Friday, February 1, 2013

Fit Friday and a February Challenge

Hooray, it's Friday!!  I have lots to share with you!

I've been looking for a fitness challenge for myself for February, and I think I just found it.  Its so easy to get stuck in workout routines just like anything else.  Over the past 2 years, I have worked hard at developing a solid foundation of strength.  I discovered BodyPump (an amazing strength training class that will push you to your limits) and worked my booty off doing at-home programs like Insanity (which is as crazy as it sounds), P90X, and TurboFire.  I'm no longer the girl at the gym who looks out of place in the weight training area, and it feels amazing.

Anyway, so my fitness challenge.  Have you heard of  I had heard of it, but hadn't checked it out.  They have free training outlines that will get you to 100 pushups, but also programs for sit-ups (more like crunches), squats, pull-ups, and triceps dips.  The programs are designed for novices and people in slightly more advanced stages of fitness and strength.  I took a look at each of these and I think I will go for the pushups and crunches.  The programs are designed so that you're working on these exercises 3 times a week, which will hopefully work well with my current training.  I'll stagger it so that I'm not doing these on BodyPump days.  So we will start that on Monday!  I'm excited!  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

After all the fitness talk, are we ready for food?  Last night's dinner was awesome.  We tend to get stuck having the same things over and over, and I was feeling so uninspired.  Thankfully, I was able to bust out my new cookbook, Fifty Shades of Chicken, courtesy of Aunt Liza, for some ideas.  I opened the book and came to the recipe for Dripping Thighs, also known as Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet-and-Sour Onions.  This recipe, served atop the wheat bread rolls I made earlier in the day, was delicious!

For the chicken, my slight adaptations:

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

1 pound chicken breasts (because we never have thighs)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
garlic powder
sweet red onion, thinly sliced (about a cup, more if you don't have 2 picky people in the house who don't eat onions)
1 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place them in a rimmed baking pan.  In a small pan, simmer the chopped garlic, a pinch of salt, the onion, wine, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick.  Continue simmering until most of the liquid is gone (this probably took about 15 minutes for me, maybe less, just keep an eye on it).  Then add the honey and the butter and remove from the heat.  Add this delicious mixture to the chicken and coat it well.  Cook for about 25 minutes, or until your chicken is no longer pink.  25 minutes was spot on for us (I was concerned that this temperature would be too hot and that I would need to cover the chicken, but it was perfect.  The onions were caramelized and everything was perfect.).

And for the bread, my barely adapted version:

Whole Wheat Baguette

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon instant year (or rapid-rise or bread-machine yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg, plus 2 teaspoons of water, mixed

Whisk together the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl, and then add the warm water.  Stir until this becomes difficult, then flour your hands slightly and knead the dough ball until everything is incorporated and the dough is nice and smooth.  Place the dough back in your mixing bowl, cover loosely, and place in a draft-free area for an hour to an hour and a half to rise.  After this initial rise, you have 2 options.  You can deflate the dough and shape this into a baguette, which is what I did the first time, or you can separate into individual rolls, which is what I did the second time.  Either way, once you have your dough shaped, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside to rise for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  When I made the baguette, I remembered to do the egg wash.  Just combine the egg with 2 teaspoons of water, and, using a pastry brush, cover the entire surface with the wash.  This will give your bread a nice browned outer crust.  When I made the rolls, I was too lazy to do this forgot to do the egg wash, so they aren't very brown, but still tasty.  You'll see the differences in the pictures below.

We combined the rolls and the chicken, and it was all delicious!

Sorry my picture isn't better of the combined product, but I didn't even think about taking one until I had almost finished the meal.  Oops!

 So that's it for Fit Friday... I have a lot of great recipes to share with you coming up, both healthy, and.... well, its Superbowl Sunday this weekend, so yeah.... I'm a realist.  I'm making something pretty decadent that day, and I'll be sure to share it!  I hope you have a great weekend!  The little man and I will be off the gym soon!

And oh yeah, today is the second birthday of James's first "best friend", Ian.  Happy birthday, Ian!  We love you and miss you so much!  Stay warm in Canada!

Original chicken recipe.... I guess you'll have to get the book!

Original bread recipe from For The Love of Cooking