Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dinner is served! High Class Chicken Fingers

This week's What's for Dinner? Wednesday meal is ready for you to enjoy (at least in a visual way)!  It's a grown up version of a childhood favorite that I like to call High Class Chicken Fingers.

The blackberry, honey, and mustard sauce will delight your adult tastebuds as you reminisce about days of old enjoying tasty fingers or nuggets of goodness. Many kid-friendly meals are not very healthy living friendly. However, this dinner won't fill you with regret! There's no frying involved.

To view the full recipe check out the post from this morning HERE>>

Did you cook with us? Share your version of High Class Fingers and Tag it with the #W4DW hashtag.  Have a comment about this meal idea or a favorite childhood chicken finger/nugget story? Share that below too:

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: High Class Chicken Fingers

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! Last week I shared a recipe for Falafel Scotch Eggs that was brand new to most of you. This week's recipe is one you've likely seen before, but it has a little bit of a twist.  It's for High Class Chicken Fingers! This blast from the past (or a least my past, I couldn't get enough of chicken fingers when I was a kid!) goes healthy in this recipe that I slightly modified from one I found on Eating Well.

Besides enjoying reminiscing of a simpler time when cooking up this childhood classic gone all grown-up, I think you'll enjoy the fact that it only requires 15 mins to make and you're likely to have most of the ingredients already in your pantry! Plus, the fancy sauce that goes with it is a fun, adult twist.

Here's what you'll need to serve High Class Chicken Fingers to four:

1 cup blackberries 
1.5 tbsp mustard
2 tsp honey
1 lb chicken tenders
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp cornmeal
cooking spray

How to put it all together:

Step One: Get saucy! You're all grown up now so you won't be dipping these chicken fingers in ketchup.  To make your classy dip mash up your blackberries, mustard, and honey in a small bowl.  It will be a little chunky and a lot of yummy!

Step Two: Prep your chicken.  Cut your chicken into nuggets or finger size (your choice) and then sprinkle them with your salt and pepper.  One your chicken is seasoned, coat it with cornmeal by tossing the topping and your meat together in a bowl.  

Step Three: Heat a skillet over medium-high and spray it with cooking spray.  Add your chicken and cook it over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.  It should be ready when it's lightly browned.  Once your chicken is done cooking, divide it among four plates and add a dash of your berry sauce.  

That's it! Three easy steps and one delicious and healthy entree.  Don't forget to add some veggies for a complete meal.

Are you going to try this recipe tonight? Does it look delicious or do you think chicken nuggets are best served with ketchup? Share your thoughts and your favorite chicken finger memory with a comment below:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Does Running Cause Knee Injuries?

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This Tuesday I've booked you an appointment with a doctor. Don't worry, it's not for a check-up! Rather, it's to watch this week's March Madness video, which is an interview with Dr. William Turley who has stopped by to discuss the question: Does running cause knee injuries? 

Aside from being a medical doctor, Dr. Turley has been running for 45 years so he knows a thing or two about the sport.  In addition to providing his personal insights as a runner, he'll also teach you several reasons why tying up your laces should be on your to-do list this spring that might surprise you. The best part? You don't have to wait 2hrs in an uncomfortable chair reading old AARP magazines to hear what he has to say.  This might just be your favorite encounter with a doctor, ever! 

Ready to figure out if running is dangerous or worthy of your time? Check out the video here:

What did you learn from this video? Share your thoughts with a comment below and be sure to "share" this video if you found it useful!

Friday, March 21, 2014

6 Ways to Look Great While Working Out

by Nikki Duckworth

On a recent shopping trip a dear friend said something that really stuck with me. 

She said that cute workout clothes made her actually look forward to exercising.

It made perfect sense and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t made the connection before! I’d forgotten about our conversation until I picked up new running sneakers a few weeks later. I’d gotten them for function, but I couldn’t ignore the stylish touches that made them feel special. 

