Bacon Honey Mustard Chicken

1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup (or less if you don’t like it too sweet) honey
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1.5 T minced garlic
1/2 lb of sliced mushrooms
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon for topping
1/2 cup milk or half and half (optional, I usually don’t use this)

1. Add the first 4 ingredients to the pot and stir together
2. Add mushrooms and chicken
3. Close lid and set level to sealing
4. Press manual button and set for 15 minutes
5. Quick release when complete
6. Stir in milk if using, and bacon
7. Serve with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes or with salad

Taco Pasta

Set the pot to sauté and add a little bit of olive oil and 1 lb ground turkey plus again taco seasoning , brown the turkey in the pot.

Add pasta, I’ve been using the veggie pasta and the box for that is smaller than regular one lb box so I use the whole box, or use half of a 1 lb box.
Add one jar of pasta sauce and about a cup of water.

Switch to manual setting and set for 8 minutes. When it beeps flip the lever for quick release.

Instant Pot Tips & Tricks

Do I need an Instant Pot?  Yes, yes you do.  What if I don’t like to cook?  All the more reason that you need one!

I don’t really enjoy cooking, but I like to eat and like to eat relatively healthy without a lot of work.  I was gifted an Instant Pot for Christmas 2017 and wasn’t excited about it at all.  Now I use it at least twice, and usually three times, a week.  I don’t need to plan too far in advance like with a crockpot and can have a one pot meal ready in under 30 minutes with only five minutes of work / prep on my part.  So here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way.

  • 10 minutes doesn’t really mean 10 minutes.  Ten minutes of Instant Pot time is kind of like the last 2 minutes of a basketball or football game.  This time starts when the pot gets up to pressure, so you’ll need a little bit of cushion until that 10 minute countdown kicks in.
  • Well how long does it take to get to the countdown time?  It depends!  Depends on how much food and liquid are in the device.  As a guideline, I’ve been using 10 minutes as an approximate timeline for how long it takes to get the the countdown.
  • Sealing – SUPER, DUPER important or you’ll never get to the count down time!  Make sure that the seal inside the lid is well seated so the lid seals and then make sure that the lever is in the sealing position.  On mine this means the lever on top is pointing to the 6 o’clock position.
  • Quick release – The act of flipping the lever on top of the lid to immediately release all of the steam and pressure. It will make a whooshing noise as it releases  NOTE: do NOT get your face, hands, etc over top of the vent.
  • Natural release – This is the act of patience of NOT flipping the lever and letting the steam release slowly.  With this method you won’t hear a whooshing noise because it is taking its sweet time to release.
  • Positioning on the counter can be important otherwise you might be steaming the front of your cabinets.
  • Using frozen chicken is a possibility, but I find that it depends what I’m making how this actually turns out.  I will typically put frozen chicken in the microwave on high for 3 – 4 minutes and then follow my typical timelines.  If I’m making something that has rice or pasta in the same pot the rice or pasta gets too mushy.  If I’m just cooking chicken in the pot, then I will use frozen chicken without thawing and will set it on manual for 22 minutes and let it naturally release for at least 5 minutes instead of quick release.

Pelotonia Training and Fundraising Updates – 2018

Donate to cancer research here!

Latest update: May 30, 2018

May 30, 2018

We recently crossed the halfway point to our $6,000 fundraising goal.  We still need to make our contribution (and let Seph’s employer match it), but we still need your help. In terms of artistic abilities my strength is really in photography, but when one of my donors asked if I’d somehow include initials of those she’d like us to ride in honor of on ride day, I had to think of a way to accommodate her.  In all of my Team in Training events we had honorees (both personal and team) and my dad was always my #1 honoree and we would carry those honoree names with us on our shirts or packs on event day.  I started designing the attached and while I’m not quite sure how it is going to be worn on event weekend (maybe laminated and attached to my bike?) it will be displayed.  If there is someone you would like me to add to the list on ride in honor of let me know.

Why do I do this (be it the riding or the fundraising) is a question that I often get asked and the answer is because there isn’t a cure for cancer, the treatments that exist are toxic and have side effects long after the cancer is destroyed, and more and more people in my life are effected by cancer.  Katy, a friend since elementary school, has Hodgkins Lymphoma.  She is under 40, a teacher, coach, wife and mom to two kids and after months of chemo received a bone marrow transplant this week.  It has been more than a decade since my dad had his bone marrow treatment and there are definitely differences and improvements in the process.  So what I’m getting at is I do this (riding, fundraising, raising awareness) to: support improvements in treatment and diagnostics, with the hope that improvements in early detection and side effects will drastically increase and that the suffering from treatments will be minimized, and I do it because I keep adding people to this list that I know that have been diagnosed and are going or have gone through treatment.

I already have 25 names on my design, and while adding more names to the list means I know more people touched by cancer –patients, and their families and friends – it does reinforce why this matters to me and I’d be honored to think about your connections while I’m putting in the miles.

Pelotonia Training Catch-up

Donate here!

Original Post:

This year Seph and I are committing to a two day fundraising ride – to raise $6,000 total to ride 200 miles over two days, in August, in the humidty of an Ohio summer that we aren’t used to!!  While we aren’t asking you to put in the training miles with us- although you are welcome to, we are asking for your help with our fundraising efforts.

