Hatch Green Chile Season

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I can’t even begin to describe that first whiff Hatch chiles roasting on an open fire. But, it’s that time of the year again.  Not to be confused with other chile peppers, like jalapeños, serranos or poblanos that that are also green in color, Hatch chiles are a specific variety of green chile grown in the Hatch Valleys of New Mexico. For those of us fortunate to live in the Southwest, we can purchase them fresh in the store and many stores roast them on the spot. I prefer to buy fresh and roast them at home myself. I also will buy them in bulk in order to vacuum seal and freeze for other times of the year. For those without access to fresh varieties, you can find them canned. These usually are very acceptable substitutes in most recipes.

The benefits…

Green chiles are naturally packed with Vitamin A (essential for maintenance of teeth, bones, mucous membranes, eyes and skin) as well as Vitamin C (as a vitamin helps body maintain and repair the body and as an antioxidant helps the body fight infections.) The chemical compound capsaicin , that gives them the spice, also releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are naturally occurring “pleasure” neurotransmitters. They are produced by the hypothalamus in response to excitement, exercise, pain (for relief of), love, orgasm and in this case, eating spicy foods. Recent studies by the American Association for Cancer Research, also points to the ability of capsacin to help manage the spread of certain cancers.

The recipes…

Whether you pick some up for the health benefit or just because you love the burn, be sure to grab some chiles on your next trip to the farmers market or store and check out these great recipes!!!

How to Roast Hatch Green Chiles

Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

Coffee Rubbed Ribs with Hatch Green Chile BBQ

Coffee Rubbed Ribs with Hatch Green Chile BBQ Sauce

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Coffee Rub Ingredients:

3 T Ground Coffee
1 T coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 T Organic Local Honey
2 t sweet paprika
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t unsweetened cocoa powder

Sauce Ingredients: 

5 Hatch Chiles, roasted and chopped

2 T Coconut Oil

1 Yellow Onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 c Fish Sauce

1/2 c Beer (Not paleo, I know. If this an issue, substitute chicken stock.)

1/8 c Organic Local Honey

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 29 ounce can tomatillo sauce (Tomato sauce may be substituted if tomatillo not available. The sauces will be distinctly different from each other, but both equally tasty.)

Sauce Method:

1. In large sauce pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Add green chiles and remaining ingredients and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before continuing.

3. In blender, puree sauce until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.  Sealed refrigerated sauce will keep 1-2 weeks.

Ribs Method:

This method may be used for one slab or as many as your grill will hold. Using the recipe above, you will have a generous amount of sauce for leftovers.

1. Season ribs with coffee rub.

2. Place ribs on foil (with sides and ends folded up forming a “boat.” Pour about 1/2 cup of water under ribs.

3. Cook in 300 degree BBQ for about 2 hours. Do NOT lift lid during this time to allow steam and smoke to remain trapped inside the BBQ.

4. After 2 hours, remove ribs from foil, place directly onto grill and brush with sauce.

Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

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Ingredients:

1 Garlic Clove

2 Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

2 T Lime Juice

1t Kosher Salt

Black Pepper, to taste

Organic Local Honey, to manage heat of chiles

Method:

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth and emulsified. May be stored for 4-5 days.

 

How to Roast Hatch Green Chiles

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There are many methods that may be used for roasting chiles. An open flame is hands down the best method, preferably outdoors on a grill. Many times, however, if a grill is not available, I will use a plumbers torch (available at any hardware store for around $15-$20. Do not try this with smaller kitchen style torches meant for caramelizing creme brûlée or other smaller jobs. You need a stronger, wider flame spread to do the job and you most likely will run out of fuel before you finish your peppers using a smaller torch.) If neither of these are available, the same techniques below may be used using the broiler setting of your oven and placing the chiles on a sheet pan and turning with tongs when needed.

Method:

1. If available, wear disposable gloves to prevent capsacin containing oils from getting on the hands and burning more sensitive areas when touched.

2. Place chiles on a grill and roast about 3 minutes until skin begins to blister. Blistering the skin is essential, however you do not want to cook the flesh of the chile underneath.

3. Once blistered, turn with tongs. Repeat as necessary until all sides are blistered. Place in plastic bag or tupperware and allow to sweat for about 5 minutes. This will loosen the skin.

4. With dry paper towel, gently wipe the skin off of the flesh of the peppers. Note: Do NOT run them under water as this will also rinse essential oils from the flesh. If you wish a milder flavor in your dish, the seeds and inner pith (white fleshy ribs inside the chile may be removed to decrease the heat.

