Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cooking for health: chicken strips, sweet potato fries, and carrots

Here is another one of my stressful cooking moments. Now I have been thinking about it and for some reason I decide to make moments stressful instead of enjoyable. I am not sure why we (now I say we because I hope there are others out there with the same problem), like to think only about the negative things that happen. For instance my training on Thursday. I felt like I had a great training session and my mind felt clear. There was one thing that went wrong. I couldn't snatch 130lbs! And you know out of an hour training session that was the one thing I focused on. I didn't think about the fact that I snatched 125lbs beautifully or the fact that I squatted 215lbs after many reps. So last night now looking back at my cooking experience I am remembering it as a negative experience. I remember saying how hungry I was, how much I hated cooking, what a mess my kitchen was, the list goes on and on. The ending to the night was the only thing I enjoyed....yes this was eating the food! It seems if I don't eat on time I start to get a little edgy. So this means since I eat every 2 to 3 hours that could equal a lot of moments so feeding me would definitely be recommended. But since nobody else is going to feed me at this moment let me tell you how I fed myself.

When I typed out the title for this post I realized one thing that could of been improved upon my dinner last night. That is the fact that sweet potatoes and carrots are the same color. The meal probably would of been a little more well balance by picking a green vegetable but I had a craving for carrots.

We can start it off with the fact that I went to the grocery store hungry. Again this is a bad idea. All day at work I was planning on coming home and looking for a recipe to cook. So this means I got out of work had to come home and find the recipe and then go out to the grocery store. Of course there was not a parking spot in the whole lot so here I was waiting for someone to back out so I could steel their spot and I feel a bump on my car. Yes this nice gentleman decided to back out of his spot before I was out of the way. Considering this is my new car and I am madly in love with it. I got out of the car very nicely but the inside of me was about to bring out my old black belt skills. Luckily there really wasn't a mark on my car so I let him go without any bruises. Now I was reminded last night this is not using my zen like mindset. So I guess I have to get working on this a bit more. But now I am getting off track.......

I better keep these kicks on the mat and not the parking lot...Yes this is me!

So after walking around the store forever trying to find a spice they didn't have called Herbamare which I have learned is an organic herb seasoning salt. I had to settle for some italian seasoning. I did get my recipe out of a new book recommended by my naturopath called The whole life nutrition cookbook  by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN. I went by the chicken nuggets recipe but decided it was easier to make strips.

Here goes: Preheated oven to 400 degrees F. Got 2 bowls out. Put 1/2 cup hemp milk in one bowl (soy could also be used or if you are a 100% paleo kind of person I would imagine eggs or even water would work because you just need something to make the chicken wet). No it did not say this is the book I am just thinking it so if I am wrong you didn't hear it from me. The second bowl I put 1/2 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup almond flour. The recipe called for just 1 cup brown rice flour but I decided I wanted a little more healthy fat in the meal so I made a substitution which wouldn't be a bad idea if you were 100% paleo you could do all almond flour. If you don't know what paleo is it is also referred to as the caveman diet. You eat the foods that the caveman had available to them back in the day. So meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar.

Next I took my package of chicken strips that I got from the store of course all natural, no hormones. Dipped each strip first in the hemp milk and made sure it was completely covered and then same process with the 2 flours mixed together. After that I put it in a baking pan that I had already rubbed with coconut oil. I was supposed to put my seasoning in the flour mixture but forgot and ended up sprinkling the italian seasoning on top of the strips.

Then put them in the oven to bake for 20 mins. I cut the thickest strip open to see if it was done cooking and found it was due to there being no pink in the meat.

Next I went on to cut up a bag of organic carrots I got from the store. I thought about the baby carrots that are already small but have heard they are not as healthy. Now since I had no idea what to do with the carrots, if I had taken an idea out of my head I would of boiled them in some water. Not sure how that would of turned out so to make sure I was doing it correctly I decided to look  in a cookbook I have called How to cook everything by Mark Bittman. Very good book if I say so myself. So I washed and peeled the carrots then chopped them into fairly large chunks. I place all the carrots into a pot with 2 tbs smart butter, 1/4 cup water, black pepper, I squeezed 1 small orange in the pot and put 1 tsp ground ginger. I turned the stove onto high to get it boiling and covered the pot. After it started boiling I turned the heat to medium and cooked for 5 mins. After that I uncovered the pot and turned up the heat to let it cook until there was no water left stirring occasionally until tender.

After that I fixed the sweet potato fries. Yes I could of saved a lot of time preparing everything first but I managed to do it one at a time. Which is why I didn't actually eat the food until 9:30pm. I cleaned a sweet potato and cut off the ends and dark spots but left the skin. Then I sliced it up into wedges. This recipe was under the oven fries in the whole life nutrition cookbook. I preheated oven to 420 degrees F and now that I am reading the book it was supposed to be 425 degrees which is why mine probably could of cooked a little longer but I guarantee I had no trouble eating them. I placed the sweet potato wedges into a large bowl. Added 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkled some italian seasoning, black pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric, garlic powder and 1 tbs paprika. I tossed it all together to try to get the sweet potato's coated well. Next I put them in a baking pan which I had put coconut oil in but that doesn't have it in the recipe and is probably unnecessary since the potato's have oil in them. I baked these for 30 mins.

Final Result: 3 chicken strips, carrots, sweet potato fries and 1 spoonful of honey mustard. (tried to find the healthiest one on the shelf)

By the way I did want to eat the entire pan of chicken strips by the time I was done but settled for 3 and it was plenty as far as my body went my mind that is a different story. One of the main problems I have found with cooking is the mess and the fact I am too tired after to clean it up so this is what my kitchen still looked like in the morning.

This is not exactly what you want to wake up to and no I won't be having anybody over anytime soon with my house in this condition. Kind of embarrassing and here i am showing it on the internet. Very strange character I am!

So I have to say this meal was very healthy and yummy. Really one of the best things I have eaten in a while considering I normally live on plain chicken and veggies. One thing I have to work on is being more prepared. The day before after training I also went to the store hungry and got very irritated at all the people with a piece of pizza in their hand only because I wanted to have something so easy. But really I don't. I know deep down inside it is my choice to live this way. The difference in how my body and mind feels being healthy makes life the best thing ever when I remember how miserable and disgusting I felt being overweight and unhealthy. Let me clear one thing up is the fact that being overweight isn't necessarily the problem. If you are healthy then the weight will take care of itself. We are all going to be different shapes and sizes and that is how it is supposed to be. We need to be happy with how we are inside and out but if you give being healthy a try with nutritious foods and exercise you will find a whole other world for yourself and I promise you will love it.

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