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Cooking and Multitasking

A topic that comes up from time to time with my clients is how to find time to cook a whole foods meal post workout.  I had this situation arise myself recently and thought I would share how I managed to cook, stretch post workout, take a shower and fold laundry all within 50 min! I had started preparation for a meal on a Sunday afternoon but by time dinner came around our plan had changed and the meal was not going to get cooked.  On Monday afternoon, I was on my bike in Central Park and negotiating how I was going to manage getting this meal cooked.  I’m strict about refueling within an hour of a workout (in this case a 2 hour bike ride) and sometimes turn to shakes and snacks, although they are great supplementation, sometimes these post workout mini meals turn into extra calories that I would prefer not to consume.

So here is the Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole that I cooked, and the steps I took to get it all done in 50 min.

Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole

This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe.  This serves 8 small dishes (1thigh each) or 4 large dishes. Nutrition data is for 8.

Ingredients:spicyCoconutChicien 1 Tbsp coconut oil 3 lbs chicken thighs 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 13 1/2 fl oz coconut milk 2 tsp curry paste 1 cup Arborio rice 2  bell pepper (red) 8 oz green beans 6 oz red onion 1 1/2 cups chicken broth


You can use chicken thighs or drumsticks. Arborio or jasmine rice are good choices. I used light coconut milk and went with red curry paste, 2-3 teaspoons is just a guide.

1.  Start with prep work and cut all veggies into 1-inch chunks or pieces. Skin chicken and trim the fat.

I completed these steps the day before.

2.  In Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook chicken until browned 3-4 min per side. Transfer to a plate.

While browning the chicken I brought my mat into the kitchen and stretched for a good 15 min, longer than I would usually stretch.

3.  Scrape chicken bits from bottom and add coconut milk, broth, 1/2 cup water, and curry paste. Taste and adjust spice while bringing to a boil. Stir in rice. Add chicken and any remaining juices arranging pieces in a single layer.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, without stirring until rice is done, about 15 min.

I made sure heat was adjusted and would not boil over.  Took my shower and dried my hair for 15 min while this simmered.

4. Scatter bell pepper, onion, and green beans on top, cover, and cook until vegetables are crisp tender, 8-10 min. 

I folded laundry and cleaned up around the kitchen for the last few minutes of cooking time.

Calories 385; fat 17g; saturated 7g; carb; 28g; protein 23g

Done!  Within 50 min post workout, got a great stretch in, got cleaned up and was refueled in less than an hour.  Plus this simple one dish meal gave me plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

Detoxifying Spring Seasonal Food: Millet

Millet is a grain that is fairly high in protein.  It is a gluten free wheat alternative excellent for consuming in the spring.  It has a sweet and salty flavor; is a diuretic; strengthens the kidneys; is beneficial to stomach and spleen-pancreas; moistens dryness; is alkalizing; and is anti-fungal- one of the best grains for those with Candida overgrowth. This simple spicy dish is versatile and is a hearty accompaniment to wIld salmon, a green salad, or steamed vegetables.  You can toast millet in a little oil before cooking to bring out the flavors.  For softer millet, add more water.  You can find this in boxes in the grain section of gourmet grocery stores or health food stores.  If the store has a bulk section it can often be found there as well.

Herbed Millet with Steamed Vegetables

1 cup millet

2 cups vegetable broth or water

½ onion finely chopped

3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage.

Rinse millet well.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve warm with steamed vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, fish or a salad.  Makes 4 servings.

Spicy Asian Stir-Fry with Whole-Wheat Linguine

This recipe is a good way to make the switch from white pasta to whole-grain varieties that offer more fiber and protein.  If your diet requires additional protein you can add chicken or salmon.  The dish also tastes great as a cold noodle salad which you can easily transport to work.  If you do not have hoisin or garlic-chile sauce just substitute another sweet and spicy combo. Serves 4 (2 cups/serving) Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients: 8 oz whole-wheat linguine noodles 1 Tbs. peanut oil 1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp) 1 small head bok choy, chopped into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups) 1 1/2 cups broccoli floret 1/2 cup frozen or fresh snow peas (thawed) 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 2 Tbs hoisin sauce 1 Tbs garlic-chili sauce 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and set pasta aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and saute 5 to 7 minutes, or until onion is golden.

