I made this yesterday and it is delicious. Great for a rainy day. Not too spicy with tons of flavor. Healthy and easy. I prefer to pre-cook the chicken before putting it in the crockpot but you can put it in raw. For a thicker chili, start with half the amount of broth (2 cups) and add more at the end if the chili is too thick for your liking.
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 to 3 breasts)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, such as white kidney beans, cannellini, or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern)
  • 2 (4.5-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • For serving (the toppings add important flavor, so LOAD IT UP!): diced jalapeno, diced avocado, nonfat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips
  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with the chicken broth, white beans, green chiles, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate. Once cool enough to handle, shred and set aside.
  2. With an immersion blender, puree a portion of the chili to thicken it, leaving some of the beans whole. (You can also transfer a few ladlefuls of the chili to a food processor and roughly blend, then stir the blended portion back into the chili.) Stir in the shredded chicken and cilantro. Portion into bowls and top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add any other desired toppings and enjoy.

Before you retire the grill for the season try this! Chicken tossed with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. Pack it into foil and toss it on the grill. It's a no mess dinner. You probably won't have leftovers - but it's even better the next day. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed
  •  2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks (: Make sure to dice potatoes no larger than directed, as they should cook through in the same amount 
of time as the chicken.)
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 
cut into 1-inch pieces

Preparation:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, milk, vinegar, 2 tbsp cilantro, honey, lime juice, ginger, soy sauce, pepper flakes and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Cut 4 12 x 16-inch pieces of foil and mist with cooking spray. Divide green beans, potatoes and onion evenly into the center of each piece of foil. Divide chicken and peanut butter mixture between foil pieces, over top vegetables. Bring the short edges of the foil together, then fold inward a few times along each long edge to seal.
  4. Place foil packets directly on the grill or on a large, rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Grill or bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. (NOTE: Carefully open a single packet to check, then reseal if needed.) Transfer contents of packets to serving bowls and garnish with additional cilantro.

 

Foundation:

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - $64

It's quite simply life changing. The formula is creamy, light, and most importantly, buildable. This is the reason you'll find it in every makeup artist's kit and why many a beauty editor will tell you it's her holy grail foundation. 

Fluid Base:

Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base - $48

A lightweight, luminous fluid base that gives the skin a gentle fresh shimmer and sheer dewy finish. I mix this with my foundation but you can use it alone or in spots you want to highlight like cheekbones or brow bone. You only need a pump or two. It only comes in one color and complements any skin tone. Fabulous.

Blush:

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm - $24.

Creamy, mistake-proof cheek color creates a healthy-looking glow in an instant. Oil-free. Gives a natural glow and lasts all day. Great for travel.

Lash Primer: 

Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple Volume Plumping Lash Primer - $29.50.

A lash primer with an air-pumped texture that coats each lash with a dense, lightweight layer to intensify the effects of the mascara. I don't use this every day - just for special occasions. Enriched with Pure WhiteTM complex, this revitalizing oil serum concentrate improves thickness, curl, and the look of lashes for ever-increasing results, application after application. Used at the Dior runway shows.

Mascara:

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill - $32

Armani again! This mascara is fantastic. People think I'm wearing false eyelashes when I'm wearing this. Create a visually intense and high-impact look with this award-winning all-in-one mascara. The oversized patented brush features a bristle weave design that provides volume, length and definition in a single coat, while the specially formulated blend of hard and soft waxes leaves lashes amplified, yet flexible.

Lipgloss:

Buxom Full On Plumping Lip Polish - $21.

The vast number of shades are named after women - Hannah, Dolly, Dani, Julie, Melissa - there's even a Karen. Currently, I am using Dani. This bestselling lip gloss delivers mesmerizing shine with a refreshing, tingly sensation. A unique peptide complex helps to create a voluminous lip look, while vitamins A and E provide lasting moisture for soft and luscious lips. 

Hair Shine Spray:

Drybar Sparkling Soda Shine Mist - $28. 

