A Shortcut to Weights … and Surprise Chili

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After reading about Nicole’s DO What You DON’T challenge, I knew I needed to step up and challenge myself to do what I hate strongly dislike: strength-training. While I happily pound the pavement for miles at a time, I can’t carve out enough time to lift a few weights for 20 minutes a week? Not this girl! I don’t care if I have T-Rex arms. No more avoiding!

After my run this morning, I took a little shortcut on the way back to our apartment and stopped by the complex’s tiny weight room. After 20 minutes of lifting, I felt stronger. Well, almost.

I know I’ll get stronger over time. Just you wait. 🙂

Check out this new oatmeal bowl!

I bought it on the cheap at a Chinese grocery store, so I’m a little suspicious of what’s in the glaze … but, the oatmeal sure tasted good!

After breakfast and a flurry of projects, Peter and I decided to break out the inflatable kayak he bought on the cheap back in January.

Out on the water:

Maddie wanted to be our masthead.

Eyeing a swan in the distance.

The weather was gorgeous today in the Northeast, wasn’t it? 😀

Dinner was a chili twist I like to call:

Turkey Chili Surprise

Actually, I don’t like the sound of that one. It reminds me too much of the mystery meat concoctions in grade school.

Flabbergasted Turkey Chili with Spicy Beans

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 can beans of choice (I used red kidney), rinsed very well
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp sweet paprika
3 Tbsp. oyster sauce (no, I’m not kidding)

Brown turkey in large skillet. Set aside and drain liquid from skillet. Drizzle a little olive oil in the skillet and saute garlic and onion until soft.

Add beans, tomatoes, paste, turkey, and paprika to the onions and garlic. Stir well.

Now, for the secret ingredient! After seeing LeQuan use oyster sauce in one of her delicious dishes, I knew I had to partake.

Peter doesn’t know I added this! While he was eating his chili, he kept saying “Wow, this is really good! What’s that great background taste?” Me: “Oh, you know. Ingredients.” He’s not going to find out exactly what was in his chili until he reads this post, BWAH HA HAAA! 😉

I also added a little Ghost pepper to the chili.

I re-hydrated a (very) small piece of Ghost chile and let it sit in the chili for about a minute (I didn’t want to overdo it).

It ended up having a nice kick, but it wasn’t nearly as spicy as I thought it would be. Could have been due to my sissy use of the chile.

Served with a huge pile of kale chips.

How was it? Delicious! The oyster sauce added a little salty sweetness to the background, a very mild flavor. I’m definitely doing this again.

Before I go … after reading Gina‘s discussion of MyPyramid, I started thinking about how I, as a dietetics student, handle the ubiquitous guidelines that make up dietetics practice. I can see what the USDA was trying to do here – highlight all food groups instead of making grains the base, incorporating physical activity (which is great!) … however, I think the new Pyramid is even more confusing than the old Food Guide Pyramid, or even the Four Food Groups that became obsolete back in 1992 (anyone remember those?).

First of all, the new MyPyramid food groups have different measurements for each group (e.g. cups for fruits and veggies, ounces for beans). A few weeks ago, I was giving a lesson on fruits and veggies to sixth graders, and they were confused about the serving sizes for fruits and veggies. How much is a cup? Why do we count leafy greens and dried fruit differently? Why do we need a chart to tell us how much to eat? Personally, I don’t say to myself at the end of the day, “Have I had my 5.5 ounces of meat and beans?”

For people who need structure when they eat, who like checklists and boundaries to work between, MyPyramid is a great tool for eating a healthy diet. It emphasizes lean protein, low fat dairy, whole grains, and lots of fruits and veggies – all of these concepts are great! 🙂 For me, however, I know I eat healthier when I’m not counting or thinking about what categories I need to fulfill. I eat best when I concentrate on a wide variety of whole foods and eat intuitively (thanks, Christie!).

Everyone is different, which is why I think it can take a long time to find the system that works for you. Patience with and respect for yourself will take you far. 🙂

Tell me: What are some of your healthiest habits? Let’s think positive this weekend! 😀

***Edited to add: *** Check out my guest post on PreventionRD about how this blog got its name! (Thanks, Nicole! 🙂 )


  1. Way to go on adding in more strength training! I read today that it can help strengthen your bones too – another good reason to do it! 🙂

    My healthiest habit of all would have to be my daily HUGE cup of green tea.

    Your chili sounds might tasty!! Love the name, hehe! 🙂

  2. Lol! Love the T-Rex picture! Way to go with the strength training. Good job! How does that green panda brand oyster sauce taste as compared to the others? And genius idea of adding oyster sauce to chili!!! Imma have to try that next time I make chili. Your chili sounds delicious and healthy! Thanks for sharing.