Add bok choy, broccoli, snow peas, and bell pepper.  Stir continuously for 5 minutes.  Add a 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in hoisin and garlic-chili sauces.  Stir in noodles, adding 1/2 cup reserved cooking water.  Add more water if mixture seems too dry.  Garnish each serving with 1 Tbs. chopped peanuts.

Per 2-cup serving: 330 calories; 19g protein; 9g fat (1g saturated); 55g carb; 10g fiber; 205mg sodium; 7g sugars

compliments of vegetarian times magazine

Food Log- week 5 Paris Marathon

I'm about 10 days away from vacation and would like to loose a couple of pounds so i can leave town without guilt next Thursday.  So on Monday weighed in at 118 (115 is my ideal weight).  Need to pay close attention to unnecessary processed foods.  Simple as that. Monday- Combined cleanse for life, isa fruits and want more energy in my morning watter bottle.  First client was at 5:30 and drank this combo throughout the early moring.  I had a isdelight chocolate to keep me going around 7.  I finished my 2nd client at 8:15 and sat down for my morning shake in pudding form along with a banana.  Just before my run at noon I had another isadelight chocolate which helped get me started in the run but could have used another one half way through.   After showering i had some edemame as i commuted back home.  As soon as possible, which was 3:30 i had lunch which was one scoop of isalean soup and about a cup of the beef vegebtable stew I made over the weekend (about 400 calories).  Am going out to dinner tonight with a friend and hope to eat by 8pm.  We ate at a Greek restaurant.  A large appetiser platter of really tasty spreads and pita.  Ate lots of spread and not too much pita.  Then there was a bean dish, then there were the entrees.  Lets just say that i ddn't eat everything.  My fish dish was really well prepared with tomatoes and a little butter.  I split that with David who had prok tenderloin and potatoes.  The side dish of mixed veetables was honestly the best veg side dish I've had.  A great mix of sauteed greens, root vegs, all cooked to perfection.  Kinda wish i just ordered two of that and skipped everything else.  Also had about 4 glases of wne throughout the evening.

Tuesday- a light traiing day.  Weights only and my schedule really allows for 2 meals finishing by 7pm so can get in a naturala fast during the night.  I started with 2 ounces of cleanse when i left home at 7am.  Had a isadelight before my workout (50cal) and then had breakfast with a friend at 11:30.  A omelette with salmon, some potatoes and whole wheat toast.  Had edemame as a snack around 5 and dinner was a scoop of isalean soup with beef and veg stew around 7:30.  Was craving chocolate before bed and had about 1/2 cup of soy ice cream along with 1 scoop of isalean chocolate shake.

Wednesday- Did not eat anything when i woke up.  Have short list of clients today and just had a chocolate to get me through until 8:30.  Made a shake with just one scoop or protein, had a handfull of raw pumpkin seeds and set our for my run with want more energy in my water pack.  Lunch is out with a friend arount 2pm and had a salad at Chipotle's.  Greens, beans, corn, salsa, no dressing.  Very satisfying.   Around 6 I had some edemame and Dinner with David at 8pm.  We had leftovers of a vegetarian curry dish over quinoa.  Big serving but only about 500 calories.  We had dessert which was a parfait of pumpkin, oatmeal, and yogurt.  Will keep this one on my dessert menu for next week.  Really like it and only about 300 calories, low sugar.  Better option than icecream or my favorite which is baked goods.

Thursday- Got a late start today and just had some cleanse for life in the morning.  Had a piece of isadelight chocolate before my easy run,  then a shake of one scoop isalean with some pumpkin purree before i finished my training with cycling one hour on the indoor trainer and weights.  Had my first real meal at 1:30.  I full serving of my beef and veg stew and a scoop of isalean soup.   I combined the two to make a nice big bowl of soup and had a slice of flax seed bread.  Also had a small bowl of plain fat free organic yogurt with a little agave nectar.   (about 600 cal).  I leave at 5pm for a meeting in the city and had an chocolate isalean shake   (325cal). Wanted more chocolate when i got home so had small scppos of the chocolate isalean, mashed banana, and some coconut milk.

