WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

RECIPES


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I eat a lot of chicken. No, I will probably never go vegan. I enjoy chicken too much.

easy peasy 

Whenever I need to pull out a never fail, works like a charm sumthin’, sumthins’ out of my culinary hat, this is one of them.

All you need are a few basic things.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

  • Olive Oil – good quality
  • Lemons – several large ones
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper – cracked
  • Garlic – you decide how much, peeled cloves
  • Chicken Breasts – bone in

Personally, I can’t go very long without this in my spice rack.


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As the world’s most traded spice, clearly I’m not the  only one. I use this in just about everything, but get what brand works for you boo.

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“Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such affection” – Ina Garten

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash each chicken breast well, dry them, and trim some of the skins.

Season well with salt & cracked black pepper.

In a glass baking dish drizzle olive oil in the bottom and arrange garlic cloves. Bake for 10 minutes. (After this, your neighbors from upstairs will start texting you wanting to know if they can come down for dinner.)

Take baking dish out, add the chicken, skin side down, squeeze the juice of two, (2) lemons over and return to oven for 10 minutes.

Turn chicken, arrange on top of the garlic cloves, and season with more lemon juice,  and pepper.

Grate lemon peel over top.

Bake for an additional 30- 35 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Baste from time to time. Show some affection.

Be sure to drizzle a little of the pan juices over top of each while they are resting as well.

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Clean, natural, and healthy. All the things you could ever want on a plate.

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email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com 

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT pt I

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Exercise alone isn’t enough to shed fat and build muscle. There is an unofficial official rule (yes, another rule to follow in the world) throughout the fitness industry called, “the 80/20 rule.”

But more on that in a bit.

The foods we eat say a lot about who we are. Our cultures, lifestyles, tastes and habits. Food is a basic necessity of life. Here, in the United States we have influences from all around the world. We’re lucky like that.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw

COUNTING MACROS


What is a macronutrient?

mac • ro • nu • tri • ent

  • a substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms, in particular.
  • a type of food (i.e. fat, protein, carbohydrates) required in large amounts in the human diet.

PROTEIN


Protein is considered the main building block for muscle, bones, skin, tissue and most everything in the body. After consuming it, the body breaks it down into amino acids which fuel all the aforementioned, as well the immune system. The more you put in the more the body has to work with.

HOW MUCH


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That depends on your size and your goals. In the definition above it states, “in large amounts.” However, to simply things, the general rule accepted is to aim for one (1) gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Sound like a lot? It is. Can it be done? You bet.

Highlighted below are bonafide protein sources garanteed to boost your efforts….twofold. Some are tried and true, some are on the “say what” side of the list. “Abs are made in the kitchen” they say, so get your whisks and your measuring spoons out. It’s time to protein up.

The Skinny

Eggs – Why? Eggs are considered the perfect protein source. One medium to large egg contains 4 – 6 high quality grams. Harb boiled, scrambled, or over easy, they are budget friendly and extremely versatile.

– The french eat have a penchant for eating omlettes at dinner with a little fines herbes. Tres chic! 

Turkey – Gobble Gobble. Lean, lean, and ever so lean, turkey continues to be near the top of the list.

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Fuggedabout the Thanksgiving trimmings you normally have with it, (like green bean casserole) turkey is lower in fat than the other meats and, as of this writing, remains relatively inexpensive.

Chicken – Boneless/skinless or a beautifully roasted breast, chicken can be prepared so many different ways how could anyone get bored with it. Like the jingle says, “We’re having chicken tonight, yes chicken tonight.” 

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One large chicken breast has close to 22 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter – Creamy or chunky, PB is an excellent source and couldn’t be easier to consume for those who don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen. You just stick the spoon in and voila!

– A St. Louis businessman named George Bayle first sold peanut butter as a snack in 1894. 

Chocolate Milk – Yup. But go for low-fat. Chocolate milk helps to replenish glycogen stores directly after a hard workout. It has been said it especially good for the ladies. There you go.

Cottage Cheese – A bodybuilders staple, cottage cheese is full of casein, a slow digesting protein, which makes it good to eat before a fasted period like sleeping. With high amounts in a typical serving, cottage cheese is affordable and goes well with a ton of stuff. (Like fruit)

The Takeaway

Slamming stacks and pumping iron is the first step. However, if you want to make all those sessions really pay off and pack on the muscles, pack the shopping cart with the fuel your body needs.

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

 

 

 

IIFIYM and why it probably won’t work for you

EATING HEALTHY


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WHAT EXACTLY IS A FAD?

First, what ever happened to a simple cheat meal? The concept being, that after staying on track, eating wise and healthy for a specific amount of time, we reward ourselves with the meal of our choice. Guilt free. Your inner self thanking you, you revel in high caloric deliciousness, and your metabolism possibly getting a little jump start as well.

fad   noun

  • an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.

