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Off week

One whole week. A week and a day, technically. It lasted from the Thursday before last until this Thursday. I went that whole stretch without any real exercise. I recently started a new job… I am still getting used to working these hours, the training has been pretty rapid fire, and I have been exhausted from it all. Plus, since we’ve had warm weather there’s really been no chance to squeeze in a run after work. These are the excuses I mentally decided on when I found myself putting off every planned early morning run. But that is all they were: excuses.

The silly part? I knew every day I was making a lame excuse. Around Tuesday or Wednesday of the streak I made the decision that I knew would solve nearly every excuse I could think of. I rejoined a gym. Perfect! Funny enough, I joined the gym 3 years ago around Labor Day weekend, so I guess it was appropriate I rejoin now, so close to that anniversary.

I don’t entirely like running alone super early before the sun comes up. Not so much because it’s dark (I own a headlamp) but because I’ve watched Law and Order SVU too many times to put myself in not-so-safe circumstances. It is pretty hot while the sun is still up after work too, at least for now, so one of those earlier excuses does have some merit. And these days I don’t have access for much beyond places to run so I’m missing out on the chance to build up strength through resistance and weight training. Gym solves it all. I’m not alone on a path in the dark, no issues with heat, and I get access to all of the equipment I need.

The streak was happily broken on Friday and I’m feeling a lot better about myself. I kept trying to convince myself the break was nice, it was cool to cut myself a little slack. But I felt guilty every night as I was trying to fall asleep. I don’t know why I felt guilt. I wasn’t hurting anyone and I knew it was temporary. Regardless, guilt was the emotion that was ruling in my brain.

I guess it could be worse, there could have been an extreme backslide with my dietary choices. Thankfully there wasn’t; I ate as I normally do and my weight didn’t change at all from before the slacking began through today. I don’t want to go that long again before kicking my ass and sweating hard from exercise. I love that feeling, and I know how important keeping healthy is. I used to feel like I was drowning in lethargy, and I don’t ever want that to take over again. I allowed myself to become enveloped in it. Maybe that’s why I felt guilty. It’s almost like a guilty pleasure, but without the pleasure part. It’s more like a guilty reminder of what life was.

I don’t think the challenge ever stops. Sometimes it changes shape and different aspects are tougher for me. There are periods of time where it’s easy to keep working out regularly, but food/portion control will become a struggle. Other times it’s the complete opposite. While my habits have become lifestyle at this point, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I suppose this was the most long winded way of saying I joined a gym again and I’m really happy about it. I hope you are doing something that makes you both happy and healthy in one move. It’s a rare pleasure.

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Easy oven baked fried chicken

This recipe is so easy. And it is a healthier alternative to fried chicken. I’ve tried other oven baked fried chicken recipes and they usually involve buttermilk and eggs. This is even easier. It takes just a few minutes to prep, then you stick it in the oven and walk away for a half hour. Brilliant. I also like to make roasted broccoli with it, because it goes in for the exact same amount of time and temperature as the chicken!

Here’s what you’ll need for the chicken:

– 1 lb chicken breast tenders

– 1/2 cup panko

– 2 tablespoons light mayo

– paprika

– garlic salt

– basil

– spray oil

For the roasted broccoli side you’ll need:

– 4 cups broccoli florets

– 2 tablespoons minced garlic

– spray oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the chicken tenders on a plate. Sprinkle them with the paprika, garlic salt, and basil. I also ended up throwing on a little cayenne pepper; you can really customize this to whatever flavor you want. Sometimes I will even sprinkle some hot sauce on the tenders with my spices.

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Once I’ve added the spices, I take one tablespoon of light mayo and apply it to the tenders. Once I’ve covered them in a thin layer, I flip the tenders over and add the spices to the other side and then follow with the second tablespoon of mayo

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Put the panko into a bowl, then take the prepped chicken and dip it into the panko, making sure both sides get covered. Place into a baking dish, and spray a little spray oil on top.

To prep the broccoli, grab a second baking dish or oven pan and use a little spray oil to coat the bottom. Add the broccoli florets and then add the minced garlic. Now spray a little more of the spray oil on top.

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Now everything is prepped and ready. Put both in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. That’s it! Delicious and healthier alternative to fried chicken.

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I love this meal because it takes such a small amount of effort and it has a comfort food vibe. Great home cooked meal that can be thrown together easily during your busy work week.

Easy oven baked fried chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons light mayo
  • ~1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • ~1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ~1/2 teaspoon basil
  • spray oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add spices to one side of chicken tenders, spread 1 tablespoon light mayo
  3. Flip chicken, repeat addition of spices and mayo to second side
  4. Dip chicken in panko, fully covering tenders, then add to baking dish
  5. Lightly cover chicken with spray oil
  6. Now for broccoli - add spray oil to an oven pan
  7. Add broccoli to pan, then add the minced garlic to the pan
  8. Lightly cover broccoli with spray oil
  9. Put both in oven and bake for 30 minutes
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