Tag: bountiful baskets

Thai Chicken Soup and Turkey Curry

On March 9th Kate and I got a huge basket from bountiful baskets and it included a new thai pack they were trying out.  I just didn’t have time most of the week to use the pack so finally on Saturday I decided to do some shopping and cook up a bunch of food to have for the upcoming week.  I made the thai soup tom kha gai  and a big pot of curry.

Curry is a favorite of the Wagner household because it is easy, can be made with practically anything and aside from the spices relatively cheap.  It is also an easy dish to make vegetarian which it seems like we often have a vegetarian in our midst.  Oh and it is also gluten free and dairy free.  Makes everyone happy.

Tom Kha Gai is a chicken and coconut soup that uses a lot of lemongrass and ginger to give a rich, complex flavor.  My roommate gave it the stamp of approval.  There is something wonderful about drinking a hot, vibrant bowl of broth.  So good!

The recipe for the soup I got from Tyler Florence of the Food Network with a few changes and the curry I made up myself (I’ve made it tons of times but I will try and give you an idea.  It made a lot of food that will freeze very well but really finding the ingredients is the most difficult part of these items.  Cooking them at the same time reduces the amount of time spent washing and preparing because I could cut one onion for both, use 1 knife for both, one cutting board, etc.  I guess I’ve always been a mad bursts of energy kind of person.

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Soup and curry bubbling away
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Turkey curry with Sweet potatoes and tom kha gai soup
Ingredients1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
(I also added about 4 cups of water and bullion cubes to make the soup go further)
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
(I added 1 onion, celery leaves, and basil because I had them)
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn  (Couldn’t find, put some extra lime juice for the flavor)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced  (I left my fresh ginger in the cart at the store had to use ground spice but it still tasted good)
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinsed
4 limes, juiced
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leavesDirections(Cook onion, celery in tbsp veg oil). Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.

Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. (I let mine cook for quite a bit longer to get a strong flavor and added more fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar than the recipe called for) Ladle the soup into a soup tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime leaves.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Curry
1 1b turkey breast (or chicken I was just trying to be a little different since I had chicken in the soup) Pork would be good or lamb, anything
2 large sweet potatoes (or regular) cut into chunks
2 cups diced celery and celery leaves
1 bell pepper
2 large diced carrots
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup of chutney or tropical jam like I used mango jam
1 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
2 thai chilis removed before serving if you like it real spicy.
2 heaping tbsp indian curry
cumin and garam masala start with tsp and add as much as you like
1 tbsp african spice blend (or hot sauce would be fine, sirache etc).
1 onion
10 ounces chicken broth and then water/bullion to fill up rest of pot.
You could put in greens or tofu or whatever you want.  Cauliflower is great in curry.  It’s so versatile.
Start by heating the onion, celery and bell pepper with a little oil.
Then add cooked turkey cubed or shredded.  Add potatoes, carrots and any other vegetables you want to use.
Add all of your spices.
Then add water, coconut milk, and chicken broth and let come to a boil.   Once the potatoes are soft add in your jam, fish sauce to taste.
So yummy!
(You can also use unflavored yogurt instead of coconut milk if you want to lower the calories but its a good kind of fat so I think its all right)
I like to serve it over couscous, rice or quinoa.
I’d be curious to hear of what variations you come up with.  Happy cooking!

Pepppers, Peppers, Peppers

So this week in the bountiful basket they had a box of hatch green chiles.  I’ve heard about these chiles and that they are highly prized and only available for a limited time period.  One blogger describes them as:

“New Mexico chile peppers are a pure culinary treat.  As much as I love all variety of chiles, those grown in New Mexico put the rest to shame.  Some say it’s the New Mexico soil, some say it’s the climate, and some say it’s simply the soul and legacy of generations upon generations of New Mexicans who have painstakingly labored to make chile peppers the state’s largest agricultural crop.”

She goes on to say:

“Whatever the reason, if you ever get the chance to get your hands on real New Mexico chile peppers — frozen, dried or fresh — buy up a bunch.”

How could I refuse a culinary delight?

I’d heard enough people express similar sentiments that when the chance came to buy a box at a great price (25 lbs for $15),  I decided to give it a shot.  Then Saturday I got my peppers and all of the sudden I was confronted with 25 lbs of peppers.  One thing to read it another to actually have it in your home!

So, what to do with 25lbs of peppers.  The only thing to do roast them and then either freeze or can them.  Here’s how it went.

I started with a big box of peppers!

I should have taken a picture of all the peppers at the beginning but this was the box and it was full!