IIFIYM


The acronym gone Instafamous, If It Fits In Your Macros, i.e. “flexible dieting”, has gone viral and taken the industry by storm, and not without it’s controversies. This one, in my opinion, has asked for it. The concept behind it seems simple enough. Stay within your “count” and you can be “flexible” and eat what you want, on a regular basis.

Yeah, no.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Pizza once in awhile is probably not going to cause you a lot of problems. Keep trying to justify eating it on a regular basis because 2 slices “fits in your macros” will probably lead to some issues, though. By the way, who says restaurants and companies are telling the truth on all that serving info? There are such things as “empty calories”. Unless you cooked the food yourself, fully aware of exactly what went into it, how does one know the truth?

We don’t.

“The only way to get the fat off is to eat less and exercise more” – Jack Lalanne

The man lived to be 96. Personally, I believe he was doing something right. Second, to be clear my favorite cheat meal happens to be onion rings. I love them dipped in everything from honey mustard to ranch. However, knowing that a typical serving has anywhere from 15 – 18 grams of fat, in roughly 6 – 9 pieces, do I just figure this into my daily count and eat them whenever I want?

No.

Fried food clogs arteries and contributes to a whole host of health problems. All of this leads me to my main point. Eating clean means different things to different people. To the majority of us it simply means consuming more fresh, relatively additive and preservetive free foods that are proven to be good for us. And full of flavor!

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Diets and fads come and go, but one thing remains the same, we have to watch what we eat and exercise more.

As with starting any new diet or exercise regimen I would suggest first consulting a physician.

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“To-may-to, to-mah-to”

The Tomato


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Growing up, I ate good food. I was spoiled in that regard. My family has always had a garden and for sure tomatoes have been a staple. My Uncle Pete, sicilian, was an influence as well and to this day I have never been able to replicate his rigatoni. However, his tomato salad has been a constant in my kitchen for years now. We supplied the tomatoes, he made the salad. That’s how it worked. I spoke with him recently and got a refresher. He informed me after all these years, that it was his mothers favorite.


“Only two things money can’t buy, That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes” – Guy Clark


JUICY FACTS

The origins of the tomato can be traced back to Central South America and were cultivated by the Aztecs.

  • The french believed them to be a powerful aphrodisiac, and called them “pomme d’amour” or love apple.

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  • The Latin name is lycopersican escutentum, or edible wolf’s peach”.
  • Tomatoes are full of Lycopene, believed to be a powerful antioxident, and is why they turn red as the they ripen.

Tomato Salad 

All you’ll need 🍅

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3 – 4 fully ripe Big Beef, or Beef Steak tomatoes, cut in quarters

Half of a medium Red Onion, thinly sliced

Fresh basil, shredded

Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle

Salt & Pepper for seasoning

And 2 – 3 teaspoons of water.

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Voila, a bowl full of love apples!

Clean, fresh, healthy, what more could you want?

The weather is changing, windows are opening, and food for me, takes on an entirely different style. Part of the secret in this simple, yet spectacular salad is that all the ingredients are fresh and of high quality.


I fully document my love affair with food on Twitter: @jwilltrain

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Weight Loss


 

Calorie

  • a unit of energy

 

Fat is stored as energy. A person looking to burn fat must increase their energy output. i.e. exercise, to burn off more calories than they’ve taken in.

I tend to prefer most things in layman’s terms. Lounging on the futon scrolling through meme’s doesn’t count as burning calories. According to The American Council on Exercise acefitness.org  one (1) pound of fat eaquals 3,500 calories.

Burn baby, burn

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Our Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR is the amount of energy, (calories) required just to function at rest, day to day.

“The only way to get the fat off is to eat less and exercise more” – Jack Lalanne

Healthy, and realistic weightloss is a pound to a pound and a half a week. Depending on a persons daily activity, this can be achieved quite succesfully with the right workout routines.

To get started on counting calories first, become familiar with two (2) things:

  • Maintenance
  • Weight Loss

My suggestions 

To find what your current maintenance level would be, multiply your current weight x 12. For example, a 185lb person x 12 would have a calorie maintenance level of 2,220 per day. This is your base to work from.

You can then subtract your daily count for losing weight, or add calories to gain mass, i.e. size. However, right now we’re not “bulking”. (More on that later)

Getting in the habit of reading labels helped me get a solid understanding of counting my daily intake.

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Granted these labels are typically based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, again it is a base in which to work from.

Now, time to start counting.

 

 

 

 

 

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

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SALAD DRESSING

Back in my days of working in restaurants I remember numerous tableside interactions that went something like this:

Me: Did you need more time, or have you decided?

