I like to move it

As I evolve, so does the blog.  Normally I share recipes and I hope they inspired you in the kitchen.  Today I want to share my new passion: working out.  Who is passionate about moving your rear?  Me!  Remember, the more you move, the more you can enjoy life (and sweets or beer or whatever you’re into).

Lately I train at the gym for roughly one hour/ day, 5 days/week.  Some evenings I run.  Some evenings matt and I get in long walks in downtown NOLA.  Some evenings I just need more.  More cowbell!  Ok no, more moving.  Pinterest inspiration led me to this video on you tube of a HIIT workout.  It aims to help you burn a lot of calories by moving quickly and with effort but with very few breaks.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

The idea came to me after the gym’s front door was locked due to a power outage.  The doors function on a key scan lock and the sensor must be reset when the power goes out.  We were forced to be creative and put together moves in the parking lot, boot camp style.  We improvised with what was in the trunk: kettlebell, resistance bands, latter, 2 mats, cones, and one jump rope.  BOOM.  It looked so fun that when I got home I knew I needed to get out some energy.  Good times, man.

Is there a video, a piece of equipment, or home-made work out you love to do?  Share it with me in the comment section below!  PRETTY PLEASE!  I’m always searching for the good stuff and no I don’t mean beer (in this case).

Peace, love, and hiit it hard

~The Hungry Wife

Baked sweet potato fries

You know that moment when you open your car door after it has been parked in the sun for an hour?  You know what I’m talking about, when you feel like getting in your oven would be better than getting in your driver’s seat.  Or what about how you start sweating buckets the moment you make it out your front door and realize that deodorant should have left home with you today.  Maybe I’m the only one.

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

In any case, summer is here for real, folks.  The upside is that we are now able to enjoy days by the pool, fruity drinks with umbrellas (right, like we waited for summer), and vacations to the beach.  Additionally, I am officially DONE with grad school and can now say I earned a Master’s degree in mental health clinical counseling.  I am still job hunting but have not come across the right position for me yet.  In the meantime, I continue evaluating my skills (counseling skills, cooking skills, nun-chuck skills) and remain open minded about my career path.  Things have taken an interesting turn recently.

Mom and Stuffed Husband

Mom and Stuffed Husband

Yesterday I interviewed for and was offered a position as a personal fitness trainer at a local New Orleans gym.  This is outside my experience area but I also find myself quite passionate about this career move.  For the next day or so I’ll be mulling it over, praying, and weighing my options.

baked sweet potato fries

baked sweet potato fries

Job chatter aside, let’s cook some yummy grub!  One of my all-time favorite foods are French fries.  I LOVE them. I love them alone. I love them with ketchup. I love them with CHEESE. I love them with MORE CHEESE.  And, I love them with CHEESE and Jalapeños.  Who doesn’t?  OFF WITH YOUR HEAD.

Baked sweet potato fries are a doable substitute when you are craving a yummy fry but trying to make up for your late-night sins of beer and pizza.  It happens.  Baking the fries saves a number of calories and makes clean up a little easier.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two large sweet potatoes (one potato per person usually makes more than enough)
  • 1 tsp of olive oil per potato
  • salt, pepper, or seasonings of your liking
  • aluminum foil to line your baking sheet for easier clean up

First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Wash your potatoes and slice them up into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.

bakedsweetpotatofries2Toss them in olive oil and seasonings in a bowl.  Then lay out on your baking sheet so they are not touching.

bakedsweetpotatofries3Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.  Do not open the stove during this time.  It ensures a better fry, I promise.  After 20 minutes, remove the fries from the oven and turn each over so we can cook the other side evenly.

baked sweet potato fries 4Follow by putting them back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  NO opening the oven.  Don’t do it.  You’ll ruin everything. Ok, not everything but I promise it will be worth it when you bite into the perfect fry.

bakedsweetpotatofries5Then just serve them up with a yummy burger, some grilled chicken, or just all by themselves.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Dig in!

Dig in!

I will keep you all posted on my career decision as things move along.  Thanks for all your support!

Peace, love, and big girl decisions,

~The Hungry Wife

Black Bean Soup. Arriba!

Something about bean soup just makes sense.  It’s a comfort food for me.  After watching the horrible news unfold about the Tornados that hit Moore, Oklahoma, I knew I needed soup.

This soup is both easy to make and VERY tasty.  It’s great for a meat-free Monday menu but you can absolutely add some bacon for added kick.  I top mine with homemade Pico De Gallo, shredded cheddar, light sour cream, and toasted corn tortilla.  You can’t go wrong. 

black bean soupHere is what you’ll need:

  • 3 cans of creamed black beans (16 oz. each)
  • 1 cup of fresh salsa (I use the store bought kind in the refrigerator)
  • half  yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups of water or chicken stock
  • Toppings of your choice (tortilla chips, pico de gallo, shredded cheddar, sour cream, avocado)

To start, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Toss in onion and salsa, let simmer about three minutes.  

