Slow Cooker Saturday – Chicken Minestrone Soup

Recipe source: http://www.thekitchn.com

Slow Cooker Hearty Chicken Minestrone

Serves 6 to 8

For the broth:

1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium leek, sliced into ½-inch rounds and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Pepper
1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

To finish:
1 cup whole-wheat pasta shells
1 bunch red Swiss chard
½ head green cabbage or 4 cups of shredded cabbage
1 medium zucchini
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

For the broth:
Place the chicken, leek, tomatoes and their juices, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt in the insert of a large slow cooker (at least 4 quarts). Season with pepper and add the broth and water. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Meanwhile, prep the other vegetables and cook the pasta.

To finish:
Cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water, then store in the refrigerator.

Remove the stems from the chard. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in a large bowl. Core the cabbage, thinly slice, and add to the bowl of chard. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Refrigerate until the broth is ready. (The pasta can be cooked and the vegetables prepared up to a day in advance.)

When the broth is ready, remove the chicken and bay leaf to a plate and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, add the bowl of vegetables to the broth and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker, turn the heat to high if not already on high, and cook until the greens are tender but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin, bones, and bay leaf. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Stir the garbanzos, chicken, and cooked pasta into the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

I LOVE minestrone soup, and I am always looking for ways to add protein – my demanding workouts basically demand it! How does this sound to you?

Fitness Friday – Help through the Holidays

Do you believe in strength in numbers?

Maybe some of you can relate to this… life feels super busy right now, I feel pulled in too many directions, and I know as we get closer to the holidays, that feeling will expand.

Personally, I am not willing to just roll over and let all my hard work with my health and fitness go to waste, though that would definitely be easier right now! But no, I refuse to do that, so I am brainstorming ways to help myself and anyone else interested in accountability during this crazy time period.

If I were to offer a 7 day wellness accountability group where I laid out about 20 minutes of at home workouts, some recipes, and tools to help you beat the plethora of sugar temptations, would you be interested?

Tis the Season!

christmas-lights-and-k

Feel Good Friday – Say No to Say Yes

Who doesn’t want to feel good? It’s easy to feel pulled in so many directions with the holidays, in addition to all the other happenings in life. One way to keep it in check is to learn to say NO!

You do not have to attend every party, every gathering, every gift exchange, every cookie swap, and everything else. Your time is not infinite. By saying no to something that doesn’t serve you, or that you don’t enjoy, you are able to say YES to something you DO enjoy!

And since the goal in life is to do more things you enjoy, this gets you closer to that.

Do things you enjoy; things that make you feel good!

yes-to-no

Thirsty Thursday – Good Old H20!

Oftentimes, in my groups or in conversation, I am asked what’s my favorite tip, or what piece could I not do this journey without, and truthfully, while I have learned a LOT of different key components, my number one has not changed – DRINK YOUR WATER!!! For such an easy, accessible component, it packs SUCH a punch in your journey to wellness!

Did you know that water makes up almost 85% of your brain, about 80% of your blood and an average 50% of your lean muscle? Water helps eliminate toxins from the body, is essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption, and basically plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, which is all the more reason to ensure you get your h20 in!

Aim for half your body weight in ounces – you can do it! The effects on your body are SO worth getting into the habit!

drink-your-water-you

Whole Foods Wednesday – Leeks

Leeks! Who loves ’em? MEEEEEE.

This is once again, as a result of my husband finding ways to prepare things that previously did not appeal to me – I don’t actually know why Leeks were unappealing to me, but they were. So he made them in a BLT Mac and Cheese, and they were SO good, so now I am sold!

They are sturdy veggies that remain to be harvested, making them a great option for Fall meals!

Who’s a fan? Do you have any good recipes including leeks?

leeks

Transformation Tuesday – Country Heat Round 1

After 2 back to back rounds of Hammer & Chisel, I needed a break, and I knew it! So I looked to the newly released Country Heat!

