Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italian Chicken Lentil Soup

This is one of the first meals I learned how to make when I started out learning to cook two years ago.  After trying a couple different recipes I found one that was pretty good.  Betty Crockers Italian Chicken - Lentil Soup.  It was good the first time I made it but it needed something.  I prefer a hearty soup so I added more veggies.  That still seemed to missing something so I added some of my own ingredients.  Here is what I came up with...


Italian Chicken Lentil Soup (Crockpot)



Ingredients

2 Large chicken breasts
1 Medium chopped summer squash (optional)
2 Medium chopped zucchini
6 - 8 Chopped carrots (I scrub the outside well and just chop them up, no peeling)
1 Medium chopped onion (I don't like onions so I used onion powder instead)
1 clove of minced garlic
1 cup of dried rinsed lentils (you can add up to 1 1/4cup if you would like more)
9 cups of chicken broth (I use between 7-9 cups depending on how much lentils I use)
pinch of salt and pepper
1 package of chopped mushrooms
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tablespoon dried basil
Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese


In a large Slow Cooker add chicken, summer squash, zucchini, carrots, onion, garlic, lentils, 7-8 cups of chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Cook covered on low for 6 hours.  

When 6 hours is up gently shred the chicken.  Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil. Feel free to also add more broth if needed.  Cooked covered for 30 minutes.  

Serve with shredded parmesan cheese.  


*I freeze extras in quart size containers.  To reheat defrost in refrigerator overnight.  Heat in a covered pot on the stove with a bit of water or broth.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

A look in the mirror

This is one of the few times in my life where i have felt the need to take a long hard look at a stiuation I have managed to find myself in. I am over weight. I am the one who got me to this point. I am the only one who can change that. Growing up I never had a problem with my weight. I led an active lifestyle and had a fast metabolism so I would eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I'll admit "healthy eating" a foreign concept in our house. To top it off no one was really all that concerned with fitness either.

 "Let her enjoy this all now while she can." 

was a common phrase often said around the dinner table by my over weight parents. I was the only "thin" person in my family.  It stayed that way for quite a while.In high school I played sports and ran cross country but I never changed my eating habits.  Frankly I never saw a need to.

As High school went on my activity level dropped. I stopped playing sports altogether and couldn't find time in my social life to make cross country a real priority in my life. My heathy eating and lack of exercise was beginning to show.

I entered College at the highest weight I had ever been. I quickly realized this wasn't a good thing. I decided that changing the way I eat would be a good place to start. The weight slowly started to come off. By the end of freshman year I had lost 20lbs. I was happy and content with where I was at. I went home for the summer and came back to school having gained back all but 5lbs of what I worked so hard to lose that previous school year. Back a school I was able to get back on track. I joined the dance team and started running again. The weight dropped off and my energy level was at an all time high.

I wish I could say that it stayed that way but clearly I wouldn't be writing this if it had.  I gained all that weight  I had lost in college after only two years of being out of college.  There it has remained.  Sure I have lost a bit here and there only to put it back on months later.

I started two months ago working on my eating habits. Taking the crap out of my diet.  Making sure I had healthy options to eat for meal and snacking as well. The weight clearly did not just drop off like it had in the past.  It was helping but it wasn't enough.  I needed to start working on exercising.  Something more than just my daily yoga DVD.

I started walking with the pups.  Then running.  Oh how I missed running.  Thrown in an occasional DVD workout and I really have something here.  The weight is coming off.  Slowly I will admitt.  My clothing is fitting better and the scale is starting to reflect my work.

I picked up a Polar HRM to help me out along the way.  I love it!  Visual Proof that what I am doing is getting me somewhere.  Below is an old picture of the Polar HRM I picked up.  The day I got it actually.





Now I have hit a wall of my own making.  I remain consistant in my healthy eating but waiver in my consistancy in working out.  I do yoga roughly 5 times a week.  Obviously one needs to more than this to lose weight.  Getting more consistant is most likely it. 

How do you all stay on track?



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Longing for...

...the northeastern fall weather.  One where I can curl up on the couch with a book and a hot cup of cider.  Weather that would allow me to be in an old hoodie and yoga pants but still needing a blanket for extra warmth.  Where the heat of the summer breaks and you need that blanket for the first night in a long time.  One where the leaves begin to change and there is a coolnees in the air.

For now I will eagerly wait for the fall with a hot cup of cider on a 95 degree day.