Savory Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Thyme Sauce

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One of my favorite things to do is to play around in the kitchen and see what I can come up with. Yesterday I decided to try to make something new with what I had on hand and this is the result. I’m calling it Savory Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Thyme Sauce. Doesn’t that just sound all fancy and delicious?

Well it is delicious and it might taste fancy, but it’s super easy to make and not too hard on the budget either. And it’s full of garlicky goodness. I’m a garlic fiend, can’t get enough of it myself. Now on to the recipe:

Savory Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Thyme Sauce

2 – 5 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 – garlic cloves, sliced very thin
1/2 tbsp. butter
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. white wine
1 lemon
1 large pinch dried thyme

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten to a uniform thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
In skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken breasts about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Melt butter over low heat and soften garlic in the butter until it’s almost translucent. Don’t brown the garlic.
Pour in chicken broth and scrape brown bits off bottom of the pan. Add white wine, lemon juice and thyme. Turn heat to high. Simmer and reduce the sauce until it’s thick, about 20 minutes.
Pour any juices from the plate into the skillet and stir. Pour garlic and sauce over chicken and serve.

See, easy-peasy, right? Hope you enjoy it!

Besides coming up with fabulous recipes I’ve been mostly working out indoors because it is just ridiculously hot. I mean like, it’s literally 95 by 10 a.m. here almost every morning for weeks. And it rains every day. Which you would think would cool it off, but it doesn’t. It just makes everything more muggy.

So basically I’ve just been lifting free weights in my living room while watching Desperate Housewives. Such a fabulous life. The only cardio I get these days is the 2 mile round trip I walk to the grocery store. Until this heat wave passes, that will have to do.

But I did manage to get one big thing off my Birthday Bucket List. I ran (well, mostly walked) a 5K! It was a virtual 5K through Will Run for Bling and Charity and it was to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I ran it at the Sunbay Fitness up the road from me and which I am now trying to save money to join. And I got this awesome medal –

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See how the lid flips up and you see the treasure inside? How stinkin’ cute is that?!

My time was pretty miserable – 42:24, which officially makes me a turtle I think. But that’s okay! I did it, and that’s what matters, and I loved it so I’ll do it again. There’s a new race coming up soon, and since it’s held September 5 – 13 I can run it on the treadmill on my upcoming cruise. This one benefits Doctors Without Borders, which is a truly awesome organization.

And the medal is super cool, too!

 lifesabeach-finalI can’t wait for this one. Hoping to come in with a much better time on this one. Never thought I would ever actually be in a 5K, virtual or otherwise, but I guess never say never.

Well, off to work out and watch Desperate Housewives, hahaha. Have a great weekend!

Mental Health Monday

Today’s post is a little different. After all if I just wrote about my workouts and food it would get pretty boring. I’ve mentioned before about my bouts with depression and anxiety so the topic of mental health is very important to me. I recently came across a linkup called Mental Health Monday, the brainchild of Stephanie at Athlete At Heart and Liz at Prior Fat Girl. I really love the idea of this linkup, as mental illness is something that we should be talking about, but so often don’t. So here’s my post:

He was six when I first met him. I don’t remember much about then but then again, I was young myself – 15 – and besides it wasn’t him I was there to visit.

He was 11 when I gave birth to his nephew. It was Christmas Day when his brother, Danny and I brought little Nicholas home from the hospital to a very excited Uncle Nick. For weeks Danny and I had tried to decide on a boy name and we were coming up with nothing. Christmas carols about St. Nicholas prompted one of us to suggest Nicholas as a boy name. We both decided we liked the name and settled on it. When we told Nick the baby was going to be named Nicholas, but we would call him Nicky, he was even more excited.

From day one, Nick was thrilled to be an uncle. Since they were only 11 years apart, Nicky grew up with Uncle Nick as just as much a big brother and best friend as an uncle. They were as close as close could be.

He was 27 when he put a gun to his head and ended his life.

I remember the shock when I heard the news. By this time I was living a thousand miles away in Florida and no one told me for a week or so. I was so sad for myself and his family, but the sadness quickly gave way to anger.

See he had called Nicky at about 5 a.m. to say goodbye, but Nicky was asleep and didn’t hear the phone. Nicky felt like if he had answered the phone he could have talked Nick out of it. For so long, I was furious. How could he put my son in that position? To feel guilt and the added pain of thinking he could have stopped it if he had only heard the phone ringing?

How could he be so selfish when he had never been selfish before? How could he hurt those who loved him so much? Furious doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Rage filled me.

