Marathon Plans and Vegetable Chicken Soup

Ah, Wednesday, how you tease me being the middle of the work week.  Yet, I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things from my mini-vacay with the hubs.  You gotta love extended weekends, right?  So this weekend we went a couple hours north to visit some family.  I got in a lovely 7 mile run and then Jody and went on a leisurely bike ride.  It was so pretty!

One of the gorgeous views from my run.

Since I’m still on the no sugar detox I was pretty nervous about leaving the security of my pantry; however, it turned out to be fine.   It was definitely an inconvenience but I stuck to my guns.  Saturday night we went out to swanky restaurant and there was so many yummy things on the menu that I wanted but I settled for chicken and vegetables.  Safe.  Not much processed crap goes into chicken and vegetables.

nommmmmmmm…

Before coming home we made a detour to my favorite duck pond.  I’m such a big kid at heart and love feeding the ducks/geese. It’s the little things in life that make me the happiest.

Duckzilla likes to eat clean. He says gimme more organic, whole wheat croutons now before I peck your toes off!

After the weekend fun ended I still had all of Monday to piddle around be completely productive.  It turned out to be a really rainy and fairly cold day which meant a trip to the gym to get my miles in.  After that I met my running girls for lunch at Newks so we could discuss our Rock-n-Roll marathon training plan.  This week started week 2 of training.

I printed my Marine Corps Marathon training plan which was geared to for a 4:30 finish.  My goal for Rock-n-Roll New Orleans is 4:30 or better so my running girls and I tweaked the plan just a bit.  It focuses more on speed and building up strength to get me to the starting line injury free.

I’m excited about running RnR New Orleans (NOLA) again.  I ran the 1/2 marathon last year and suffered quite a bit of marathon envy watching all the marathoners continue on as I headed towards the finish line.  Did I mention that last year RnR NOLA was my very first 1/2 marathon?

It’s crazy to me that in the period of a year I will have run 5 half marathons, 2 full marathons and countless other races.  1 1/2 years ago I was still nursing my ‘I can’t do that because I injured my knee’ mentality and letting it dictate my life.  I’m so glad I threw I can’t out of the window.  Never under estimate what you can do when you kick the ‘I can’t’ mentality.   So now less then a year later, I’m planning my second marathon and this time I will not have marathon envy, I will enjoy marathon glory! (Side note…I’m not telling you to ignore an injury.  Listen to your Dr., let yourself heal, and then keep going.  Don’t stop what you love out of fear of re-injury.)

And now the part of the post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for….the recipe. I mentioned earlier that Monday was a terribly dreary day which means one thing to me….SOUP!  I went to my pantry and fridge to see what I had to work with – looked like a chicken soup sort of day.  So I visited my favorite clean eating recipe site, The Gracious Pantry, and found a recipe that worked with what I had; I was only missing a few ingredients.

After tweaking the original recipe just a bit, this is the hearty deliciousness that happened: Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup (it would also taste great if you used beef instead of chicken).  This recipe makes a large amount so if your crockpot is on the smaller side, I’d cut the ingredients in 1/2.  I wouldn’t want you crying over spilled, err, broth.

Nothing says fall like eating soup out of a leaf shaped bowl. YUM!

Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed
  • 12oz frozen sweet corn
  • 12oz frozen sweet peas
  • 1 15oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15oz tomato sauce
  • 3.5 cups organic chicken broth

Instructions:

Place all ingredients (in the same order they are listed) into a large crockpot, set on low and run away! Ha, just kidding. Don’t run away, you still have to come back and eat it.  Instead of running away, cook on low 4-6 hours or until the chicken falls easily apart.

When making this soup, pay attention to the labels on your produce, especially the canned and frozen vegetables.  You want to get organic and make sure that there isn’t any sugar hiding out.

Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter my Vega Energizing Smoothie giveaway!

Question:  What’s your favorite type of cold day comfort food?

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Clean Taco Soup & Cornbread

Sunday was a horribly dreary day in South Mississippi.  I had no motivation and was totally glad it was a scheduled rest day.  It rained quite hard in the morning and then stayed grey and gloomy the rest of the day.  A perfect day to curl up with a cup of green tea and a book.

It was also perfect weather for soup.  I don’t know why rainy days make me crave comfort food, but they do.  It’s almost like my internal happiness switch is located in my stomach on rainy days.  So off to the cabinet I went to double check the ingredients for my usual go-to soup which is my step-mom’s mom’s (did you follow that? If not, it’s my step-grandma’s) taco soup.  I love it because it’s super easy and is comprised of ingredients that are staples in my pantry so I know I always have them on hand.   Now, there are about a billion (alright, slight exaggeration…) variations of this recipe on the web but Grammy’s version fits well into my clean eating lifestyle.  It’s also hubby approved which is a big bonus since he refuses to join the clean eating bandwagon. Someday, Jody, someday.  So here you go:

Clean Taco Soup:

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15.5oz can red (light or dark) kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 16oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans (I like to get the ones with jalapenos), undrained
  • 1 15oz can whole kernel corn; drained
  • 1 packet clean taco seasoning
  • 1 1oz packet of dry ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Plain greek yogurt (optional)

Brown the turkey and onion together, drain.  In a large pot, combine the 1/2 cup water, tomatoes and all of the beans together, including their liquids which will make the base of the soup.  Drain the corn and add to the soup mixture.  Next, add your browned meat, taco and ranch seasoning, stir.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors get friendly with each other.   Ladel soup into bowls and top with salsa, cheese and yogurt.

I understand that Taco Soup is typically served with corn chips but since I don’t eat corn chips, I like to make cornbread.  Besides, it’s a healthier option then fried chips.  The recipe I use for cornbread comes from Clean Eating Magazine but it’s a savory cornbread and I like mine on the sweet side so I made just a couple changes.  If you prefer savory, the original recipe can be found here.

Clean Maple Cornbread:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal (make sure to get only cornmeal & NOT the cornmeal mix)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 egg whites, whisked
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal and baking powder.  In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients: egg whites, milk and maple syrup.  Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Spray your pan with cooking spray (I used a 9×9 but if you like thicker bread you can use and 8×8) and then pour your batter into the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Cut into squares and serve with soup.  Side note – I like to put my pan in the oven while it’s preheating so it’s hot when I pour the batter in it; it creates a nice crust on the bottom of the cornbread.

Question:  What is your favorite rainy day meal?