Then I roasted them until charred.  450 degree for 20 minutes or until charred and bubbly

charred peppers

Then I put the peppers in ziplocs and it steams the skins lose from the peppers

See the steam

Then the skin comes right off and here’s what the final result was

3 bags of roasted peppers ready for lots of yummy recipes

I look forward to enchiladas, chili rellanos, burgers with chiles, pork chili verde.  If you have any recipes you like send them my way.

Now my hands are burning from removing too many chili skins.  I’m done.  Enjoy your labor day!

Life at the Gym

PROGRESS AND GOALS

So just got back from a tough workout with Coach Dave- 1500 yards in 300 intervals each time going faster. My best time was 7 min 14 sec which I feel really good about.   I’m going to keep training and working hard for the Great Salt Lake Swim that which is coming up on June 9th.  Its a 1 mile swim but the water will be pretty cold so it will be a challenge.

I have also signed up for the 5K at the Deer Creek Open Water Swim!  This is the longest I have ever attempted but I have close to 6 months to prepare and I know I can do it.  I figure most of my friends did the 5k last year and I can hold my own with most of them.  My Dad might be able to come and be my paddler which would be a great experience together.  Its so motivating to have a race to look forward to.  Thanks in advance to all who are working to make both races happen.  They need volunteers for simple tasks if anyone is available June 9 or August 11th let me know.  Can’t wait!

I also am determined to get below 250 if it kills me.  Ok maybe not kill me but you get the idea.  I’ve worked so hard and last week I had a weight gain.  Was totally bummed out but I’m using it as a catalyst to try even harder.  I decided to sign up for a fresh meal delivery service here in Salt Lake that will help me get a better idea of portion controls and limit my diet with greater ease (with my new freezer this is even easier).  Its not something I would want to do forever but I think to help me get ready for the race it will be worth trying out.  Plus, the company does not have auto-renewal so to try it out for 2 weeks can’t hurt.

I’m also continuing with the bountiful baskets and between my freezer, portion controlled meals and lots of fresh produce I figure I will be doing all I can to eat right.

I know its weird but I love post work out photos. Its like a way of saying to myself- yes I did that! Don't you love the goggle eyes and swim cap line!

Sometimes in my quest for greater success I can forget how far I’ve come.  Take a look at these 2 photos one is from 2010 and one taken today.

2010 with my awesome trainer Michele. She has been with me through literally thick and thin! Weighed around 305 lbs
Michele and I today. Weigh around 260

I admit in 2010 I had hoped for a more dramatic before and after but I can tell a difference.  I certainly can feel the difference. It feels good to be able to say I tried as hard as I could to take care of my body and despite what felt like the gates of Hell opening up after me last year I am still pushing forward.

NEVER JUDGE

I also had a good experience today at the gym.  There is a lady who is in my ward who also goes to my gym.  She seemed sweet but on the surface not someone I would have a ton in common with (wears a ton of make up, dresses in designer clothes etc).

I was just in a good mood and went up to her and said ‘we should work out together sometime.  I’m sure you’re way ahead of me but it might be fun.  I’m kind of a lone warrior here.”  She said she would love that and asked if I did other things besides swimming.  I said ‘I’m not the most coordinated person in the world (huge understatement) but I will give most anything a try. I like kickboxing, yoga, spinning, working out on the machines. “

She seemed really happy that I talked to her and afterwards texted me saying “Can’t wait to work out with you :)”.   Just goes to show you shouldn’t judge by appearances. You lose out on a lot of friends that way.

She also said ‘you always seem really positive at the gym.  I think it would be great to work out together.’ This made me happy that people are watching me and maybe even a little inspired despite all my moaning and groaning!

BIKE

I’m also thinking about buying a bike.  The idea is to find a bike that I can tottle around Draper on turning everyday experiences into an active experience.  I need a bike with a seat that is large and frame that’s easy to mount.  Most bikes I don’t feel balanced enough on or that it can support me but this one looks very interesting.  Its called a Trek Navigator 2.0 and has 21 gears, low frame, big seat, front shocks and the local bike shop price is actually lower than I’ve found online.

So far the reviews I’ve read online are really good.  Thoughts?

SPRING WALK

One last thing.  Yesterday I was without a car because I have a company car and on occasion the company needs to use it!  My friend Jill was super duper nice to let me use her car so I could make my voice lesson (which was awesome.  I’m learning Defying Gravity and it is so thrilling! I’ve come so far and feel the song encapsulates the last  couple years of my life. ) .  Anyway, after dropping her car off I got to walk home in the beautiful Spring weather.  Everything is lush and smells delicious.

