Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cravings Make You Do Crazy Things

Julia Child I am not.

Truth be told, I don't cook very often. Ok, that's an overstatement. I don't really cook EVER! Thankfully, the good Lord above blessed me with a hubby who doesn't mind doing the cooking (and he's pretty darn good at it). Once in a blue moon, though, I will walk into the kitchen for more than a snack. I will (dare I say it?) COOK. Did you get chills like I just did? (probably not).

Something has come over me recently. I've wanted to do some cooking. I chalk it up to my temperamental stomach. For the most part, I have been cutting out dairy and gluten or wheat. Apparently, my stomach is not too fond of either of these. With this being said, I've been craving Italian food like CRAZY! My cravings wanted a giant pile of cheesy lasagna, but my brain said lets try something a little less painful. I began my search for something to appease my craving for 'Chelle-friendly Italian food. My criteria was simple: it had to be something that didn't make me feel like I wanted to die after eating it; it had to be simple but tasty; finally, I had to have the majority of the ingredients on hand. I opted for a baked version of my second favorite Italian dish - chicken parmesan.

Many moons ago, Chas and I were on a weight loss program that we both had very good success with...until we got lazy and stopped doing it (I'm just sayin'). But I digress...This program came with a very expensive helpful cookbook filled with a lot of great-tasting, low-fat/low-sodium alternatives to traditional recipes. I decided that this would be the perfect place to start. Fortunately, there was a chicken parmesan recipe in the book. I liked the recipe as it was in the book, but I decided to make a few changes to it. For instance, I decided to use gluten-free tortilla crumbs instead of traditional bread crumbs. I also opted not to top the dish with cheese (I know. I know).

'Chelle's Chicken Parmesan Experiment
2 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. gluten-free tortilla crumbs
2 eggs
1 can tomato sauce
1 (or 3) dash of garlic
1 dash of oregano
1 dash of salt

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pour beaten eggs into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix the tortilla crumbs, garlic, oregano, and salt. Dip chicken breasts into tortilla crumb mixture.
3. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of baking dish. Place battered chicken in bowl. Pour remaining tomato sauce over chicken.
4. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take the picture of this dish, but it turned out so good. The chicken stayed nice and tender, and the tomato sauce and spices definitely satisfied my cravings for Italian food. This was my first time to cook with tortilla crumbs, and overall I was happy with them. It left a little bit of a corn-y taste to the meal, but nothing that I couldn't get past (and I'm a flavor person). This dish will definitely be one that I will make again (especially since Chas liked it). On the next go around, I think that I will blend some spinach into the tomato sauce to add some veggie content. I will also add some more Italian spices (i.e. PamperedChef  Parmesan/Garlic) to the crumb mixture. I will also consider topping with almond cheese, and serving over rice pasta.

I can't believe I'm actually posting a recipe on my blog. What is this world coming to?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weeks 4-6 of Training

A note about blogging:
I'm breaking rule number one of having a successful blog - never apologize for your lack of posting because no one wants to hear it. I find myself apologizing a lot on here, but I'll just go ahead with it. My name is 'Chelle, and I am a slacker blogger. One day, I will be a super blogger, but this just isn't that season of my life yet. If you do still read, despite my lack of regular posting, I appreciate you and thank you for stopping by.

Now on to training!

Six weeks ago, Chas and I began this journey of training for our very first 5k. It has been quite a wild ride (or walk). Our training has coincided with our busiest schedule yet. Concerts, work, C5's homeschooling, holidays, head is spinning just thinking about it. After slacking a couple of weeks in the middle of training, I'm back and focused, and it feels so good!

I am finding that I'm suffering from a problem that I've had in the past, though. When I eat on my plan, I usually am so focused on my eating that I ten to back off working out. When I'm focused on my workouts, I start eating more off my plan. I know I need to balance and focus both of these components because they really are dependent on each other. You gotta have the right fuel to perform at your best! As I realize just how close we're getting to the 5k, I'm realizing just how true this is. Like everything else in my life, I'm a work in progress.

Week 4:
Week 4 (I'm sorry to say) was one of those slacker weeks. I only trained one day, but it was that group training day that really helped to get me focused on training and jump-started the next two weeks of training. I hit a big goal for myself during that training session by finally breaking a 20-minute mile (19:41).

Weekly breakdown: 3 miles in 60 minutes

Week 5:
Week 5 of the Couch to 5k plan called for 130 minutes of training over four days. I was only able to fit in three days of training. I definitely put our treadmill to use, which helped me with evaluating distance and speed.

Weekly breakdown: 4.6 miles in 101 minutes.

Week 6:
Week 6 was my best week of training so far! Pushing myself felt so amazing. I trained 5 days this week, mostly taking advantage of the treadmill in our back room. Some days I worked on speed, and some days I worked on time/distance. My shin splints did act up one day when I started bumping up the speed, but I made sure I listened to my body. When I felt discomfort (past the point of normal working out), I would back off to a more comfortable pace. Once the discomfort subsided, I would start pushing the speed again. I went back and forth like this for a while. Each time I found that I was able to go a little faster for a little longer period of time, and I didn't have to back off as much. At the beginning of the week, my natural walking pace was 2.5 mph. By the end of the week, that pace went to about 3.1 mph.

During today's group training, I actually ran jogged shuffled for a quarter of a mile. I don't know if I'll ever be much of a runner, but it felt pretty darn good.

Weekly breakdown: 8.60 miles in 219 minutes.

So here's my final thoughts on training...
Looking back over training, I'm really pretty pleased with my progress. I wish that I hadn't slacked on training or eaten junk that made me feel lousy, because if I hadn't I feel like I would be a little farther along toward my goal. I don't want to sit here and woulda, coulda, shoulda...I want to look forward and realize that with eating better and training consistently, I will be able to do so much more. I will be able to push myself just that must farther. I can't wait! As I was huffing and puffing while I was shuffling around the track in the freezing cold (yes temperatures in the 40's is freezing cold to this Texas gal), the thought popped in my head: I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).