Monday, March 31, 2014

Back Home Again... AND BIG NEWS...

This last weekend, the hubby and I, along with a couple of seriously great friends (who else would help you move across states?) headed to San Diego to pack up Shiloh and bring her back home. The previous weekend, her husband deployed and so she spent the last several days finishing up the packing and organizing storage vs "going with". Even with all the work, it was a great weekend. We all arrived safely back home and Shi is getting settled while Sadie is reveling in playing with "her" puppy, Bear. Lol.

Personally, I'm also grateful to be home again as I struggle enormously with my asthma in San Diego. No fun.

Once again, there are boxes everywhere, but I think we can get it all unpacked and sorted this week (oh please!). Thankfully, Shi and Jared are able to Skype often, which means we get to say hi on occasion, too ;-) It will take a bit of time, but I'm confident we'll all make the transition, and the best of it. For me, it's nice to have my girl back home, and it solves another struggle for me as she can drive her hubby's truck while Bethany inherits Shi's car. Which means I actually get to have a car again! Yay!

This is especially important as I begin my prep for figure. Gotta have that car, lol. ;-)

I'm meeting with Kayla today for a strategy session to map out the next few months. A lot depends on the doctor appt tomorrow... if all goes well, this #@#$% cast will be removed. Cross your fingers!

In other news, and I mean BIG NEWS... I've got something spectacularly awesome coming for YOU!!! And it's FREE. I cannot wait to share!!! :-)  I've just got a couple final little details, then I'll do the great unveil! Woooohoooo!!!!  Check back often this week, as I'll be announcing it soon!!  :-)

Happy Monday!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - An update to a classic!

I came across a recipe a couple weeks ago, I think it was on Pinterest, and I saved it for experimentation. On the surface, it looked like a simple updated classic and I was intrigued. I gathered my ingredients and set out to do something that's nearly impossible for me... follow someone else's recipe, lol. I did. And when I was done cooking I'd already come up with several ways to make the process faster, lol. Taste testing ensued and while the finished product is sufficiently cheesy to make it feel like a treat, the flavors were, well, bland. No disrespect intended, but around here flavors are required to be bold. We tossed on some hot sauce and ate while I mulled over the tweaks I'd incorporate.

And tweak, I did (tweak not twirk, mind you, lol). Below is the recipe updated to my full-flavor and time-saving specs ;-) but you can find the original right here. She's got some really great and fun looking recipes and I encourage you to explore her site. With my changes, this tasty recipe fits into my early competition prep diet and busy schedule. If you're in a later (cutting) phase, just bookmark this one for later because trust me, you're going to enjoy it! My husband has a strong dislike of quinoa, and he LOVED this!

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
yield 8 servings
photo source:

On your food prep day, prepare... (recipes are linked)

Gather these prepped items and store together in your fridge until you're ready to make the casserole.

Ready to cook? Now that you've got the key ingredients ready, this comes together in a snap!

previously prepared:
   Diced, cooked Buttermilk chicken
   2 cups cooked quinoa
   1 head chopped broccoli in steamer bag
Cooking spray oil, olive oil
1/3 cup Panko, Gluten-Free
1/4 tsp sea-salt
1/4 tsp Pepper, White
1/2 tsp Paprika, Smoked (you won't get the same flavor if you use regular paprika, get the smoked)
sprinkle up to 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper-Ground depending on your heat tolerance
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp Multipurpose Flour, Gluten Free
2 cups milk, 2% (note: unsweetened plain almond milk can be subbed)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup plain 0% Greek Yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with spray oil (or use a deep, large cast iron skillet, no spray oil)
Steam broccoli lightly, about 1.5-2 minutes (you want it softened but not mushy)
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat (if you're using a cast iron skillet, this will be the same one to go in the oven, so be sure it's large and deep)
Whisk in gluten free flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. It'll be clumpy.
Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes
Stir in broccoli, quinoa, chicken, 1 cup cheese, sea-salt, white pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and greek yogurt
Spread mixture into prepared baking dish (or if using cast iron, skip to next step)
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and gluten free panko crumbs
Place in oven and bake until heated through and cheese is melted. Panko should become lightly golden.

per serving: 403 calories, 33 grams protein, 28 grams carbs, 18 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 376 mg sodium. Net carbs 24 grams.
photo source:

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Monday, March 24, 2014

I Have An Announcement...