But rage is exhausting. You really can’t keep it up for very long without serious damage to yourself, and so I was relieved when the rage began to fade. Sitting in his apartment with a gun to his head is not how I wanted to remember Nick. Nick, the sweet boy with the big smile on his face as he held his nephew that first Christmas Day. Nick, who loved baseball and cats. Nick, with the wicked sense of humor and amazing smile. Nick, who could barter agreements between me and his brother after our marriage disintegrated. Nick, who could make me laugh no matter what was getting me down. That’s what I choose to remember now.

It’s been 7 years since he left us, but he still crosses my mind often. I no longer try to figure out why he did it, because I know I will never understand it anyway. I simply thank God for the good times we had, and for the love and guidance he gave my son while he was here. I pray that he is at peace now, since he never had it in life.

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Everyone goes through hard times, everyone gets sad sometimes, but not everyone experiences long-term depression or has suicidal thoughts. But suicide is never the answer. Suicide does not take away the pain, it just gives it to someone else. Fortunately, there are many places to get help.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is November 21, 2015. This event is a day for people who have been affected by suicide loss to gather together to gain understanding and to comfort and support each other through sharing their stories. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention produces a documentary each year to be included in all Survivor Day events. This year’s film is titled Family Journeys: Healing and Hope after a Suicide.

They also hold Out of the Darkness community walks to raise awareness about depression and suicide and to raise funds for research and programs to prevent suicide.

The suicide rate in America is alarming. In 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide. That’s one every 12.9 seconds. Of those, 90% have a diagnosable mental disorder, usually depression. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts or intentions please get help quickly.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Healthy 4th of July Recipe Roundup

4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Cookouts and fireworks. I mean, what’s not to like? In general most of the food served at 4th of July celebrations isn’t exactly healthy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve rounded up some healthy recipes for a July 4th celebration to share.

 e425a4ae75e74c7eb7e01b2643e06307It’s been ridiculously hot everywhere lately. This Pomegranate Limeade by Domestic Superhero looks positively refreshing!

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I love potato salad. But not that grocery store potato salad. I don’t know why, but those premade potato salads from the grocery store just never taste that great to me. This  Vegan Rainbow Potato Salad from I Love Vegan looks absolutely scrumptious.

IMG_0230 Smoky Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob

You just gotta have corn on the cob at a 4th of July cookout and the best way to cook it is on the grill. Recipe by Nutritionist in the Kitchen

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This Festive Fruit-and-Veggie Salad from Veggie-Quest just looks like fun to eat.

Grilled-Lemon-ChickenThis Grilled Lemon Chicken is simple, summery, and delicious. Recipe from Chef-In-Training.

Cabernet-Burgers-with-Blue-CheeseBurgers don’t have to be boring. This Cabernet Burger with Blue Cheese from Chew Out Loud gives a plain old burger some gourmet pizzazz.

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Can’t forget dessert, right? With temperatures here predicted to be in the high 90’s all week, a frozen dessert is a natural pick. These Red White & Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles are patriotic as well as healthy.

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These US Flag Pops from Super Healthy Kids are a fun way to get kids to eat some fresh fruit. They can help make them too.

 So there you have it. Hope you have a happy, healthy 4th!

This week’s goals & why I’m taking a break from my scale

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I should add get a good night’s sleep no matter what it takes in there, because the reason I’m sitting down writing and not at the beach running right now is because I did NOT get a good night’s sleep last night. I tried, but it didn’t happen thanks to this furry guy.

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This is Alice. (I thought he was a girl when I named him). And Alice decided he had to go through the apartment howling at the top of his lungs at 4 a.m. And at 5 a.m. And again at 6 a.m. So when my alarm went off at 7 a.m. I didn’t hit Snooze. I hit Dismiss, and spent 2 hours trying to get back to sleep. Finally gave up on that about 9 and got out of bed, cranky, hungry and still very sleepy.

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Look, at that. Not an ounce of remorse. Nothing disturbing his sleep, grrr.

Anyway, I set some goals for this week in order to keep better track of my progress. I tried to make them doable and specific, and I’m confident I’ll reach them.

I haven’t been weighing in lately, because honestly the number on the scale is not my biggest concern right now. Technically I’m in a healthy weight range or at least no more than 2 pounds away from it.

