fear of fear

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I have been doing a lot of soul-searching for a couple of years now and I have come to the realization that fear seems to unwillingly be a part of my life.  Granted everyone has fears.  Fear of flying (guilty).  Fear of heights (guilty, depending on the height).  Fear of public speaking.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of FEAR!!

I have realized that I have a fear of failure.  I find myself inspired with an idea, I even go as far as to make a plan with goals and time lines and then…..nothing.

I’m afraid that my plan will not succeed.  That I will let myself down, maybe even let others down and I will feel nothing but a big ‘ol failure.  Just the thought of it is enough to tuck my tail between my legs and go hide under a chair.

However I am realizing how debilitating this fear can actually become.  Imagine something stopping you from your destiny, from your dreams and from doing something meaningful and fabulous, from something that can completely change your life in a way you have only dreamed of!  I feel like that is even scarier than fearing failure itself! And that final thought is what finally allowed me to realize that I can no longer let this fear control my life and stop me from living, growing and succeeding.  It is one of my new year resolutions to not allow fear of failure  stop me from doing the things I want/need to do.

I can be certain that some of the most influential, powerful, successful people in our history have been afraid at one point but they carried on anyway and now we will always remember Martin Luther King, Jr as the leader of the african-american civil rights movement, fighting for equality and justice in a humane and peaceful manner.  It is reported that Thomas Edison tried thousands of times to invent the light bulb before he finally succeeded, simply stating “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  Gotta love that attitude!

Can you imagine what the world would be like today if these influential people let fear get in the way of their destiny?  Now imagine what your world will be like if you let fear get in the way of YOUR destiny…and what it CAN be like if you ignore that fear and carry on with your head held high ready to take on any obstacle and set back until you do succeed.  And even if you do fail, that’s totally okay.  Get back up, dust off those knees, and carry on.

How else are we to improve and change and evolve if we don’t have set backs and failures to reflect upon??

I have come to realize that my fear of fearing failure is far greater than fearing failure itself and I will not let that control my life anymore.

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Feel free to leave a comment if you share the same experience of any type of fear you feel is holding you back from living your life to the fullest.

 

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(A lesson learned)…Kale and Chicken Stir Fry with Peanuts

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I used to have a favorite recipe for Singapore Noodles.  I’m kicking myself for not writing it down then.  Lesson learned!

So I am on a quest to recreate that recipe and I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed along my journey 🙂

As much as I want to call this dish Singapore noodles, I am missing some ingredients.  So I will simply call it a stir fry.

Yields 3 servings

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced

1/2 head of broccoli, cut in pieces

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 large handfuls of chopped kale

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

2 tsp fish sauce ( i know it sounds gross, but trust me it adds a great flavor to any recipe that calls for it)

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 tsp curry powder

1 TBSP sesame seeds

1/4 cup peanuts

sesame seed oil

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

noodles or rice

Directions:

1.  Add 2 TBSP of sesame seed oil over med-high heat and cook garlic for ~20-30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add sliced chicken and cook until done, ~ 7 minutes. IMG_1430

2.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl and kale and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and massage the kale for ~3 minutes.  This breaks down the tough cellulose and wilts easier while cooking.

3.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  In same pan, add another 1 TBSP of sesame seed oil, grated ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry powder, massaged kale and remaining vegetables.  Give it a good toss, add a few TBSP of water to get a good stir fry action going on, cover with a lid and cook for ~7 minutes or until broccoli is cooked to your liking, occasionally tossing up the veggies and sauce.  IMG_1431

4.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add cooked chicken, peanuts and sesame seeds.  Toss everything together, cover and cook for ~2 more minutes.

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5.  While all this is going on, you should be cooking your choice of starch as well.  I chose these asian noodles called “bean threads” aka glass noodles, but rice will work well with this stir fry, or you can keep it starch free and leave it with chicken and veggies alone.  If you using noodles, add it to the pan and mix it around to let it soak up all the saucy goodness.

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I feel like I am so close to recreating my Singapore noodles recipe.  Next time I will add rice wine vinegar, cilantro, rice vermicelli noodles instead of glass noodles, and more curry powder (all these are commonly found in Singapore noodles recipes).  When I nail it I will be sure to share the goodness 🙂

Krazy about Kale

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I will honestly confess that I always found kale to be intimidating.  How could a vegetable be so scary? Crazy as it sounds, I was always just so weary about trying it.  What if this amazing super food tasted awful? I would be so embarrassed to admit it.  How do I even begin to cook it?  It was better off chilling in the veggie section of the supermarket until a more appreciative shopper would come along and buy it.

