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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Dec 092014
 

Every year I’ve said I wanted to do the whole “go to a tree farm and cut your own tree down” thing. I never had this experience as a kid, and still haven’t done it as an adult. Well we finally did it!

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On Saturday there was a break in the rain and so we trekked over to the tree farm near our house. I’d seen the sign that said $20 ANY tree! U-Cut! Sign me up. We walked all over the tree farm to find the perfect tree. I tend to like the smaller trees (around my height or shorter) and Michael wanted a taller tree. I also tend to gravitate towards the derpy trees that no one else wants. (Same with animals: perusing rescue websites I always want to adopt the animal that is missing a leg or something.)

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Anyways, we found half a dozen trees that seemed pretty good but kept looking. Then we got to the point where there were SO many options we had to just pick one. We picked one.

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It was a happy medium sized tree that was fluffy and only had one bald spot. :) Which was okay, that side of the tree would be against the wall. No one would know!

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We took turns sawing the tree, but Michael did the bulk of it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and didn’t take too long to chop down. I carried it downhill (humble brag) with only one hand! Thank you Warrior Room!!

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We got the tree home and trimmed the bottom, put it in the stand and spent the next hour putting the lights and ornaments on. I remember how much I HATE the light part. It’s my least favorite part of the Christmas tree experience. The ornaments? It’s the best part.  I had a few new ornaments to put on the tree, including one from my friend (more on that later). Bella supervised from the couch. Oddly enough the cats were nowhere to be seen. They are usually right underneath the tree the second it gets in the house.

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It was a good day!

The weekend didn’t stop there. I stopped in to the Eastside Distillery for a little Christmas shopping. I saw this new product and HAD to have a sample! They had samples of all their products in the bar. I tried the egg nog liqueur first. It was pretty good, really strong, but I didn’t think it was necessary. Get a jug of nog at the grocery story and spike it with your favorite booze and you have a great drink. The Peppermint Bark Liqueur however? That stuff was gold! It was AMAZING. It was a shot of chocolate peppermint goodness. It was so tasty and I almost bought a bottle. Almost. It was really expensive, sadly.

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I also recently went to a new(ish) restaurant with my cousin Anna. I had a Groupon for the new Salvador Molly’s restaurant that opened in Sellwood. There used to be one on SE Belmont Street, a trendy area here in Portland. I’d been to that restaurant like a over a decade ago and I remembered liking it so when the Groupon came out I was excited to try it again.

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The prices are affordable. The drinks were super cheap, too. Anna got the Angry Pineapple (what a great name) — it was pineapple juice, lime juice and infused Thai chili vodka. It had a kick! I got the Coco-Tini, a coconut rum martini. It was like drinking candy. Both drinks were delicious but not very strong, so that was slightly disappointing. They also had a great beer list, too.

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Anna got the kahlua pork entree and I got the Bulgogi Korean tacos. They were steak bites in Bulgogi marinade topped with spicy aioli sauce. It came with dirty rice and black beans on the side. It was so fantastic. The taco meat was flavorful, slightly sweet, and spicy. I loved them. I would eat ten more of these tacos! So good!

I want to go back and get more of those tacos. And…I kinda want that peppermint bark liqueur. I keep thinking about it…Wouldn’t it be a nice adult beverage next to that Christmas tree?? I think so!

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