Whenever I run in them, I can’t stop staring at my feet! Even on the days that I realllly don’t feel like working out, I get more motivated just looking at my lovely sneakers sitting by the door. I know for sure now that my friend is really on to something.

When you think about working up a sweat doing it in style may not be your first thought, but there’s no reason why fashion and fitness can’t coexist.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips to keep you looking good before, during and after your workout:

Tip 1: Upgrade your gym bag

Nike Victory Bag

Embrace your woman on the go status with a fashion forward gym tote. I’m thinking about a bag that not only looks good on your arm, but keeps you organized and can handle anything you throw at it. No time to shower right away? Stock your bag with face/body wipes, dry shampoo and deodorant to freshen up in a hurry.

Tip 2: Keep it fresh

Lululemon Nice Asana Jacket

Speaking of freshening up, when it comes to workout wear wicking technology is your best friend. Moisture wicking materials pull sweat away from your skin to keep you feeling dry. Terms like Dri-fit, Dri-more and GoDry indicate that the fabric is designed to keep you from feeling like a sweaty mess no matter how hard you’ve just trained.

Tip 3: Make it personal

Old Navy Fun Fearless Free Tee

Want to inject more personality into your workout wardrobe? Try grabbing a graphic tee or tank that speaks for you. Get one with a motivational saying that will inspire you and your gym mates. Added bonus: This kind of top holds its own style wise once the workout is done.  

Tip 4: Work it out in prints and patterns

Women's UA Perfect Tight Fitted Capri

Prints of all kinds are going strong in fashion. Carry the trend over to into a street and sweat friendly workout ‘fit. Just the thought of doing a downward dog or lunges in your favorite print makes the impending exercise seem more fun. 

Tip 5: Add Color

Nike Free Run 5.0+

If prints aren’t your thing, play with adding a splash of color. Even it’s just a pair of sneakers or bright socks, color is sure to brighten your mood and fitness session. Of course if you’re feeling adventurous don’t be afraid to mix prints and colors!

Tip 6: Flatter your figure

C9 by Champion Women's Yoga Layering Top

Put away the oversized sweats and opt for gear that better celebrates your body. You’re working hard to whip (or keep) that body in shape, why suit up in clothing that doesn’t fit or flatter for a workout?

Whether you’re working out to whittle your waistline, increase strength or just to maintain your health, using these tips to elevate your fitness look is no sweat at all.

Nikki Duckworth is a personal stylist armed with nearly a decade of fashion industry experience and a passion for helping women look their best. She loves helping clients banish frump to hone a sense of style that works for their real lives, real bodies and real needs over at

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner is served! Falafel Scotch Eggs with Radicchio

Here in Houston, TX it's been a lovely What's for Dinner? Wednesday!  This week's meal, Falafel Scotch Eggs with Radicchio, was inspired by a recipe I found while visiting my sister down under and it was delectable!  

I hadn't heard of scotch eggs until finding the recipe that inspired this meal in MiNDFOOD magazine. If you read the magazine or have eaten this dish before you know that a true Scotch egg is fried.  The version I shared HERE>> cut out that step and still resulted in nicely browned and tasty eggs.  Instead of using meat as the egg's coating, this version uses a homemade falafel mix so the entire dish is vegetarian friendly!

If you haven't tried this dish, I highly recommend it. Plus, it's a great way to hide your eggs from the Easter bunny when he comes hopping through next month!

Would you try this meal? Have you ever heard of Scotch eggs? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! As you may know I was in Australia last week for my little sister's wedding.  She was the most beautiful bride I've ever seen and we had a wonderful time! I have a few "snaps" (that's Australian for pics) over on Facebook if you want to check them out head here>>

While I was gone, I didn't have any time to cook! However, I did get to read some new health magazines and am excited to share with you a recipe I discovered while down under! It's not made with kangaroo (although I must say kangaroo meat is really delicious and healthy)!  Rather, it's the vegetarian dish, Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio. The version I'm sharing has been modified from a recipe found in the March copy of MiNDFOOD magazine to make it even more healthy and easy.

