Presto Chango! Chicken Pesto!

We are a family that loves basil. My husband probably could eat pesto every single night! So… I searched and searched for recipes that number one have the ingredients that we have in the fridge in that we eat on a regular basis. And number two fit the keto lifestyle. This is a combination of a few simple recipes that are out there plus my experience in cooking with pesto.  Normally pesto recipes call for parmesan but we love our cheddar from Cabot Cheese so I improvised and it is super tasty!

What you need

  • Chicken breasts
  • Fresh Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Cabot Cheddar cheese
  • Garlic cloves
  • Pinenuts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil spray

Pesto Magic!

  1. In a little food processor I put 1 cup basil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  Blend it up to make the pesto paste.
  2. Spray a glass dish with coconut spray
  3. Slice the chicken breast in half to make thin filets and place them in the dish
  4. Spread the pesto paste on the chicken
  5. Cook for 15 minutes
  6. Take out of the oven and add the sliced tomatoes with cheddar cheese and top with some basil leaves and cook again for another 15 minutes

Done! Simple and easy as that.  It’s a fabulous meal! Healthy and good for you!

 

Do you have a special pesto recipe to share?  I love this paste and save the leftovers for other things too – can’t wait to experiment with this recipe and other uses for pesto.

Thanks for stopping by – please leave a comment to say hello and let me know what you think of my recipe posts!

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Fuel for the Body: Groovy Fruity Smoothie

This is a third in a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  

 

I have a confession to make, I’m in love with my VitaMix. It is definitely the most used appliance in our household. My husband has this coffee drink that I’m saving for a later post and I am addicted to smoothies. Why do you ask? Because you can pack all the nutrition you need in the blender zip it up in minutes you have a full meal that is so tasty that keeps you satisfied and helps recovery from any exercise that you may have just tackled that morning.

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What goes in the smoothie:

Ginger – slice it up ahead of time and keep it in a freezer bag in the freezer and just pop in as much as you like. I am a ginger fan so this is a necessity and makes all the difference in the world to have that taste of ginger.

Coconut water: so much goodness in coconut water!  I love it!

Fresh Frozen Fruit: I Buy my fruit fresh and then freeze it in Tupperware containers.

Pineapple strawberries and even bananas frozen are great to add in. You can freeze grapes and blueberries and just about any fruit including watermelon that may be left over from some fruit bowl you made. I don’t like to buy the frozen fruit in the store because they usually add sugar so be careful to read the labelsFresh fruit: I always toss in a banana and a whole apple, nectarine, or an orange.

Orange juice or Almond milk. If I don’t use a whole orange in the vita mix are use orange juice. Or I use unsweetened almond milk.

Other fun food-stuff: I like to try Goji berries or kale or any other superfood. I am not a big green smoothie person so I throw in a little kale for the added nutrition.

Protein Powder: you can use vanilla protein and it doesn’t change the taste of the fruit so it is my go to for protein. There are lots of brands to try but my favorite is… Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vanilla Ice Cream Protein 🙂 

There you go! Whip it up in your vita mix add a stainless steel straw and it tastes like a strawberry shake! Amazing, tasty, replenishes your body with fuel you need to recover and feel good.  A great breakfast to start your day or a drink mid day to fight those afternoon lulls.

There are so many different things to try – different smoothie recipes out there – hope you try this one and share your version or favorite below in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by! 

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Stand up for health! Flexispot hits the spot!

What can I say?  It was easy to set up, great to change up my day and move about while being more productive … this stand desk is a game changer!  My job working from home for the American Cancer Society has me at my desk throughout the day, engaged in team calls, nationwide webex meetings, video calls, working from my desktop 100%.   Checkout my interview below sharing my experience in getting a stand desk for my home office.

Why as an active healthy person in today’s workforce do you want to consider a standing desk?  

All the latest research shows how bad sitting is for you — people driving or flying for a living don’t have a choice but to be sitting.  When I am driving or flying neither do I, but at home I need to make a conscious effort to stand up and MOVE to keep healthy, not to have issues with my back, neck or body as a whole.  You need to listen to your body – you need to move – you need to get up and not always be sitting.  Having a stand desk gives you that option and movement for your body is good in any form to keep things active and moving during my work day! All active people should focus in all ways to stay active and this is just another way to be in the active mode!

