Cramping Cured by Chocolate—and banana

As I lay down after another tough crossfit workout, that all-too familiar cramping begins from my feet slowly creeping up to my calves. Now what? Reaching for a banana may not help you in this very moment, but it may certainly serve to prevent cramping if incorporated as part of your regular diet.

The banana’s sweet secret? Potassium.

Key Potassium Facts
Required daily intake: 4,700 milligrams (1 banana contains approximately 420 milligrams, or 10% of your daily intake)
Claim to Fame: this vitamin helps process and utilize carbohydrates; it is both an essential vitamin and electrolyte
Other Sources of Potassium: potatoes, oranges, spinach, tomatoes and avocadoes

Bananas curing muscle cramps is not a new concept/fad/treatment—however this tried and true treatment could use a little facelift—after all, while bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the US, according to the Centers of Disease Control, finding new and inventive ways to satisfy your daily potassium requirements can sometimes be a challenge.

Here are a few ideas…

Green Monster Chicken Sandwich
Cook time: 15 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Chicken Sandwich Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
½ cup green pepper, dicedAvocado Mayo 1
3 tablespoons chives, finely diced
1 cup avocado mayo (see recipe below)
¼ cup pickles, diced (optional)

Avocado Mayo Ingredients:
1 avocado, very ripe and diced
2 tablespoons avocado oil, or olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt

Remove chicken breasts from package, pat dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat small amount (1-2 tablespoons) olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Place seasoned Avocado Mayo 2chicken breast in skillet and cook approximately 5 minutes each side, or until chicken registers 165 degrees F.

Let chicken cool and while cooling, prepare the mayo. Combine all mayo ingredients in a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth (1-2 minutes). Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and combine with mayo, green pepper, chives and even some pickles. Serve by itself, in a wrap, or on some freshly sliced bread and enjoy!

Banana Boat Treats
Cook time: 15 minutes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 medium to large-sized bananas
Choice of toppings (examples: mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, Reese’s pieces, butterscotch chips, whatever your fancy)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or heat your grill until it registers 350 degrees F

Using a paring knife, cut the banana (enough Banana Boatsto break the skin) length-wise down the banana peel. Pull the peel open and lightly cut slits in banana. Fill the banana boat with all the toppings you like.

Wrap the filled bananas in aluminum foil, being careful not to let them tip over (my first attempt – I had to refill my boats twice because they tipped a few times). Place bananas in oven or on grill for about 15 minutes, until marshmallows begin to melt and brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!

A Case of the Mondays: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

Middle management can sometimes get the best of even the most seasoned workaholic—can’t win with upper management and can’t win with your direct reports—stuck between a rock and a hard place was a term coined from the experiences of a middle manager—if it’s not, it sure feels that way.

Now we all know that when you come home, work needs to stay at work—do not make a habit of bringing your work drama home—well today I brought it all home (thankfully it was just the dogs and I—my boyfriend happens to be half a world away in Beijing for work).

Despite getting home at 4:15 pm (hooray), I sat outside with the pups and reflected upon a turbulent day filled with plenty of double-dealing, hidden agendas and general craziness—typical case of the Mondays in Office Space speak—but instead of reaching for a bottle of vino or continuing the vicious cycle of negativity propagated by one disgruntled employee, I chose to channel the energy into cooking.Chicken 1

Why not eat your feelings right?

After cruising through Foodgawker.com and feeling less than inspired, I decided to play with some oven-fried chicken—why not cook it out in order to thicken my professional skin—the results—skinless Mexican-inspired oven-fried chicken with a cool ranch dipping sauce.

Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken with Cool Ranch Dipping Sauce
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, patted dry
½ cup flour
2 eggs whites
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder

For Cool Ranch Dipping Sauce
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1-2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Traditional Seasoning

Directions
Preheat oven to 415 degrees F and spray with baking dish with nonstick spray

Set out 3 bowls—1 with flour, 1 with egg whites and 1 with panko bread crumbs combined with black pepper, cumin, turmeric and chili powder. Take dry chicken breast and dredge in flour, making sure to get in the crevasses, gently brush off any loose flour before dredging in the egg white mixture. Cover the chicken in the egg white mixture and finally dredge in the panko bread crumbs—making sure to get in the crevasses again. Place on baking dish, being careful not to crowd the chicken.

Bake 20 minutes, or until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F, and let rest 5 minutes before serving

Chicken 2While the chicken is baking, combine the sour cream, chives, garlic, black pepper and Mrs. Dash seasoning in a small bowl, let stand until chicken is ready

Hopefully this boneless, skinless chicken recipe is enough to thicken your skin after a tough day as a middle management workaholic—so pull up your chair, enjoy dinner and let the haters be silenced.

Happy Monday workaholics and keep your heads up!

Start the Spring with Swiss Chard

We are now enjoying the second day of Spring—however—with the temperatures hovering around a balmy 31 degrees and with a little over a foot of snow left on the frozen ground, there’s little hope for green grass, flowers, and chirping birds.

I guess this transitional season is what prompts the inevitable spring cleaning—indoors where it is a comfortable 70 degrees. After a morning full of cleaning, organizing and pining over the summer clothes that would have to remain in storage for a few more long months—it was time for a warm filing meal.

A nice one-pot wonder was the immediate go-to for this afternoon’s lunch (and I was also Ingredientslooking for a way to use the Swiss chard from this week’s organic produce delivery)—Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard (as loosely adapted from Full Fork Ahead):

Ingredients
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 4 chicken breasts
• Kosher salt and pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut into ½-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-3-inch pieces
• 1 small (or ½ medium) sweet onion, diced
• 1 ½ cups butternut squash, cubed into 1-inch pieces
• Zest from 1 lemon
• ¼ cup dry white wine
• 1 ½ cups basmati rice, uncooked
• 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

Pat chicken breasts dry with towel—season with salt and pepper. Heat large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with olive oil and butter. When oil and butter are heated, add 2 chicken breasts—working in batches, allowing them to cook for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken breasts to plate.

Chicken and rice with swiss chardReduce heat to medium and add garlic, Swiss chard stems, sweet onion and butternut squash. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent (approximately 3-4 minutes). Add Swiss chard leaves, lemon zest, rice and white wine—cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to quick simmer. Reduce heat to a simmer and season with additional salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on top of rice and vegetable mixture. Cover and cook until water is fully absorbed by rice—depending on the brand of basmati rice, this could take between 25-45 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

This warm bowl of goodness was just enough to do the trick after a long morning—and even spurred some additional prep work for the week—a refrigerator full of mason jar salads, not-your-momma’s oatmeal and left over chicken and rice with Swiss chard.Refrigerator Stocking

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