Tuesday, September 20

Chicken and Butternut Mexican Casserole

As fall approaches, this dish hit the spot! It's also an easy option for serving large groups with just one dish. We hope you enjoy this Texas twist on a chicken and butternut squash casserole. 

Prep and Cook Time: 90 minutes (unless using crock pot where shredded chicken will need 4-5 hours)
Tools: 9" X 13" baking dish, Instapot or crock pot
Serves: 6 - 8 people


Casserole Vegetables 
  • 1 chopped butternut squash
  • 1/4 c diced onion
  • 1 roughly chopped green pepper
  • 1 diced jalapeño 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 2 jars salsa (Mrs. Renfro's black bean or Texas Texas black bean and corn)
  • 2 c Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 c cilantro
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded Chicken
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c salsa
  • 1/1 c water
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Chop and dice butternut squash, pepper, jalapeño and onion. Mix together in 9" X 13" baking dish. Mix in 1 tbs of coconut oil, 1 tsp of cumin and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cover baking dish with tin foil and back for 30 min. 
4. While the vegetables are baking, prepare the shredded chicken.
5. If you have an Instapot (and, if you don't you should get one!), place the chicken in the Instapot. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken. Top with 1/4 c salsa and 1/4 of water. Press the poultry button and set the Instapot to cook for 25 min. If you don't have an Instapot you can cook the chicken in a crock pot with 1/2 cup water (instead of 1/4 cup) for 4 to 5 hours.
6. After 30 min, check on the veggies and stir. Cook for an additional 10 min or so. 
7. Rinse the black beans and mix with 1 c of salsa and cilantro in a large bowl. Set aside.
8. When the Instapot chicken is finished, let out the steam, and shred the chicken with two forks. 
9. When the butternut squash is soft and veggies done, add them to the bowl with the black beans and salsa.
10. In the same dish the veggies cooked in, cover the bottom with a thin layer of salsa and begin to layer the casserole. First, place a layer of quarter cut corn tortillas on top of the salsa, then a layer of the veggie mix, then a layer of shredded chicken topped with 1 cup of cheese (or half your bag). Then top with another layer of tortillas, veggies, chicken and cheese.
11. Cook the casserole for 20 min or until the cheese on top is lightly golden.
12. When finished, let the dish cool for 5 - 10 min and garnish with cilantro. 
13. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, however you like! 
14. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 26

Green Eggs & Sausage

Prep & Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 2 - 4

4 eggs
4-6 bunches of kale
1/2 tsp of turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water
Goat cheese (optional)

1. Pour a half cup of water into a blender and add the kale, blend to desired texture (add more water if needed)
2. Add turmeric, salt, pepper and other desired species to the kale (we love to add turmeric to recipes as it has great anti-inflammatory benefits)
3. Add eggs to the blender, and blend for several seconds, just until mixed. We've read that you don't want to overly blend the eggs as it breaks down their protein that's so beneficial for us!
4. Pour the eggs into a pan and cook until scrambled.
5. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve with sausage or bacon! We love Applegate Organics sausage  or we'll place orders from U.S. Wellness meats.

Sunday, October 25

Winter Running Program

One of the best things I've ever done in my endurance career was join a group program. I learned so much, was held accountable by others, and had a ton of fun. If you live in the surrounding Dallas-area and are looking for a more customized way to train (as opposed to downloading an online training program), consider joining me and others in this Winter Running Program.

Running season is upon us! Run happy, friends.

Thursday, May 14

Now What?

I realize I went radio silent after running Boston; turns out the chaos of life has inertia that's hard to stop. I fully plan to write a race re-cap, but for now, I figured I'd share this.

The following is a transcript of a speech I've given a couple of different times through Toastmasters. A video of the speech will be posted soon. 

Now What?

I've never really been big into video games. Even when I was younger my "gaming" -- I think is what they call it now -- was always kept pretty minimal. Although I will admit there's one game that will always hold a special place in my heart: Super Mario on Nintendo 64. For those that don't know, the premise of the game involved me, Mario, collecting stars in order to save Princess Peach from an evil turtle named Bowser. Oh c'mon, that doesn't sound awesome? With each star I got, the closer I came to saving Peach. And then one day, after months of diligence, hard work, overcoming adversity, and buff finger muscles you wouldn't even believe, I got the last star and saved the princess. The game was over, Mario and I did it!

As a kid, I was elated. Proud. Heck it felt like an achievement. I had just beaten Super Mario on Nintendo 64! And yet to this day, I can remember amidst all those happy feelings, this nagging sensation. This thought of: Wait, the game is just... over? I navigated through all those levels, achieved all those stars... and that's it? "Now what?" I thought.

As trivial as a Nintendo game may sound, I think there's an underlying theme that existed for nine-year-old me, and that I still think exists today for some of us as adults. This question of "Now what?" can be incredibly important for growth, achievement and personal development. But what I'd like to propose to you tonight is that the question, "Now What?", if asked too often or in the wrong context, can also be dangerous. Let me explain.

Thursday, April 16

Boston is Here!

Exactly four years ago I met with my coach at the time at a local Starbucks. It was there that I first said the following words out loud: "I want to run the Boston Marathon." My goodness gracious... four years ago. Can you believe that?

For those that have been following my quest to qualify for Boston, this weekend has been a long time coming, as Marathon Monday is just a few days away.

This week I've had several folks ask me:
  1. How are you feeling?
  2. Are you ready?
  3. Can we track you during the race?
I'll answer the last question first so that those that don't care how I'm feeling can close their browser and go about their day.

How to track me during the race: 

Simply text the my Bib Number (4835) to the number 234567 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive an sms text response confirming that you're following me. You’ll receive an alert each time I cross the following course markers:
  • 10K (6.2 miles)
  • Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • 30K (18.6 miles)
  • 35K (21.7 miles)
  • 40K (24.8 miles)
  • Finish (26.2 miles)
My start time is approximately 10:00a local in Boston, approximately 9:00a CT. Let me know if you end up following; it'll be neat to feel some "virtual support"!

How I'm Feeling:

That about sums it up. I've written briefly about tapering before while training for the Houston Marathon. While I intend to go into more detail in a later post, here's what you need to know about tapering.

It's the point at which you allow your body to recover from typically the hardest work you've put in throughout all of training. Your body is used to a certain type of exercise and then all the sudden the workload decreases. Your body goes into repair-mode, which comes with a set of side effects. Some people get cranky, others feel hyper, giddy, or anxious. Because the body is repairing itself the legs can hurt, ache, and have a general sense of discomfort. You notice little pains that you hadn't noticed throughout training.

Because of all of this, runs during the taper typically don't feel as good. This has a psychological impact on athletes and often causes them to doubt their race-readiness. 

I've had just about all of these tapering symptoms, plus some emotional instances thrown in. Four years this has been on my mind, and it's here! I've had anxiety, doubts, and really bad runs lately. When people ask me how I'm feeling I typically respond with "crappy". But guess what... this overall sense of what some refer to as "Taper Madness", this undeniable crappy feeling that rears its' head, is 100% expected and natural. To feel crappy is a temporary part of the plan.

So, am I ready? 

You're damn right I'm ready. I'll see you on the other side!

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