My dad was a patient at the James Cancer Hospital and received excellent care before, during and after his bone marrow transplant.  While the complications of the transplant eventually won, he fought hard with rarely a complaint.  Supporting this fundraising cause is very important to me, and while I’ve fundraised many times in the past, this cause is just a little bit more special.  All funds we raise will go directly towards research, and improving treatments and outcomes which can really make a difference in patient quality of life.
My longest ride to date is 87 miles so there is a lot of training ahead of us to be able to complete 100 miles on day one and another 80 miles the following day!  We appreciate any financial contributions you can provide, regardless of size as well as support and encouragement during training and the event weekend!

The commitment number of $2,500 is just for one of us to ride…so double or nothing to get us both out there for two days!  If we cross $6,000 we will each ride 100 miles on both days of the ride! Help us suffer!

Any amount helps the cause and we are happy to ride in honor or memory of your beloved cancer patients and survivors!

Please join me in supporting this cause, where 100% of your donation will go directly towards cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Update April 3, 2018:
We took a little vacation last week to Bend, OR where the pace of life is slower and we got to enjoy the outdoors.  Three fat bike rides on snowy trails, three hikes in new to us places and then fun home owner tasks like raking pine needles and lifting 96 stones for a fire pit ring.  Now is it back to focusing on training and fundraising, with a goal to raise at least $10 for every mile I plan on cycling this week – and I’m looking for a week that is over 100 miles!

Update April 25, 2018:
Thanks for the support we’ve gotten so far! We are 100 days out from the event and about 70 days out from our fundraising deadline.  Even though the progress tracker above shows commitment met – that is only for one of us doing 180 miles.  We want to do 200 miles….which means we need to fill that tracking bar all the way up to $6,000.  Want to double your donation?  Check to see if your company offers matching donations!
Update May 15, 2018:
In the last 3 days I rode 99+ miles with 5000′ of climbing!  Now to get that all into one day!

Shakeology – why should I drink it?

Well, I suppose there are lots of reasons. Here are some of my reasons and the benefits I’ve seen from drinking it regularly:

  • Fewer cravings for sweets
  • Less breaking of my fingernails 
  • Tastes good!
  • Full of vitamins, minerals and that buzz word “superfoods”
  • Improved digestive function
  • Helps ward off illness with all of those vitamins
  • Easy and healthy breakfast or snack 

Being Healthy

Being healthy. What does this mean to you? Why is it important to you? What keeps you from being healthy?

To me being healthy means being physically active, eating well most of the time and not dealing with chronic health issues.  For me being physically active helps keep me mentally balanced and during exercise is a time when my brain is often thinking through issues and solving problems that result in ah-ha moments for something that has been puzzling me for hours.

Healthy isn’t a number on the scale or the sum miles you ran this week or how many veggies you ate this week. These types of measures can help establish good health,  but by themselves they don’t mean you are healthy.  I’ve seen way too many people who are at a “healthy” weight, but can’t run a mile or carry three bags of groceries. If we were to judge just by the scale and measures of BMI – I’m definitely overweight.

Healthy is being strong enough, mentally and physically, to participate in life.  It’s setting a good example for others in your life.  Healthy is being able to keep up with your kids and grandkids. It’s about balancing eating habits and fitness.

It pains me to watch friends and family members suffering from chronic illness, fighting diabetes, being rushed to the hospital due to heart disease or living a sedentary life. It could be lack of initiative, an unsupportive network to make change, the uncertainty of where to start, a sense of overwhelming because healthy habits seem daunting, it could be genetics.

In the last year I’ve been introduced to healthy lifestyle coaching and become connected to an incredibly supportive group of people. Now I want to take what I’ve learned about healthy eating and exercise programs and help others start on a path to a healthier lifestyle.  This is really no different than when I decided I wanted to teach yoga and share the value of yoga.

What has been key to me is planning and consciously thinking about meals instead of thinking of what is quickest to eat.  The good news is that this doesn’t take a lot of time and that you don’t have to be an accomplished chef to eat well.

The holiday season has started and being healthy doesn’t mean I’ll skip out on all of the good food or miss a lot of workouts. It does mean I need to be a little more mindful of scheduling fitness and planning for big treat meals.  I’m putting this out there as a measure of accountability,  so I can maintain a healthy lifestyle through the holidays instead of waiting for New Years resolutions, and because I’m curious about your views on health.

Meditation Practices

Meditation practices can seem very new age-y or for hippies, and the first reaction to meditation can often be negative.  Thoughts like, I can’t do that, I can’t sit still that long, I will fall asleep, my mind can’t shut down to focus, are all very common concerns.  The practice of mindfulness allows for mental peace, increased concentration and control and awareness of thoughts and reactions to your own thoughts as well as the outside world.  The good news is that even regular short (10 minute) sessions of meditation can be beneficial in changing your thought processes and increasing mental awareness.

Therapeutic Yoga

Therapeutic yoga can encompass multiple forms of yoga and is most often used in private or small group classes.  Hands on healing is a key component of therapeutic yoga and is generally used in conjunction with elements of yin, restorative and gentle practices.  This type of yoga is often used with patients that have chronic illnesses, are fighting cancer or have other limitations.  The practice can also focus almost solely on breath work and meditation and mindfulness as opposed to physical poses.  The benefits of therapeutic yoga are more often being recognized in traditional western medical world as well.