From coconut oil popcorn to old puzzles with missing pieces, to evenings with friends drinking mulled wine from solo cups. A few things that have been happening in our world
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He – Juggling a lot, per usual; with an amazing attitude, per usual. Puppy walking. Jack-of-all-trading, snapping photos, cooking potatoes. The joke-teller, the butcher, the fire-maker
Favorite New App – Way of Life It's great for tracking habits, is simple to set up, and will even create beautiful charts and graphs. A few in my list? Minutes spent walking, yoga, weight lifting, no sugar, meditation, and “today have I treated myself the way I would a very close friend?”
Recommending to Everyone – Headspace's Take 10 Challenge. If you can make it through 10 days of meditation, you'll be hooked. It's incredible for calming a racing mind
Drinking a Lot Of – Kava tea A couple of tea bags soaked for 15 min, and you'll feel like settling into your chair. Stressed after a long day? Skip the glass of bubbly and have a cup of kava; you'll still be super relaxed
(ps: Have you ever been to a Kava Bar? Austin, it's on my wishlist the next time we visit)
Excited for – Puppy school(!) We'll start our next class this Thursday, on the path toward therapy dog certification
Reading – Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach: It's incredible if you want to learn how to stop beating yourself up, and how to stop carrying around anger and resentment.
“I knew I'd never treat a friend the way I'd treated myself .. without mercy or kindness” ~ Tara Brach
One of my favorite stories from the book? A tiger named Mohimi who was rescued from a zoo and been confined to a 10′ x 10′ cage for several years. She was finally released into a pasture, with lots of excitement and anticipation, but it was too late. The tiger immediately sought refuge in the corner of the compound, where she lived for the remainder of her life
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day, we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.” ~ Tara Brach
Inspired By – The most amazing 98-year-old yoga teacher(!) Let's all live our best lives for just as long as we possibly can
Taped to the Bathroom Mirror? My Word for 2017 – Kindness
A fun and different recipe to start the week; one that is so much better than takeout. The chicken bakes up tender with a beautiful crust and is coated perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavors of the sauce.
As you read through the recipe, you may notice it's a little off the beaten path. The first step is an ultra-quick flash-in-the-pan in hot oil to give the chicken a crispy outer layer, although the pieces should still be raw in the center.
From there the pieces are coated in sauce and baked in the oven for an hour (it's not a typo). Certainly, you could cook them less, but you'll end up with a sauce that hasn't thickened as much as it would have if baked for a full hour.
Baked Sesame Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Sesame-Ginger Sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp chili paste
- Crisp the Chicken
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup coconut or canola oil
- Marinate the Chicken
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the chicken stock, water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Whisk until combined
- Into a storage bag, add the chicken, along with ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp of the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
- (Reserve the remaining marinade)
- Sesame Ginger Sauce
- While the chicken is marinating, heat the 1 Tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chili paste and sauté until fragrant (~ 2 minutes).
- Add 2 cups of the reserved marinade to the skillet and simmer, constantly whisking, until the sauce has thickened
- Remove from the heat and cover
- Crisp the Chicken Pieces
- Preheat the oven to 325° F
- Into a gallon-sized ziplock bag, add the cornstarch and marinated chicken pieces. Seal and toss to coat the chicken
- Whisk the eggs in a shallow pie plate
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until it's very hot
- Dip the chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully into the hot skillet, being careful not to over-crowd
- Cook for ~ 20-30 seconds on each side, until the crust is golden, but the chicken wasn't cooked all the way through (this is why it's really important to have a hot skillet/oil)
- With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat
- Add Sauce and Bake
- Pour the Sesame-Ginger sauce over the chicken.
- Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to ensure they're evenly coated with sauce.
- Serve over hot, steamed rice.