    Stdents/kids definitely see things as they are and really ask great questions sometimes. They’re questions are so honest and straight forward. I think as we try to teach kids, we also learn from them as well.

    My healthiest habit is probably no eating candy in front of the kiddies. Which helps a lot considering I’m with them almost 24/7.

    1. I can’t thanks you ENOUGH for setting such a healthy example for your little ones. You are setting them up for a healthy life. 🙂

  3. I used to count how many servings of veggies, grains, fruits, etc. that I got each day but it got too obsessive. Now, I too eat intuitively and it works for me!
    That chili sounds delicious! I looove turkey chili!

  4. Good for you for pushing past your discomfort and trying weights! I’ve used weights for a long time, though only recently have I started lifting heavy to actually increase my lean muscle mass (or at least try to)…but honestly, I love it! One thing I find so great is how you can really SEE yourself progress with every muscle group as you increase your weights/reps every workout. I find i leave feeling much more empowered, and for me that is the best kind of payoff a workout can give.

    (wow, huge rant! lol).

    Your day in the kayak looks so great! We had wonderful weather here too but I would have given an arm and a leg to go out on the water! 🙂

    1. Hehe! I know what you mean – I love it when I feel sore after a workout because then I KNOW I’ve been working hard.

  5. Today was definitely the PERFECT day for kayaking! Looks like you guys had a ton of fun!

    That chili sounds awesome. I like all of your secret ingredients. See when I cook for my family, my secret ingredients are things like the beans and veggies. I’m hoping to someday get to the point where I can get them to eat those and have to hide extraneous things.

    The new pyramid is definitely confusing. I just try to eat the rainbow as often as possible and to stuff my meals full of veggies. I figure I just can’t go wrong there.

  6. Cute bowl! I found some asian-inspired bowls at the Dollar Giant. Works for me! 🙂

    I think my healthiest habit is eating breakfast. I’m serious! It took me a really long time to get into the habit of eating breakfast. I used to feel sick if I ate anything in the morning (normally I’d have to wait about three hours!). So now that I eat something good for breakfast each morning, I feel so much better throughout the day. 🙂

    1. YES! I’m so glad you’re eating breakfast! You’re setting yourself up for a healthy and energized day 🙂

  7. Hoooray for intuitive eating!

    I need to check out this new pyramid. I am very interested in seeing it though I will probably (still) disagree with it. I do have to say though, I think it is great that you are teaching your students about nutrition!

  8. Haha, I love the Flabbergasted Turkey Chili!!! So funny! It really looks delicious. I love how warm and comforting that meal is.
    I find the food pyramid to be slightly confusing, but I have a good handle on what constitutes a well-balanced diet so I just go with my intuition as much as possible. I completely agree with you, just incorporating healthy foods into my life as much as I can.
    I also love the reference to TRex arms. Haha, you cracked me up in this post!

  9. Wow. Running AND lifting weights on a cold, dark morning? Kudos to you, girl! 😀

    Love the title of your chili. Hilarious!!! 😉

    Off to read your guest post…


  10. Wow, kayaking in the sunshine on such a gorgeous day – I don’t think it gets much better than that 🙂 What a beautiful place to live, I love rolling green hills 🙂

    I like eating small, regular meals and I aim to eat mostly whole foods. I try to eat from the rainbow, even if sometimes it’s a small gesture, like adding tomato slices to a sandwich or spinach to my dinner for an extra green boost. I also try to sit, relax, and really enjoy my meals rather than rushing through them.

    Enjoy the rest of your sunny weekend!

  11. this recipe is delicious. your blog seems very interesting. i have to look more after my eating habbits. 🙂

  12. I’ve made strength training a habit lately and it’s so wonderful — I feel stronger already. The blueberry-chocolate chip combo on your oats looks a-mazing. And so jealous of the boating! Happy Saturday 🙂

  13. you call daddy cheap
    how many time did you say “on the cheap” in reference to items and situations that could be considered hazardous to your health!
    chemical laced glaze, and INFLATABLE kayak!

    1. Hey, that kayak is practically puncture-proof. So, NAH NAH NAH!

  14. The kayaking views are really gorgeous! My healthiest habit is probably my almost-daily bowl of oats…and speaking of oats, that new bowl is so pretty!

  15. Thank YOU! I loved the post and you were a hit! : ) Thank you, thank you! 🙂

  16. Hi Jessie!
    Can I just say that I feel the same way about MyPyramid? It is wayy too confusing, especially for kids. I was also teaching a class a month or so ago to 5th graders about MyPyramid and I got very similar reactions. I think I might not get into portion sizes if I ever teach this subject to kids again. Hopefully by stressing variety and balance they will get the idea. Looks like your presentation went great! Giving kids a snack at the end is a must. We made a poi smoothie for our kids & they loved it.

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