Tag Archives: healthy living

Yummy Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes

I was lucky enough to get to see Kara Goucher speak at the Wine Country Half Marathon expo.  Pretty much anyone who has ever talked to me knows how much I admire this athlete.  She’s driven and extremely accomplished, representing the United States for two Olympic Games, yet stays very down to earth.  Believe it or not, my favorite thing she noted during her talk was that she doesn’t have any food that is off limits.

Ready to race.
Ready to race.

She noted that she loves carbs, that they get a bad rap, but really are a sources of energy.  Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it, remember calories in/calories out, but I use baked potatoes as a source of fuel during long endurance training and my body seems to tolerate them.  They are simple carbohydrates that are easy to digest and provide quick energy.  Easy to take with you, I’ve had them waiting for me at transition areas during triathlons.  I couldn’t eat them during a run, but can definitely munch on them during my ride.

I found this recipe in a recent Cooking Light magazine and I loved how simple and convenient they are.  It’s a cross between crispy  fries and a baked potato.  Easier to eat than a baked potato, you can just peel off the slices.  I was so excited to find this new way to make potatoes, called Hasselbacks, but apparently the concept has been around forever.  Just in case I’m not the last person to discover these, I decided I’d pass along my new favorite way to prepare potatoes.

Potato1Make sure you wash your potato well and then place it between two butter knives, chopsticks or wooden spoons.  With 1/8”  intervals , make cuts all along the potato, cutting most of the way through.  The utensils on both sides should prevent the knife from going all the way through.   Brush some olive oil and your choice of seasoning over the top, making sure it seeps in between the slices.  I keep mine simple with a little olive oil and Johnnies Seasoning  Salt but you could dress  these up all sorts of ways.  Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potato.  Give it a little time to cool before eating, since they come out of the oven HOT!  They store well in the refrigerator and are super convenient when you have three boys looking for an easy snack.  I might have been the last person to discover this way of making potatoes, but I’m making up for lost time.  Super easy, convenient and tasty, they’re probably not something you want to eat every day but I agree with Kara Goucher, nothing should be completely off limits.

Chicken Over a Wedge Salad

(Modified for the family from Cooking Light)

Wedge-Salad1 C. fat free buttermilk,divided

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 C. whole wheat panko

Dash of Johnny Seasoning salt

4- 6oz chicken breast halves

1T. fresh chives, chopped

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 head of iceberg, cored and cut into wedges

½ C. crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine ½ C. buttermilk and egg white in shallow dish.  Place panko in a shallow dish.  Dip chicken in egg white mixture and dredge in panko.  Sprinkle with seasoning salt.  Cook over medium heat in an ovenproof skillet and bake both sides for about 4 minutes.  Place in oven and bake for around 15 minutes, or until done.

With the chicken in the oven, combine ½ C buttermilk, a dash of seasoning salt, chives, garlic, vinegar and blue cheese.   Set aside until ready to use.

When chicken is done, remove from oven, cool, then slice crosswise.  (I was too excited to wait, so my slices weren’t exactly restaurant quality but hungry boys were waiting)  For each plate, place one lettuce wedge, a couple of slices of chicken and drizzle with the buttermilk/blue cheese mixture.  All of my guys loved it, which is RARE.

** The original recipe called for 2 cups of chopped plum tomatoes and 3 slices of crumbled bacon, which is why the original salad was named Chicken BLT Salad but my boys don’t like tomatoes YET and they don’t need bacon.

Forming Habits Seize the Day

Carpe DiemEvery day is a gift and we all have a choice to take advantage of that gift. I keep saying that I’m going to get some ink with my favorite mantra: CARPE DIEM. While the tattoo hasn’t happened yet, I think we have constant reminders around us to seize the day.  Reminders to stop putting things off, to do the things we want to do, be the person we want to be or the parent our kids deserve.  Today is the day to make a choice to start healthy habits, not dwell on past mistakes that weigh you down but focus on living.

Change is hard, especially for those of us that are stubborn and resist it. Developing habits doesn’t just happen overnight.  It takes work, and a lot if it.  Using my favorite mantra, I broke down how I try to develop habits.

Commit to it.  Obviously the first step and it usually takes awhile for me to get here.  It might be a decision to eat healthier, work out more or use your time better.  Whatever it is you’re working to improve, you need to make a commitment to yourself and write it down.

Announce it.  I used this to kick my soda habit.  Using social media for good, I announced I was quitting.  I knew that putting it out there meant that anyone who saw me buying or sipping it would call me out.  If you want to run your first 10K, commit to it and announce it to your family and friends.  They have a way of helping keep us accountable, without saying a word.

Repeat it.  The old saying that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, unfortunately, is not the case. The time will vary, it could take less than 21 days but usually takes much longer.  For all of us, the more often we do something, the faster it becomes a part of life.  If you are trying to eat ‘real’ food the more often you eat real food, taking in fresh, clean food, the more you crave it.  It becomes the ‘norm’ the more often you do it.

Positive Reinforcement. Make sure you have some.  Life is short!  If you’re trying to walk every day, find a friend that makes you laugh and go have a good time walking.  Set a goal to go to the gym 3 times a week for a month and then reward yourself with some fun workout gear.  The rewards don’t have to be big, just little incentives to keep you excited and ideally not something with calories.

Exceptions, don’t make them!  Until it’s a habit, do your best to make no exceptions.  With my diet coke, I knew that if I allowed myself a small soda every couple of day, I wouldn’t break the addiction.  Exceptions are really just excuses.  Be firm with yourself and it will pay off.

Daily Reminders.  There are a ton of apps out there to keep you on track, whether it’s diet, exercise or getting organized.  I’m completely old school with my running.  I write my mileage in sharpie on my calendar but I also love list and home organizing apps to keep me focused on improving the chaos of three boys and their Wonder Dog.  Test different ones out and then use what works for you.

Imagine.  I’m terrible at this but I know some of the most successful runners visualize their race.  One of my favorite cycle instructors really keeps you in the workout with his use of visualization. For me, I think I hold back in this area to prevent disappointment.  I don’t expect enough of myself because I don’t want to fall short.  I need to get out of my comfort zone and imagine great and I’m sure I’m not alone!

Expect Imperfection.  I try to eat healthy MOST of the time. I love the 80/20 concept.  I try to eat clean 80% of the time and allow some ‘treats’ for the remainder.  I’m an emotional eater and know that I’m weak during stressful times.  It’s too easy to have a slice of cheesecake, feel like a failure and give up.  I’m guilty of this more times that I’d like to admit. I’m working to accept the blunder and move on, not let it derail my efforts.  Don’t allow one bad decision to send you into a downward spiral.  Stop the cycle and get right back on board.  Recommit and use it as a learning experience.

Make it Part of You.  You are the only one with the power to change you. Make your habits part of you and they will become second nature.

I love that we can start every day over again.  New opportunities every single day to take advantage of, don’t waste those gifts.  I might not have my tattoo YET, but I know I’m a work in progress and doing the best I can to seize the day.  Every day is a new opportunity to start over, live the life you want to live and be the person you were meant to be.  CARPE DIEM.