I snapped this quick pick with my camera phone (all of these photos were taken with my camera phone.  Not bad hah!). I’m so grateful to live in such a beautiful place and that God gives me glimpses of His grandeur on occasion.

Sometimes I forget how beautiful Utah is and how stunning the mountains are. Often I have to look up and remember that they are there and it takes my breath away. I'm so lucky to live here and I never want to move.

Randomness

First of all let me just say that today has been a great day!  I went to boxing and it was awesome

I like photos of me after a workout. I always feel a surge of pride.

and I got my second bountiful basket.  This time we got pineapples! Yum!

Not my favorite photo of me but look at all we got for $23 each.

I’m excited to try new recipes with all the peppers and pineapple.  My plan is to freeze a lot of the pineapple for smoothies, recipes ect.  This will be easy to do with my NEW FREEZER!!! I’ve wanted one for forever and this week I found out I am getting a tax refund.  I did my homework and got a good deal at home depot.   They are delivering it on Thursday!  I am so excited to make burritos, breakfast burritos, mini pizzas and things like that so I can eat healthy in a hurry.  It will also help me to save money because I can buy in bulk and freeze.

My grandma has a huge walk out freezer so I teased her that I’m becoming her! Oh well, not too bad a thing to be.

Makes me think of this movie:

Back in the Pool

Today I am tired and sore but glad to be so.  As I was working on my diagnosis I didn’t want to muddle my chronic pain symptoms with exercise related pain so I held off of any hard training.  This means its been a few weeks since I did a serious swim- really since the QUAC swim.  QUAC was awesome but it was very tough to recover from.   I think because I was going through other stress and the gnawing pain in my ribcage (which in itself is a stressor) it made the recovery more difficult.

Anyway, I wanted to be able to tell my doctor for sure that the pain I was feeling was the chronic pain, not something from exercise.  Also with labs and doctors visits I had to be careful to get my work hours in and that left less time for exercising; however, after a promising week of results with  my thyroid medicine I felt like I was ready to get back to training. As much as I moan and groan about workouts I really do miss them when I can’t do them anymore.  Especially swimming.

Today I met with my swim coach for the first time in over a month (crazy how fast the time goes!).  He gave me a good workout- 1500 meters with intervals (250m fast, 250m slow, 200m fast, 200m slow…all the way down to 50m).  It was intense and my arms felt heavy but it was awesome!

Back in the pool! My face was so red after the workout. Something about these post-workout photos I love

There is something about diving into the water that I find so therapeutic.  There is a peace in the white noise of water that I love.  You can scream under water and nobody knows. I find the minute I dive in my mind becomes clear and the repetition of the strokes allows me to mull over the problems in my life.   Most importantly my body floats away, the pain with it.  I don’t feel like a heavy girl in the water.  I feel like I am flying!

It was great to get back in the water!  Tomorrow I meet with my trainer, thursday swim with my friends and Saturday I am taking boxing lessons!  I’m so excited about that!  Yes, I’ve always wanted to take boxing lessons!  There is a gym in Salt Lake that teaches boxing classes just for women.   http://www.boxingisforgirls.com. I think it will be awesome.  I took self defense at BYU and loved it. So, take notice and don’t tick me off in the future.  I will be trained! 🙂

I got my first bountiful basket this Saturday!  It was delicious! I’ve been enjoying the oranges this week and all the yummy vegetables.  I made corned beef and cabbage on Sunday and that was yummy (my fridge is now stuffed with crockpot meals I’ve made the last few weeks!).   Today I had a steak.  My mother can not make steak.  Cooks it to death.  Once I learned how to make it right I love it! Its expensive and high in calories but for an occasional indulgence Ok. Especially after my intense swim.  Don’t get too worried because with all my delicious veggies I made a massive salad to go with the steak!

There is something better about carefully selected produce.  You don’t really realize it until you try the good stuff and there is such a difference.  Yesterday I had dinner at Anna’s and she made ginger ice cream.  With the fresh grapefruit and orange sections the citrus and ginger combined well, creating a delicious dessert.

My friend Kate and I decided we will do the baskets every other week.  For $20 how can you go wrong?  (We split the box equaling $21.50 per person). This week they had special pineapples to order.  Hope they will have something like that next week.  Yum!

Random Thoughts VI

So I’ve tried to write this post tons of times but for some reason wordpress keeps erasing it.

Here goes again.

