Recipe Share: Crack Slaw

Have you ever had “crack slaw?” Oh my! It is so amazingly delicious and addictive (hence it’s name, I suppose) and EASY. I’ve tried a number of different recipes and some are better than others. I’ve tried versions that incorporate brown rice and others that just use plain old shredded cole slaw mix. This recipe is my own and it has been crowned by my teenage son as his new favorite meal, surpassing his previous fave, honey-soy salmon. I left out the brown rice and replaced the cole slaw mix with broccoli slaw. I’ll warn you though, if you make this, whip up a double batch! ūüėČ

Angie’s Crack Slaw

Ingredients

4 Tbsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. ginger root, grated
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 lbs. organic, pastured ground beef
2 12-oz bags of shredded broccoli slaw
4 Tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
salt/pepper to taste
black sesame seeds
chili oil (optional to add some heat)

Instructions

Heat sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Stirfry garlic, onion, and ginger root for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent being attentive so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add ground beef and break apart with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add cilantro and brown ground beef for 5-10 minutes until no pink remains.

Add broccoli slaw and stirfry with beef mixture for another 5 minutes.

Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and green onions. Stir to combine.

Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 3-5 minutes – broccoli slaw should be cooked to the desired tenderness.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with a small amount of chili oil (a little goes a long way) if you want it a little spicier.

Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

My Favorite Vegan Recipe

As you may or may not know, Deb and I adopted a rabidly vegan nutrition philosophy from 2015 through early-2017 when we transitioned back to a more vegetarian diet with some fish and seafood thrown in occasionally. Today, we do eat beef and chicken in small amounts as long as the meat/poultry/eggs/cheese, etc. are organic and from pastured animals. I would guess that we still eat around 90% plant-based.

I found very favorite vegan recipe on Pinterest a couple of years ago and it has had a prominent place in our meal rotation ever since. This Lentil Chili from Katya at the blog, Little Broken, is simply AMAZING!¬† Rich and hearty, you’ll never miss the meat! I love to serve it over brown rice or cauliflower rice or in baked russet potatoes or baked sweet potatoes – and of course with ample sliced avocado.

If you’re not so concerned about keeping things vegan, you could add shredded cheese and sour cream too.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Photo from www.littlebroken.com. All rights reserved.

Lentil Chili

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil (my choice)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
1 lb bag of brown lentils
1 28 oz cans no-salt diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
1 bay leaf
2 (32 oz.) cartons vegetable stock
‚Öď cup fresh chopped cilantro
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and red bell pepper and saute until soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in garlic and chili powder; cook until fragrant.
3. Add lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and stock. Season with salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Bring to a
boil, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until lentils are
tender. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
4. Transfer 3 cups of the chili into a food processor or a blender and process until pureed; add the pureed chili back
into the remaining chili and stir to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
5. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Makes 8 servings

Add-in suggestions:

  • spinach or kale
  • black beans

Hypocrite No More!!

Courtesy of 123RF.com

Have you ever been in a space where you gave advice that you had a really hard time following yourself?

That’s where I found myself A LOT over the past 8 years when it came to drinking enough water.

Sometimes I would do better… Once in a while, I would actually get on a roll and do great… But eventually, something would happen to knock me out of my routine and my fledgling habit would wither on the vine. And I would feel like an incredible hypocrite!

Over the Christmas holidays I decided that I was REALLY going to make a PERMANENT change! I mean, I KNOW the importance of drinking the right amount of water and staying well hydrated. However, KNOWING doesn’t always translate to DOING, does it?

I was recovering from broken bones and couldn’t do much else during the holidays, plus we weren’t working so I could really focus on my water intake.

I Googled “water apps” and found a suggested list of apps that could help me track my daily water intake. Some worked better than others, but in the end, I uninstalled them. What ended up working for me was getting a 64 oz. glass container, filling it up each morning, and then using¬† my Pomodoro Technique breaks to go drink between 8 and 16 oz of water.

