Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Gym

God made my gym.

My gym is free.  Zero dollars and zero cents to belong.  

I dont have to worry about anyone being annoyed that I’m there after the New Year.

No one is watching me, judging how fast I’m going or how hard I’m panting.  

I don’t have to dress to impress the other gym-goers in my newest LuLu Lemon pants and Athleta top.  A simple reflective vest over some warm, 10 year old hand-me-down running clothes work for me.  

I don’t wear make-up or check my hair in the mirror before I hit this gym, and better yet I don’t have to be surrounded by anyone who cares about having attractive make up and hair before they sweat.  

My kids are asleep while I hit my gym, so there’s never any need to worry about who’s tending to their needs down in day care, or feel guilty for stealing time from them.

Did I mention this gym has the most locations in the world?  You can practically find one absolutely anywhere at any time!  Better yet, its 24 hours!

It’s never crowded at my gym, and especially not at 5 am.  No reservations necessary.  God made this gym big enough for everyone.

It can be very peaceful and quiet there.  Just me, my thoughts and prayers, my footsteps, and my steady breathing.  Might I add, the air quality at my gym is superb.

And dinner on a cold night after a hard workout at this gym?  Well I like my meals how I like my workouts.  No fad diets, no low fat low cal this or that.  Just real God given goodness.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Quinoa Stew 
(recipe found here via Pinterest and I simplified it a bit)

2 Chicken breasts
1 lb Butternut Squash (its a lot easier if you get it already cut up)
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oregano (not pictured)
1 32 oz box broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives (I also added 1/4 cup of olive juice)
2/3 cup quinoa
parsley for color and garnish and freshness, don’t skip it
salt, pepper and EVOO of course

First things first, I transferred the butternut squash to a microwave steamer, added a touch of water, and microwave steamed it for 10 minutes.  Stove top steamer is great too but this was easiest for me.

In that 10 minutes I quickly diced the chicken (ps. it helps to cut meat on a different mat, then you can quickly wash the knife, remove the mat, and continue chopping all the other stuff)

Heat a large soup pan over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the chicken. The original recipe has you remove the chicken with a slotted spoon after its cooked and yadayadayada but listen - this works.  Just stick to one pot.  It will taste good enough, be done faster, and you’ll have less to clean up.

Chop garlic, add to pot.

Slice some onion, add to pot.

Beeeep… squash is done.  Use a masher or a fork to mash it up a bit.  Chunks (I know, awful word) are still good, but just mash it a bit.

Like so.

Add the butternut squash and the diced tomatoes to the soup pot as well.  Aren’t you already pumped about the colors in this. I AM!

Box o’ broth

1 tablesoon oregano, salt and pepper

And I added olive juice for good salty measure because that way I got to teach the kids how to say *now move your mouth but dont make any sound come out* ol.iv.juice

Chop the olives and throw em in

The quinoa.  Dont worry - those suckers will expand and take over your soup.  Dont add any more than 2/3 cup.  Start with 1/2 a cup if you’re scared.

Now mix it up and let it get to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let it cook for about 25 minutes.

Garnish with the parsley.  I love eating colorful food.  I love having soft butternut squash and chicken ready to go for the baby.  Even the picky eater picked out just the chicken.  Hey - I’m not complaining.

By the way this is naturally gluten free, and could be made vegetarian in a pinch… sub a can of chickpeas for the chicken.


The Samsons said...

Such a well written,creative post! :) and the recipe looks great!

The Samsons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amylee said...

I think you and I belong to the same gym. Love the description. The soup looks mouth watering.

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

i love this! i'm all bundled up, it's 5:15am on a friday, and i am getting ready to head outside to God's gym too :O)

Anonymous said...

Ha, I was just going to say the same thing, I'm a member of that gym too! :)

Rebecca Samson said...

Love this one, Karen! And a new yummy recipe to try. Always a pleasure when I can accompany you on those runs :)

One Preppy Cookie said...

Making this with the chick pea suggestion next week - thanks! :)

Nicole said...

That soup looks and sounds so yummy! I will have to try it. I don't belong to a gym either, I did for a while but I enjoy the treadmill or the open road more.

Racingtales - Alison Gittelman said...

I LOVE your gym...and pre-cut butternut squash!

Lindsay @ Fuel My Fitness said...

That stew looks amazing, some of my favorite ingredients!