How did you choose your desk model?

I chose the Alcove Riser in Mahogany – 28” – it fits in my office area without adding bulk and matches perfectly.  I love my Teak office desk and Flexispot had all options for colors and sizes.  I measured my desk and looked for the best matching color that would fit just perfect.  The Flexispot desk is great as it moves up and down without moving forward so it is stable and no need to worry about any other additional space limitations. There were so many great reviews on the customer service and the delivery and ease of set up on Flexispot – for me it was the best choice.  My experience has been flawless from delivery to set up! Thanks for stoping by – I have some pics and videos posted below so you can see how super easy it was to set up! Let me know if you have any questions about the Flexispot Stand Desk they have so many great active options to help your workplace — check out their informative website and blog for more information.

 

 Change it up – get creative while having the option to sit and stand.  It’s healthy – it’s the right thing to do for your body.

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Fuel for the Body! Apples! Apples! Apples!

This is a second in a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  

Apples…  makes you think of fall right?  At least here in New England, we have so many amazing apple orchards in Massachusetts and Vermont, in a good growing year they are abundant, fresh and flavorful!  In our town the University of Massachusetts manages Cold Spring Orchard for research and education – it’s a great orchard to visit and scenic for some great photos too as it overlooks the Cold Spring area!

In the spirit of some sage advice given…. an apple a day keeps the doctor away…  we know that fruit is good for us and to find fun ways to prepare our favorite fruits is a wonderful challenge.  My number one favorite is apple sauce, cook up some apples, add some cinnamon and zip it up in the Vitamix (my all time favorite kitchen appliance)!

Of course there is apple crisp, with oatmeal and brown sugar, cinnamon and butter — mix it up and top on sliced apples and bake!  Easy peazy!  Apples can be baked in all your favorite foods – so healthy for you and tasty!  Find your favorite apple and see how it tastes in all those fun recipes!

Today I am featuring Apple Chips!  I haven’t yet expensed a fruit dryer so I just carefully bake (don’t take that lightly because they burn easy) in the oven at a low temp and you will be successful.

Apple Chips!

What you need;  

  • 5-6 Apples (Granny Smith are my favorite this time of year but you can use all varieties)
  • Cinnamon – Penzey’s makes an amazing Vietnamese cinnamon that I love!
  • Coconut oil spray for the pan
  • Mandolin for slicing – or a large kitchen knife to cut them as thin as you can.

I have been using spray coconut oil to keep everything fresh tasting and light — add some Penzey’s Cinnamon and bake at 300 for 20 minutes carefully watching and stirring them to help them dry.  The thinner they are the faster they will cook.

Super yummy!   Good in oatmeal, granola or just for snacking!
Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! What’s your favorite apple and apple recipe – please share in the comments if you have one – I would love to hear it!  Fall is my favorite time of year in New England!  Keep on following me for more great apple recipes during that special time of year!

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Fuel for the Body! Roasted Caprese

This is a first of a series of posts celebrating whole food – fresh food and creative ways to prepare it as fuel for your body.  

You want to eat “clean” you say?  What is there to eat that tastes good, something to crave and makes your body jump for joy!  OK – maybe not jump, but this is my struggle and maybe it is yours too.  We live in the heart of organic farm country, farms offering farm shares where you pick up or farm your own plot.  So many farm stands with fresh veggies all along the road – some official, some just the farm with a few tables out front with a tin can to put your money.  The season is short but plentiful with healthy whole food!

Today is a spin on my absolute favorite salad — Caprese!  I love this salad in so many different ways, that I may share later, but for now I happen to have some tomatoes that had been sitting around and I had a feeling wouldn’t get eaten if I didn’t do something fast!

Ingredients: Fresh Tomatoes (6), Fresh Garlic (2 TBSP), Fresh Basil (15 leaves), Coconut oil spray, Oregano (I love to use Penzey’s Turkish Oregano

Bake in glass pyrex dish at 250 degrees F for 90 minutes, turning the tomatoes over in the dish to mix with the garlic and basil every 15 minutes.