Pain- Day 2 of hypthoroid pills has come and gone and so far I am cautiously optimistic.  No major side effects and today I actually felt pretty energized.  Still have the pain but there are things to feel good about (I have learned to be grateful for a good day no matter what the cause of it is).

Something about this photo I really like

I was thinking today of the scripture in D and C 122:7 when God tells Joseph Smith “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  That I idea of giving us experience is so interesting.  Every trial I have gone through has helped me relate to a new person in a new way.  It has literally given me experience. (In my new ward I’ve met like 6 people who have chronic pain in some form or another and I can relate to them. My experience gives a connection). Something to think about…

Breakfast- One of the things I have really struggled with is eating a good breakfast.  Lately all food looks gross to me, all the time, but especially in the morning.  Things I normally like such as eggs produce the gag-reflex. Plus, it means I have to get a pan dirty and chop stuff and I’m tired (you get the idea).

I would say more than any other category, aside from maybe dessert, it is hard to make breakfast healthy.  All of my favorite things I can never have- french toast, toast, fluffy pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, most cereals (the hardest of the list), donuts, bear claws, etc.  Any ideas you have for a healthy, quick way to do breakfast that would be great.

I recently made this breakfast quinoa that was pretty good.  In the rice cooker 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water.  Then I put nuts and dried fruit on top.

breakfast quinoa. It would be really good with half and half or cream...

Books- I’m on the lookout for cheerful books. I’m talking fun, even silly, happy books. Not the type of inspirational overcome challenges type of books but just overtly happy books. For example, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is bright and funny (Alexander McCall Smith is kind of the king of the happy series), or Sophie Kinsella’s books I really love in this regard. Especially The Undomestic Goddess. Is it great literature? No, but it makes me laugh without fail and actually has a few things to think about on the side.

Food- Recently I came up with this list. What are your top 5?
Top 5 Foods I miss:
1. Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes in general are a rarity)
2. Non whole grain cereals.
3. white bread with honey and butter
4. most yummy breakfast foods- french toast, fluffy pancakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, honeybuns…sigh
5. Pies and fresh hot cookies (and the cookie smell)

On the plus side of food I am finally getting a bountiful basket!  http://bountifulbaskets.org/.  It is this organization that combines farmers produce to get fresh produce at a discount price.  My friend Kate and I are splitting it and it should be delicious! This is what the baskets look like.  Yum and since we are splitting the cost it will only be $20 each including the organic and citrus package!

I am told this is what a typical bountiful basket looks like.

So I might take boxing lessons! I just found out about this club in Salt Lake just for women and boxing. Looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn. I took a self defense class in college and it was really fun! It will be fun to spice things up a bit. Lately in my training we’ve been using the punching bag and I love it! (Get out all that angst!). Did I finally think of something that suprises a few of you’all?

Living alone- So in my new ward I am the only never married single person. Isn’t that kind of amazing? Still, things have gone very well. One funny thing is that everyone is so surprised I live alone. I’m kind of used to it. Its really not that big of a deal to me. Yes, friends I live alone and love it! The only time I wish I didn’t live alone is when I’m sick and someone could go to the pharmacy for me (and listen to my moaning and groaning!).

New Calling- So it finally came. I got called into primary.  I was actually quite disappointed because I have loved teaching Sunday School.  I will miss the gospel interaction with adults….However, it will be a new challenge and I am sure I will learn a lot.  It is teaching the 9 year olds so if any of you have suggestions for engaging that age group please pass on.  I’ve heard bring treats from a lot which is hard because I don’t really eat treats but I will see what I can do.

Diabetes- One comment on the Paula Deen controversy.  I do think it is strange that she didn’t come out with her diagnosis for 3 years until she is a victoza spokesperson.  Seems shady to me.  However, I don’t really care about her.  The thing I noticed in the coverage is who the ‘experts’ kept talking about diabetes as this horrible awful thing, and it can be that.  Never do I seem to hear that it is a treatable condition.  I was a borderline diabetic at best but I got my A1C’s down in a year and am no longer a diabetic threat.  When I was first diagnosed I thought I’d have diabetes my whole life and that I was going to die.  That’s what I thought.  I had no idea it was treatable.  Maybe that’s just my ignorance showing but I wish more ‘experts’ would point that out when they discuss the issue.

Here’s a great flyer on the subject. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/sharedresources/Downloads/2009/113009/pa_dec2000.pdf

So, there you go.  That’s my thoughts on a bunch of issues.  The most important thing is I am feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support.  I’m sure there is still a long road ahead but to feel hope is grand thing. 🙂