I would use this for the smell alone - it's that yummy. The Blanc scent has notes of coconut, amber, and vanilla. But thankfully it also instantly creates a high-gloss finish while taming frizz and flyaways. It imparts softness and sheen without weighing hair down. Great for all hair types including keratin- and color-treated hair. Mandarin peel reflects light evenly for a natural frizz-free shine, marigold flower extract creates long-lasting shine without weighing hair down, and camelina oil adds hydration and boosts elasticity. 


 

 

Plaid, Tweeds & Checks:

Prince of Wales or tartan checks in all their many forms are key for the new season. Americana-inspired plaid stood out at Calvin Klein.  Versace's approach had a 90s-inspired Cher Horowitz "Clueless" feel. Subdued or technicolor - it's all on trend.

Animal Prints:

Forget any trashy preconceptions you had about animal print - zebra and leopard are back in a big way for winter 2018, as seen on the catwalks of Victoria Beckham, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Balenciaga and Tom Ford. Keep the rest of your outfit pared-down. Python, zebra, cheetah, croc and more animal prints roamed free and wild across the catwalk shows this season. 

Satin & Silk: 

Sometimes it feels like the nineties never left. It’s no wonder why the 1990’s are having yet another moment in the world of fashion with the return of the slip dress. I like slip dresses for their easy silhouette, silken fabric and incredible finishes.  Pair with a tweed coat or a casual shirt tied around the waist to make it look sophisticated in real life, without looking like you are wearing a nightgown.

 

Metallics:

There are countless ways to make glittering and shiny metallics look great on you, but you have to keep one thing in mind: do not go overboard. Start with metallic shoes, nail posh, shiny clutches, etc. A shiny metallic clothing piece will underline your individuality. You can go for a metallic top, cropped pants, midi skirt or mini skirt. 

Belt Bags(!):

While the fanny pack has been showing up all over the place for well over the past year, the trend also dominated Fall 2018 runways like Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Gucci, and beyond, making it clear the belt bag isn't going anywhere just yet.

 

This recipe is super complicated and time consuming....NOT! It's so easy and everyone loves it. I'm a latecomer to the Crockpot Party but I love mine now. I've served this at a dinner party and everyone wanted the "recipe" haha.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)
  • 2 jars Donkey salsa (one mild, one hot - they don't make medium)
  • (optional: fresh lime wedges, avocado, cotija cheese)

I like to par-grill the chicken before putting it into the crockpot to get out some of the juices. But you can put the chicken in raw if you want to save time. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker and cover with salsa. Toss until the chicken is covered. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours), or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker and toss with the remaining salsa and juices until well-mixed. (This chicken also freezes well.) Serve with flour or corn tortillas. 

 

Avocado and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Have you ever paired sunflower seeds with avocado? Delicious! This recipe is so fresh and easy.

  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower kernels 
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped cilantro 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Put everything in a bowl and toss until well combined.

Planking

July 24, 2018

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Want a solid, strong core? Of course you do! Then think about adding a planking routine to your workouts. I noticed a significant difference in my core strength when I added a plank to every workout - currently up to 4 minutes extended arm. My next goal is to incorporate a weighted vest for part or all of the time. I wanted to find out why this simple exercise is so effective so I went to fitness professional (and one of my all time fave Elite Instructors at Lifetime Athletic), Missy Vacala. 

Which muscles does a plank work?

When planking first became popular (1994), there was a rush of new exercises in the fitness industry that didn't require fitness equipment. Even though push-ups have been around for decades, the plank (named after the mimicking of a wooden plank) is fairly new. There are many benefits to practicing a plank position every day. Here are five that I feel are the most important: Strengthens the core safely, improves posture, helps reduce back pain, increases agility/balanced coordination and, my personal favorite, planking helps keep us light on our feet! By strengthening the core we become more efficient at moving in and outside of the gym. The incidence of becoming injured from losing our balance or falling greatly decreases.

Can planking give you a six pack?

This is a very popular question! Everyone wants a six-pack! However, similarly to doing crunches, planking alone will not give you the look of toned abdominals. But when performed in combination with a healthy diet, cardiovascular workouts and a full-body strength training regimen, planks can help you develop definition in your core area.