I also took a 30-day break from coffee in January and replaced my caffeinated coffee and tea habit with hot water with lemon for those 30 days. It turns out that I REALLY like hot water with lemon, so I kept it up after January was over. So, not only was I able to count the volume that I normally drank in the form of coffee or tea (about 32-48 oz per day) as actual water consumed, but I also didn’t have to replace that volume with more water as I would have to do when I was drinking caffeinated beverages. It was like a double bonus!

I found that I was suddenly and quite effortlessly drinking between 96 and 128 oz of water each and every day!

My energy skyrocketed… My weight loss rebooted… My skin looked better…

It was incredible!

I’m now moving to the three month point of this new baby habit. Sometimes I miss, but most of the time I am very well hydrated. My body will tell me when I’m not drinking enough water (or when I’m drinking too much coffee – yes, I do drink coffee again, but only a fraction of the amount I used to drink).

So, for anyone looking to level up their hydration game, here are my tips:

  1. Buy a large glass container (64 oz is a good size) and fill it up with filtered water each morning.
  2. Try hot water with lemon as a replacement for some of the caffeinated beverages you may be drinking currently.
  3. Get an app or set a timer to go off every 30 minutes. Drink 8 oz of water each time the alarm goes off.¬†Note: If you do this between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, you will drink A GALLON of water during the day. You may or may not need this much, but it’s a painless way to get the water down!

How much water should you be drinking?  Here is the rule of thumb that I follow:  Your current weight/2 + 24 oz from every hour of exercise + equal volume for any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

So, if I weigh 140 pounds, I exercised for an hour this morning, and I drank a 16 oz cup of coffee, I would need 110 oz of water today:  (140/2) +24 +16 = 110.

So, drink up!  Your body will thank you for it!

________________________________________

Proper hydration is one of the fundamental pillars of my new health and wellness program, UnREALogical Health.

 

I’ve Been Up To Something…

… And it’s AWESOME!!

For the past six months I’ve been working on a project that I’ve kept on the down-low with everyone except those people who have been involved. But now I’m ready to dish about it to the world!

Why so super secret?

Well, to be quite honest, I wanted to make sure it didn’t turn out to be a complete and utter disaster first. When I started this experiment back in mid-August, I honestly had no idea how it was going to go… It had the potential to be wonderful… It also had the potential to be a nightmare and go south in a big way.

So, there’s the backstory…

Last May I started a health coaching certification program. The program started out a little bit slow and I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick it out or not because – well, it was EXPENSIVE and I wasn’t sure I was going to get the ROI I expected. But, after several months, the lectures got very interesting so I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. The program is like the intersection between personal development and nutrition, so it really is kind of my jam!

Then, at the end of June, we held our amazing Breakthrough Summit at The Shores event here in Daytona Beach and during the retreat I had client after client come to me asking for advice on their nutrition – how to get better sleep, how to lose weight, how to just FEEL GOOD. So, at the end of the weekend, we were all sitting around and someone asked when I was going to create a health coaching program. I told them all that I had JUST STARTED the certification program. They persisted, so I asked them if I put together a group program would they all join it?¬† They all said “Yes,” so I committed to launching something in August.

But I was crystal clear with them all, I had NO IDEA what would happen or how it would all unfold. I told them I couldn’t promise them ANYTHING – they were my guinea pigs. Strangely, they all seemed to like that idea.

Deb and I had been playing with our own dietary philosophies for a while and we had finally hit upon a formula that seemed to work… It seemed to work regardless of whether we ate high carb, low carb, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, omnivorous, etc. And, unlike so many other programs we had tried, it was simple, sustainable, and didn’t stop working as time went by.

In July, I contacted my guinea pigs and told them we would start on August 14th and that they needed some nominal skin in the game, so they each paid me a stupidly small amount of money and, voila, they were members of my “pilot program.”

Week-by-week, I wrote lessons on nutrition, based on what I already knew and what I was learning…

We sent mindset lessons from Deb…

There were recipes…

Exercise suggestions…

Videos…

Q&A…

It was a BLAST!

His insulin dosages have steadily been reduced since August – TWELVE times!!

But more than that, people started sending me messages that they were feeling better…

Their clothes were getting looser…

Health conditions were turning around…

They were sleeping better…

I was floored!  And humbled! And THRILLED!!

When the pilot program ended, most of the participants wanted to continue on. It was a decision point.