I am crazy.

Yep. Want to know why? hold on, let me take a deep breath before I say this out loud.  Ok. Here we go...

I'm competing again!! Woooohooo!!!

Why does this mean I'm crazy? Oh, let me count the ways... I have a broken arm. I have arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis.  I've had my knee and elbow both operated on, and my AC joint is separated (shoulder). Also... I'm 43, have a kid at home, an extra large dog (who is responsible for my broken arm, lol), one of my other daughters is moving back home this weekend (her husband deployed), with her puppy, I'm crazy busy with, my husband is crazy busy with his business, we're still working on the house... and I'm not training for one show... I'm hoping to hit three all within a 1 month period. The first show is August 2nd, second show is August 23rd, and the last is September 5,6. So, yeah. I think I qualify for the butterfly net. ;-)

As soon as my cast comes off next week (knock on wood), I begin competition prep!! My coach is great and really believes in me and my ability to travel this road. I'm excited to work with her. It'll be a whole new experience - a different approach to training and nutrition than what I did before. It's so interesting all the different methods, and I'm thrilled that she and I are on the same page when it comes to things like water intake during the final prep and show.

I've shared before how much having the right coach matters in prep... Tabitha was wonderful and went above and beyond to help me get to stage (and place!). I still miss her coaching and hope to see her back training people again someday, but she's enjoying her career outside of fitness (IT) and doing great. I am more grateful than words can express to have connected with Kayla. I'm looking forward to the journey.

And I'm not gonna lie... I'm also scared spitless. Lol!

So..... competition prep here I come!! (gulp!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - A Taste of Spring...

One of the challenges athletes on restricted diets face is party food. Spring is full of gatherings, dishing up a variety of fun and tasty treats that we typically can't touch. But... here is a recipe you can not only bring to the party (and watch it gobbled up), you can also enjoy it yourself! And, no one will know it's healthy ;-) I served it this weekend at a baby shower (co-ed) and it was raved over! Huge flavors are packed into the light dressing, and the chicken gives you the protein you need.

Balsamic and Berry Chicken Salad
serves 4 as a meal or divide into small cups for parties

2 heads Romaine lettuce
3 cups Spring lettuce mix
2 cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 lb grilled or baked boneless, skinless chicken breast*
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbps raw pecans, chopped

*Grill or bake chicken breast. Season with olive oil and non-salt seasoning (I prefer either Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb or Penzey's Mural of Flavor seasoning). Allow to cool, then chop into small pieces. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the romaine and spring mix. Add strawberries, celery, and chives. Set aside.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, honey, vinegar, and pepper; cook for about 15 seconds. Stir until heated through.

Divide salad mix between 4 plates.  Top with chicken. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle pecans over the top and serve immediately.

based on 4 servings, per serving:  323 calories, 30 grams protein, 39 grams carbs, 8 grams fat, 10 grams fiber. Net 29 grams carbs.

*recipe adapted from Soups, Salads, & One-Dish Meals.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Adjusting to life with a cast...

If you're connected to me on Facebook, you know that last Wednesday was not a fun day for me. I showed up for my active metabolic assessment only to learn that I was supposed to be fasted... didn't know that. Drat.

Rescheduled for later in the day then went home to work (and be hungry, lol). At one pm I was back and ready to go. Went through the whole test, was red faced, sweating like a pig and puffing on my inhaler, then the guy informed me that the test didn't read my data. Arghhhh!! We rescheduled, again, and I dashed home to clean up before my doctor appointment.

