Chicken Tikka Masala – Crockpot Style

If you haven’t noticed, I love my crockpot! There is nothing quite like it. Throw in some meat and a bunch of herbs, put it on low and 6-8 hours later you have a very yummy meal that you had to do nothing with for hours!

The other day I had a hankering for some Indian food, so I thought that I would try out a version of chicken tikka masala, making it paleo and enjoying it after it had cooked all day while I worked. I must say – it was delicious! This amount can feed 6-8 people, or 2 people and give us leftovers for days. : )

Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients (feeds 6-8; half it if you want less):

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 T tomato paste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 T garam masala spice
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 15-oz can coconut milk
  • Head of cauliflower
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro & lime

Get your crockpot out and add in the 2 onions and 4 garlic cloves. Then add in the crusted tomatoes, tomato paste and spices (everything above the coconut milk on the list above). Top it off with your chicken thighs, season with more salt and pepper and put your lid on. You can cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4.

When you have about a half hour left, grab your cauliflower and chop it up into small pieces. Add the EVOO (two turns) to your large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add in the diced onion, cook down till translucent, then add in the cauliflower. Stir often, season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. Now, I like to add in a squeeze of lime and some cilantro along with the onions in the last 5 minutes of cooking, but you don’t need to if you don’t want to. Totally optional.

In the last 5 minutes, get the chicken out with a bunch of the sauce in a bowl and shred it up. Turn the can of coconut milk upside down and open it up that way. This will put all of the liquid at the top which you can pour out. Now you are staring at the hardened coconut milk. Scoop this out into a deep pot (I used my oval dutch oven) and turn that on to low heat. Add in your chicken mixture and stir well.

Chicken Tikka Masala Colalge

Now you are ready to assemble. Put in the cauliflower at the base of your bowl, top with the chicken tikka masala and garnish with some fresh cilantro. Enjoy!!

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StephSig

 

Stepping It Up…

It’s that time of year when the sun is finally coming out, the trees are blooming, allergies are in abundance and we have the dreaded fear that we will no longer be able to wear big sweaters to cover up our muffin top.

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Yes, spring is here and summer (with all of its tank tops and swimsuits) is coming.

I love that Becca threw out her challenge for the next month. For me, I have been doing ok consistently. I get to the gym, I eat well (for the most part), and I have maintained a fluctuation of 5-10 lbs for a while now. But, I want a good challenge to kick it into high gear before the summer comes. Why? Because I want to feel good about myself this summer and not feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

Here is my challenge. Aside from staying consistent in my trips to the gym and eating, I’m throwing in an extra challenge to take care of my muffin top.

This week – 100 x 5 for abs (meaning 100 sit-ups or some sort of ab workout, 5 days this week)

Week 2 – 200 x 5

Week 3 – 300 x 5

Week 4 – 400 x 5

No, there will not be a before and after photo – sorry, I’m not about that life. But, there will be honesty. I wanted to start this challenge yesterday, but I didn’t. Instead, I ate well all day until the evening when I had a small cup of chocolate ice cream (yes, I know – I have a vice). That means I have the next five days to kick my abs into gear. It starts today, right now before I forget. So, here it goes!

What’s your challenge to yourself? How will you step it up this month?

StephSig

15-15-30

It is hard to believe that Memorial Day is just 4 weeks away, especially with the cold weather that we’ve been having! Personally, I just came through a crazy busy season of life and am about to enter into another. However, these next two weeks are a tiny reprieve and I want to use them to get organized.

Reading past posts where Steph wrote about accountability (here) and Rah shared about goals,  got me thinking about S.M.A.R.T. goals. The following acronym is used in a variety of settings (you’ve probably heard of them) to help create goals.

Goals should be:

  • S –  Significant
  • M – Measurable
  • A –  Attainable
  • R –  Rewarding
  • T –  Time-focused

My SMART goal for the month of May is to complete 15 workouts, losing 15 pounds, in 30 days. My reward for completing this goal is to get a massage! I’m telling you now for accountability because I’ll update you in 30 days. Here is an inside view of my progress chart:

Plan

What do you want to accomplish by Memorial Day???

BeccaSig

Eggs Benedict over Portabello (with bacon & hollandaise)

This recipe was fast (30 min tops) and tasted incredible! I grilled some portabellos over the weekend and had one left. The only other things in the fridge were some lemons, bacon, and eggs. Boom, protein-filled dinner! I doubled the recipe for you below:

For the poached egg
4 fresh eggs, large
1 T vinegar (rice or white)

For the Hollandaise
Pinch of salt
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1.5 tsp vinegar
1.5 tsp hot water*
2 egg yolks
5 T butter

To serve
2 large portabello mushrooms
4 long slices bacon

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your mushrooms by removing the stem and scraping out the black gill thingys (don’t know the real name). Spray the mushrooms with oil (or wipe oil on with a paper towel) & sprinkle with salt. Broil bacon & mushrooms, skin side down for 5 min, flip everything, broil for another 4-5 min.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 T vinegar to the water & reduce heat. (The vinegar stops the water from boiling a little.)
  3. Crack eggs into a small bowl, then slip the eggs into the water, one at a time. Turn off the heat, cover the pot & let them cook for about 3-5 min. (I did 5 min and the yolks were soft, not runny.) Once they’re cooked, remove them from the water.Picture1
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave until frothy.
  5. In the blender: the 2 egg yolks, 1.5 tsp hot water (*from the saucepan is faster), pinch of salt, & 1.5 tsp vinegar. Put the blender on the lowest setting & let it blend for about 30 seconds until the mixture gets light in color.
  6. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the blender as it blends, then let it blend for a few seconds longer. Add the lemon juice & let it blend for a few seconds. Shut off the blender.
  7. On your plate, top the mushrooms with bacon, then layer the poached eggs, and drizzle with the hollandaise. Eat!Picture1.png

BeccaSig

Tips for Travels…

 

Spring has sprung and vacations are about to abound. What do you do when you travel? Are all bets off and the ice cream bar is open? How does that actually help you out and make you feel good while you are trying to relax and enjoy a break?