But I kept reading about the wonderful health benefits of kale and finally the curiosity got the best of me.  For starters, Kale is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables out there:

  • high in fiber- great for lowering cholesterol and keeping your bowels healthy and active
  • high in iron
  • high in vitamins and minerals
  • great source of non animal protein
  • high in antioxidants (cancer fighting properties)
  • good source of omega 3 fatty acid

For more in depth information about Kale, click on this link here.

I finally became a proud owner of a juice extractor and I thought to myself “now is my chance to experiment with kale!”  So I started to juice with kale and immediately became a fan.  Next step, cooking! At first I added it to an egg muffin recipe to replace spinach.

Success!

And finally, I became brave enough to throw a whole bunch in a pan and sauté it with some beans and crushed tomatoes…jackpot!  It was absolutely delicious and so flavorful.  It was even tasted tested and approved by some family members, some who have never tried kale in their life and probably would have liked it to stay that way…until they tried my recipes! 🙂

KALE, SUNDRIED TOMATO AND FETA EGG MUFFINS (gluten free)

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups chopped raw kale

1 dozen extra large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

PREHEAT OVEN @ 400 DEGREES Fahrenheit

1.  whisk the eggs together. in a sauté pan, sauté kale in some olive oil and sea salt for five minutes.  set aside to cool. then add to egg mixture.saute kale

2.  add the other remaining ingredients

3.  in a one dozen muffin baking dish, drizzle some olive oil in each muffin cup, take a paper towel and kinda smother the oil inside each cup.muffin pan

4.  evenly distribute the egg mixture in each muffin cup .egg mixture

5.  bake for 15 minutes.

carefully take out the egg muffins.  serve 3 muffins per person and feel free to serve it along side some crispy cooked bacon, tasty smoked salmon or some freshly toasted bread.egg muffins bakedegg muffin

KALE, TOMATO AND WHITE BEAN CASSEROLE (vegan, gluten free)

YIELDS 2-4 (DEPENDING IF IT IS A MAIN DISH OR A SIDE DISH)

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 large tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt to taste

olive oil

1.  add olive oil to a sauté pan.  sauté onions on a medium heat for about 8 minutes.  add garlic and saute for 1 minute until the garlic as become aromatic.   Add kale and sauté for 3-5 minutes, adding a splash of water while sauteing.saute kale

2.   Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and manually crush them right over the sauté pan.  That’s right, take your day’s aggression out on those lovely red fruits and squeeze the living daylight out of them!   It’s a very rustic approach to crushing tomatoes, I felt like Jamie Oliver for a few seconds there 🙂 … crush tomatoes

3.  once all the tomatoes are crushed into the pan, add the tomato paste, stir into the mixture and allow it to simmer.

4.  while the pan is simmering, drain a whole can of the cannellini beans, rinse them under water to wash away any residual sodium and then chuck them into the pan as well. simmering bean casserole

5.  Continue to simmer over a medium high heat for about 10 min or until nearly all the tomato juice has evaporated.bean casserole

6.   serve into bowls and enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW….Kale can be a little bit of a diva??  It is recommended that you give kale a little TLC by giving it a hand massage before eating! Ha! I have a hard time getting a massage from my spouse and here is this lovely little green leafy veggie getting a 5 minute rubdown before consumption!

It turns out that rubbing kale leaves between your hands for five minutes breaks down its cellulose structure, thus taking away its bitter, tough taste and texture and making it wilted, silky and even a little bit sweet.  This is perfect if you plan on adding kale to a salad or eating it raw.  It is recommended you use some olive oil and salt while massaging…might as well kill two birds with one stone and dress your salad while massaging it!

Tips for cooking Kale:

  • chop leaves into 1/2 inch portions and stems into 1/4 inch portions
  • steaming kale for 5 minutes is the best way to bring out its phytonutrients, as well as drizzling lemon juice over kale and letting it sit for a few minutes before cooking/consuming
  • give it the best massage of its life!

Rock-n-(Nori) Roll

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My love for sushi started at around age 14.  Like any beginner sushi eater, I started with the ever so safe “California Roll” and eventually became brave enough to try some beautiful creations that this wonderful cuisine has to offer.

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I’m still a little wary though.  I am coming out of the stage where I need massive amounts of rice with my sushi rolls, which is a relief because when I eat sushi I like to eat until I am the size of a roll myself.  The amount of rice I consume contributes to my new, lasting “roll” figure.  I also prefer to have avocado with nori rolls.  I just really love the flavor combo and felt that it was enough to make up for the decrease in rice I was going to use with my nori rolls.  Besides, we can all use a little avocado in our lives, considering how healthy avocados are.

avocado

This fruit is high in monounsaturated fatty acids as well as other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Look at all the health benefits avocados provide:  reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and even aids in blood sugar regulation thanks to the amounts of fiber and healthy fats.