Friday- I had early clients today and didn't eat until I was finished with them.  This worked well because I wanted to fast 12 hours overnight.  First meal was at 10am.  I prepared my isalean shake mix and added greens and ionix supreme along with an extra scoop of Pro protein.  Divided that into two servings and had half at 10 and the other half at 1.  Will have another shake around 4 which will be vanilla isalean, coconut milk and pumpkin puree.  Going out to dinner tonight around 7:30 for thai food and will allow myself some carbs.  Pad thai maybe.  Tomorrow is my long run and will be first thing in the morning so a carb dense meal would be fine but will be sure to also have vegetables.

Saturday- I had a fairly large dinner last night.  Thai food and David and I shared our dishes.  I had noodles, rice, chicken, seafood, vegetables.  Around midnight David and i shared a really good dessert.  It was cheesecake layered with chocolate mouse.  This morning I had a cup of coffee (to help me eliminate) and a isalean vanilla shake with some pumpkin puree and a dollop of plain yogurt.  Stomach felt great on the run.  Port workout I had half a bagel with tofu cream cheese.  About 3 hours later I had another shake, this one chocolate.  We went out for dinner again with a friend.  David and I shared again.  We all shared the pumpkin ravioli (about 2 ravioli's per person), a cheeseburger and my dish wa the best which was red snapper over risotto and sautéed greens.  Again we had dessert before bed.  No dessert tomorrow!

Sunday- today's training is to go to the pool and get in a run, all in the AM.  Had a isalean chocolate shake in pudding form on my commute to the pool. I smacked  an apple, about 1oz of cheese and about 1/4 cup pumpking seeds during the 2 hours between my swim and my run.  About 2 hours following the run I had 1/2 a bagel with tofu cream cheese (left over from yesterday) and a bowl of isalean soup.  Dinner is really light.  The recipe calls for spaghetti but i'm making spaghetti squash and topping it with mushrooms, scallion and escarole  I bet this is all under 300 cal.  So all my meals were small today.  Did have dessert though.  It was a parfait of pumpkin puree, yogurt and crunchy oatmeal.  Should add this to my recipes.  Really good and satisfying for this time of year.  Uses natural sweeteners and is a good diversion from my usual decadent chocolate desserts.

Easy 6.5 mile flat run and weights

In the morning I had time for a leg and shoulder workout.  Got in a descent warm up and did 2 for legs and 4 for shoulders.  Had not done step ups in a long while and used a medium platform that required a large step up.  Had difficulty getting full extension from my hip and needed assistance from my other leg to extend fully.  Left side was harder than the right.

warm up of front and lateral lunges with MB spinal extension and rotation
BB SQUAT 5-Nov 3X12 95# increased reps over Monday
scaption 5-Nov 3x12 8# 30s rest
curl bar OHP standing 5-Nov 2x12 1x10 40# increased reps over Monday
BB STEP UP 5-Nov 3X8 45# BB left harder.  Poor extension of hip. used Med platform
Mach CG OHP 5-Nov 3x10 40#
DB lat raise alternating 5-Nov 2x10 1x12 15# increased weight over Monday.  30s rest

Had my isalean pudding right after the workout and then had two clients.

After my clients I went for a run.  Really nice sunny day, a bit brisk but gorgeous, perfect for a marathon.  Planned to run 7 miles at 9:00 and HR below 160 average.  This is an easy run and it felt too easy and was enjoying the weather so I picked up the pace.  Was thinking about the blog my client wrote about her Marathon experience on Sunday and was just getting into my run.  Even though I just trained legs I feel really good and decided to have some fun with short spurts of faster pace as well as one big long hill up Chambers street.  I hit all the lights just right, don't think that's ever happened before.  The main set was for 6 miles and my average pace was 8:02 and HR ave only 153.  Wonder why this is feeling so easy today.  Yesterday was a fairly hard day yet this run was a breeze. The rest of my day is pretty low key.  Had lunch with a friend and ate at a Mediterranean place.  Had vegetable kebobs over rice with a tiny amount of babaganosh and a piece of pita.  Lots of water.  Really thirsty for the rest of the day.  For dinner I’m just planning on a shake since lunch was so late and i don't feel like eating what's left in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow is grocery shopping day!