Serve over a slice of fresh mozzarella and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Aged Balsamic and sprinkle fresh ground pepper and himalayan sea salt on top!

 

Yum!

What is your favorite salad?  

Please leave a comment and say hi!

 Thanks for stopping by! 

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2017 Running Race Report

2017 Race Results here — better late than never, not a lot of narrative, but some great photos and fun memories!  It was a crazy year because of dropping out of Boston because of my knee (DNS).  I put it together training and kept it light but fun.  My focus was on cross country to finish the year, but had an amazing race at both Mt Washington and Bridge of Flowers.  I love to post race results because they motivate me for the future.  2018 is shaping up to be my year!

“People need to get to their start line.  You are not fixed by events that happen in your life.  Whatever that start line may be you need to get again, have fun and go out and do it”  – MacKenzie Gray, Boston Marathon 2014

Highlight of the year was my 1st place finish for the New England USTAF Cross Country Series for my age group.  I was dedicated to trail running and showing up strong each event, and not tripping!  All in all 2017 was a good year, shorter runs and not as much mileage, but still some great results and team fun with the Western Mass Distance Project
Mt Washington
Mt Washington Auto Road, NH
June 17, 2017
2nd in age – 1st master team
 177 Nancy E Cook              F5054 1:40:32 13:14   2/45   1:40:43   W52 52 F Belchertown     MA WESTERN MASS. DISTANCE PR
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Bridge of Flowers
Shelburne, MA
 August 12, 2017
2nd in age – $50
1st master team
46;33 / 7:30 pace
GBTC – Wellsley Pie Race Xtry
September 9th, 2017
Wellsley, MA
1st in age – 1st master team – 1st senior team
   1    1  980 DANA PARROT         WMDP             AMHERST MA F 47 21:51  7:02 
    2    2  977 NANCY COOK          WMDP             BELCHER MA F 52 22:08  7:08 
    3    3  978 RUTHIE IRELAND      WMDP             AMHERST MA F 49 22:14  7:10
WMDP Hampshire Xctry race – 6k
October 1st, 2017
Hampshire College, MA
1st in age / 1st Sr Team
New Balance shoes / socks / t-shirt / donuts
1 Cook, Nancy E             53 Western Mass          27:10.12    1
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Wayland Cross Country Festival
October 8th, 2017
Wayland, MA
2nd in age
First Master Team (displaced scorer)
$25 gift certificate

143 NANCY COOK 2790 F 53 Belchertown MA WESTERN MASS 23:10 7:28

4. 90 Western Mass Distance Pro ( 22:00 1:49:59 0:40) ======================================== 1 10 SARAH ROMAIN 21:36 2 18 ASHLEY KRAUSE 21:58 3 19 DANA PARROT 21:59 4 21 DAWN ROBERTS 22:10 5 22 JESSICA SPROEHNLE 22:16 6 ( 26) NANCY COOK 23:10 7 ( 30) KRISTIN TETRAULT 23:38

Cross Country Race: The Hills Are Alive
Location: The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe VT
1st annual cross Country Race (Part of the USTAF Xctry series hosted by GMAA) Results are posted!
WMDP Results:
WMDP Master’s team won! Well done Lady Wolves! Ashley Krause , Dawn Roberts and Dana J. Parrot place 7,8,9 overall for the women , followed by Liz Lierman in 11th, then me Nancy E. Peck-Cook and Ruthie Ireland 16th and 17th – Kristin Sara 20th and Karen LaVierdiere 24th , and Heidi Besse 30th — Great showing and thank you to all that made the long 6 hour round trip ride to Vermont! Next up NE Regionals next weekend!

http://802timing.com/results/17results/runresults/10.28.17overallhills.htm

 GMAA The Hills are Alive 5k Cross Country
October 28,2017
The Hills are Alive with Lady Wolves!
Photo Credit: Ross KrauseMasters – 1st place:
Ashley, Dawn, Dana, Nancy and Ruthie
http://802timing.com/results/17results/runresults/10.28.17women40hills.htm
Open – 2nd place
http://802timing.com/results/17results/runresults/10.28.17womenopenhills.htm
Ashley, Dawn, Dana, Liz, Nancy, Ruthie and KristenWe only had 2 senior runners so we didn’t score in that category! Great race everyone! Thank you especially to our cheering section — (Ed, Ross, Soren, Lyla and Anders!)