Here is another reason to hit up your fave sushi spot tonight:  Nori, which is a type of seaweed, is super healthy.  There are many clinical studies on the health benefits of eating seaweed.  There are components in seaweed that “exhibit many beneficial biological activities such as:  anticancer, antiviral, anticoagulant and antioxidative acting properties.”  You will find that seaweed is also high in Iodine, which is important for thyroid function.

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Making my own sushi has allowed me to save some bucks on the days when I am really craving sushi but just don’t want to spend the money.  The sushi rolls I made are so easy and quick to make- feel free to add whatever your heart desires.  Here in Australia, they add chicken to sushi rolls.  Heck, my friends Amanda and Matt Terillo saw a kangaroo sushi roll while visiting us!   I was shocked, but then again, why not??!

Ingredients:

Nori sheets

Large can of tuna fish, packed in water preferably

mayonnaise, to your liking

2 celery stalks, chopped

lemon  juice of 1/2 lemon

1-2 carrots, julienne or thinly cut

1 – 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked

1 whole avocado, sliced

Tuna salad:

Mix tuna, celery, mayonnaise and lemon juice together.  Mix until it is all coated nicely with the mayo and has made a delicious tuna salad.

prep ingredients

Directions:

1.  Place nori sheet down on sushi rolling mat.  Add 1/4 cup brown rice and spread it across.  Make note that the rice isnt supposed to cover the entire sheet of nori, like typical sushi does.

2. At the end of the nori sheet, add some tuna salad along the edge.  Top it with some carrot, followed by 2-3 slices of avocado.  Roll the sushi the best way you know how.  Confession:  The first time I made sushi, I used a youtube video as a guide 😉 have no shame!

"Let's rock into a roll!"

“Let’s rock into a roll!”

3.  Use a sharp knife to cut the roll in half.  Add a side of soy sauce, wasabi, sweet chilli, whatever you like and…

4.  Stuff your face.

finished roll

I found that 3-4 halves was enough for me as a meal.

Tasty tips:

  • I used brown rice because it is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to white rice.  
  • Dont have brown rice? Use your favorite grain or plant seed.  I think next time I will use quinoa!
  • Get creative and use other veggies such as cucumber, peppers, even sweet potato!
  • I would eat them within two days of making them.  So feel free to make a little extra and take to lunch the next day.  Just remember to store them in the fridge.
  • Don’t have access to a sushi rolling mat? Try wrapping a thin magazine with plastic wrap.  Place the nori sheet right on the magazine, place ingredients on the nori sheet and roll away.

Challenge yourself and try making some of your favorite sushi rolls, or even some of these rolls:

sushi roll

sushi-hand-roll-i-12

Fun Fact: I can easily (and happily) eat this entire tray all by myself…

Hello, lover!

Hello, lover!

Yuuummmm! Enjoy!

“I get by with a little help of my friends”…African Chicken Stew

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I am currently obsessed with Instagram.  Partly because it’s the only social media that works on my phone at the moment, but mostly because it is loaded with health and fitness minded individuals that are also creative and super dedicated to their lifestyle.  It’s become a huge motivator for me and I am inspired everyday by these wonderful people.  I highly suggest you create an environment that is filled with people who share the same lifestyle you have or are working towards having.

So, this blog post  is about a recipe posted by one of the Instagram profiles I follow:  food4health.  He posted about an “African Peanut Chicken Stew” which I have been trying to make for weeks!  The time has come and I am finding myself wishing I would have made it sooner.  I changed just a few things from the original recipe and it still came out BANGING! MMMM!

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What I love about this recipe is that it is made with clean, whole foods.  The sauce is full of antioxidants and immune system boosting ingredients.  It tastes phenomenal and is also gluten and dairy free!  Omit chicken and replace it with a non animal protein source and you have yourself a vegan meal!  I’m thinking tofu and chickpeas would do the trick.

I have used quinoa as my “starch” for this meal.  Remember, quinoa is not a grain, it is a plant seed.  Click on the link and read all about why it’s so good for you on a past blog post.

Yields:  4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup dry, roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup reduced sodium vegetable stock

Juice of half a lemon

1 cup chopped tomatoes

leaves of 5 coriander/cilantro sprigs

2 cloves garlic

1/2 large onion or 1 small onion

thumb size fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

1 cup quinoa, dry OR 1 cup brown rice, dry

1 small broccoli head, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

Directions:

1.  Add 1 cup dry quinoa OR brown rice to 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on a low flame/setting for ~20 minutes  for quinoa or ~40 minutes for brown rice (or until all water is absorbed for both).  Fluff with fork and let stand until ready to serve.

