Snowmageddon Chicken Stew and Other Snow Adventures

We have another snow day here in Richmond!  In anticipation of the snow, which started yesterday around 4 PM, I felt compelled to cook a lot of food.  (If that sounds familiar, yes, I did the same thing a few weeks ago.  It must be a primal survival instinct.)

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For dinner–and what will be dinner for at least two more days–I made a big pot of Snowmageddon Chicken & Rice Stew.  What makes it Snowmageddon stew rather than regular chicken stew?  The chicken is only from drumsticks because when I went to the grocery store in all the storm preparation craziness yesterday, there was no chicken remaining except drumsticks.  I am not exaggerating.  The poultry case was empty except for a few packages of chicken legs.  Chicken legs it is. 🙂

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Snowmageddon Chicken & Rice Stew
10 drumsticks (~3 lb)
8 whole carrots
4 large celery sticks
8 oz green beans
8 oz mushrooms
5 large kale leaves
2 cloves garlic
1.5 c brown rice
2 qts chicken broth
Salt, pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, rosemary, onion powder
Olive oil

1.  Chop all veggies into bite-sized pieces.  2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and brown; add garlic and saute for about a minute.  3.  Add all remaining ingredients, including whole, raw chicken legs.  Stir.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer.  4. Check chicken in about 15 minutes.  When it’s cooked through, take all drumsticks out of pot.  Remove chicken from each leg (yes, this is very tedious), discarding the bones and putting meat back in the pot.  5.  Continue to let simmer, partially covered, until rice is cooked through (or longer).

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Best if eaten while sitting under blankets on the couch 🙂

The legs definitely give the stew more flavor than we would have gotten using breasts, so that’s a plus!

While the stew was simmering, Andrew and I tag-teamed a batch of banana muffins.  We used a recipe from a gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook we have, and they turned out pretty great:

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We added a cinnamon-brown sugar crumble on top…not the prettiest, but they taste wonderful!

After dinner and dessert, we suited-up and played in the still-falling snow.  We took our sleds and found the best sledding hills in the neighborhood, threw a few snowballs, and give our inner-children free reign for an hour or so. 😀

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Eating snow + Snyoga

We warmed up and capped the night with two mugs of green chai tea:

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Andrew and I are both home from work today and have one snow adventure planned so far: making an igloo.  🙂  Have a great snow day, everyone!  Stay safe and warm!

-Do you have a snow day today?
-When was the last time you went sledding?
Do you cook way more food than you actually need when it’s about to snow?

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Fit Gifts

Amidst the eating-more-than-we-should and the working-out-less-than-we-should of Christmas week, Andrew and I received (and gave) a few gifts that will help us be a little more fit as we get back to our routines.  The best fit gifts under our tree this year:

1. Running Clothes

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Please, don’t be intimidated by how tough I look. 😉  My mom, a fellow runner, gave me some awesome new gear this year!  The top is Under Armor and looks white in the photo, but is actually that cool pattern above on the right.  The leggings are Nike, and they are perfect. 🙂  I don’t know about you, but I find new running gear to be so motivating!  I couldn’t wait to put them on and run yesterday!

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Additionally, my aunt Ann gave me this great running top.  I am looking forward to taking it on its debut run!

2. Extra Long Yoga Mat (for the giant)

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Andrew and I have been taking a yoga class pretty faithfully for almost a year, but we had yet to purchase our own mats.  The standard-sized mats we borrow at the gym are fine for me, but at 6’4 Andrew hangs off the top and the bottom.  For Christmas this year I bought him an extra long yoga mat.  With 7 feet of mat, both his head and feet are cushioned. 🙂  I waited until after Christmas to buy a mat for myself (the gray one pictured above) because I thought Andrew might give me one.  He didn’t;  instead, he gave me a…

3. Fitbit Flex

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I have been absolutely geeking out about this thing since the moment I opened it.  For those who aren’t familiar, a Fitbit is a wrist band that tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hours slept, sleep quality, and more.  In other words, a health nut’s dream come true.

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I’ve been having so much fun with it.  It’s a great visual reminder to get up and move;  over Christmas, when we were doing a lot of sitting around, it was convicting to see how far I was from the recommended 10,000 steps a day.  It motivated me to go out and take a walk. 🙂

The sleep features are really cool too.  You tap the band a few times when you lie down to sleep, and then again when you wake up in the morning, and it tracks your sleep patterns.

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In related news, I sleep like a champ. 🙂  See how there’s no pink (awake) at the beginning of the night?  Yes, I actually fall asleep that fast.

Fitbit also gives you the option to set weight loss goals and record the food you eat.  It tracks how many calories you’ve eaten and tells you how many you have left based on your goals.  All around, it’s an awesome gadget

With these tools, we are on our way to a healthy 2014!