Deb and I knew we were on to something, so we decided to create two new programs:

  1. A 30-day Fundamentals program that focuses on 4 pillars of health and wellness as well as key mindset issues related to weight and illness,  and
  2. An ongoing month-to-month Advanced program that builds on the fundamentals program.

Our Advanced program is going strong and our first Fundamentals program finished up in mid-February. Again, it was terrific!

Now, our next round of UnREALogical Health Fundamentals is kicking off on March 12th and I’m inviting everyone to check it out.

It’s better than I ever imagined and I’m really very proud of it.

I’m Not Eating THAT!

Back in October Deb started seeing a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine for some digestive issues she had been experiencing for a while that we couldn’t seem to nail down the cause of. The doctor, FeiFei¬†Liu, came highly recommended by some trusted friends and Deb has always been curious about the TCM arts. Deb had actually been waiting for the better part of a year to get an appointment with her because FeiFei had been in China for 10 months studying with an aging herbal master.

FeiFei¬†described the healing process (a combination of acupuncture and herbal remedies) as a puzzle of bringing the body into balance – one organ or issue at a time. Of course, Deb and I are not incredibly patient people, but our way wasn’t working, so perhaps it was time to broaden our minds and embrace something new (or OLD to be more precise). When Deb came home from her first appointment with FeiFei she had a short list of dos and don’t – nothing crazy or extreme – and a recommendation to eat something called “Congee” for breakfast.

Now, I am always up for a new culinary experience, but when I consulted the Google and saw what Congee was, I was less than excited. Essentially, congee is rice porridge – rice cooked in water or broth until the grains essentially¬†disintegrate and it looks something like the bowls of gruel served to the orphan children in “Oliver Twist.” It really looked terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a picky eater. I’ll pretty much try anything. However, I have never been a big “porridge” person. I like oatmeal, but it’s always on the sweet side. I never liked Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice when I was growing up. To be quite honest, the texture of them activated my gag reflex. And to make matters worse, most of the recipes I was finding for Congee were savory. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it and I found myself in full on resistance mode. I wanted NOTHING to do with this Congee stuff.

Deb was amused by how deep I was digging in my heels on the issue,¬†but the very thought of rice gruel made me sick to my stomach. So, I did what I do when faced with something I don’t want to deal with. I didn’t deal with it. I ignored it. When Deb would bring it up, I quickly changed the subject. This went on for weeks before I finally relented and went on a quest for a Congee recipe that I thought I might be able to stomach. This is the recipe I found and I tell you now, before God and the entire blogosphere:

I was WRONG!

This Garlic Beef and Onion Congee¬†from Food & Wine is AMAZING and has become a staple in our breakfast rotation. Don’t be as resistant as I was. Give it a try!

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • One-inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

How to Make It

In large pot add stock, rice, salt and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn’t clump or stick at the bottom. Simmer the congee for about 1 hour or until the congee is thickened and creamy.(NOTE: I used a slow cooker – just dump the stock, rice, salt, and ginger in the crockpot and cook on Low for ~8-10 hours – and it worked great).

While the congee is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil, and then stir in the onion and garlic. (NOTE: I also added about 2 tsp. of sesame oil) Cook for about 1 minute or until soft, and then stir in the beef.

Cook the beef for about 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Stir in the soy sauce, and then remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Pour the congee in serving bowls and top with the beef mixture. Serve the congee hot.

This recipe makes 6 hearty portions. It thickens substantially when cooled (think cold oatmeal), so I added more vegetable stock to a saucepan when reheating.

 

Really, this is now one of my new favorite recipes! Today I am making a 3-bean version (substituting a can each of red kidney beans, black beans, and great northern beans for the ground beef). I’ll let you know how it turns out!

I Am Not A Dog…

I Am Not A Dog…

Deb and I have been playing around with intermittent fasting for a while now and it has really proven to be a game-changer for us so far (I’m sure I’ll blog about it when I have more data), but I’ve noticed something recently that has really caused me to stop and think. I realized that when I want to “reward” myself I go to food 100% of the time!