Easy Day- Weights only

Got to sleep in today and awoke with a stiff back.  Aah deadlifts.  Today is one of two days this week that I am not running but I will be doing a short weight training session for chest and back as well as abdominal and yoga. After finishing weighs I had a quick snack on some edemame and then worked with two clients.  When I got home i had a very substantial meal of a mexican, avocado, vegetable salad over greens, some Isalean soup, and a small fresh salmon patty.  For dinner i will have an Isalean shake.  Plan to go to bed early because my first client tomorrow is at 5:30am.

For weights i'm focusing on machines today primarily because I don't want my back to be affected and also because I'm at John street and have access to more equipemnt than I do at home.  Here is what i did over 30 minutes.

ca supine row 3-Nov 3x20 60# warm up 20s rest
BB bench 3-Nov 3x20 45# warm up bar only
Lat pd WG 3-Nov 3x10 75# hard 60x rest
Mach chest press 3-Nov 3x12 70# 20s rest
CG mach row 3-Nov 3x10 95# 20s rest
Asst Dip 3-Nov 3x10 plate 4- 16# 60s rest
Ca rev fly- high/low 3-Nov 3x12 40# 30s rest
Ca chest fly 3-Nov 3x10 65# 30s rest

North Woods Bean Soup

This is a great fall or winter soup from cooking light and only takes about a 1/2 hour to make.  It's very hearty and makes for a light dinner or lunch.  I used an organic andouille chicken/turkey sausage because I wanted some spice.  So choose a sausage that will provide the extra flavor you are craving.   I always like adding more veggies.  You can easily double up on the carrots and spinach.  You can also add leftover cooked grains and veggies.  Serve with a salad to make a complete meal. Yields 5-  1 1/2 cup servings

1 T olive oil

1 cup baby carrots, halved

2 garlic cloves, minced

7 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

32 ounces organic, fat-free, sodium free chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 (15.8oz) cans organic great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat a large saucepan in olive oil and cook over medium heat.  Add carrots, onion, garlic and kielbasa; saute 3 minutes.  stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 5 more minutes.  Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans.  Bring temp up to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.  Return to pureed mixture to pan.  Simmer an additional 5 minutes.  Remove soup from heat.  Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.  If you plan to have leftovers, add the spinach when you reheat the soup, not when you make it.

Calories 227; fat 3.9g (sag 1.2g, mono 1.3g, poly 1.2g); protein 18.1g; cholesterol 26mg; calcium 112mg; sodium 750mg; fiber 6.7g; iron 3.5mg; carbohydrate 30.8g

Moderate Training day. 7 mile run and weight training

My day started at 5 am and didn't feel hungry at all until around 8:00 but i was with a client so had an isadelight chocolate to hold me over.  Didn't sleep too well last night again because of the construction lights outside, but basically got 7 hours of sleep.  My body feels tight today, i didn't stretch after my run yesterday nor did I do any yoga and i'm feeling particularly tight in my hips today. After clients I had half a shake around 9:30 and waited a half hour before the run.  Another nice crisp, sunny day and i'm going over the brooklyn bridge, around city hall park, back to brooklyn and a few laps around Cadman park.   Not feeling as light or upright as i have been on other recent runs, mostly due to the tension is in my hips.  Heart rate was a bit high for the hill portion today.  My goal was to run a bit faster than 9:00.  I warmed up 1 mile to the bridge and the main set was 5.3 miles at 8:44mm and 167ave bpm.  Cool down was an easy jog for 1/2 mie.

I had the other half of my shake around noon, about 45 minutes after the run.  Had some other work to do and my energy, mental clarity and desire to get work done was very high.  Had a productive afternoon and then went to the basement at 3pm to get in an hour workout.  Needed a little treat before my workout.  Had an isadelight and put want more energy in my water bottle for the workout.  Worked lower body and chest in supersets.  Some exercises were strength and some were more stability.  Did 4 exercises for each and kept moving primarily in the rep range of 10-15.  Used the TRX quite a bit and kept it out for a good abs session.  Spent 15 min on abs followed by 15 min yoga.  Think it works best to do my yoga work right after either a weight training session or after cardio.  If I plan to do it later in the evening I tend to run out of time.  Had lunch immediately after the workout at 4:30.  I lined a plate with fresh spinach, topped with a lentil mixture including some fresh asparagys and finally added the smoked trout.  Was not hungry, but this is my main meal for the day and don't want it to be later than 5pm.