Quinoa

Quinoa

2.  Meanwhile, throw in first 12 ingredients in a blender.  Blend until you have a smooth sauce, consistency of a smooth paste/thick sauce.  Now is a good time to taste test and determine if it needs more salt, ginger, garlic, spices, etc… to meet your liking.

blender

paste

3.  Add diced chicken in a deep pan (I used an electric fry pan) and the blended sauce.  Cook on a medium to medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through ~15 minutes.  (I added an extra pinch of salt at the last stage of cooking, since I didn’t add more after my taste test.)

warning: may experience salivating at this point

warning: you may be salivating at this point

4.  Steam veggies to your desired consistency.

5.  Serve it up on a plate all nice and pretty and gobble it up.

ta-da!

ta-da!

Remember:  If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.  Here are two lunches for tomorrow-score!

I can't wait to eat you tomorrow!

I can’t wait to eat you tomorrow!

Again, this recipe is made with clean, whole foods.  No artificial ingredients or additives.  This is clean eating at its finest and your taste buds would be non the wiser.  Go ahead- challenge your taste buds.  They wouldn’t know the difference between this meal and a meal from the “curry in a hurry” shop, but I bet you your stomach and butt would 😉

EAT CLEAN! TRAIN MEAN! LIVE LEAN!

Too good to be true Creamsicles

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“My mind is telling me nooooooo…but my body-my body is telling me yessssss”  (I secretly believe R. Kelly was singing about these creamiscles that I coincidentally stumbled upon myself a few days ago).

My husband is doing a 12 week super clean and lean diet plan and is doing remarkably well.  His willpower is so inspiring!! Anyway, I’m trying to find clean, wholesome recipes for sauces and “treats” so his meals aren’t too bland and boring.  I decided to make protein and yogurt based popsicles using mangoes, yogurt, milk and vanilla protein powder.  They are deeee-licous!  I like to consider this treat a “guilty free, healthy frozen threat”.  Your mind won’t know what to think but your body is screaming “gimme that creamsicle”  and in this case, you should listen and obey!

Yield (using Chobani popsicle molds):  12 popsicles

Ingredients:

3/4 cup or 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (I highly recommend Chobani Greek yogurt)

2 scoops Vanilla protein powder

***If you only have a non-flavored protein powder, use vanilla greek yogurt instead.

3/4 cup milk

2 ripened mangoes, chopped OR use any fruit you like

See Mango Madness for tips on how to chop a mango.

Directions:

1.  Put all ingredients in a blender.

2.  Blend into oblivion.  Ideally, you want the consistency of a really thick shake.

3.  Carefully pour the mixture into the popsicle molds and stick in the freezer for ~6 hours.

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4.  When its time to enjoy, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds to loosen it up a bit.

THE RECIPE WOULDN’T BE OFFICIAL UNTIL IT WAS “DORA APPROVED- 2 TALONS UP”

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Feel like having seconds? Go for it! James sure as heck did 😉

Enjoy!!!

Mango Madness

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It is finally mango season in Australia.  We want to start incorporating mango salsa into our meals for a nice, clean and delicious addition with lots of flavor (and may I add that there is something about pulling over the side of the road to purchase some newly ripened mangoes from a fruit stand that make them that much tastier!)

So far we have had our mango salsa on grilled chicken breast with coconut rice, as well as crispy skinned salmon.  I hear it goes well with other types of fish and even Mexican style cuisine, such as Fish/ Shrimp Tacos.

I’m sure there are different recipes out there for a mango salsa.  The one I am providing is super simple, yet has lots of flavor.  Feel free to experiment with other ingredients you think may add to the recipe…and please share them with us!

Shell’s Mango Salsa

Serving size: 2 (its okay to be greedy with this one 🙂 )

2 fully ripened mangoes

1 cup chopped cucumber, skin peeled off (unless it is a continental cucumber, then you can leave the skin on)

3 TBSP freshly chopped coriander/cilantro

juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

(optional) 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

To chop the mango, I found that cutting along the sides and scoring them like a grid was the easiest.  Then take a knife and carefully slice along the skin and underneath the flesh.

Score the Mango like a grid, careful not to pierce through the skin

  • Add all ingredients together, toss with the fresh lime juice, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!  (for a spicy kick, add a few shakes of tabasco sauce)

    mango salsa with crispy skinned salmon and rice noodles