5. At this point, the roasted chiles are ready for use in your favorite recipe, or  to seal and store in the freezer for later use. If kept airtight, they will keep for about year.

The Greatest Fitness Book Never Written…

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I was talking with a friend the other day who also works as a trainer and we were talking about the reoccurring cycle we see throughout the year. January brings a renewed interest in fitness and wishes to shed the gains of the previous year. Most clients stay strong through the month before easing back off  when the excuses begin. Typically beginning with the Superbowl, moving into Valentines Day, bring on lines like, “It’s just one day, it won’t hurt,” even though those leftover wings and dips, chocolates and sweets carry on for the next week. Add the cold weather factor this time of the year when it’s easy to hide these slips under a few stylishly planned layers until “Holy crap it’s almost spring break!!!” Clients reengage and promise to commit once again to logging their meals and following through with their solo workouts and cardio during the week. It’s no different than cramming for a test in that this maximized effort is for a short term purpose. Working to fit back into that swimsuit rather than working to stay in it. By this time of the year we’ve seen Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Cinco de Mayo and other “It’s just one day or one week, I’ll get back at it as soon as (fill in the blank)” pressures come and go and many clients find themselves frustrated to be right back where they were before the new year began. These frustrations lead to misguided beliefs that they don’t have the ability to reach their goals because “it runs in the family”, slow metabolism, low testosterone, thyroid and other self-diagnosed “reasons”. Some even shift the responsibility on to us, the trainers, blaming the style of training because Joe and Jane Blow did something else and they look great. No, Joe and Jane set goals, DESIRED to reach them and did not quit even once they got there.

I wrote back around the first of the year about making resolutions stick. It’s equally frustrating to a trainer to see clients struggle with these things throughout the year and especially year after year as it is for the clients themselves  It would be very easy to say “Quit putting crap in your mouth,” but it’s deeper than that. Most people simply attack goal setting in the wrong way or too ambiguously, setting themselves up to fail. Others wish and want to achieve their goals, but they don’t DESIRE to achieve them. One of the greatest books on setting, attaining and maintaining fitness goals won’t be found in the health, sports and exercise, or even the self-help section. You’ll find it in the business section.

Think_and_grow_rich_original_coverIn 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote the book, and later video, “Think and Grow Rich”, containing the 16 “laws” of achieving success, modeled after individuals such as Andrew Carnegie, Edwin C. Barnes and Marshal Field. Success in a fitness and wellness program are said to be 80-90% nutrition and the rest hard work and rest. But, without starting on a firm foundation, you lack the inner voice reminding you what you are doing this for. That voice that doesn’t let you skip a workout or tells you that this weekends drinking binge and gastro-disaster are ok because you can make up for it next week. To truly succeed, you need more than wishes and wants. It has to be bigger than just reaching a goal. DESIRE is about the climb, reaching the top and remaining the king or queen of the mountain. Only when we get to  and remain at the peak can we look out for that next summit that is just a little bit higher to set our sights on next.

Hill writes that “the method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps…” These steps translate directly into how we set our goals for fitness and wellness. It begins with fixing in your mind exactly on what it is you are trying to achieve. It is not enough to simply say “I want to get in shape.”

First: Be definite on your goal.

Second: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the results you DESIRE.

Third: Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the results you DESIRE.

Fourth: Create a definite plan for carrying out your DESIRE and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Fifth: Write out a clear concise statement on the results you intend to achieve, name the time limit for them, state what you intend to give in return and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to reach the goal.

Sixth: Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before going to bed, and once when you wake in the morning. As you read this each time, visualize yourself already having achieved your goal. Feel and believe to yourself how you would feel as if you had already achieved your goal. This psychological imprinting is the crucial difference between your wants/wishes and true DESIRE.

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Bonus – BURN YOUR SHIPS and Create a BURNING DESIRE: Hill tells the story that “A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed them to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave them the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice, we win or we perish!” They won.

Make your goals public, whether that be with your spouse or family, co-workers, Facebook etc. Share your statement above with them as well as your progress along the way identifying trouble areas and upcoming potential to slip and fall. Establishing partners in accountability holds you to your DESIRE, effectively eliminating sources of retreat before reaching your goal.