But my muscles are not strong, I can’t run more than a minute and a half without stopping. My blood pressure is high and I’m not anywhere near as flexible as I used to be. So I need to focus more on eating healthy and getting the nutrients I need than counting calories or on what the number on the scale happens to be today. That’s why my goals for this week include exercise and trying new foods, and not anything about losing a pound.

Well, that’s what I’ll be working on this week. How about you? Any goals this week, fitness or otherwise?

Hula Hoopin’ and What I Ate Wednesday

Walking through Wal-Mart the other day with a little time to kill I browsed the fitness section to see if I could find a yoga DVD or a Jillian Michaels DVD that looked doable. Seriously that woman kicks ass! I came across this weighted hula hoop and thought it looked like fun.

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At first I was a little hesitant because the last time I tried to hula hoop ended in frustration and a little humiliation because I couldn’t do it. I was so sad because when I was a kid I loved to hula hoop, and now it seemed I couldn’t do it anymore. I wondered when I had lost it. But then I heard that I just needed a bigger hoop, and hope was restored.

It came with an instructional DVD which I followed along with the first time until I got the hang of it. And then it was fun!

I decided this week to join in on What I Ate Wednesday, a fun linkup hosted by Jenn at Peas And Crayons.

For breakfast I had Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk. Love the Kashi, it tastes delicious and fills me up. I also had a banana that didn’t make it into the picture.

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Continuing on with #5 on my Birthday Bucket List (try 10 new foods) I made this kale salad with a creamy yogurt dressing. It was so yummy, I will definitely be having more kale.

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It made an excellent side to this chicken breast with garlic sauce.

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A little later I had a baked potato and these Baked Asparagus Fries from No Thanks to Cake. Mmm, so yummy!

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For dinner I had some more of the kale salad and these pork chops with rhubarb from the latest issue of Clean Eating magazine.

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I’d never had rhubarb before. I thought it was pretty good, just a little sweet for my taste, but it went well with the pork chop. I’ll probably make it again.

So of the 3 new recipes I tried today, I think the one I liked best was the Baked Asparagus Fries. What’s the best thing you ate today?

 

Birthday Bucket List and a Healthy Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole

 

2656467632_1f6b2afe75_zMy, my how time flies…whether you’re having fun or not. And it’s true that the older you get the faster it seems to go. Why is that? Seriously, someone fix that. Anyway, I turned 45 (!) a few weeks ago and I had an idea to do 45 new things this year – one for every year I’ve been alive – but that seemed a bit much so I’ve revised it to 12, one for each month of the year. So here is my bucket list for June 2015 – June 2016.

1. Read 45 books
2. Go horseback riding – it’s been waaaaaay too long
3. Finish a Jillian Michaels DVD
4. Run/walk a 5K
5. Try 10 new foods
6. Pay for the rescue of one animal
7. Go someplace I’ve never been before
8. Make my own laundry soap
9. Go to the beach in a bikini
10. Take a yoga class
11. Get a bike
12. Buy a DSLR and learn to use it

And I’ve already gotten on top of #5 by trying quinoa and I am so glad I did because it turns out it’s really yummy. Who knew? So I fiddled around in the kitchen a bit and came up with this:

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Chicken Broccoli Multi-Grain Cheese Casserole

I made it with these.MinuteRTS_MultigrainMedley

2 containers of Minute Ready to Serve Multi-Grain Medley
5 oz. frozen broccoli florets
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 flour
1 cup milk – I used almond milk, but use whatever you want
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Layer bottom of a small casserole dish with multi-grain medley and top with broccoli; set aside.
Heat oil in pan and brown chicken cubes on all sides. Layer over broccoli and set aside.
In a saucepan over high heat, whisk flour into chicken broth and cook until smooth.
Whisk in milk, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Pour sauce over chicken broccoli rice mixture.
Top with shredded cheese and cover with foil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Serves 3-4

And enjoy!

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I haven’t disappeared! I have just been so busy that I haven’t had much time to write. And I don’t have much time today either, because it’s my birthday so I’ll just take a minute to write what I’ve been up to lately.

I finally bought a digital scale so I can tell exactly what I weigh and at last weigh-in I was down another 2 pounds for 5 total. Yeah, not great results for a month but better than nothing and I can’t complain since there were a few days when I didn’t eat so well.

I’m training for a virtual 5K that takes place in July and so far my time is just dismal really lol. But I’m improving all the time and I’m loving my runs.

I’ve been trying new healthy recipes and have found a few that I really like. I’ll share some later when I have a little more time.

I guess that’s all for now. My boyfriend is visiting here from Tennessee for my birthday weekend so I have to go get ready for that.