Fresh Starts and Kale Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Happy Monday!  How are you?  Well, I hope.  Hope you're easing into this day with minimal stress and tiredness and an overall feeling of goodness. 

I say all of this zen shiz because that's what I'm working on today.  I've spent the weekend eating thin mints, ignoring my Yoga Glo class reminders and drinking beers.  Not really doing anything healthy; trying to pump the breaks a bit and get things back under control.  Mondays are cool like that, right?  Right. 
For the sake of doing things that are measurable, I'm focusing first on food.  I made this Kale, Quinoa and Avocado Salad yesterday and am looking forward to having it today.  It's full of super foods (kale, quinoa, avocado, etc) and was pretty tasty, too!  Make it vegan by leaving out the feta.  I didn't calculate the points (taking things slow, you know) but I'm guessing that one cup is 6 points.  Don't make me explain my logic but that's just what I'm going to do.  I'm also going to take a walk around the work track and enjoy this sunshine.  And I'm also going to tap my toes to this song:
Have a great week, friends!   


Easy (No, really! It is!) Chicken Pot Pie

It started out the hottest mess of all the hot messes. 

Just like how I usually do my best growing when I'm at my worst, this ugly duckling ended up being the swan-iest thing we've had for a while on Parsons.  It was touch and go, though, and was so because of my inability to follow directions and uncertainty of puff pastry vs. pie crust.  But all's well that ends well, right?  Sure.  And this ended well.  Real well.

I was surprised, though.  Chicken pot pie, in my mind, was one of those don't even try it dishes.  It was up there with souffle and rice*, something that just wasn't in the cards for me.  I think it was the crust...crust seems daunting.  That scary, yet delicious crust.  As luck would have it,  it is in the cards!  All up in the cards.  Thank goodness.  Because it rocks.   

*I can't cook rice, PS.

Chicken Pot Pie
recipe courtesy of Swayze H. who got it from Kimme H.  

1/3 cup of butter
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped onion
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 1/2 cup of milk
3 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
2 refrigerated pie crusts (or 2 puff pastry sheets) (whatevs)

Melt the butter in a really big skillet.  Add the celery, carrots, onion and potato. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the potato is cooked through (but not mushy).  Add the flour and cook for about a minute.  It's going to be a bit pasty.  Stir in the chicken broth for about minute.  Add the milk and stir.  Add the chicken and the salt and pepper.  Let it cook and thicken up for about 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350.  

Divide the mixture between two pie plates.  Top it with your pie crust/puff pastry and cut some slits in the top.  Cook for 45 minutes or until it's all brown and delicious.   Freeze that other one or take it to a friend or invite some people over.    



A Few on Friday

1.  One thing I've learned this week:  I do not do well on a snow day.  Why?  I think it's because I don't like TV that much.  And I'm nosy.  I'd get settled in to read then I'd go see what Brandon was doing.  Then I'd go see what Big Browne Hound was doing.  Then I'd think about baking something.  Then I'd do it all over again.... 

2.  Another thing I've learned:  I love to drive in the snow in my Subaru!

3.  I have a large crush on Shawn White.  There's a gold hoop earring (I think) that I could really live without but he's such a cutie!  Good thing I'm a married woman because my hate of cold weather and his love of snowboarding would just never jive.  
 I spy a gold hoop earring.

4.  This is fantastic:

5.  Happy Valentines Day!  Are you celebrating?  I am.  By drinking red, making chicken parm and filling chocolate chip cookies with icing.  Oh.  And hanging out with my herz-band and my Big Browne Hound. 

Happy weekend dear friends!  Hope it's filled with love!



Mississippi River Marathon 2014


Glad I did it, glad it's over, jury's still out on if I'll do it again. 

Maybe I'll do this one.  Who's with me?  Or maybe just like a 5K.  Or maybe just go to Big Sur and drink wine on the beach.  We don't have to make any big decisions right now, it can just be something festive to think about.

How did it go?  Kind of awesome.  I finished, which was my first goal.  My second goal, to finish in under five hours, I missed by 5 minutes and 5 seconds.  But it's cool...I ran my race.

My slow, kinda tearful, almost ate a doughnut at mile 22 race.  Here it is in pictures!  Thanks for all your support!  


