had a glass of crisp chardonnay to go with dinner, which was a nice balance to the spicy food. I’d also get some naan next time I make this recipe. Anyways, after dinner Michael and played a few rounds of the Sequence game. I love that game!

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We brought Bella’s bed into the dining room to try and get her to keep us company while we played. She kept going back to the couch instead. I think she likes staring at the Christmas tree lights. She finally came back in and relaxed once Fat Kitty took her bed. :P They are too funny. Look, ALMOST cuddling. Almost.

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I got a few new board games recently and we’re going to have some friends over soon to play them. I’m excited! I will let you know how the new games are soon.

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Jan 072014
 

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My weekend started off nicely–a swim and then home to find beautiful flowers from my honey! No occasion, just because. I don’t get flowers often because Fat Kitty knows the instant flowers are in the house and makes a bee-line for them. He destroys, eats, devours any form of flower that is in the house and then pukes it up at 3am. :P It doesn’t matter if I put the flowers up high (like on top of the fridge), he finds a way to get to them.

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The little jerk! Inevitably my flowers always end up in a closet where I only see them when getting dressed…Look at him! 

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On Saturday I worked out (more on that later) , got a bunch of stuff done around the house and then Michael and I took Bella to a park for a walk. It was a brisk, cool day but the sun was out and it felt nice outside. We went to West Moreland Park in Sellwood and ended up walking a little over 2 miles with Bella.

Then it was back home to get dinner ready before my friend came over. I’ve been holding onto this recipe for awhile and finally made it. I’m so glad I did! It was excellent.

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I wish I knew where I got the recipe so I could credit it here, but I’m not sure. I’ve seen a ton of variations on pinterest, so maybe that is where I originally found the recipe.

Cashew Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories per serving: 296 - 394

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  2. Season chicken with salt, pepper and then sprinkle some cornstarch on each side until slightly coated.
  3. Add more olive oil and add chicken to skillet. Brown on both sides until cooked, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper, edamame, half of the green onions and cashews. Stir for 30 seconds. Turn heat to medium low.
  5. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and honey. Pour into skillet, coating chicken and vegetables. Service with jasmine rice.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41361

I got 4 servings out of this recipe, so that changed the calorie count. Also, I skipped the mushrooms because I hate them, added a dash of red pepper flakes and only used 2 tablespoons of honey instead of the 3. Two was sufficient. I will definitely make this recipe again. In the future, I’d probably add a little more of the cashews and maybe some more edamame. The ratios seemed a little off.

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My friend Robyn came over for dinner and a girl’s evening. The three of us hung out in the kitchen while Michael and I made the dinner and then he escaped to the bedroom to eat and be away from all the “girl stuff.” You know, pillow fights in our pajamas and all that stuff. ;)

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In reality we ate the delicious dinner and ended up watching two chick flicks– Bridget Jones’s Diary and Under the Tuscan Sun and shared one and a half bottles of this really tasty wine: 

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It was fun just hanging out, catching up and watching movies I hadn’t seen in ages! We had M&Ms for dessert and ended up drinking a little too much of the wine and having too many M&Ms but all in all it was a great night. And I wasn’t even hungover the next morning for my yoga class!

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