Yesterday, my Challenge Group kicked off a round of Country Heat. For me, it is the second round.. I completed round one towards the end of the summer. I LOVED this program – I was honestly surprised because while some of it is fun, most country music doesn’t do it for me (though as I stated, there ARE exceptions), and I wasn’t really sure if I would hive with honky tonk dancin’, you know?

But in the true nature of being an adventurous spirit who will try anything once, plus the incredible BUZZ surrounding this program at Coach Summit, I decided that yes, I would do at least one round. To be able to say I did. To be able to speak from experience when people ask me about it. I believe in being 100% authentic, and I only ever speak to my experiences with products and programs and the likes.

So I went in skeptical, I will admit, but I came out completely sold, and ready for another round! Autumn and I had a few tiffs during our 21 Day Fix/Hammer & Chisel Days (girl is effective, but she is also NONSTOP haha), and this program showed me a different side of her, one I enjoyed – she seemed more into having fun here, whereas with 21 Day Fix and Hammer & Chisel she was ALL business.

I had a rough summer, so much of my lean progress from my rounds of Hammer & Chisel had a little bit more padding, and after Country Heat not only did my core feel much stronger, but I noticed more definition and abs even made a cameo!

But more importantly (in my personal opinion) than abs and definition are how I felt – confident, challenged but capable (a few of the moves required a little practice for me to master, because while I love dancing, its typically freestyle dancing to jam band music, not choreographed stuff – but all of the moves are masterable!), genuinely happy I gave the program a try, and firmly on the side of “fitness CAN be fun” – you just have to find what you enjoy!

I don’t weigh myself, but I lost some inches around my torso and my thighs. I didn’t do it for the loss, but it was a nice bonus, really. Who doesn’t want to feel lean and strong and have fun getting there?!

I am excited for Round 2 – we just started yesterday. If you would like to join us, it’s not too late – we can instantly stream your program On Demand so you can join us!

You in?! You can comment below, email me, or click here to order a Country Heat Challenge Pack (workout and month’s supply of my favorite superfoods – Shakeology!) or you can click here to order the standalone Country Heat workout program!

Let’s have some fun!

before-after-country-heat-with-ch-banner

 

Transformation Tuesday – Personal Growth

For too many years, I felt small. Invisible. Insignificant. Isolated. I can pin a decent chunk on my lack of functional ears, but not all of it….

I know what you are thinking… you?! You see my outgoing personality and you see the results of the personal growth I have experienced in the past couple of years, and the first sentence doesn’t quite compute. Kara? Was shy?!
But that’s how it was. The outgoing personality was always there (and for a select handful of friends and family members, was always out and on display), but it was stifled; it was muted. I never felt comfortable putting all my many quirks and flaws out on front street for ALL to see – this was reserved for those who were tried and true friends – ones who have seen me at my best, and my worst, and still don’t judge me.
But something happened when I started really focusing on my health and fitness journey, and in building my business. I still don’t know what, or how (my money is on all the team building and personal development!), but suddenly I didn’t feel shy about sharing just how quirky I am. I didn’t feel like I had to put out a muted, beige version of myself. I no longer felt like I had to conform to fit in, but I finally felt like I could carve my own niche out, and those who resonated with my vibe could join me; those who don’t could pass me by and I wouldn’t be any worse off for it.
It’s kind of a surreal feeling to finally feel comfortable and confident in your own skin; to feel like you can be yourself, 100%, and its OKAY if not everyone vibes with you. I wish it hadn’t taken me til my 30’s to realize it, but better late than never, huh?
Some transformations are physical, and those are amazing. Some are mental, and those are enlightening. Some are emotional, and those are powerful. And some transformations are all of the above – and those are EMPOWERING.
I could play the guessing game and think “Hmmm, would I be this far had I not become a Beachbody coach, thus holding myself accountable?”, but that won’t get me anywhere. All I do know is that the Beachbody Coaching opportunity has been great for me… physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
I look forward to growing even more!
keep-going-keep-growing