I have a few simple rules (yeah, you can call them guidelines if you want, but for me, I like the enforcement factor for my life) on how to handle when I am traveling that keep me healthy and not feeling horrible all vacation long because I binged on pizza, pasta and ice cream.

  1. Bring your workout clothes! Pack them and USE them. If the hotel doesn’t have a gym than do the 3-5oo’s workout – 500 squats, 500 sit-ups/crunches, 500 jumping jacks. This is a GOOD workout and will help to set you off right for your day. So, get it done right away when you wake up in the comfort of your own hotel room.
  2. Walk, walk, walk. Take that walk down the beach rather than laying on the beach for 8 hours straight. Walk through the entire tiny town and window shop. Walk the city home after dinner. Walk! You would be surprised, but you can actually get more steps in on your vacations than you do in your normal life.
  3. Enjoy special things, not everything. You’re on vacation, so you are probably going to be eating out a lot. However, you don’t have to get the fried chicken everywhere, along with the pasta salad and the mediocre ice cream that every restaurant will have. Instead, treat yourself once a day to something special and other than that, eat like you normally would – cut out the bread, the pasta, the processed – and enjoy great food that is out there. But, if you happen to be in Belgium, get yourself a waffle for goodness sake when you are out once. If you are in Canada, keep driving, don’t get the poutine. : )

Hope that this helps to give you some ideas. The biggest thing is that you should enjoy your time with your family and friends – not constantly have to excuse yourself because you ate too much or you are feeling horrible after the carb-binge.

Here’s to some awesome vacations for one and all!

photo-1434817247550-689f7c23be58StephSig

Ugh, Accountability

You know the saying that you are not an island? As an introvert, I hate that saying. I want to shout out to all of those extroverts, “I would LOVE to be an island! Now stop talking to me!” But alas, the saying is true.

I am not an island. I am not alone, and I was never made to try to do this life alone. You know why weight watchers and programs like it work? Because you have to go in and talk to someone about what you ate and weigh in right there. That’s pretty scary. And it works as long as you keep going and checking in (although, I think that what they eat is still meh and would prefer paleo, but that’s just me).

Accountability – such a loaded word, but it works – even when you mess up.

Last week, I had an insanely stressful week. It was a huge week for me at my job (probably one of the biggest weeks for me in the year). I was doing good on Monday and Tuesday – I hit up the gym, I ate pretty well, and I was dealing with the stress. But halfway through Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday, I broke down. I mean, my calorie count went from my normal 33-year old self to an elephant basking in the African sun at the water hole.

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What is horrible is that I had to report this to my good friend, who is there for me on the days when I am rocking out my diet and exercise routine and even on the days when I carb-o-load and become an elephant singing Toto, I felt the rain in Africa….

That’s right – I even reported in on the days I messed up, because that’s the point. I’m going to mess up. I’m not perfect. I’m not always going to get it right. And the point of a good friend is that they are there and will encourage you to get back on track. So, here I am today, hitting up the gym for a good workout and eating like my normal self again.

So, my encouragement to you today is to stop being an island when it comes to your goals. Get a friend and begin to check in daily. Here are three tips on how to be awesome at keeping someone  accountable to their goals:

  1. Be positive, even when they mess up. Meaning, encourage them to go get a quick workout in, or to let the crappy lunch go and eat well for their snack and dinner. Don’t harp on the negative, give them something positive to do in return.
  2. Make your check-in happen. Be the one to put it out there at the time you said, and if you are busy or forget, then the other person needs to step up and check in.
  3. Keep it both ways. Nothing like knowing the other person is working their butt off to help you work yours off too.

Now, go be awesome and enjoy some great food.

Food

StephSig

Chocolate Bark Get in my Belly!

One thing that happened once I went paleo was that my taste buds changed. I never used to have a sweet tooth but once I eliminated refined sugars from my diet, I started craving them like crazy! One quick solution I found was this chocolate bark recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 lb Chocolate (You can buy raw cacao nibs or 85% + cacao chocolate from a store)
  • 2 T Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 2/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Variations that I’ve tried: dried apricots, cinnamon dusted on top, small cooked bacon pieces, a sea salt dusting, dried pineapple.

Directions:

  1. If you’re like me and don’t have a double boiler, grab a glass bowl and place the chocolate and coconut oil in it.
  2. Fill a saucepan about 1/2 full with water and place your glass bowl inside, burner on medium-high. The water will boil, causing the contents to melt. Add more coconut oil if the chocolate does not become somewhat runny (you want to be able to pour out the chocolate). Warning: this step can get messy! 12957400_10153991619470792_668599715_n
  3. While the chocolate is melting, assemble your cranberries, almonds, and coconut flakes onto a sheet of foil.12980461_10153991619545792_1967964177_n
  4. Once the chocolate is melted, simply pour it over the mixture on the foil. Some people like to leave it as-is and some blend it up. I blended it this time.12966484_10153991619510792_120040972_n
  5. Toss it into a plastic bag and then into the freezer for about 30 min or until it becomes hardened. Break it apart & store in the freezer for a quick little sweet snack!

The chocolate is so dark that a little goes a long way! I usually make up a big batch like this and I’ve kept it for 5-6 weeks…depending on the need for chocolate!

Enjoy!

BeccaSig