If you've head of scotch eggs, you know they aren't normally vegetarian and aren't really Fit Armadillo approved! In fact, this dish that's from the UK is traditionally made by wrapping an egg in meat and frying it, but as you know I'm really not into frying things so I've cut out that step.

If you're a newsletter subscriber, you already got your list of ingredients for this meal on Monday.  When I made the recipe today, I found myself with a LOT of leftover ingredients even with the modifications I originally made so I've adjusted these in the list that follows. If you already bought all the ingredients listed in the newsletter, you'll have enough leftovers to double the recipe if you buy a second head of radicchio and four extra eggs.

If you are sad that you missed out on this week's newsletter, turn that frown upside down and become a part of the club by signing up HERE>>

Ready to try out this shiny new recipe with me?
Here are the ingredients you'll need to serve Falafel Scotch Eggs and Radicchio to yourself and three lucky guests:

5 eggs
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 can chickpeas (200g)
1/2 can cannelli beans (200g)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp allspice
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
cooking spray
1 radicchio
1 cup +1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Greek yogurt (topping)
Oregano, thyme, and sesame seeds for seasoning

How to make your healthy, vegetarian version of scotch eggs:

Step One: Boil four of your five eggs for six minutes.  In case you haven't boiled eggs in a while and want to avoid embarrassment, you want to make sure the water is boiling before you add your eggs and start your timer.  Not that you'd make this mistake, but I recently did when I was really hungry and impatient and it wasn't pretty!

Step Two:  While your eggs are boiling, it's time to whip up your falafel coating.  You'll need 1/2 a can of chickpeas and 1/2 a can of cannelli beans.  Rinse each can before dumping the necessary amount into your food processor.  Add 1 tbsp each of water, flour, and cumin, 1 tsp of allspice, and 1/2 a cup of fresh parsley and processes the ingredients until they are smooth.  If your mixture gets stuck, add a little extra water.

Step Three: By now your eggs should be just about done. Take them out of the pot and rinse them off in cool water before removing their shells.

Step Four: Re-shell your eggs! Set up the following four small bowls to "re-shell" your eggs in tasty goodness: In bowl one add your recently processed falafel mix, in bowl two add 1/4 cup of flour, in bowl three whisk a raw egg, and in bowl four add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.  Take each egg one by one and coat it with the ingredients in each bowl.  When you're done you should have four eggs coated in falafel mix (use your hands to form the falafel around the egg so it sticks), flour, egg, and lastly, breadcrumbs.

Step Five: Cook up your covered eggs!  Spray a medium sized pan with cooking spray and heat it up over medium high heat. Add your eggs and continue to cook and turn them so that the outside is lightly browned (about 4 mins).

Step Six:  Add your finishing touches.  Make your radicchio salad by combining the radicchio with 1 cup of fresh parsley and 1/2 a cup of fresh mint before topping it with 1 tbsp of balsamic and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Divide the salad among 4 plates and add 1 falafel scotch egg to each plate. Cut each egg in half and admire the interesting pattern that you've made.  Finish each plate off with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, oregano, and thyme if desired.

And there you have 'em: Falafel scotch eggs! Did you try this recipe? Don't forget to stop by later tonight to see the final product and share your thoughts below:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: Four Reasons that Women Lifting Light Weights is Madness!

Happy Tighten + Tone Tuesday! This week's video is the second in the March Madness series.  If you're just tuning in, March Madness isn't about basketball here at Fit Armadillo.  Instead, it's about fitness myths that have been driving me MAD and uncovering the fit facts.

The fitness myth that has been driving me MAD this past week is the myth that women should only lift light weights.  This myth has been driving me mad for so many reasons.  In fact, if you watch the video you'll learn FOUR reasons why you want to put down those 3 pounders! You'll also get some proof that lifting the appropriate weight for your won't leave you looking like a body builder.

Ready to take your strength training routine and fitness goals to the next level, ladies? Tune in here:

Are you ready to change out those too-light weights? Which of the four reasons has you really feeling ready to make a change? Share your thoughts below:

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: A Fish Lover's Fantasy!