Guest:  Yes, I’m having the house salad. And can you please have them leave off the croutons. I’m really watching what I’m eating.

Me: Of course, and what dressing would you like?

Guest: Buttermilk Ranch!

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So you’ve made up your mind to start eating better. More salads you’ve decided. So you arrange the perfectly washed bed of crisp greens. The plump, juicy tomatoes. You’ve put your chef hat on and found the right flavor profile with pears, red onions, and dried cherries.

Why smother all that deliciousness?

The origins of what we know as a salad can be traced back centuries. The word Sal, latin for salt, which led to salata, or “salted things”. The Greeks used vinegar on vegetables as well. Americans came to know salads around the turn of the century and over time ways to flavor them have swelled to that of entire aisles of shelves. I believe all the years of serving soaked, overly dressed salads encouraged me to change the way I eat, and even view the salad course itself.

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ON THE SIDE

Every once in awhile I do like a bottled dressing. Just to put it out there, my favorite is Catalina. Really. On the day-to-day though, I’ve come to only prefer to dress the ingredients in oil, a little salt & pepper and some  vinegar.

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That’s a base to add upon. Some days it’s a little mustard. Crushed garlic on others. Olive oil is considered the good fats, the monounsaturated fats, or MUFA’s. 

Below are some of my recommendations to keep on hand for some serious salad envy.

  • Olive Oil – A good quality. I don’t believe in breaking the bank, but neither going bargain basement either.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Keeping with the same logic as above, once you’ve come up with the right ratio together you’ll get a dressing people will want to sell for you. 👉Look for the color, it will be a very specific shade of brown.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – No you won’t catch a buzz, it doesn’t contain alcohol.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – While the benefits of this one are widely debated, my cabinet is never without it.
  • Dijon Mustard – When you have people over, this addition will take your dressing to restaurant level.

Lemon, lime, cilantro, you name it. Dress it up well and let the ingredients shine through.

For my All-Star recipe email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

WRAP IT AND BAG IT

In the Kitchen


“Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” – Charlie Batch

 

MEAL PREP BASICS


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CONTAINMENT

Investing in good storage is a necessity for any successful meal prepper. Today it’s a much easier and more affordable habit to practice. A typical prep is for 3 – 5  days, so understandibly that’s a fair amount of storage. Hashtag meal prep on Insta and you’ll find thousands of shots of those disposable, black, multi-compartment containers. While they are conveinent and make cleanup a cinch, I prefer to have a permanent stash on hand at all times as well.

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Being a true DIY’er I’ve used any number of things. A few years back a roommate of mine saved cottage cheese containers. A serious weightlifter, he had dozens of them. Now, years later so do I.  Glass is nice. High quality and microwave safe all the worry is gone from melting or not being environmentally concious. Above are my tried-and-true GLAD tupperware. Dishwasher safe, these puppies go everywhere with me. I empty their contents and microwave. Done.

Ziplock bags work well, too. I once knew a physique competitor in California who I would work part-time catering jobs with. Wineries, weddings, that stuff. She always had a plastic bag with chicken breasts in them. She got her protein. (And won 1st place her first time out.)

DEDICATION

For what takes a mere couple of hours one evening, or afternoon each week, meal prepping can make a huge difference in either achieving goals or peering at them through a telescope.

Find out which work for you and get to preppin’.

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HORN OF PLENTY

NUTRITION

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SUPERFOOD

In the 19th century, German chemist Erich Von Wolf was researching iron content in vegetables. He inadvertantly misplaced the decimal point thereby increasing the benefits in spinach. And so, Popeyes legendary canned good popping strength was born.

While not a USDA coined term per se, superfoods are widely recognized for their antioxident rich, vitamin packed benefits and healthy deliciousness. Antioxidents being those powerful substances that reduce damage from free radicals and help prevent diseases. Asparagus, my personal favorite, is loaded with them as well as anti-inflammatory properties. A physique competitors staple, asparagus acts as a mild diuretic. Blueberries have been found to be high in phytovinoids and fiber both of which help lower cholesteral and the heart. Native of North America, Hammonton New Jersey claims to be the “Blueberry Capital of the World.”  History of Bluberries

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VARIETY

Spinach is good for you, no doubt about that. Regardless of Mr. Von Wolfs error it is a bonafide member of the super-club. Besides vitamins A, C, & K it is also high in protein and fiber. As in life the more colorful the better. Fill your basket with superpower.

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I just don’t want to look back and think, “I could’ve eaten that.”

Listed in alphabetical order, here are my top 10 all-time favorites, research continues to show, deserve to be on a top ten list.

  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Lemons

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  • And yes, SPINACH 

Spinaci originated in Persia were it made it’s way to India. The Chinese got a hold of it during the 7th century AD nicknaming it, “The Persian Vegetable”.