Spinach Chicken Pizza

Tonight was one of those nights where I just didn't feel like cooking dinner. We just finished cleaning the kitchen, and I really couldn't stand the thought of having to clean it again. Half of our laundry still sat dirty in the hamper, and the last hours of my weekend were winding down. All I wanted to do was call for pizza delivery and sit and wait to be fed. Luckily, I have contingency plans for nights like these.

This recipe for homemade pizza is almost as easy as calling for delivery. To save time, I use pre-made Boboli 100% Whole Wheat Crusts* and pre-portioned sauce packs by Rustic Crust.
The only slightly messy part of this recipe is cooking the chicken, so omit it if you want to make dinner extra easy.

Spinach Chicken Pizza

1/4 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Minced garlic
Salt, pepper to taste
Italian Seasoning
1 pre-made pizza crust*
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup Feta Cheese
A few handfuls fresh spinach

1. Preheat oven to proper temperature (450 degrees for the Boboli crust)
2. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic to skillet. Heat to medium high
3. Once hot, add chicken and saute until fully cooked and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes
4. Remove skillet from heat
5. Spread pizza sauce over crust in an even layer
6. Cover pizza with spinach and sprinkle with feta cheese
7. Bake in oven until cheese is slightly melted and crust is golden brown on the edges (8-10 minutes for Boboli crust)

*If you have extra time or want to avoid the preservatives, you could choose to make your own dough or buy fresh premade dough from a supermarket or pizza shop


Get into the habit of being healthy!

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

This quote was printed on my old apartment complex's workout room wall, right in front of the treadmills. I spent a lot of hours staring at that quote as I became a runner in the winter of 2010. I usually didn't give the quote itself much thought, instead concentrating on the shape of one letter or another as I listened to music and ran. Today, out of the blue, this quote came to mind as I ran around my neighborhood, and I was struck how true it had turned out to be for me.

When I first started running in 2010, I had all the motivation in the world-- it was my New Year's Resolution to lose weight that year. I only had about 10 pounds to lose, but it was the same 10 pounds I had been telling myself I was going to lose for years. But this time was different. I was better educated on nutrition and exercise. I had the support of friends and family. And I was getting ready to graduate college in a few months and wanted to be ready for my new life.

I ended up having a lot of success that spring, losing over 15 pounds. However I never got to the point where exercise and proper nutrition seemed natural to me-- it never became a habit. To me, being healthy merely meant struggling to resist doing the unhealthy things I really wanted to be doing.  I only ran because it burned calories, and I only ate vegetables because they were low in calories.

Unfortunately motivation only carries you so far. Once I found myself at my goal weight, my motivation to continue running or have proper nutrition

Since a healthy lifestyle was only the means to an end, and since I had reached my endpoint, there was no reason any longer to struggle to maintain this lifestyle. And over the next couple of months, I backslid, starting 2011 the same as I had 2010, a little overweight and plenty discouraged.

This past spring, I was once again discouraged and motivated enough to start a diet and fitness regimen. To help give myself motivation, I signed up to run a half marathon in August (that's 13.1 miles for you non-runners). Throughout the spring and summer, I trained hard to complete what was, in the eyes of my friends and family, an unbelievable challenge. At times, training was fun. At other times, it was painful and tiring. For the last month of training, I struggled through a leg injury that at one point made me want to stop running for good. But I persevered, and somewhere in the process, running became a habit.

Now, almost 2 months post half-marathon (I did finish it by the way, in 2 hours and 34 minutes), I am still running, even though I have absolutely no motivation. Winter is coming up, so there no bikinis or shorts to fit into any time soon. I don't have any weight to lose. It's cold and dark and rainy outside a lot of the time. Some days I can find absolutely no reason to run, but yet I continue to do it-- and I actually enjoy it. In fact, if I'm too busy to get a run in, I get annoyed and upset. It's become part of my routine, something I expect and look forward to.

The ultimate lesson here is that it's going to take time to fully integrate proper nutrition and exercise into your life. Desire and motivation to change is only the starting point, and the journey from that point to your ultimate goal of being habituated to be healthy may take awhile. But, if you are persistent and open to learning and growing, a healthy lifestyle will eventually become a habit and seem as normal as your unhealthy habits now


Healthy Recipes | Sunny Asparagus

I have a confession to make-- I don't eat enough veggies. Believe me, I know all about the role that the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in vegetables play in preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. I get it, really I do. Yet I still, week after week, come up short of the recommended daily intake of vegetables. And it's not that I don't like vegetables. I actually love most of them. So why don't I eat more of them?

It come down to laziness. Sigh. Vegetables, with the exception of baby carrots, aren't portable like fruit (which I have no problem getting enough of). Salads are great, but honestly there are only so many salads a girl can take before she needs a break.

The current recommended intake of vegetables is only 3-5 servings per day. It honestly isn't very hard to meet or even exceed that guideline, if you only make an effort.

1 serving of vegetable equals...
  • 1 cup leafy greens, such as spinach or lettuce
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 5 broccoli florets
  • 6 spears asparagus
  • 1/2 cup beans, peas, zucchini

So, do as I say and not as I do and start eating more veggies! Try to branch out form the usual broccoli, potatoes, or corn and try kale, artichokes, or sweet potatoes. Have a salad with dinner each night, and switch it up by trying different varieties of lettuce such as Romaine, spinach, or endive. Try adding vegetables to your breakfast by making a pepper and mushroom omelet, or try the following recipe for a gourmet looking meal fit for a lazy Sunday morning.

Sunny Asparagus

1 pound asparagus, with ends snapped off
2 eggs
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, as needed
Grated Parmesan Cheese, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
2. Place asparagus in a casserole dish in a single layer. Drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roll asparagus around to evenly coat each spear
3. Place dish into the oven for 10 minutes
4. While asparagus is baking, place butter into medium sized frying pan and heat to medium
5. Once butter is melted, crack eggs gently into pan. Be sure to keep egg whites separated. Cover and cook until whites have set and yolk is still runny (if you prefer a less runny egg, cook a little bit longer)
6. Remove asparagus from oven. Transfer spears to a plate and place fried egg on top of asparagus
7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Serves 2