be a badass

How to poach eggs

poached eggs on toast I love poached eggs. For a long time the only time I’d get them was as a special treat at a brunch restaurant (full disclosure – with hollandaise sauce as part of Eggs Benedict!) – frankly, I was scared of trying to make them at home. Something about the boiling water and getting the eggs just right (cooked whites, yolks runny) had me thinking this was harder than quantum physics.

Then a friend posted a picture of her poached egg breakfast. And I thought about the health benefits of eggs (too numerous to count) and the fact that if I figured out how to poach them, I could eat them with no added fat for the pan.

So I figured it out. There might be more niceties – people tell me adding vinegar to the pan will help with the setting of the white, or swirling the water into a whirlpool will make the egg a pretty shape – but the basics are pretty basic. Get a hold of fresh-from-the-farm eggs, find a good skillet, and experiment with the timing so you get it perfect for you! Check out this Tasty Thursday video for a tutorial . . . 

POACHED EGGS – technique. (ingredients? Eggs and water. Or salsa or spaghetti sauce. But we’ll stick with water here.)

  • Fill a small non-stick skillet about an inch deep with water and bring to a good simmer.
  • Carefully crack eggs into a bowl, working to not break the yolk.
  • Slip the eggs into the simmering water. Cook until the white is just set and the yolk is still runny, maybe about 3 minutes (? I have never timed it.) The yolk will have a thin film over it, and the whites will white through, not opaque – you can also slip a spatula underneath and lift the egg up as a unit.
  • CAREFULLY pour the water out of the pan. I use a slotted spoon to hold the eggs in place, then to kind of slip the eggs (one at a time) out of the pan – this way most of the excess water drains away.
  • Amazing served on fresh homemade ww toast – no butter needed at all. Yum.

 

Make ahead lunch salads

IMG_5394 I don’t know about you, but every now and then I see these pictures on my Facebook feeds of these jars filled to the brim with pretty layers of salad. It made me think about how easy it is to make a bunch of salad ahead of time,  and then be ready at a second’s notice to grab a healthy lunch and go right out the door. So this week's video is inspired by those Facebook posts!

Two tricks:

1)   Do NOT for the love of anything you care for use a quart-sized jar. You would be eating salad for the rest of your life, just out of that one jar. You have to cram in the ingredients so they stay put, and you’d be surprised at just how much salad you can stuff into a pint jar, let alone one twice as large.

2)   Dressing first. Leafy greens last. This can’t be emphasized enough, especially when you go to eat your lunch on Friday. Wilted greens that have sat in dressing for a week? YUCK.

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Ingredients:

  • Whatever you have in your fridge. Really. I go for some combo of colorful, textured, veggies, protein, and then leafy greens. Maybe cheese? Nuts? Dressing is required, but this can be (also) whatever you have in your fridge. Make your own!

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Technique:

  • Get 5 containers. These can be pint jars (wide mouth is easiest!), or leftover ice cream jars. Or plastic containers. Those rectangular pyrex containers do NOT work very well. You’re looking for a container (5) that has more vertical volume than horizontal.
  • Put 2 TBS (maybe a smidge more, if you need to – but try it with less!) in the bottom of each container.
  • Add layers of ingredients, leaving the lettuce/leafy green for LAST. I try to put the stuff that works well marinated in the bottom – tofu or jicama or cucumber and then layer from there.
  • Last stuff as much lettuce as you can cram in there (I push it in with both hands and then quickly cap it, like trying to close an over-stuffed suitcase)
  • Fridge it.
  • Grab and go! I love pouring my salad onto a plate – it looks so cool and the lettuce is on the bottom and the dressing on top . . . mmm.
  • Crunchy, beautiful, healthy, delicious . . . GO FOR IT!

Healthy lunch that saves you money, looks gorgeous, and makes you feel accomplished? Badass. Be a badass. It's the small things!

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Butterflying Chicken Breasts

This is one of those cool kitchen tricks that makes me feel pretty badass. I love taking these misshapen lumps of chicken and with a little knife work and some well-placed whacks with a pounder (heck, a hammer would work if that’s what you have!) turning them into very passable chicken cutlets – for a fraction of the price.

And this recipe, which is kind of a master recipe for any kind of chicken dish like this (vary the ingredients!) is so easy and fast and delicious . . . Watch the video here! 

To butterfly chicken breasts:

Place breast on a cutting board. Using a SHARP knife, slice the thing horizontally in half. Don’t worry if you aren’t precise. 

Pound it evenly flat. The fatter end will need more pounding than the other end. To minimize splatter, you can do this within a Ziploc bag.

 

BASIC RECIPE:

  • Flattened chicken breasts
  • ½ c flour
  • salt and pepper, maybe some dried tarragon or oregano
  • vegetable oil for sautéing (or olive oil)
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 onion, chopped up pretty fine
  • 3 cloves garlic (or more) minced or pressed
  • ½ c white wine (optional – you can definitely sub more chicken stock or water)
  • ½ c low sodium chicken stock
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • chopped parsley and ½ sliced lemon (for garnish)
  • 1 TBS butter, optional, for finishing the sauce . . .
  • ADDERS: 1 bunch kale or spinach, chopped up. Leftover tomatoes, roasted or plain. Zucchini. Red peppers. Use your imagination and what’s in your fridge!

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Season the flour with salt and pepper (and dried seasonings, if using). Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour on both sides.
  • Heat the oil in a pan
  • Saute the chicken breasts, in batches, on both sides until golden brown (maybe 4 minutes a side) Remove from pan to a plate.
  • In the same pan (don’t clean it!), add a tsp more of oil, then add the onions and the mushrooms. Cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have begun to exude their liquid.
  • Stir in the garlic and sauté until it starts to smell good, about 30 seconds or so.
  • Add in the wine and chicken stock and stir up any browned bits
  • (if you are using any optional stuff, add it in here and cook for  a few minutes)
  • Put the chicken breasts back on top and cover. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, lemon slices, and parsley. Stir in the butter if using.

SO AMAZING over rice, pasta, spaghetti squash, or quinoa . . .

Week recap!

I am loving my online accountability groups. The ones I’m in for coaching, the ones I’m running for my customers. The ones other people invited me to. I get a kick out of being motivated and pushed to do better, in whatever capability it is.

A friend invited me to take part in the  Move, Nourish, Believe challenge for the month of February. This involves daily (weekday, as far as I can tell) assignments, with an associated picture and post to be done, with certain hashtags or @links. So far so good – and I need to recap last week.

1)   Monday we needed to do a workout. Fine. I was on the last few days of the Ultimate Reset, so I did a Tai Cheng gentle stretching video and posted this picture.

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2)   Tuesday was to sweat in a new way, with the emphasis on a workout from the website. So I picked one (Summer Travel) and did my exercises. Mixing things up is always a good idea! (and yes, I did Tai Cheng as well) Image

3)   Wednesday we were to plank for 5 minutes. Yes, spread out if we needed to. I banged out my 5 minute plank in one-minute increments. Ow.

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4)   Thursday we sweated with a friend. Since I do weekly Fit Club meetings on Thursdays, this was a piece of cake.Image

5)   Friday. Well. Geez. I forgot to post a pic on Friday, thinking it was only the blog post recapping our week. I’ll do that now.

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I love mixing it up. This challenge is a ton of fun to follow the hashtags, and to connect with other people doing the same kind of thing for our bodies. You can join in the mix too! Just let me know - follow me on IG (@nicawaters) and we'll go from there!