Whatever it Takes

I sometimes fall prey to not wanting to put forth the effort to look good or to do little things for myself. Remember my blog on starting NOW to treat yourself well even before you reach you goals? If not, check it out. What To Do In The Meanwhile

Well, there is a little something I like to indulge in that makes me feel good. As a part of my East Indian culture, henna has become something I get even if there is no special occasion. So I got my henna fix and I absolutely LOVE it!

I trust only Sonia Salon in Andersonville to give me my henna and they never let me down.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Water

It took me through my day today. I was racing around like a mad woman trying to do errands, homework, internship, cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking …. and while I was out I was stuck without my planned snacks. I was craving just about anything. But what I did have was one of my most effective weapons in this little journey I’m on – my water bottle! It was about 3:30 p.m. and I could have fallen prey to a soda. Instead I chugged my whole bottle of water. Thirst disappeared, and I was no longer distracted by my little cravings. I made it home and took the time to have a huge mango. Small step I know, but considering how it COULD have gone, I am so grateful for my water!!

Goal For My Tummy

More or less … *sigh*

Recipe of the Day – Trinidadian Stew Chicken

I love this dish! It’s straight from my wonderful home of Trinidad, and always comforts me when I am a bit homesick. It’s nice when served piping hot over white or brown rice. This recipe I am sharing is from caribbeanpot.com and although I’ve learned how to tweak it to my liking and taste, you can’t go wrong with this one!!

4-5 lbs chicken  – cubed into serving size pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed
1 teaspoon fresh  ginger – crushed/sliced
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (only if you like your food spicy)
1 green onion or chive (scallion) – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 lime or lemon or 3 tablespoons of vinegar
1 small shallot

First I wash and rinse my chicken removing all fat and skin. A tradition we have is to squeeze lime over the chicken to cut that awful raw chicken scent.  I season my chicken with all of the ingredients except for the sugar, oil and water. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Next I brown my chicken with brown sugar. I found a great way to explain this step without confusing you!! As we’ve done with other “stew” recipes, it’s now time to brown the meat and not only give it a rich brown colour, but give it it’s truly unique taste. On a medium to high heat, put the oil in a heavy and deep pan to heat.

Then add the sugar.

Move it around until it starts going liquid.Please have the seasoned meat very close and I recommend you use a long handle spoon to avoid getting burn by the splattering oil when you add the seasoned meat. This is all about timing…  if the sugar is “burned” it will give it a bit of a bitter taste. What you’re looking for is small bubbles, which will then start going a bit frothy and go from light to golden/dark brown (see pics below).

As soon as you see this happens (refer to pic) start adding the seasoned chicken a few pieces at a time. Remember to stir constantly to ensure all the pieces gets coated evenly.

After you’ve added all the seasoned meat to the pot, turn down the heat to medium/low, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice that it will spring some of it’s own natural juices. While this cooks, add the 1 1/2 cups of water to the bowl you had the chicken marinating in. Swish it around to pick up any of the marinade that may be stuck to the bowl. We’ll be using this shortly. Remember to stir the pot every 5 minutes or so.

After about 15 minutes, remove the lid and turn up the heat as it’s time to cook-off all the liquid in the pot and to give the chicken it’s final “brown” colour. This can take about 5 minutes and it’s important that you stir constantly so it does stick to the bottom of the pot. When all the liquid is gone, add the water we’ve had sitting in the bowl. Stir and cook on medium heat for another 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick your pieces of chicken is).

So if after cooking for 2o minutes I find it a bit too runny, I remove the lid and turn up the heat to get it to the consistency I like (basically you’re reducing the liquid by about 75%). Remember to check for salt at the end, in the event you’d like to add a bit more.

Once you get the hang of all the steps, this will be a breeze for you. I’ve been cooking this since I was a little girl so I adjust the recipe as I like. Try this out – I promise you won’t be disappointed!!

Arm Workouts Without Weights

Derailed by Migraines

I’ve had them since I was nine years old, and they still plague my life. When I’m under a migraine attack, I can’t read, study, write, sit up or stand for long, much less workout. There are times that I lose about 4 days of workout because of a long attack, which messes with my rhythm.

I’ve seen countless doctors and take way too much medication for much too long, with no improvement. I understand it’s something I live with, but that doesn’t make them any less painful to endure. They make me so grateful for the days I wake up and realize that the pain is gone … for now. That’s when I capitalize on eating right, and working out hard. Between my migraines, I Carpe Diem!

What To Do In The Meanwhile

When I was exploring acting, my director and mentor told me, “Never say that you’ll talk this way or act this way when you make it big. Talk and act that way now, so when you do make it big, you’re ready.” I tend to fall prey to that mindset; I tell myself that when I lose all my weight, then I’ll dress better, do more, and be more. But what about the interim? There’s a long time in the process for me to be less than my best. I decided to change my thinking and do things for myself to keep me feeling my best even though I’m not at my goal weight. So here are a few tips I use to keep me looking and feeling my best.

  • Nails: I keep my nails well done. I don’t get them done professionally very often. Just once a week I give my nails and feet a treat. I don’t know why, but when my nails are nice and preened, I feel so much more ready to face the world.
  • Hair: My hair doesn’t have to be perfect, but I resist the urge to just pull it back into a generic ponytail. Dress up your tresses with accessories, or try a new style once a week.
  • Skin: Even in the winter months I make sure to shave my legs regularly. Yes they’re covered up from the cold, but shaving in colder weather keeps your skin exfoliated so that when those clothes layers begin to peel off in the spring, your legs are silky, soft, and oh so smooth.
  • Dress: It’s easy to pile on the baggy layers when you feel like your body is less than presentable. Baggy clothes also cover up belly fat and muffin tops, so why not right? On the other hand, dressing in outfits meant for smaller sizes isn’t flattering either. You don’t want to wear a shirt that highlights your tummy or jeans that make your thighs the main un-attraction. If your waistline is bulky, find pretty blouses that have a closer cut in the chest area but that flare out over the rest of your torso. Avoid ensembles that define every inch of your body, like tight jeans paired with a hugging t-shirt. Look for clothes that are trendy but that are smart for your figure. Just because you need to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to wear potato sacks.
  • Mind: Begin to change your thinking. See your mind as a part of your journey as well. You’re trying to lose weight so you can have a new, healthier body. But your mind is an important part of the journey too. Devote time each day to renewing your mind. Whether it be meditation or journaling, focus on improving the way that you think about yourself and others.
The key is to be happy with yourself at each stage of your life. The chances are that if you wait till you meet your goals, you still won’t have those habits in place anyway. Meeting your goals won’t make the difference; who you are and what you do today will. If you are consistent in investing time and energy into your spirit, mind, and body, you’ll be happy you did when you finally are at your goal weight. You’ll have not only a new body but a new attitude to go with it!