Add in all three cans of black beans and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce head and let simmer for 10 minutes, pouring in the rest of the water gradually and stirring.  You can use more water for a thinner consistency or less water for a thicker soup.  It’s a matter of preference.  If you can not find creamed black beans, you can mash regular beans once heated to make the creamy soup.

That’s it!  Peace o’ cake.  Then just pour and top.  Enjoy!

Black bean soup 2

I certainly enjoyed this soup today, as did Stuffed Husband.  However, our hearts are still heavy for those affected by Monday’s tornados. While we do not always understand why things happen, we can pray for those in their hour of need.  Our hearts are with you Oklahoma.

 

Peace, love, and praying for Oklahoma,

The Hungry Wife

 

 

Fuel for the distance: Three Bean Chili

Lately I’ve been really enjoying my outdoor runs.  Some mornings it is still pretty chilly out around these parts.  In fact I’ve had to go as far as wearing a hat and gloves on the mornings we have had a “hard” freeze.  Whatever that means.  Luckily Stuffed Husband is quite the motivator and was willing to take the run with me.  He’s just selfless like that.  Well, selfless and competitive.

Saturday Speedwork

Saturday Speedwork

Anyway, I’ve found that refueling after these bitter cold runs can be tricky.  My body wants something hearty and warm.  Naturally, I turned to chili.  Interesting, I wanted chili when I was feeling chilly.  hah.  Oh no, I’m developing my father’s sense of humor…AKA cheesy. This three bean chili was ridiculous easy and made SO MUCH friggin’ chili that I had to freeze half of it.  I suggest halving the recipe if your family is small like ours.  The recipe can be found here.

3 bean chili

I forgot to take a picture of the chili after I added the corn.  In the future, I would probably leave the corn out anyway.  It seemed unnecessary given that I made cornbread to eat with it.  Too much corn is well…too much.  The recipe is easy as pie to follow.  Just buy a bunch of cans of stuff and a packet of chili mix.

Cans O' Stuff

Cans O’ Stuff

Chop up some onions and garlic.  Try not to cry uncontrollably.  I did.

chop chop chop

chop chop chop

Dump it all in your slow cooker and set it on high for 3 hours, then go for a run.  The running part is an essential part of the recipe.  If you don’t run, you’ll just never get that homemade chili taste just right.  No really!  Would I ever lie to you? 😉

Slow cookers are awesome.

Slow cookers are awesome.

Serve up a bowl after a nice long run.  Maybe top it with a little cheese and/or corn chips.  I served mine with cheese and a side of cornbread.  Definitely hit the spot!  Not only is this recipe crazy easy, but the health benefits are undeniable.  Plenty of protein and fiber from the beans and a serving of vegetables in the diced tomato, corn, onion, and garlic.  Good stuff!  Stuffed husband even used the chili later in the week to make tacos with!  Brain and brawn with that guy.

Stuffed Husband

Stuffed Husband

Do you have a go-to recipe you rely on for recovery after a long hard work out?  I’d love to hear about it.  Share your recipe with me in the comment section below or post a link I can follow.

Peace, Love, and Foodie Fuel~

The Hungry Wife

Running 13.1 miles will make you oh so hungry.

Stuffed Husband and I are not typically the kind to plan far in advance for anything really.  It is characteristic of our relationship that we play most things by ear.  Perhaps that is why we are both in our late twenties and still trying to finish up degrees.  Perhaps planning may have benefited us in that case.  Late last year we actually planned to run the Rock N Roll New Orleans half marathon.  Months in advance we registered and began training.  

rnr

Two weeks into training I came down with my third sinus infection in a row and took a break from training.  Stuffed Husband, in his undying loyalty to me, decided to take a break as well.  Soon the sinus infection was remedied with medication, rest, and the love of that dude I share a bed with.  Two weeks later, I came down with the FLU!  I’m not sure if it has to do with working with 5-7 year olds or that my immune system took a long vacation but I was sick again.  So again training fell to the wayside.  My doctor even recommended I give up training for this race so as to allow my body to fully recover.  Silly physician.

To make a very long story short, the week before the race I decided I could not stay away.  So, against doctors orders and any good sense, I decided I would race.  NO training, NO plan, and NO one was going to tell me otherwise.  I’m just a rebel that way.  Stuffed Husband conceded he really wanted to give it a go too and so we did.

rnr 2.24.13

After the longest two and a half hours of my life, I completed my first half marathon.  The girl who could hardly complete the one mile challenge in high school gym class had now just run a half marathon.  The feeling of accomplishing that was one that I will carry with me forever and always.  Next time though, I will have a PLAN.  I will train.  I will avoid little kids with germs that may lead to the flu, chicken pox, or whooping cough.  I mean really, I even ended up with thrush last year after being on antibiotics so long.  

rnr jenn and i b.w

In the end, I did something I sincerely wasn’t sure I could do.  I wanted it.  I wanted it badly.  But the odds of completing the race with almost no training and running less than three times a week lately seemed pretty slim to me.  I guess what I really learned is that we are all capable of more than we think we are.  It is a matter of continuing to put one foot in front of the other, a matter of not stopping when it gets difficult, and a matter of wanting it badly enough to trust yourself.  Of course afterward I trusted myself with a bowl of ice cream.  Silly me.

rnr mel solo

Happy Hungry Girl.