I made a soup that I will post.  Had about a cup of that and that was it for the day.  Tomorrow is a light day.  No running, just weights and cycling.

Easy Light Day with a Delicious Ending

I woke up feeling pretty energized and looking forward to seeing clients, one of which has been away for about 10 days.  At 8am i had an hour break so went off again to have my breakfast.  I packed my usual chocolate shake combo in a tupperwear and this time with cocoa nubs again plus some dried cranberries.  For some reason I didn't think that was enough and indulged in a poppy seed muffin as well.  I like geting out of the gym for a break but need to find a little something extra to add to my breakfast that isn't so "baked". Around 11:30 I went for my run.  My energy is OK, not as good as yesterday.  Today is an easy 5 mile run up the east side.  Have not run this route in a long time, very flat and as i remembered it the air quality is worse then on west side.  I think the air quality is worse here because there tends to be lesss wind on the East river compared to the Hudson.  But wasn't too bothered by it becaus it's a beautiful sunny day, about 60 degrees out and although the run felt fine was anxious to get on with my day and not focusing on the run, but hey it's just an easy run.  Heart rate stayed pretty low at 150bpm throught much of the run.  Did a short warm up then did a main set of 4.45 miles at 8:42 pace (goal was 9:00) and AV hr 152.  Found it annoying that GPS was lost while i was running underneith the FDR.  Had to run on the sidewalk on the other side of the road instead of along the river to get a connection.

I had a good afternoon working on the computer and on a training call for awhile.  Had another shake at 2:00.  Was hungry at that point, but energy was still good.  Had to leave for a bit while our realator showed the apartment and then went down to the gym in my building for a quick workout.  Im not ffeling motivated at all to do weights and figure an energy boost would help so had 2 Isa Delight Chocolates and two glasses of water.  The weight training session was not too energetic.  My mind is on all the work I didn't get done today and on getting on with dinner as David will be home tonight.  Short workout in basement was rushed to start dinner.  For 30 minutes I  did  back and shoulders in supersets.  3 exercises each and 1 extra for shoulders.  Rep range was 12-15 and light intensity.  No time for yoga today, so will put more focus on that tomorrow.

For dinner we had some leftovers but I added some wild rice.  It was chicken and asparagus in a creamy sauce topped with a little gryuere.   I get so bored with chicken, but this one is saucy yet still very low in calories.  Total calories was probably around 500 including the rice, low in fat, moderate carbs and high in protein.  Unfortunately I made the mistake of picking up dessert again, so looks like I'm committed to eating a pumpkn spice cake with David this evening.

Trout over Lentils and Spinach

I adapted this recipe a bit which i got from cooking light magazine.  I think the dish is served best warm (not hot) but chiled is ok also.  You can serve it over any bed of greens but i liked the baby spinach.  You don't have to use trout either, any mild to medium flavored flaky fish will work well.  I made it the first night with orange roughy and then also purchased some smoked trout so i could have something later in the week that would be fresh.  I also choose to use less lentils and more vegetables. Serves 4

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped leek

1/4 cup finely chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dried lentils

1/2 cup water

1 14oz can fat free low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped celery (or crunchy sprouts)

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon sheffy vinegar (or braggs apple cider vinegar)

3/4 teaspoon sald, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 (6-8 oz) trout fillets or flaky white fish of your choice

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Ad leek, carrot, and garlic, saute 2 minutes.  Stir in lentils, water, and broth, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is nearly absorbed.  Remove from heat.  Add celery, parsley, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to lentil miture, stirring to combine.

Preheat brooiler.  Sprinkle trout with remainina 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Place fish on a baking sheet or shallow glass dish coated with cooking spray, broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Break fish into chunks.

Line plates with greens, top with warm lentil mixture and flaked fish.

calories 311 (18% form fat);  Fat 6.2g (sat 1.6g, moono 2.2g, poly 1.9g); Protein 32.8g; carbs 31.3g; fiber 15.2g; chol 50mg; iron 5mg; sodium 668mg; calc 96mg.