Happy March! So, I haven’t been back at my gym yet- since the start of the pandemic. I am still working out at home. Of course, no judgment to anyone who is fully back at their gym or their Spin/Pilates class. I think you should do what makes you comfortable. My return to the gym will take a bit more time since I don’t have the utmost confidence in the sanitary conditions there. Let’s just say that before the pandemic- their hygiene practice or lack thereof – was sketchy.
In an effort to change or shake up my exercise routine, I’ve incorporated Resistance Bands into my workout. Resistance Bands can be an alternative to dumbbells and if you are short on space, they are a welcome addition to any strength training routine. There are many brands of Resistance Bands currently on the market. I bought a basic set of resistance bands from Black Mountain Products which includes five rubber bands of varying resistance (4 lbs. to 75 lbs.), two handles, an ankle strap and a door anchor. The bands are stackable so you can use any single band or multiple (1-5) bands at once. I looked online for full bodyweight exercises and also exercises targeted to the lower body (doing squats while incorporating the bands). I have found this to be a nice addition to my workout routine.
Speaking of change… I’ve changed my traditional beef chili recipe to make in the slow cooker and to accommodate my husband’s recent disagreement with beans and his desire to eat less red meat. So, I swapped ground beef for turkey meat, added chicken sausage, omitted beans and instead of cooking the chili on the stove top, I used the slow cooker. See below for my turkey chili with chicken sausage recipe. Feel free to add beans and/or more vegetables to the recipe. It seems like a lot of steps but it is really very easy and tastes delicious. You can also start preparing the night before -by cooking the sausage, cutting up the pepper(s), onion and garlic.
Slow Cooker Turkey and Chicken Sausage Chili
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons chili powder (alternatively, use 2 tablespoons paprika and 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or 3 tablespoons paprika)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound ground turkey
4 links chicken sausage (I grilled the sausage but you can cook the sausage almost all the way in a saucepan with olive oil before adding to the slow cooker)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
[optional* 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, strained and rinsed]
2 +3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth (if adding beans, plus more for thinning the chili if needed) -use 2 to 2+1/4 cups, if not adding beans)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 medium onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped [*optional- can add more chopped peppers]
- Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Then add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring until the oil is dark red and the mixture is dry- approximately 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and 1 teaspoon salt and cook- stirring and breaking the meat into smaller pieces, until the mixture is combined. The turkey does not need to be cooked all the way through at this time. Do not clean the skillet yet.
- Transfer the mixture to the insert of a slow cooker (at least 6-quart size). Add the sausage to the mixture and stir.
- Then, to the skillet- add the tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat- while whisking. Cook for approximately 2 minutes. Then add the tomato mixture, onions, pepper(s), garlic and beans (if you are adding) to the slow cooker. Stir the mixture well. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- If necessary, add more chicken broth to thin the chili if it seems too thick. Season with salt, if desired.
After my workout, while I was stretching on the floor, I thought about a recent conversation I had with an old friend who I had not spoken to in a while. During our talk, my friend kept contradicting everything I said. Every point I made – she refuted – with statements based on nothing- just ideas that she “heard” from people. Conversely, the arguments I made were supported by legitimate news articles. We went back and forth in a friendly manner but the conversation left me thinking if someone else would have been argumentative or elitist- which is not my style. I couldn’t end the conversation with the statement my son always says, “Agree to disagree” because she had no facts to back up her statements and I did. So, after a while, I changed the subject. Unfortunately, the interaction with my friend left me annoyed for most of the day. How do you deal with disagreeable conversations?
And then, just like that, I opened the mail and found this surprise gift from my aunt and uncle.
Sometimes all you need is a cute new hat to change your attitude.
Stay safe and healthy!