Peace, love, and pacing it 13.1 miles

~The Hungry Wife

Tasty Chickpea and Avocado Tacos

Almost 10 months ago I made the personal decision to stop eating meat.  Stuffed Husband was supportive of my decision, as he always is, but made the personal decision for himself to not give up meat  He has a thing for bacon…and ribs…and pulled pork…and flank stank.  I completely respect his decision to continue to eat meat as I still go weak in the knees at the smell of bacon.  For me, choosing not to eat meat had to do with my sensitivity to seeing animals mistreated and total shock when I learned about the types of hormones and genetic engineering used by major producers of meat in the United States.  But enough of that, I’ll get down from this soapbox now.

Chickpea tacos

Chickpea and Avocado Tacos

Often I try new recipes in hopes of finding foods that can satisfy my flavorful cravings.  I stumbled across this recipe while reading Redbook magazine in my dentist’s waiting room.  I also stumbled upon a brilliant workout plan from Gwyneth Paltrow in that same catalogue.  Naturally I only retained the recipe.  For the full recipe, click here!

redbook chickpea taco recipe

This recipe was ridiculously quick, easy, and pretty healthy to boot.  When I wasn’t looking, Stuffed Husband stole a bite and then gave himself away when he told me it was surprisingly tasty.  Now let me be clear, chickpeas will NEVER be flavorful in the way meat is.  Just isn’t going to happen.  However, these chickpeas do have delicious flavor and are full of fiber and protein, so that’s pretty exciting.  To take the yum factor to the next level I baked several corn tortillas in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1o minutes.  This way you avoid the fat gained when frying them AND you still get that satisfying crunch.

In my last post I offered a challenge to get active.  While I am addicted to running, I am also trying to integrate other activities to give my body a break from the wear and tear running can do to my body.  My goal is to fit in at least one or two body pump classes or a bootcamp or two.  I would love to get some inspiration from your active life.  Let me know how you are getting physical this week by commenting on this post.  

stuffed husband naps 2.19.13

It looks like that guy I married could use a little motivation to move as well.  We’re all a work in progress.

Peace, love, and lazy sundays,

The Hungry Wife

Mardi Gras Gris Gris

Every year some 50 days before Easter Sunday the city of New Orleans parties so hard the whole place has to shut down for a few days.  When I say “shut down” I mean even banks, schools, and commercial institutions cease normal productivity to make way for the big P-rades!  I call parades, P-rades.  It just sounds cooler.  This year was no exception.  We partied, paraded, ate too much, caught beads, and even enjoyed a share of boiled crawfish.  Mardi Gras 2013 was a total success!

Mardi Gras 2013

Mardi Gras 2013

Alas, Mardi Gras season came to an end and my waistline is quite relieved.  I’m sure you can relate.  It’s similar to the relief found when Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years holidays finally end.  With that I decided to grab a trashbag and clean the junk out of the fridge and pantry.  If I have it at home, I’m going to eat it.  It does not mean I can never have a treat.  There will be plenty enough chances/temptations encountered in the rest of life so I try to keep our home a safe healthy haven most of the time.

Mardi Gras Munchies

Mardi Gras Munchies and Libations

I’m happy when Mardi Gras season comes, I’m thrilled when it goes.  My goal is to eat clean all week, primarily non-processed foods.  Fruits and vegetables all the way.  Try this:  next time you fix a meal, think of making a rainbow.  Ideally, you want at least three colors on your plate.  For example, one of my favorite meals is a stuffed sweet potato (orange), roasted asparagus (green), and grapes for dessert (purple).  Additionally, stuffed sweet potatoes are easy and quick for the nights you get home late and stahvin’!  I “bake” mine by washing it, sticking it in a ziploc back with one inch unsealed, and then nuking it in the microwave for 5 minute increments until it’s nice and soft.  The bag locks the moisture in perfectly!  To stuff the potato try mixing two tablespoons of black beans, a tablespoon of light sour cream or plain greek yogurt, a tablespoon of salsa, a tablespoon of corn, and a tablespoon of avocado with your potato “guts” then stuff it back in the skin.  Top with cheese and broil until melted and bubbly in the toaster in oven. DEVOUR!

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato

The above picture is credited to FoodieBliss, a fellow female blogger whose recipes are simple to follow and totally tasty.  Click the link above and check her out.

So now that Lent season is in full effect, what are you sacrificing this year?  I chose to give up fried food which was fine in my mind until I realized that included french fries and kettle cooked chips.  I feel the cranky cravings kicking in any minute.  Poor Stuffed Husband.  Is it Easter yet?!

Peace, love, and Mardi Gras Detox,

The Hungry Wife