-What fit gifts did you receive or give this year?
-Do you have a Fitbit?  Are you as obsessed with it as I am?

Independence Day, Yoga, and Laughter

Thanks to everyone–in real life and the blog world–for your kind words about my grandmother the last few days.  It’s been great to have what I know reaffirmed through so many: Grandma Tudor was a hell of a woman.  For those who didn’t know her, you’ll get to hear more about her in the coming weeks; don’t worry. 🙂

It has been a stressful week.  I leave tomorrow for a mission trip with the middle school youth at church, which I am so looking forward to, but there has been a lot to do related to the trip this week.  On Wednesday morning, hospice let us know that my grandmother was in her final 24-48 hours.  I think the anticipation of her death was, in some ways, worse than her actual passing.  I felt like, I am sad, but I can’t start grieving yet because I have too many other things that I need to do that will be much harder to do when I am actually grieving!

As Andrew walked through the door Wednesday evening, he made a playful jab about an email I’d sent him earlier in the day.  I immediately burst into tears and said, “I’m stressed, and I’m sad… can you not pick on me??”  (What can I say?  I am good at articulating how I feel and what I need… even if I word it the way a 6-year old might.  ;-))

After dinner that night we went to our yoga class.  I’d been looking forward to it as a stress reliever, but I didn’t anticipate all the ways in which it would help.  We set up our mats in the middle of the room; some people were already sitting or lying down, meditating.  The instructor entered the room and began setting up at the front of the class, but had not started the music yet, so the room was very quiet.  As I walked to the closet in the back of the room to get straps and blocks for Andrew and me, I heard a strange noise through the quiet of the room:

fsshh fsshh fsshh fsshh…

I turned around to scan the room.  Everyone was perfectly still… except my dear husband, who looked like he was trying to make snow angels on the floor, his socks making the fsshh noise as they moved back and forth.  I think from his position, he couldn’t tell how loud or obvious the motion was.

I hurried back over  to our mats and whispered,

Andrew!  Stop!  What are you doing?

The floor is so slippery!  They just redid it, and it’s SO slippery!

That’s great… but stop…you’re being a lot louder than you think!

Then we did our best to stifle our laughter.  What is it about laughing when you aren’t supposed to that makes it so hard to stop laughing?  The harder we tried to stop, the harder we laughed, and laughing is great stress relief. 🙂

(But seriously, we are the worst yogis.  Let me apologize now if you ever happen to be in the same class as us.)

On Thursday, after the news about my grandmother arrived and I spent some time crying and talking to family, we decided it would be nice to get out of the house rather than spend the day moping.

We harvested some veggies:

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…ate lunch at Burger Bach, by which neither of us were wildly impressed.  We were lured in by the gluten-free bun option and grass-fed beef.  The burgers come with side salads, which is nice, and you purchase fries and dipping sauces separately.  We were turned off by the fact that a small fry comes with one sauce, and if you wanted to try multiple sauces, you have to pay extra–that includes ketchup.  Come on… just put the bottle of ketchup on the table; people will still try the other kinds.  Also, the cooking options were “pink or no pink.”  Well, I don’t want it to be pink, but I also don’t want it charred, which is how my burger arrived.  To be fair, I was having a bad day, but don’t be lazy;  a “medium-well” option won’t kill you.

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After lunch we went to Maymont to see the goats (I’ve mentioned this before, but I really love goats.  I regularly petition Andrew to let us get one as a pet.)

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Because it was so hot, they had all the animals inside, so unfortunately, I didn’t get to pet them.  Still cute. 🙂

That night we had dinner on the river and watched fireworks with our good friends Amanda and Diron.

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We love these guys. 🙂

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While waiting for fireworks, we laughed about the insane flash on the iphone camera:

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😀

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It was a great end to a tough day. 🙂

What did you do for Independence Day?

Weekly Workouts and Colorful Veggies

Happy Friday, everyone!

Last Thursday I wrote about creating a workout schedule;  having a plan helps me, well, stick to the plan rather than delay (or skip) workouts.  I’ve done my best to follow the schedule this week, and as a result I have had some excellent workouts!  Here’s what my week looked like in terms of fitness:

Saturday: Yard work (with the world’s worst lawn mower)

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Run-30 minutes, chased by a dog

Tuesday: Weights- 30 minutes (This workout from one of my favorite blogs!) + Walk (20 minutes)

Wednesday:  Run- Intervals (Warm-up + 1 minute easy-30 seconds hard-30 seconds sprint + cool down)  Wednesday PM: Yoga

Thursday: Weights- 30 minutes

Friday: Long Run- 60 minutes*

(*About to happen)

So far, so good!  I am feeling well worked-out.  Also, this week I started reading Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.  Scott is a phenomenal ultramarathoner and a vegan, and now I am feeling some serious motivation to a. run longer distances and b. eat lots of veggies (not run an ultramarathon and become a vegan…don’t worry, Andrew. 😉 )  It’s an awesome book for anyone seeking inspiration!  In fact, it inspired last night’s side salad at the Storey home:

DSCN8156Lots of colorful veggies 😀

Have a great weekend!