For example, yesterday was “balcony cleaning day” here at the condo. On the last Saturday of the month, we are allowed to break out the hoses and scrub brushes and clean the outside porches and just blow the water over the side. It’s a pain in the ass, but it makes a big difference – especially after Hurricane Irma completely salt-blasted our sliding doors and windows. The thing is that we always “reward” ourselves after porch cleaning with a big breakfast – either I make eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. here or we go out for breakfast. But, since we were fasting yesterday, there was no big breakfast and I was jarred by how sad that made me and how unmotivated I was to clean the porches.

Then, I started thinking about it… I do not have a single non-food reward system in place anywhere in my life!

What the hell?¬† I’m not a DOG!

But it’s true!¬† Whenever Deb and I start planning something that will make busting our butts to getting some big project done “worth it,” we automatically go to food… dinner out at our favorite restaurant, munchies in front of an episode of¬†Star Trek, comfort food, etc. … ALWAYS… 100% of the time. And that’s just crazy! Is it just me?

I have resolved to come up with some non-food rewards that I can go to when I need something to spark my motivation in the moment. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  1. Take a nap.
  2. Sleep in!
  3. Spend an hour away from my phone or computer.
  4. Eat lunch outside or at least away from my desk.
  5. Take a vacation day from work to do whatever I want!
  6. Unwind with a movie of my choice.
  7. Plan a long bike ride with my friends.
  8. Subscribe to a magazine I’ve been wanting to read.
  9. Buy a new song for my running playlist.
  10. Invest in some moisture-wicking workout socks.
  11. Buy a new sports bra.
  12. Come home with a bouquet of flowers.
  13. Sign up for a race.
  14. Splurge on a new running outfit or tri-kit (Hello, Tri*Fe Tri).
  15. Go for a mani/pedi.
  16. Treat myself to a massage!
  17. Get fitted for new running shoes at a running store.
  18. Plan a weekend getaway with Deb.
  19. Go to a yoga class.
  20. Plan our next dream vacation!
  21. Get a new hairstyle.
  22. Go to the local farmer’s market.
  23. Have a tourist day and do some of the fun things our town has to offer visitors (NOT Disney, thank you very much)
  24. Buy some new accessories for my bike.
  25. A new pair of earrings.

How do YOU reward yourself? Help me build my list so I can stop letting PIZZA be my reward!

First Breakfast…

One of my commitments this year has been to wake up at 3:30 am and use the early morning hours to create: to write, to plan, to meditate… to do all those things that tend to get lost in the shuffle once the craziness of the¬†normal day sets in. It’s required several things to change. ¬†First, I’ve shifted my workouts to the evening. That’s been a TOUGH adjustment. I’m most definitely a morning girl and I really prefer to do my training before anyone wakes up (not after everyone has gone to sleep), but it’s a shift I was willing to make as Deb and I negotiated how to fit in my health coach training program¬†course work. Second, it means I have to add a meal to my day. I really believe strongly in eating every 4-ish hours. So, when I’m getting up at 3:30 am, I need an extra breakfast to carry me through to smoothie time (~8 am).

This is my new favorite first breakfast (not to be confused with my favorite breakfast quinoa bowl that I still eat nearly ever day around 11:30 ūüôā ). I absolutely LOVE avocados, but honestly, smooshing one up on a piece of toast never really occurred to me. Then one day, about 2 months ago, I saw a picture on Instagram and thought, “Wow, that’s a great idea!” Yeah, I know, I’m way behind on trending uses for the avocado. It is the BEST thing EVER! ¬†Not too heavy, full of brain fueling good fats, and just enough to keep me filled up until the next meal.

And, my dear son, who has taken to ditching his morning cereal at home in favor of whatever nasty breakfast they are serving at school (don’t think I’m not onto you, Josh Flynn!), has started asking for avocado toast for his breakfast! I’m going to call that a #momwin.

I posted a picture of my first piece of avocado toast on Facebook and got so many comments about how to spiff up my eats. People said I should add tomato slices, or a squirt of lime, or an egg, etc. And I’ve tried every single one of their suggestions… and they are all good! ¬†But, this is my favorite by far… Toast, avocado, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper… Perfection!

Perfect avocado toast with hot green tea! Mmmmm…