Clean Quinoa Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (evenly sized)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup all natural shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup low-sugar organic marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees f.
  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. (I used avocado oil or olive oil spray)
  3. In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  4. Stir Italian seasoning into cooked quinoa, set aside.
  5. Season chicken with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper, to taste.
  6. Working in small batches, dredge chicken first in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in quinoa mixture, pressing slightly to coat each breast.
  7. Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and cooked through.
  8. Top with cheeses (optional) and marinara. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 3-4 additional minutes.
  9. Serve immediately over spiralized zucchini noodles (I toss my zucchini in a hot skillet with a touch of olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for about 3 minutes before serving)
  10. Garnish with fresh basil and red pepper flakes for a little kick!

CLEAN LIVING

It is hard to say at what point in my life I recognized the importance of living a “clean” lifestyle. Implementing these beliefs, takes time, is focused on balance, coined by the phrase: “Progress Not Perfection

fullsizeoutput_3d48Clean eating, clean products, and environmentally conscious companies and consumers are hot topics today, but the question remains…

Is the price tag associated with these items really worth it and what is the return on your investment?

Everything being a matter of choice, it is important to understand what it is you are making a choice about. I like to compare it to the car you drive. It truly doesn’t matter if your choice in vehicles is a brand new car you just drove off the lot, or an antique you refurbished and are afraid to take out of your garage — its hard to disagree that both need clean fuel. No water, no dirt, just good clean fuel. When we talk about our food source, our environment and our lifestyles – the concept is relatively the same.

What do additives, dyes, preservatives and chemicals do to our bodies?

Everybody responds different to the presence of these substances. Some individuals do not react at all to them or, are in aware that they do, while others might have a severe allergy. For many of us however, our bodies recognize these substances as “foreign”– things that shouldn’t be there. We often don’t know how GOOD our bodies were truly meant to feel.

What does the body do in response to the substance?

It fights it off. This is different for everyone. The “fight it off” phase is the body sending signals to get rid of the substance, resulting in different phases of inflammation and excretion. This can be in the presence of a rash, a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, an upset stomach, fatigue and even presenting as behavior issues and mental clarity and/or depression.

Ready to feel better? 

Choose to start one step at a time. What is of the most importance to you? Make small changes.

Clean eating. Start by simply making conscious choices about what you are currently eating. Be aware of the preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients. Try planning a trip to your local farmers market or co-op. Doing this not only guides you in making healthier choices but you are supporting you local community. I like to call this, from farm to table. Do you find yourself frequently on the run? Many convenience store and restaurants are becoming more consumer friendly and offering a variety of healthy food choices.

A Clean home. Afraid to go all in? Try eliminating one chemical at a time. So not to waste money, when the bottle of your current cleaner is gone, replace it with its non-toxic, environmentally friendly counterpart. Need suggestions? I would be happy to share what we use in our home!

A clean mind. Planning ahead. Time management. Scheduling. When you have a clean/organized environment, you have a clean mind. Clutter creates chaos and stress. Less truly is more!

Change you statement of “I don’t have time” to “It’s not important”. 

This simple alteration puts priorities in perspective. #Happyliving

The Journey Begins

Today is hopeful the first day of many! Refocused fitness + Nutrition, Llc (we are in the final stages!! Yippie) has been a work in progress for many years. In fact, it might have even been since childhood that this has been brewing and has finally come to manifest. 

As a young child I grew up with almost all boys. When I was very young, it was my simple goal to be NOTHING like them. I soon realized I could not get away from them… so I became one of them. I tagged along with them, acted like them and loved all the things boys did (Minus when they put me in the goal and took slap shots at me, dad wasn’t to fond of that– secretly neither was I). I never was the pretty dresses kinda girl, and still am not to this day… 

I adored animals, lived outside and could be found in my mothers vegetable garden if I needed a snack. Life was easy. We were free range kids and I loved every part of it!

As a teen not much changed. Living and breathing on the soccer field year round. When I wasn’t training I was playing softball, skiing or hiking. I LOVED a good quiet run, just me and my Mags. Really I did anything to keep myself active. Sitting still was truly not an option for me. I think it truly was my goal to go to as little school as I needed to but still get good grades (sorry mom and dad) but it’s the truth. 

“ Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones this spirit, just as exercise conditions the body” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Somehow I mustered enough schooling to get me through. For this I am thankful because nursing is where I found my PASSION. It is here, I found my confidence- It put it all together for me. My absolute LOVE for people. They say when you are a nurse it is engraved in you, the caring and compassion, the drive to do more. It’s no surprise to me that many nurses are “Type A” personality, (I truly am not one of them… hahaha). 

It was however through nursing, working with critically ill patients that I saw the true value and the vulnerability of life. Supporting patients at their weakest moments, praying for just another chance at life. Chronic disease was the foundation of almost all my patients illnesses, firmly rooted in lifestyle choices and preventable complications. 

I began to ask myself, what are we doing? As nurses we have SO LITTLE time to truly spend with our patients. No where near enough time to provide the extensive amount of education our patients need in order to help themselves or to help the loved ones they are or will be caring for. It is heart breaking to see your patients readmitted because our little bites of information just didn’t cut it. So we try and try again…

Prevention. This was where it was at. You see, Chronic disease as outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is “diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.” (CDC.org. 2018) 

PREVENTABLE. 

So… curves in the road, they push me, challenge me, and guide me to sit here before you, spilling my heart out in hopes to encourage you to also pursue your dreams, provide you the guidance you might need to reach your goals and share all that I have learned over the 10-14 years of being a nurse, educator, nutritionist, fitness advocate, patient advocate, mom, wife, daughter and friend. 

And.. YES, I AM GUILTY as charged! I am the first one to admit that I do not always follow what is recommended, I eat to much of a good thing, occasionally indulge in to much (of a good thing… wink, wink) and am not nearly were I personally would like to be with regard to physical fitness, however I WILL get there and lets face it, it’s about BALANCE. 

When it boils down to it, what is it that is most important for you?

For me, its time. I would give ANYTHING, in my power to spend just one more day, moment, millisecond with my family, especially my children. They are truly my world. However, not only do I want to try to lengthen my life with them but I want to make it the BEST life possible. I want to be happy, clear headed, balanced, and healthy and all of this can simply be routed into lifestyle choices. 

Did you know that sleep, diet and exercise are the three pillars to long term health, yet they are amongst the most under prescribed physician recommendations… #foodforthough.. pun intended.

So as I sit here and type this into the wee hours of the evening in our upstairs hallways as not to wake anyone, I laugh because we grab the moments as we get them. 

I recently had to bring my mother to urgent care for back pain. The physician that was working with her, starting talking about exercise, balance, yoga etc. He proceeded to state that he used to do yoga, BUT… he ran out of time. I kindly spoke up and jokingly stated… “I’m thinking you didn’t run out of time, it just wasn’t a priority”. He laughed and states to my mother “I like her, she’s right”. I have to remind myself of this often. With two kids, an old home, a full time job with a crazy commute, I often say to myself, I to “don’t have the time”, then I remember to rephrase my statement, “I’m not important enough” Surely you can imagine, my workout is completed shortly there after, A.) because I’m super stubborn, and B.) because moms mental sanity is far more important then an extra 15 minutes of sleep. 

And you know — yours is to. No matter what your goals are, whether its to have more energy, to have mental clarity, to truly FEEL better about yourself, to fit in an old pair of jeans. Maybe its to prevent your hips and/or knees from aching, or to better control your blood pressure there are answers and it simply is one step, one small change at a time… #peacebewithyou 

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“It’s not what we do once and a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently” – Tony Robbins