What was your best/favorite workout this week?  What was the most colorful thing you ate?

 

Stress Relievers + The Day Nothing Went Quite Right

You know how everyone loves Friday because it’s the beginning of the weekend, you can forget about work, kick back, and relax?  Well, this week when I saw posts on Facebook saying, “I’m so glad it’s Friday!”  all I could think was, “Why?!  How is it already Friday?!  I have so much to do before the weekend!”

Yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days in which nothing went quite according to plan.  I have two fairly large work events on Sunday, one of which is a year-end banquet to celebrate the past year in the youth ministry and honor our graduating seniors.  The celebration includes a slide show, and while this is always a highlight of the night, it is a tremendous undertaking for the person putting it together (me.)  Roughly 200 slides plus music, timed as well as possible.  By the time I’ve completed it and run through it a few times with the music, I never want to see it again.

Yesterday afternoon, after finishing and rehearsing the slide show (<–not as seamless as it sounds;  more on that in a moment,) I received a text message from my good friend and coworker, Forrest.  A little background: Forrest was the youth director before me and is now our Director of Serve Ministries.  When we made the switch last summer, I created a new gmail account for the youth group, but Forrest occasionally receives emails to the old account (which is rarely checked anymore because everyone has the new address.)  So yesterday, Forrest sent me a text that said, “Uh you better check the other email address. [Someone] sent 15 pictures of [her child] last week for the slide show.  Just happened to check it for someone’s email address.”

I felt the blood rushing to my head.  Sweat beads were starting to form on my face.  The knot in my stomach became tighter.

I opened the old email account and saw one unopened email at the very top:

Stress

 

Wrong.  So wrong.  Forrest, you got me good!  😀

Prior to this, the projector in our fellowship hall refused to work properly during the test run of the slide show.  When I restarted my laptop (this fixes many technology issues at work,) all my documents disappeared.  Of course, at this point I had not backed up the slide show.  Delightful. 😉

Everything was resolved by the end of the day–my documents folder reappeared, my friend and coworker, Evan, helped me figure out the projector issue, and I didn’t have to alter the slide show.  However, the events of the week have inspired a post (okay, a few posts) about stress:

Negative Effects of Stress

Upset stomach

Headache

Elevated blood pressure

Trouble sleeping

Skin breakouts

More susceptible to colds

There are plenty more–and more serious conditions if stress is chronic.  No, thanks!  So how can we deal with stress so it does the least damage to our health?  Here are just a few options:

Stress Relievers

Exercise

Laugh

Yoga

Hugs

Take deep breaths

Listen to music

Talk to a friend

Pray

Take a bath

Drink lavender/chamomile tea

So, take a deep breath, go for a walk, and don’t let the stress get to you.  As Forrest told me yesterday, “The sun comes up Monday!!!”

Workout Schedule + Laughing During Yoga

Today I feel much, much better than I did yesterday and exponentially better than the day before!  I think a night of Benadryl-induced sleep was just what I needed.

After a full, long day at work yesterday (I arrived home at 6:00;  don’t feel too bad for me ;-)) Andrew and I made a curry dish using a bottle of Thai Kitchen’s Green Curry 10-Minute Simmer Sauce.  It is not an especially pretty dish, but it was quick, easy, and very tasty:

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First we browned some ground chicken in coconut oil, then added the simmer sauce, sliced green peppers, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts.   After it simmered for the full ten minutes, we tasted it and decided it needed ginger and some chili garlic sauce to give it more heat.  We then served it over our leftover brown rice.  Delicious, and easy (Are you noticing a trend?  “Easy” has been our meal theme lately;  I’m hoping to break out of that soon. :))

After dinner we made our way to yoga at our gym.  Oh man, I had a bad case of the giggles throughout the whole class!  “Bring your right foot beside your left hip, cross your left leg over your right leg, make sure your sitting bones are completely on the floor, and lean forward and touch your forehead to your thigh.”  Whaat?? “Now take your toes in your hands, and straighten your legs.”  Yeah… that’s not happening.  But I will definitely laugh at Andrew (and myself) as we try. 😉

Now that I am feeling better, I am itching to do some more intense workouts–they have been missing from my routine the last few weeks.  First, I was taking it easy in the week leading up to the 10k, then I was recovering from the 10k, then I had a busy week and minimized my workouts, and then I had another busy week…  Four weeks later, I’ve stayed fit with a lot of walking and yoga, but haven’t had a really good, sweaty workout and am feeling a bit “bleh” physically.