Which type of plank is harder - straight arm or elbows?

When performing a plank, a great way to start is on your forearms and knees. There are many ways to progress as you get stronger and your stamina increases. Side planking is one way; where you turn to the side with one leg stacked on the other and one hand supporting. Another would be lifting one foot off the ground in a traditional plank position.

How long does it take to see results when a regular planking routine is started? Is it ideal to do this exercise every day? 

By increasing the amount of time you are in the plank position you will become stronger and increase your endurance. A great way to start is on your forearms and knees for :15. If you need a break, don't sweat it! Relax for a couple of seconds and then proceed. Try every day! Planking is an exercise you will be fine training daily. After a few days increase by :15-:30. After a week or so, try progressing to your forearms and feet. Eventually you can work your way up to planking on your hands and feet for one minute. Make that your goal!

How important is form when holding a plank? And will good form help me get results quicker?

Keeping your plank form in check is pinnacle to achieving your desired results. First and foremost you want to brace your abs and tighten your glutes. Whether you are on your forearms or hands, your toes and elbows should be pointing toward each other (inward to the center of your body). Work on creating energy and strength across your chest and back while maintaining a lengthened spine. You can achieve your desired plank goals quicker by adhering to proper plank form!

Can you hold a plank for TOO long?

Honestly, I don't feel you can hold a plank too long but there are some risks to holding over five minutes especially if you are not yet conditioned. It is true that the joints are challenged in a way that may not be the best fit for a fitness amateur. But I feel that working the plank in combination with a well-rounded fitness plan, three minutes is a perfectly healthy goal to work towards.

 

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Missy has been in the fitness industry for over twenty-five years and is a certified Health Coach, Wellness Expert, Elite Instructor and Trainer at Lifetime Athletic and Choreographer and Instructor for WERQdancefitness. Follow her on Instagram @missyvacala

 

 

This coconut curry has broccoli and chickpeas and a creamy coconut curry sauce that comes together super fast. Add cubed firm tofu or chicken if you like!

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 small heads broccoli
  • 1 green pepper chopped 
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • optional: minced garlic 
  • As is this isn't very spicy. I like to add red chili oil or cayenne pepper to pump it up.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Saute broccoli, pepper, onion (and garlic if you’re using it) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools.
  4. Serve over jasmine rice.

Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Some even claim these berries are natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, malaria or even fever. Considered both a fruit and an herb, goji berries are typically found in Asian (usually China) and European countries. Some claim this is the "fountain of youth" berry and also helps reduce cancer risk. While these claims are not backed by scientific research, these tiny berries ARE loaded with antioxidants. As a plus, goji berries are low in calories, fat-free and are packed with fiber.

Goji berries have a natural tinge of sweetness with a very slight herb-like aftertaste.
You can eat them raw or soak them in hot water before munching. Others prefer adding goji berries to trail mixes, smoothies or as a garnish on cereals, salads or yogurts. Basically, goji berries can be baked, cooked, steamed, and processed in any way after they are washed.

You can buy the whole berries but I prefer goji berries in powder form, sold in bags at Whole Foods and online at Amazon (less expensive) under the brand name Navitas. It is easy to dissolve the powder in water or add to juice or smoothies. 


Healthy, Glowing Skin?
Similar to the benefits you get from eating other berries, goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and fruits) which helps promote healthy skin.

Protect Your Health ... All Over Your Body
Goji berries have also been known to help boost the immune system and protect the eyes. And like other berries, goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and can reduce tough cold symptoms.

Packed With Antioxidants
Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants because of their oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value. An ORAC value indicates a food's antioxidant power on a relative scale.

 

Have a juicer? If not - get one! They are so great for making healthy fresh juices from leafy greens, cucumbers, lemons and fruit. 

Also - you can make these delicious cucumber margaritas with it.

2 parts white 100% agave tequila

2 parts triple sec

1 part fresh lime juice

Mix these ingredients together in a pitcher.

Garnish glass with pink sugar. Pour tequila mixture over ice and top off with fresh cucumber juice.