Saturday, May 30, 2009

WSSC 2009 - Awesome!!

I just got back from the 10th annual World Spinning & Sports Conference. It was such an amazing experience (as per usual). Even though I wasn't able to attend the entire conference, I was grateful for the 1.5 days that I had to spend there. This was an opportunity to focus on myself and my own endurance, while still picking up tips & tricks for more efficient coaching of my clients.

After a super long day of travel, I had about 2 hours to unwind before the Intense White ride (2 hours). It was the most exhilirating experience for me! I didn't think that I'd be able to ride with such intensity, energy, and strength for so long. Josh Taylor was amazing. Last year, I didn't get to participate in his pre-conference ride or the ride with team spinning, so it was my priority to get one of those in during this trip. I am so glad I chose Josh's ride. The music was great, energy was off the chain...couldn't have asked for a better "welcome to WSSC" experience. I didn't get a ticket for the Ride with Team Spinning on Friday night. I think it was for the best, because I was already exhausted from a full day of activity. I rode twice on Friday - one endurance & one strength - each about 1.25 hours. So, in 2 days, I had about 4.5 hours logged on the bike. It was simply awesome.

I'm tired, but ready to head home now. Mission accomplished :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chicken, Potato, & Kale Soup

Chicken, Potato, & Kale Soup

This is my best masterpiece yet. I modified this recipe from the VitaMix blender cookbook. I've made this soup about 4 times, and I finally perfected it. It usually takes me about 15-20 minutes start-to-finish, and the Vitamix does most of the work. Here's the scoop:
3 small yukon potatoes, boiled with skin on (can also use red potatoes)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup skim milk
3/4 sweet yellow onion
3-4 green onions
1/2-1 tsp basil
1/2-1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 tsp dried dill
sea salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste
4-5 Fresh, Organic Kale Stalks (about 1/2 of a bunch)
4-5 Fresh Mushrooms (I prefer cremini)
4 pieces grilled chicken breast, chopped
Uncle Ben's Brown Ready Rice (optional)
1 ounce hard organic mild cheddar cheese (optional)
1. Season chicken breast to taste. Grill chicken breast in George Foreman Grill. Set aside.
2. Spray large skillet with Pam and add approx 1T olive oil. Saute 1/4 yellow onion, 1-2 chopped green onion, mushrooms, & garlic in pan for 1-2 minutes. Add green, leafy portion of kale stalks and lightly season with Mrs. Dash. Continue to saute until kale is soft. Set aside.
3. Prepare Uncle Ben's Brown Ready Rice in microwave (optional). Make sure to get the plain brown rice, as other versions of Ready Rice contain a significant amount of sodium. You can also use boil-in-bag brown rice or your other favorite rice.
4. Place remainder of yellow onion, remainder of chopped green onion, 2 boiled potatoes, chicken broth, & skim milk in VitaMix container. Secure lid. Make sure the variable speed is set to #1.
5. Turn on Vitamix and quickly increase the variable speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 5 minutes or until the mixture is steaming hot.
6. Season broth to taste with basil, Italian seasoning, dill, salt, & pepper. Use Vitmix on variable setting #1 to incorporate seasonings into the mixture. I usually eyeball amounts and taste along the way :-)
7. Disperse 1/2 of kale mixture and chopped chicken breast into 3-4 soup bowls. Gently toss together.
8. Turn blender speed up to #3. Remove the lid plug and add kale mixture and potato. Run blender about 5-10 seconds.
9. Pour soup base into prepared soup bowls and integrate. Add 2-3T of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice to each bowl. Top each bowl with chopped hard cheese. You might also want to add fresh chopped green onion to each bowl as well.
This recipe should yield 3-4 servings. You can add more or less chicken, kale, rice, etc to get the desired consistency. I love this soup! It's healthy and delicious. You get a flavorful, relatively creamy soup without using fattening milk or cream like you'd find in a restaurant. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Out of this world raw soup!!

I usually don't post recipes, but for those of you integrating more raw foods into your diet, I highly recommend the soup recipe below. It's great as a first post-fasting meal as well. This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food, 2nd edition, and was contributed by Abeba Wright & Anna fisk. The Contributor's Note for this recipe reads as follows: "This recipe was created at a 2002 Raw Chef's Training Retreat conducted by Victoria Boutenko. This soup was a hit - the students were scraping the bowl and begging for the recipe." All I can say is that I absolutely concur! Every time I make this soup, I'm literally scaping my bowl. I've usually tweak it a bit, adding more raisins and sundried tomatos for sweetness. At any rate, here it is. It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to prepare this soup and then I simply sit down to ENJOY!!!

Ingredients (modified slightly from the text):
Soup "Broth"
4-5 fresh tomatos, chopped
Chopped, minced garlic ~ 1-2 teaspoons to taste (Note: I've used garlic cloves in the past, as the original recipe calls for them. however, I found the garlic cloves to be a bit too strong for my tastes. I like the chopped & minced garlic that can be found in the grocery store)
Basil (dried or fresh), to taste
Dill (dried or fresh), to taste
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1/2 red bell pepper (or use a whole one if you like it hotter)
2T lemon juice
sea salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes

Soup "Meat"
2 roma tomatoes, chopped & deseeded - used for the soup "meat"
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 - whole avocado, cubed (i prefer less, simply because I don't like to eat alot of avocado)
1/2 sweet yellow pepper
1 ear of sweet yellow corn, cut from the cob

In order to prepare the soup broth, place all listed ingredients into a VitaMix blender (except for the sun-dried tomatoes). Blend thoroughly with 1/2 cup of water (note: I usually have to play around with the water to get the consistency that I want). Add the sun-dried tomatoes, a little at a time, into the VitaMix.

In a large soup bowl, combine the avocado, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, corn, and sweet yellow pepper. Mix the chopped veggies by hand. Pour the soup broth over the chopped vegetables, stir well, and ENJOY!