This week for What's for Dinner? Wednesday I'm still stuck on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays (tragic, I know) so instead of cooking up a new meal, I'm reheating er...reminding you of all the fish recipes I've shared this past year.

Ready for this fish lovers fantasy? Here are my favorite healthy fish dinners:

1.) Broiled Salmon with Thai Chili Glaze:  This recipe has quickly become a Fit Armadillo household favorite.  Apart from setting aside some time for the salmon to marinade, it's ridiculously quick and easy to make. Try it as the star of your next dinner party or over a bed of salad.

2.) Salmon aka Krabby Patties over a Bed of Spinach Salad: If you or some little ones are Sponge Bob Square Pants fans, you can whip up this dish and call the salmon patties Krabby Patties for a little fun. This one is great because it takes less than 10 minutes to make and you can keep most of the ingredients on hand.  Banish your excuse of having no time to make a healthy meal with this recipe!

3.) Cod with White Wine Sauce and Asparagus: Another delicious and under 30 minute meal. Decadent enough for a dinner party, yet easy enough to have you thinking about hosting another dinner party soon.

4.) Tilapia Fish Sticks with Special Sauce: Reminisce about your childhood without feeling guilty with this healthy version of fish sticks.

5.) Nutty Salmon: This recipe came out so good that even my dad who's a pretty picky eater couldn't stop talking about it! Get on the omega 3 train with a double dose from the pistachios and salmon in this dish.

6.) Swai Wrapped in Proscuitto: Fish and pig together at last! This meal unites flavors of the water with those on land and the result is a delicious duo sure to please.

Do you enjoy cooking fish? Which of these recipes would you like to try? Share your thoughts with a comment below: 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's for Dinner? Wednesday: Reruns of Favorite Chicken Dishes

Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! This Wednesday I'm reporting from down under. That's right, I'm in Australia! My little sister is getting married in 3 days. I can't believe it!!!

Since I'm not near a stove this Wednesday, I thought I'd re-share some of my past recipes.  The round up this week reviews those meals that had chicken as a main ingredient.  If you're just finding this blog, you may not realize that on Wednesdays I share the recipe for one of my favorite healthy meals. I then cook it up and post a picture of the final product in a follow-up post called "Dinner is served!"
If you'd like to play along and cook with me on Wednesdays, make sure to sign up for my e-mail list HERE>>.  You'll get a list of the Wednesday meal ingredients delivered to your inbox on Monday so you can pick up the items you'll need.  Another reason to sign up for the e-mail list? You can get discounts on great programs like my upcoming Run Away from Winter, Get 5K Fit! session and you'll also get your own free copy of my goal setting eBook!  Hope to see you on the A(armadillo)-List.

Getting back to business, here is a list of all of the chicken meals that have been shared:

1.) Chicken Cordon Bleu: A healthy take on the decadent French classic, this one is sure to please your fancy dinner guests and you as it takes minimal hands on time to make.

2.) Lemon Chicken with Red Beans and Quinoa: Delicious and packed full of protein, this dish makes a complete meal when you add your favorite whole grain carbohydrate to the side.

3.) Healthy Take on Taco Salad: Ground chicken stars in this Mexican style meal.

4.) Moroccan Chicken in the Slow Cooker: There's not much to not love with this dish-the slow cooker does most of the work and the result is delicious, moist chicken!

5.) Potato Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Chicken: Don't be fooled by the negative press, potatoes are nutritious (unless they are made into fries and served at McDonald's...). This recipe is easy and a good way to fall back in love with a spud.

6.) Poached Chicken with Green Beans and Nectarine Salad: This was the first recipe I shared! It's one of my favorites and great when nectarines are in season-very refreshing!