– Michael

Curried Pork Lettuce Wraps – From 2012 Austin Parade of Homes Chef Night

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I was honored to be selected as one of the featured chefs for Austin’s 2012 Parade of Homes Chef Night at the PGM Design + Build home. PGM owner, Edgar Prats, and I later reunited on the He Said, She Said radio program. He’s been begging me ever since for he pork recipe I prepared that night. This curried pork is a test of patience, but well worth the wait to prepare. I originally served this as a one bite amuse-bouche at the event, but it’s especially delicious served wrapped in a crisp lettuce cup. The cool crunch is an awesome compliment to the sweet spice of the pork. I usually will buy an entire pork shoulder at a time (about 12-18 lbs). If entertaining, you can cook the entire shoulder or split the butt (upper part) from the picnic (lower part) and freeze one for a later use.

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Ingredients:
1 pork butt, bone in
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 – 12 oz can coconut milk
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruise with heel of knife
equal parts Penzey’s Sweet and Hot Curry Powder, about 4 Tbsp each mixed
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 head Boston lettuce

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Season butt completely with curry powder, then sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
3. In large Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over med-high heat.
4. Sear butt in oil on all sides until browned. Remove and set aside.
5. Add lime juice and coconut milk to Dutch oven to deglaze the pan.
6. Return butt to pan, add remaining ingredients except lettuce, cover and place in oven.
7. Once in oven, immediately reduce heat to 200 degrees F.
8. Cook for 4 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before shredding pork butt with fork.
10. Strain pan sauce and save it for remoistening pork if needed.
11. Serve in lettuce wraps by themselves or topped with fresh chiles, your favorite salsa, shredded cabbage or cilantro.

Note: This can also be made in a crockpot. Turn crockpot to high and allow to heat completely. Once this is done, sear the butt in a sauté pan. Transfer pork to crockpot and deglaze saute pan with lime juice and coconut milk as above then transfer sauce to crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Cook high for 4-6 hours or reduce heat to low once all ingredients are added and cook 8-10 hours.

Summertime Fitness – Hydration and Electrolytes

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With summer officially in full swing, it’s prime time to address hydration and specifically clear up some confusion about electrolytes; what they are, where they come from and America’s “drinking problem” of turning to sports drinks as a source. 

What are Electrolytes?

Chemically, electrolytes are either positively or negatively charged particles that, much like ends of a magnet, either attract or repel each other and other particles within the body. This quality helps regulate many processes, most importantly transport across cellular membranes.

Huh?

Let’s drop the science for a bit and drop some real life knowledge on what this means. Think of the last time you were out at the club. Most likely there was security at the door regulating who came in and how fast the line moved (membrane transport.) Once inside, additional staff patrol the floor helping maintain the cool in the club (homeostasis), as well as escorting out those who have had a little too much to drink and have worn out their welcome (metabolic wastes) and those who never should have been allowed to enter in the first place like the creep on the corner with the sunglasses yellin for more Jagah’bombs (free radicals and other foreign substances.) Frequently, the club will reach capacity and the rate new patrons are allowed to enter is strictly regulated and based on the frequency and volume of guests exiting. The club owners want enough guests in the club to ensure maximum profitability, but not so many that other guests or over crowded or that the club itself becomes unsafe. This is a perfect example of the sodium-potassium pumps that play a huge roll in homeostasis within the cells by ensuring that sufficient nutrients enter to maintain cellular function, but not allowing the cellular membrane to burst from excessive intracellular pressure.

The Sports Drink Dilemma…

Sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water and others typically are misbelieved to be the best source of electrolytes and rehydration. While they can work and even be recommended in extreme circumstances for athletes that perform at a very high intensity as well as emergency situations of dehydration and malnourishment, for the rest of us there is one answer to staying hydrated and rehydrating, WATER. First and foremost, like most other nutrients, if your diet and lifestyle are balanced, you are getting sufficient electrolytes from the foods you eat. To rehydrate, you simply need to drink more water, period.

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It is pretty common knowledge that Gatorade and Powerade are loaded with sugar and other nasties. But Vitamin Water is one of the most deliberately misleading products on the market. Reading the label you don’t have to look very far to see that sugar is the second ingredient listed. But wait, it only says it has 13 grams, is that so bad? Look again, that’s 13 grams per serving. At 2.5 servings per bottle that most people drink easily in one sitting, that’s 32.5 grams of sugar per bottle, right up there with many soft drinks. Keep reading and you see many of the same acidic ingredients that with the sugar contribute to tooth decay and other metabolic issues.