So, I am setting a new workout plan for the coming weeks (well, I’m really just rewriting what has worked for me in the past as a means of recommitting to it.  :))  As always, it will allow plenty of flexibility:

Monday: Running- 30-45 minutes

Tuesday: Weight Circuits- 30 minutes (Jillian Michaels DVD), Walking/Elliptical

Wednesday:  AM–Running-speed work (intervals, tempo, etc.)  PM–Yoga

Thursday:  Weights- 30 minutes

Friday: Long Run- 60+ minutes

Saturday: Rest

Sunday:  Anything/Just Move- 30 minutes

It definitely helps me to have a plan in place.  I am looking forward to sweating again 🙂

I apologize for the very scattered post;  it’s just that kind of week!

What does your weekly exercise routine look like?  Do you ever get the giggles during yoga?

Race Week Workouts + Thoughts on Yoga

Tomorrow is race day–time to see if all my training has been enough.  To be honest, I am not feeling entirely confident I can achieve my goal of breaking 50 minutes for the 10k.  I know I put in some great training runs, but I started a little late, and my legs have felt achy in the last week.  I’m going to do my best to push the doubts out of mind and just go for it tomorrow!  I can break 50 minutes.  I can break 50 minutes…

The week leading up to a race is tricky in terms of workouts.  I try to strike a balance between working out enough that I don’t lose any physical fitness, and resting enough that I don’t wear myself out before the race.  Here’s what my week looked like in terms of workouts:

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Run- 30 minutes, easy

Tuesday: Weeding the yard (Don’t even try to tell me that’s not a workout.  It’s like doing squats for two hours [we had a lot of weeds ;-)] )

Wednesday AM: Run-30 minutes, easy

Wednesday PM: Yoga- 60 minutes (more on this later)

Thursday: Walk-30 minutes

Friday: Rest

In the few days leading up to a race, I’m pretty sure resting is more beneficial than any workout!

About that yoga.  Andrew and I have started taking a class at our gym on Wednesday nights (we’ve been about five times so far.)  Prior to this, I’d taken a few yoga classes here and there but always preferred a good 30-minute run to an hour of thinking about breathing and trying not to laugh.  A few years ago, in an attempt to be proactive about relaxing and controlling stress, I bought a yoga DVD.  I did it a few times in my living room, but I’d always fast forward through the 5-minute “warm-up,” which consisted of lying on my back, breathing, and thinking, “I don’t have time for this…”  In retrospect, I think I may have been missing the point. 😉

Recently we decided to give it another shot (Andrew had never been to a class or fast forwarded through a DVD.)  After a few weeks of consistent yoga, it turns out we really enjoy it!  That doesn’t mean we are good at it (we are not,) but we do find it rewarding, and it actually is a very good workout.

While we are becoming more comfortable with yoga, we still have a long way to go–I know; it’s not really a destination, but we’re definitely newbies.  Inevitably during each class there is at least one situation that makes us giggle.  It usually happens when the teacher gives an instruction that, whatever she meant to say, arrives at my ear sounding like this:  “Lifting your right leg to the side, wrap your left arm around your ankle twice, right arm on blue, left foot green, and lean back.  Breathe.”  😉

Without fail there is also always some instruction given for which I think, “I must have missed something;  it’s impossible to look at the ceiling from my current position.”  I come out of the position to look at the instructor and discover that, yes, yes it is possible to look at the ceiling from that position.

Additionally, Andrew and I are potentially the two least flexible people on the planet.  This week in class we did a lot more stretching/flexibility positions than usual, and it was painful–not so much physically, but painful how bad I was! (I know, that’s not really what yoga is about.)  At one point she instructed us to sit with our legs in a wide straddle and lean to the right.  I thought, “Lean to the right?  Or lean over my right leg?  For you it’s the same thing, but for me the two are very different.  I have like a 90-degree angle going on…”  I was thankful that most people in the class could bend over and touch their faces to the floor so they couldn’t see me essentially sitting up straight. 😀

The verdict:  We are sticking with it.  At the very least, it is a great means to improve our poor flexibility!

With that I am off to rest…well, not workout, anyway.  I am going to the race expo this afternoon with my friend Gabe to pick up our numbers and race packets (and get free samples!  Gotta love race expos :-D)

Anyone else racing this weekend?