Are you a chicken fan? Which of these six dishes would you like to try? Have another thought? I'd love to hear what's on your mind! Let me know by leaving a comment in the space below:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tighten + Tone Tuesday: March Madness at Fit Armadillo Week One

Happy Tighten and Tone Tuesday! Can you believe it’s already March? I know I’m having a hard time believing it!  During the month of February Tighten + Tone Tuesday focused on tips for your cardiovascular fitness and in honor of Heart Health month.  This month’s theme is March Madness. Don’t worry, I won't be breaking out my lack of basketball skills! Instead, I’ll be sharing fitness myths that have been driving me mad and letting you in on the fitness facts.   

This first video won’t cover a fitness myth.  Instead, it introduces this month’s video series and provides a link to a brief meditation I recorded for you to enjoy anytime you hear one too many fitness myths so you don’t really go mad.  The meditation I’ve shared is one that I often use at then end of my Pilates classes, but it can be used any time. You’ll be able to download the mp3 so you can take it with you  anywhere.

Week One of March Madness Video and Meditation:

You can find the link to download your meditation in the ABOUT section of the video on YouTube or just click HERE>>

Do you have a meditation practice? What about a fitness myth that is driving you mad? Share your thoughts with a comment below:  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Get Ready, Get Set, Run Your Best Road Race!

The Flashback 5K/10K Fitness Run and Fitness Expo is just under three weeks away.  If you’ve signed up as a participant, you may be wondering what you can do the last few days to ensure that your race is a success.  You’ve come to the right place! Although I love working with all my fitness clients, my runners are my favorites.  That’s because I first started to enjoy exercise when I picked up the sport some 15+ years ago.  With many races under my belt I’ve learned a lot. Before you toe the line, check out my tips to make sure you’re truly race ready!

Tip 1: Find the right footwear

If you’re a new runner, you may be running in your regular fitness kicks.  However, if you want to continue your running habit for a long time, investing in the proper footwear is a must!  The first thing I tell clients interested in picking up running, is to purchase shoes from a specialty shoe store.  Yes, it will cost you  more money.  However, you can always purchase the same model online for future races.  

If you think you’ll just be a running shoe daredevil and wear your old tennis shoes, think again! You might save yourself some money now, but you’ll also be  increasing your chance of injury.  Running is a very inexpensive sport. You don’t need a gym to “play” it and you don’’t need any equipment other than yourself and your running shoes to enjoy it.  In addition to preventing injury, your properly fitted running kicks will also keep you from getting  black toenails.  Unless you’re planning on a free goth pedicure to complement your black flip flops or want to see what your toes look like without toenails, get yourself to a running store, stat! You still have time to break in a new pair if you wear them around your home and while running errands.

Tip 2:  Trot with technology

One of the most difficult parts of racing is learning how to properly pace yourself.  When your adrenaline is pumping at the starting line, it’s hard to hold back during mile one.  However, if you’re able to pace yourself correctly by running each mile slightly faster than the last, you might just run your PR (personal best) on race day!  A fitness gadget can help you with your pacing and is something you can still set up  before race day.  If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app such as MapMyRun and purchase an armband so you can race handsfree.  Otherwise, Polar and Garmin make some great tracking devices.  

If you’re in the market for a piece of technology to trot with later this month, check out Heart Rate Monitors USA. It’s my go-to shop for  fitness gadgets because they always offer free shipping and usually have the best prices.  Another great place to look for a fitness gadget online  is Amazon.  

Tip 3: Fuel your workouts properly

With a few runs before race day, it’s good to test out your pre race meal plan and make sure you’re properly refueling your body after each run.  The type of food that will work best for you is something that you’ll have to figure out through trial and error. However, you definitely don’t want to try something that doesn’t work the morning before your race!  Foods that generally work well will be mostly comprised of carbohydrates. However, try not to eat something with a lot of whole grans unless you’re eating more than an hour before you run (otherwise, you could make your tummy upset).  

If you can, try out your pre-race food plan within the same time frame as you would eat it on race day.  I advise my clients to experiment with foods the two weeks prior to the race by waking up at the same time they’ve decided on for race day, eating the same pre race snack they’ve selected, and running the distance of their race. I’d recommend that you try the same technique to avoid and tummy trouble on race day. 