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Electrolytes in Food…

Sodium and chloride are found together in foods as NaCl (aka salt) and work mainly in the body as discussed above to maintain fluid balance and cellular function. Common foods containing sodium and chloride are beef, pork, cured meats like sardines, cheese, olives and other pickled items. If you are still eating processed foods, most are made with additional salt, like in the case of deli meats, chips and other snacks, nuts, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and many condiments.

Potassium is found in lots of fruits and veggies,  especially green leafy ones like spinach, turnip greens, collard greens and kale, the obvious favorite bananas, tomatoes, oranges, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes, prunes, raisins, peas and beans. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent bone loss and kidney stones as well as its work in cellular function.

Magnesium, like the others is found in green leafy veggies as well as nuts, legumes and tomatoes. This powerhouse electrolyte also supports bone and teeth development, nerve and muscle function and the activation of enzymes in the body thus supporting other necessary functions in the body.

Hungry for More?

Jump over to Motility Training for Tom Holland’s 6 HOT Tips for Cool Summer Workouts

Major Step in the Obesity Epidemic

The American Medical Association announced today that it will begin recognizing  obesity as a disease. A chronic disease has been defined by the National Institutes of Health as “the basis of the biomedical disease classification” including other diseases such as diabetes, asthma and depression. Until now, obesity has been viewed as a chronic illness, the “personal experience of living with the affliction that often accompanies chronic disease.” Because of this, obesity was not recognized by the health care field as a condition that “fit into a biomedical or administrative classification.”

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Obesity by the Numbers

America, by a huge margin, leads the world in obesity with 92,000,000 Americans with a BMI greater than 30%. Read that again, NINETY-TWO MILLION Americans are currently obese. 66% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight and 33% are obese according to United States Obesity Statistics as of May 2013.

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What Does the New Designation Mean?

Although the AMA is not the end-all-be-all regarding disease recognition legally,  their statement, “RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association recognize obesity as a disease state with multiple pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention,”  is huge as it will pave the way for further studies and legislation that may result in more weight management, nutrition, health and wellness treatments being recognized and covered by health care insurance and other programs.

 

There is still much work to be done such as standardizing means of identifying and defining what it means exactly to be obese as the classic BMI system contains some arbitrary classifications that don’t take into other factors such as metabolic conditions etc. I’ll definitely be following this one closely.

– Michael

 

Belly Up to the Wet Barre with Katrina Brock’s Great Water Workout

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You don’t have to be a prima ballerina to know that barre classes are a red-hot fitness trend right now! These easy-on-the-joints, low-impact workouts consistently delivers a muscle burn that’s anything but girly. Barre is a blend of ballet, Pilates, yoga, body-weight exercises and traditional calisthenics with varying degrees of cardio.  The benefits come from the combined challenge of highly controlled movements and lots (and lots) of reps – you’re guaranteed to get a solid workout packed with core and lower body focus.

With summer upon us and the blazing sun beating down, why go sweat it out in a studio when you can get the same great results in the pool? For years I’ve taught aquatic fitness classes in the pool and yoga, Pilates and barre on land and I thought – why not combine them all?  So I did just that, with a workout called Wet Barre.  Trust me, you’ll be way ahead of the curve with Wet Barre, because I specifically designed it to pair the benefits of barre with the built-in resistance of the water.  Did you know water resistance is 12x that of air?  Yes, indeed.  So an added benefit of the water is that there is virtually no need for resistance equipment (although using aqua gloves is an easy way to increase intensity should you want the added challenge).

For a full body blast while at the pool, I’ve put together a little sampler of some of my favorite Wet Barre moves for you to try.  Are you ready to get off that lounge chair and take the plunge?

Click for the full workout…

Chicken Enchilada Stew

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When I wake up to rainy days like today, only one thing sounds good. Soup. I had just enough time to throw this in the crock pot before heading to class, can’t wait for the amazing smell when I get home later, NOMS!

Ingredients:
2lbs chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, sliced very thin
4 Hatch green chiles, charred with torch or over stovetop burner, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 (14oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 (7 oz) can tomato sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
bunch of cilantro, to garnish
avocado, to garnish

Method:
1. Season chicken breasts with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sear lightly in saute pan with coconut oil on both sides until they begin to brown. Don’t cook through completely.
2. Add chicken and all ingredients to crock pot on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6-8 hours.
3. After 6 hours remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork before returning to crock pot to finish cooking.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and diced avocado.
5. Enjoy!!!

Note: I make this typically in large batches. It can be eaten as more than just a soup. By straining the stock, the chicken and veggies are amazing in omelettes and on salads.