My wrist has steadily gotten worse and frankly, I got tired of hearing my hubby ask, "shouldn't you see the doctor for that?", so I finally made an appointment. I arrive at the doctor's office and am ushered to a room to wait. When he finally came in, he poked and prodded then sent me down the hall for x-rays.


Who gets the idiot award??? ME!! I've been running around for three months with a broken wrist, BROKEN. Ugh! I've been working, cooking, lifting weights, etc... with a busted Ulna. Way to go, Chelle. So I am now safely ensconced in a cast. And hating it. Lol. If you know me at all, you know that I am fiercely independent. A broken wrist and independence are not mutually compatible.

I'm having to not only accept help, but ask for it, too. Oy! My daughter helped me the first couple days get it wrapped so I could take a shower... that's an adventure, lol. By the way, grocery bags are a bad choice. Lesson learned, lol.
I finally broke down and ordered a waterproof sleeve but that was a mess of it's own as it was so tight around the cuff that I couldn't get it on or off by myself. Then I had the brilliant idea to cut it a bit... worked like a charm until this morning when I put it on all by myself... and tore it halfway down my  arm. Yeesh! So much for that!

Since I can't work in the kitchen, I've undertaken the daunting task of culling through my magazine collection... cutting out recipes and important articles then tossing the magazine. Sadie, however, had other ideas. She lays on my legs and bats the magazines out of my hand. Lol! It's been... fun. Hahaha.
I have managed, however, to make good progress and am down now to an enormous stack of Oxygen's and another of Food Network Magazines. I've been collecting magazines since 2008... Oxygen, Women's Health, Fitness RX, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Shape, Clean Eating, Food Network, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food & Wine, Living Without, various bodybuilding magazines, Taste of Home, and so on.

One thing I've learned in this process is that my list of real resources has narrowed over the years and I have a much smaller pool of magazines I'll be subscribing to in the future (to my husband's relief, lol). What publications made the cut? Oxygen and Clean Eating (of course, lol), Muscle & Fitness hers, and Food Network. I'll pick up others off the stand as they appeal to me.

I'm also scrambling to get ready for the baby shower this weekend, Thankfully I've got Bethany to help. My big job today (other than to finish the magazines) is to create a timeline and accompanying lists so we can get everything done. I'm very excited that my backsplash will be ready! Bill and Jordan have been hard at work, and now it's just awaiting grout and sealing! Isn't it pretty?! Wooohooo!!!

Oh, and that metabolic test? Boooo! Went back Friday to do it again, and same results. It just won't read my breath. Bummer.

This week, I've got two sessions with Kayla. I really am loving Pilates, though it's incredibly challenging for me. It's like relearning your body and movement. But it's terrific at creating balance and proper motion. I can already feel changes in the way I stand, walk, and move. I'm hooked! Lol!

Ok... It's now taken me longer than I want to admit to, to type this post, lol. I've got to get back to my tasks... and hopefully I won't wack myself in the head with the broom today. Oy!

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Stuffed Chicken Breasts

With a busted wing, I can't work in the kitchen very well. An arm cast and cooking don't mix. So, while I don't have a new recipe to share today, I do have a GREAT one I shared previously. Pounding the chicken takes a bit of time, but trust me, it's so worth it! Pair this recipe with steamed or roasted veggies, and a starchy carb if your diet allows, and you'll be well satisfied with this meal.

I'm not one to choose bland food - I can eat it if I have to, but given the choice, I'll play with the recipe until I get something with flavor. And if it looks good, that's bonus points. I'm also not one to enjoy cooking twice for the same meal, so creating recipes that please my family and fit with my training diet is essential not only to my taste buds, but also to my sanity.

This Stuffed Chicken recipe hits all the notes. It's "cheesy", full of flavor, moist, and has a crunchy coating. And... it's training friendly. And my non-training-diet-eating-family love it! Best of all, it's super easy to put together and pounding the bajeebers out of the chicken breasts is highly therapeutic. ;-)  Enjoy!

