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Tuesday Treat: Mediterranean Chicken Stew

Since living in Southern California I’ve been on a “Lemonade” kick….no not the drink. Ever been to the restaurant Lemonade? Well, it’s pretty much amazing. There are copious amounts of healthy salads to choose from, along with fresh seafood sides, hearty soups, and thirst quenching lemonade libations.

I usually try to order a different salad every time I go, guess the ingredients, then try to mimick the salad during my next trip to the market. But lately I cannot stop myself from getting their Chicken Basque every. single. time!

It is a bit salty, therefore only a cupful is the perfect amount. Instead of making excuses to go to Lemonade all the time and taking all my visiting friends and family there, I have decided to try to master the stew at home! I think I figured out all the ingredients….and it is beyond tasty.

It is so easy. I throw all the below ingredients in my Crock Pot before I go to work and when I get home from my workout at night it is ready to be served.

4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
Himalayan pink Salt (few teaspoons)
Fresh Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Dash of Paprika
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Medium White Onion Large chopped
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar
24 Green Olives (pitted & diced)
24 Kalamata Olives (pitted & diced)
8 oz. of Jarred Artichokes Hearts (drained, rinsed & quartered)
4 Roma Tomatoes Chopped
1 Quart of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Teaspoons Minced Rosemary

This will be your new favorite Stew & it’s perfect for those chilly Autumn months just around the corner.

Lemonade Locations:

Los Angeles

Orange County

Ventura County

San Diego

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Monday Motivation // Do What Makes You Happy

This is perhaps one of the silliest pictures of me. It may also be one of my very favorites!

This photo was taken on the tippy top of Bear Peak at 8,461 feet – one of the highest peaks in Boulder, Colorado. It was early January, probably less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit, frightfully windy, yet I am still smiling and laughing like I couldn’t be happier!

Which makes me think, maybe this is why I love the picture so much – I am unquestionably happy in a situation where others might be miserable. My sense of accomplishment, excitement and adventure is fully expressed and remember sitting up there as long as possible, until my hiking buddy said she couldn’t feel her feet or face anymore.

I see this picture and it reminds me to do something that makes me happy every single day, something that makes me feel good. It is too often that we spend each day considering others – our boss, our kids, our boyfriends, our dogs. I wouldn’t be the first one to say it greatly adds to one’s happiness to remember YOU and to take 5 minutes each day to praise YOU. It can be as simple as eating a piece of chocolate, listening to your favorite song, calling your best friend or, in my case, climbing a mountain!

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Time flies when you’re having fun! Or opening a buisness… Or having a baby…. Or doing all of that in 365 days.
The simple fact that it has been one year since Hustle & Flow opened its doors, is mind blowing. I remember that very first morning-I was more nervous that day than I had been for my first day teaching yoga, for any professional commercial dance gig, or any acting job I’d ever done. This was new territory and more importantly my life savings were on the line…not to mention our business partner and her investments as well.
It’s even harder to believe that I was 4 months pregnant on day one. I had just come through three months of nausea, fatigue, sleepless nights and a growing fear that maybe all of this was a cruelly timed joke. Our beautiful yet challenging pregnancy was indeed an accident and in the back of my mind, hell, in the FRONT of my mind, I had no clue how I was going to juggle this. The teachers, the front desk staff, my husband, our business partner, our designers, everyone seemed so confidant and willing to help that the undercurrent was there. We were already building community. And I was fortunate enough to create a perfectly healthy little boy while surviving this roller coaster.

I know I was lucky. I had the support of the previous business owners and the wonderful group of teachers that willingly stayed on board as we transitioned a familiar space into an entirely new entity. I had a loving husband who, like me, was anxious about embarking on parenthood while simultaneously remodeling a business and keeping it a float in an economy where doors of local shops were slamming shut quicker than you can parallel park. My exceptionally supportive family were all behind me in this new venture. They kept telling me “you’ll have some of the most trying and difficult days ahead but you have to stick it out and know that hard work always pays off”.

Well, they were right about one thing; this is some HARD WORK.
What I knew 365 days ago and what I know this very afternoon, is that it is my passion to inspire folks, to build community and to create a safe place for anyone to meet the BEST version of themselves.
Hustle & Flow Fitness is a realized dream. I had wanted it for years…my sweaty playground where you come to work hard, zone out, socialize, LAUGH or cry…. and breathe. and breathe. and breathe again.

I can not summarize this little story and say that everything is roses. It is more work than I ever had imagined. Pile on top of that, a child that would rather “do anything” than sleep (wonder where he gets it…) and the longing to find some balance. Not every story has a silver lining and because we are merely on chapter one, I can’t predict how this next year will pan out. I pray every day that I have the strength to do the right thing, be a good mother, wife and boss. The only thing I really know how to do is to just KEEP GOING.

And sometimes that’s enough!

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WORKOUT WEDNESDAY // Sadhana: Wisdom for Teachers

In order to be creative and informative as a teacher, I have a consistent self-practice. It is important to always be connected with what I teach – the old adage ‘practice what you preach’ comes to mind. The Sanskrit word sadhana means a skillful and intelligent self-practice is necessary to guide one towards personal spiritual goals. The sadhana is a daily practice that requires discipline in order to show up for yourself time and time again. As a teacher, I advise you to revisit your practice by running through your own classes to help you find new cues and discoveries within your own body.

Many of us fitness fans find that the first connection to our spiritual selves is through movement. Joseph Pilates believed this to be true and said:

In other words, the mind and spirit has a direct correlation with physical activity. Continue to share the importance of a healthy mind and body with students. Help empower students to enjoy finding alignment and understanding how their bodies work; there is joy in discovery no matter how big or small. Teach truthfully to your personal practice and students who relate will be loyal.

Connect and reconnect to your practice in order to inject it with new language, creativity and of course heart. You wouldn’t be a teacher if you didn’t love to help people. Avoid the burnout of teaching too much while simultaneously neglecting your own practice in the process. Your students want your perspective on the movement and it is your perspective that keeps them coming back to class. Practice your sadhana, hone your craft and you will always enjoy teaching.

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Transformation literally means going beyond your form. 

~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

To me, the spin class is an opportunity to surrender to one’s self. To me, the spin bike is a vehicle with infinite opportunities for profound transformation.

I want my classes to be raucous swirls of thrilling, playful, joyful, and intense. I often post an array of non-tradional workout images on my Facebook page, such as wild ponies, delinquent head bangers, and ‘hot cross buns’, as a means to motivate through imagination, feeling, and spirit. I don’t want to feed people an idea of the ideal body image. I cannot ask people to surrender themselves to my incredibly challenging spin class all in the name of a nice set of calves. Furthermore, who am I to tell everyone that their potential for brilliance is best portrayed through mundane portraits of chiseled body parts? Don’t get me wrong, I know a gleaming set of abs and a rock hard booty is exciting, but to say that tighter flesh is the ultimate goal of a spin class is incredibly limiting.

When one takes the plunge on the spin bike, they are forced out of the confines of their mind, their ego, their body image, and as Dr. Wayne Dyer termed, their ‘form’. What a tremendous gift it is to have a space to return to each day to find this freedom from self. I know that the endorphins and oxygen rush are scientifically accredited for that calm and blissful feeling after the spin storm, but I like to believe it is also the feeling of a body reuniting with an electrified spirit, a spirit that has been let out to the fields of the universe to dance, stomp, snort, and run wild with freedom.