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US Master’s National Championships USTAF – Franklin Park
October 15th
8th in age 31st overall – 4th Senior Team
Second place Masters and 4th place senior team Dana was third place in her age group bringing home the bling!
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FEMALE AGE GROUP: 50 – 54

1 5 MARISA SUTERA STRAN 54 PLEASANT VALLEY NY Athena Track Cl 19:24 2 11 KARYL SARGENT 54 LAFAYETTE NY Syracuse Track 20:51 3 12 MIMI FALLON 52 WALPOLE MA Boston Athletic 21:04 4 20 JENNIFER HEGARTY 52 WAKEFIELD MA Battle Road Tra 21:48 5 21 JULIE PANGBURN 53 DOWNINGTOWN PA Athena Track Cl 21:49 6 24 MICHELLE ALLEN 53 FLEMING ISLAND FL New Balance Tam 22:01 7 25 JULIE CRAIG 50 MATTAPOISETT MA 22:09

8 31 NANCY COOK 53 BELCHERTOWN MA Western Mass Di 22:31

  • Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage
  •  December 3, 2017
  • 21:51 5k
  • 32 Age Graded Overall Place

Love the holiday spirit – love this team – love this community. I talked to a girl at the beginning of the race that commented how she loves seeing us all in uniform and you can tell that the positive vibe we share in this running community really makes a difference. I am a proud wolf today. Thanks for being you — all of you. Happy Holidays!

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SLC’s Favorite Sourdough Bread

Who doesn’t love a good sourdough bread?  I, myself am a huge fan and envy those bakers that just get it right time after time.  It is a process, a love, that takes time and patience.  This recipe is  sharing Schuyler’s love for sourdough bread that he gets to enjoy regularly when at my ex-husband’s house at King’s Farm in Sunapee, New Hampshire.  The recipe directions here are straight from Mario – an expert (in my opinion) at this age old art.  He still does a few private chef gigs on top of his consulting business to stay in the art of being a chef – something he truly loves!   Since his direction didn’t include ingredients (I am sure he does it all by “feel”) – I am linking to the King Arthur recipe I found to help guide me a little better.   So – if you are so inclined to try…. let me know, I hope to be in the sourdough workshop of my own kitchen this weekend!

Basic Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe (if you need a little more guidance) 

Tips from the Sourdough Master – Mario Capozzoli

  • Start with KA European or French flour.   It already has small amounts of ascorbic acid in it.
  • Mix a tablespoon of rapid rise yeast (fresh) in like warm to cool water.  Let it foam.  More on the cool side.  I use around 2 cups of water. 
  • Then add a cup of the KA flour. Mix.  Let it sit for three hours with the windows open.  Don’t cover it. 
  • Then re mix.  Adding more European flour.  Still moist. 
  • Rest 3-5 hours or overnight to begin the flavoring.  Cover.  It will rise. 
  • Then add salt.  Sea salt.  Maybe a couple tablespoons of vital wheat gluten if you need more structure.   

For Schuyler’s bread, I add two tablespoons of potato flour to make the crumb tighter.  He doesn’t like big holes. 

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    Makes sure the bread dough has slack – (photo from Mario)

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Knead.   Rest.  Knead. Rest.

Then for the final rest, I place it in the bakers basket your mom gave me for Christmas.   It’s the best!!!  (Yes, gramma Jan is always part of Schuyler’s bread!)

  • Oven with a stone on 450F.  Spray bottle with water.
  • Use your peel to place the loaf on the baking stone.   Spray the top so it glistens.
  • Bake. Adjusting heat so your crust doesn’t get too burnt.
  • Insta read thermometer:  175F or until it comes out clean.
  • Rest before cutting.   Or you’ll ruin it.

The vitamin C in the bread flour is good. Because it feeds the yeast and makes it stronger.  

If over fed, the yeast will become lazy like a human.  

It’s Alive.  Let it work a bit.   

Dig your hands in.  Feel it. 

 

And fresh, hot out of the oven — it’s amazing!  Enjoy!

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