Tex Mex Chicken Taco Soup

Are you guys all hunkered down and preparing for a snow day?  Or an ice day?  Or perhaps just a Tuesday?  I'll at least be having a semi-snow day which I guess will make a Tuesday less Tuesday-ey.  

In honor of the maybe snow day I've made a tex mex soup.  And not just any tex mex soup but a tex mex soup with a block of cream cheese in it.  

Kind of makes me want to chest bump someone.

This one is easy to whip up and it's got some interesting canned goods in it. Like hominy and ranch beans.  What is a hominy?  I'm not sure.  But I like it.  

Enjoy this one!   
Tex Mex Chicken Taco Soup
adapted from Food Network

1/2 cup of diced onions
1/2 cup of bell pepper
1 tbl of garlic
2 tsp olive oil
4 cups of cooked and shredded chicken breast
8 oz of salsa
2 1/2 tbl taco seasoning
1 (14 oz) can of corn
1 (14 oz) can of ranch beans
1 (14 oz) can of hominy 
8 oz of tomato paste
28 oz of chicken broth
8 oz of cream cheese

In a large pot, saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic until starting to get soft.  Add the chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, corn, ranch beans, hominy, paste and chicken broth.  Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Place the cream cheese in a bowl and ladle some of the hot liquid over it in order to get it melted.  Transfer the cream cheese to the pot.  Cook for 10 more minutes.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes 11)
Points plus 7


A Few on Friday

1.  The MS River Marathon is finally upon us!  Here is the route, just in case you are curious:

2.  Speaking of that race....here's what I'll be jamming to! 

3.  As I write this, it's Thursday night and the Olympics are on.  The Brandon is not only swooning over the snowboarder gals but also doing sound effects for them when they bust.  And now one of the ice skaters just slammed into a wall....this is intense. 

As the night chugged along, he started to flex his judging muscles in the snowboarding and pairs ice skating events.  By Sunday, he'll probably be in Sochii.  Or Sochi.  Whatever.  

4.  The Memphis news just said this:  a woman woke up to a racoon making dinner out of her face!  It got in through a cat door.  I'm horrified. 

5.  I think I need this:
        find it here

If we added "eat dips" and took away "take naps" then it would kind of be perfect. I wouldn't have to say hey guys this is what I think about most of the time because my bright red hoodie would tell say it all.
Happy Friday dear friends!  Be well, do good work, enjoy yourself!   


Things We Can't Control (Woohoo!! Wednesday)

Nothing reminds us that we have no power over anything but our breath like the 10 day weather forecast.  I've been stalking said weather forecast to try to get ready for the marathon and to say that there have been a lot of feelings related to it would be an understatement.  You know that we obsess about the future to trick ourselves into thinking that we know what's up....knowing what's up (even when it's bad) is better than not having a clue what's up, right?  Well, maybe not.  Here's how that has worked out for me:

Last Friday forecast for Saturday:  chance of ice and snow
Last Sunday forecast for Saturday:  rainy and cold
Yesterday's forecast for Saturday:  70% chance of rain and cold
Today's forecast for Saturday:  high of 48, partly cloudy, 10% chance of rain
So my panic related to thinking that I knew what was going to be up in the future led to me nearly buying a $200 jacket that I didn't need (and couldn't afford) and running through the rain (wrapped in a rain jacket and crying) cursing myself all those morning I slept in when the weather was bad.  
That trying to predict the future....it takes way more energy than it gives you.  
In my random week of the marathon research, I've learned a term called taper tantrum. It's (I guess) the fit that people throw when they are supposed to be tapering off their runs to get their legs fresh for race day. I think people throw a fit because they just miss running so much! but ya'll know that's not me.  Ya'll know I run mainly to cancel out the hummus and cheese dates I have sometimes with my Akita at 9:45 pm. 
No, my taper tantrum is probably related more to feeling a bit unprepared and already dreading how huffy and puffy I'm going to feel.  Yes, my taper tantrum is leading me to try to predict the future.
Regardless of all of this and taper tantrums (i just like saying that) aside...I can do nothing about the weather.  Or the fact that Brandon might have the stomach virus and we share a small space together.
I'm might be ice skating with the stomach bug across the bridge come Saturday....only the Lord knows.  But what I do know is this:  less chitta vritta more shanti is always a nice place to be.