Chelle's Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Red Pepper
serves 1 (increase the recipe as needed, the leftovers are great, too!)

1 chicken breast, skinless, boneless, raw (about 6 oz)
1/2 a roasted red pepper*
2 slices Ultra Thin Provolone
2 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
Mrs Dash Italian
1 tsp ground flax seed
Spray oil

*If you don't know how to roast a red pepper, pick up a jar of them from your local grocer. Be sure they're packed in water (not oil).

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a glass baking dish with oil.
  • Place trimmed chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Using a meat mallet (or whatever is handy), flatten the breast to about 1/4 inch thick. Remove plastic.
  • Spread cream cheese across the inside of the breast. 
  • Layer the two slices of ultra-thin cut provolone, then roasted red pepper. 
  • Sprinkle with Mrs Dash Italian Blend.
  • Beginning at the smallest end, roll the breast up, tucking the peppers in as needed. 
  • Secure roll with toothpicks.
  • Place chicken roll on baking sheet. 
  • Spray top of chicken with cooking oil, then sprinkle with the ground flax and more Mrs Dash.
  • Bake at 375 until cooked through (about 40 minutes) or until internal cooking thermometer shows done.
  • Serve.

Per serving: 328 calories, 46 grams protein, 6 grams carbs, 11 grams fat, 2 grams fiber. 4 grams net carbs.

Click on images to view larger...

Originally posted March 19, 2013. View Here

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Week, Fresh Start...

After getting my ass handed to me via Pilates and health screening, this week saw me putting in a concerted effort to getting back on track. Using my incredible new kitchen (yay!), the Counter of Chaos™ was back in action! I whipped up 5 batches of Sadie's food, a batch of my Power protein & veggie mix, two sets of egg muffins (one for Bill, one for me), a crockpot full of shredded beef, and a gazillion veggies. The fridges are packed and I'm right where I need to be. Well, almost. I still need to bump up my water intake, but the fact that I've had 2 meals and a snack already today is a HUGE victory! Wooohoo! And fyi... I've begun updating the Today's Cooler page again! Woot!!

It's a non-workout day as I'm doing my cortisol test, so I'm working away on the computer (and staring at my wood floors wondering if I can find an elf to clean them, nope, no such luck - guess that's up next). Tomorrow I have my active metabolic test... that should be fun, lol. Still not sure if I'll be doing it on the treadmill or the cycle. I hate the cycle. Really, strongly and fiercely. But... not sure if I can run for 30 minutes (darn knees). We'll see.

Then Wednesday I have my 3rd Pilates session (loving it!), Thursday is cardio and workout, then Friday is my 2nd personal training session with the fabulous Kayla. I'm still sore from last Friday, lol.

I'm detesting the brace I have to wear on my wrist, and will probably suck it up and head back to the doctor this week. When I take the brace off (have to in order to type), it feels like the bones are going in different directions. That's probably not a good thing, ya think? ;-) The good news is my knees feel pretty good, and other than one exercise during Friday's workout my shoulder also feels good. I'll take it!

I managed to unpack all the books in the library. Mostly stacking them in piles, lol, because we're not ready to build the floor-to-ceiling bookcases yet, but at least the boxes are gone...

This whole hallway was packed tight with empty & broken down boxes. I'm not one who can just toss empty boxes around me, as I unpack each one I have to break it down flat then stack them neatly. Yes, I know, it's a sickness. But... they're out of the house!!! Also this weekend, Bill finished the closet built-ins. Guess that means I need to finish unpacking, eh? Lol. Lookin' a little scary in there! Maybe I'll even un-bury the bedroom! Maybe.

All right. I've typed a whole post, shared a bunch of photos, and still no elves have showed up to clean my floors. Guess I better hop to it! ;-)

Happy Monday!!