Eat Like a Star…On a Budget

On Friday, Jonathan Toews did his best convince the world he’s not a robot, and of course, failed dramatically.

A lot of people ignore the fact that what they eat can have an impact on their bodies. Eating the right food not only helps you get lean, but it changes how you think, act, feel and perform in all aspects of your life. This morning is a great example of the balance of whole foods I try to find with most meals. Today I have a small salad with mixed greens, a couple eggs, sauerkraut, nuts, seeds and goji berries. Alongside, a small bowl of gluten free chia coconut oatmeal with wild berries, a scoop of Walnut Almond Cashew butter from @Onnit and a nice big cup of @Onnit coffee with their MCT oil. Now I'm ready to overcome whatever obstacle the day decides to throw my way. #whatmakesyoubetter #totalhumanoptimization

A post shared by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

He also revealed that he, like most athletes, have zero concept of how real people stay healthy. After all, most of us don’t make $10.5 million a year, and budgeting is a concern of ours.

While it’s obvious that this was a sponsored post, one enterprising hockey fan added up how much it would cost to make Toews’ ideal breakfast.

That said, eating healthy is important. Food fuels us, and while I always scoff at fads like “paleo” or diets like “Atkins” there are some pretty easy ways to up your nutrition, cut empty calories, and not have to pay $17 for fancy nut butter.

Of course, diets and budgets are extremely personal, so make sure you’re following a plan that is best for your situation.

Still, here are a few tips and strategies that have helped me eat healthier without breaking the bank. Most of these are extremely common sense, so you may have heard them before, but I hope this is helpful to a few people.

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Eat Like A Star: Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings

Welcome to my second, and much delayed, installment of Eat Like A Star! Here is another recipe I think is well suited to watching hockey in Texas: my Honey Sriracha Baked Chicken & Cilantro Ranch dip. Because really, what’s better for watching hockey than spicy wings and cold beer?

This recipe is great for wings, but really you can use it for any kind of bone-in chicken. This time around I had about 3.5lbs of drumsticks I got on a super excellent sale at HEB.

Can I, for a minute, talk about how much I adore my grocery store? Because I do. I’ve lived in 4 states, shopped at multiple chains and never ever been so consistently delighted by a grocery store than HEB. Also, they make Texas shaped tortilla chips. So BOOM. MIC DROP.

(Yes, our podcast could still use a sponsor. ‘Sup HEB. How you doin’?)

ANYWAY, these wings are amazing. You they’re spicy and gingery and sweet and sticky. The honey caramelizes and just adds a little bit of that smokiness to the layers of flavor. You can take the heat up or down a notch too, to make them exactly how you want.

Sriracha chicken

Honey Sriracha Baked Chicken

Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes to marinate, 20-25 minutes to bake

Marinade:

½ c soy sauce
1 ½ c tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbsp sriracha
¼ c sugar
1 c water
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar

1) To make the marinade, mix all ingredients until sugar is dissolved in a bowl or large Tupperware where you can submerge your chicken. GRATE, not chop, your ginger and garlic so that when you bake it, you don’t get large chunks burning in the oven.

2) Marinate your chicken for 30-45 minutes (depending on amount of chicken, more meat = more time), turning once halfway through to make sure all wings are evenly marinated.

Glaze:

3 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice (aka juice of a small lime)
¼ tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated

1) To make the chicken, first preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prep a sheet pan with tin foil and some non-stick spray, or ideally, a silpat if you have one. (I have 3 because I’m bougie like that). These wings are super sticky and we don’t want to pull off all the skin.

2) Mix all glaze ingredients together in a bowl. You’ll want a pastry brush to dab the glaze on the wings. If you don’t have one, you can spoon it over the chicken as well. Note: This is where you want to kick up (or turn down) the spice. If you really want it super-hot, mix in a tsp of garlic-chili paste. If you’re not a big heat person, drop it down to 2 tbsp or 1 ½ tbsp of sriracha. For what it’s worth, my roommate, who can handle spicy-but-not-too-spicy thought the 3 tbsp was spot on.

3) Place chicken on your tray, spread far enough apart that they’ll bake evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on whether you have wings (10 minutes) or larger pieces like drumsticks or thighs (15min).

4) If baking wings, flip them over, but otherwise keep the chicken skin-side up. Liberally brush your chicken with the glaze, using about half of your mixture. Bake again for another 7-10 minutes (again, time based on size of chicken).

5) Flip wings again and brush with remaining glaze. Turn oven up to broil and broil for 2-4 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked (you can use a thermometer – 165 degrees) and the glaze is starting to caramelize.

Cilantro Ranch

Difficulty Rating: You are mixing things in a bowl. I think you got this.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Sour Cream
Mayo
Buttermilk (or milk)
Cilantro, chopped
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Salt & Pepper

I’m going to be very real here – I never measure anything when I make ranch. Instead I typically do it by ratio and taste. Your Sour Cream to Mayo ratio should be 3:1, aka when you’re spooning it out of the tub, do sour cream first, and then add a lump of mayo that is about 1/3rd of the size and whisk until creamy. Then I add tablespoons of milk until it comes to the consistency I want, which can vary.  In this case, I used probably 4-5 tbsp milk to make slightly thinner ranch. Keep whisking until all lumps are gone and you have a smooth and creamy ranch base.

Start with 1 ½ tbsp chopped cilantro, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper, but add to taste.

 

Eat Like A Star: Stars Style Beer & Cheese Soup With Star Croutons

I love to cook. I actually have a degree from a culinary school, I love to cook so much. But I also love hockey, and blogging about hockey. So eventually, it dawned on me to combine the two. (Merrin enthusiastically volunteered to be a guinea pig for recipes). So here’s the first in what should hopefully be an ongoing series of how to eat like a Star.

Despite living in Texas where it’s a balmy 90 degrees today, to me hockey season signals the start of fall. And fall makes me want soup. And hockey makes me want beer. And I always want cheese. So I thought my first hockey inspired meal would have to encompass all of these things.

The good news? Beer & Cheese Soup is a pretty common Midwestern dish. And then because I had a bunch of kale in my fridge (and convinced myself that I needed SOME nutrients) I threw that in the pot as well.

beer cheese soup

The recipe I based my soup on is from thekitchn.com and you can follow those instructions exactly if you’d like. However, I made a few changes to my soup to make it a little bit cheaper and a bit more filling.

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