While you won’t need to refuel during a 5K or 10K race, you may want to try some of the energy gels that runners who train for longer races use as a pre race snack. I have a very sensitive stomach, but have found that GU products work well as my pre-race fuel.  Energy gels give my body the energy it needs, but don't make me feel weighed down by a higher volume snack.  

After a run it’s important to properly refuel your body. Your body’s cells will be primed to restock glycogen stores (the molecule that is broken down to provide your cells with energy when you run) during the first 30 mins after your run.  By refueling at this time, you’ll ensure that future workouts are successful.  What should you eat after a run? Nutritionists have actually found that low fat chocolate milk offers the best combination of carbohydrates and protein so keep some on hand!

Tip 4: Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Staying hydrated is always important, but will be especially so for the Flashback 5K/10K race since its location makes it likely to be warmer than others this time of year.  You won’t be able to make up for forgetting to drink water while you’re racing. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you drink water throughout the day before your run and to leave a water bottle by your bedside table in case you feel thirsty at night.  To figure out if you are properly hydrated you can try two tricks. First, make sure you consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water before the big day (if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water) When you go number one, aim for a “clear and copious” result!

Tip 5: Last minute details: 

If you know the course route ahead of time and live close to the race, you may want to drive the loop or run it once or twice in the days leading up to the event.  This isn’t so you won’t get lost (there are usually plenty of volunteers on hand to point you in the right direction).  Rather, this step can help you visualize your race. You can anticipate hills, a location for your cheerleaders to stand, and identify water stops.  

When you enter the final week of race day, you’ll also want to taper off your mileage. The week before your race shouldn’t include interval training (your race will be your hard workout) and ideally won’t include a workout the day before the race.  These steps will leave your legs feeling fresh and ready to go on race day.  

Last, but not least, make sure you have fun! The Flashback 5K/10K event is March 22nd at 7:30 AM in Galveston, TX and invites participants to dress up in  leg warmers, track suits, Farrah wings or tie dye, and  jam out to tunes from the 60s all the way to Pop2K.  It’s sure to be a hit! To register, click HERE>>  The expo will be held the day before in League City, TX.  To learn more about the expo click HERE>>

In addition to the expo and road race this event includes the following giveaway offer:

Grand Prize – 1 Winner Astros 4 tickets value $65.00 per ticket Mariners game, Sunday, May 4th Value - $260.00 4 All day passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10 Gift Cards to Landry's Restaurants (Value $20.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the 10K run (Value $30.00) Total value Grand Prize Pack - $377.00

Second Place Prize Pack - 1 Winner 4 All Day Passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10.00 GC to Landry’s Restaurants (Value $20.00) $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us ($25.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the Flashback 5K run ($30.00) Total value Second Place Prize Pack - $142.00 Third Prize Pack- 1 winner 4 All Day Passes to the Downtown Aquarium (Value $67.00) 2 $10.00 GC to Landry’s Restaurants (Value $20.00) 2 $15.00 Discounted entries to the Flashback 5K run (Value $30.00) Total Value Third Prize Pack $117.00 Fourth Prize Pack - 1 winner 2 VIP Tickets to the Flashback Fitness Expo (Value $50.00) 2 Passes to the Aquarium (Value $34.00) 1 $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us (Value $25.00) 1 $10 Gift Card to Mario’s Total Value Fourth Prize Pack $119.00 Fifth Prize Pack - 1 Winner 2 VIP Tickets to the Flashback Fitness Expo (Value $50.00) 2 $10 Gift Cards to Landry's Restaurants (Value $20.00) 1 $25.00 Gift Card to Toys R Us (Value $25.00) Total Value Fifth Prize Pack $95.00 Giveaway begins March 3 and ends March 14.

Have you run a road race? Share your experiences and any additional tips for the Flashback 5K/10K runners!  Haven’t started a running routine yet? I’d love to get you started! Leave some of your big questions with a comment below:

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