Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Archive for December, 2013

HMR Thai-Inspired Spicy Peanut Chicken


My HMR Core class is full of awesome people who love to play in the kitchen. I look forward to our classes, but I also love the clinic time before when we have time to casually share how life is going, and even more exciting? What new creations people have made in the kitchen!

The following is inspired by my class and a couple of similar combinations that people have shared with me. I like to mix and match, so I didn’t combine the three components in the end, but you could just as easily toss it all in a bowl. This was perfect post-gym today and was my best take on this combination of flavors so I had to share!


Thai-Inspired Peanut Chicken

  • HMR Savory Chicken Entree
  • 1 tbsp PB2 original
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (use less if you want less heat!)
  • 1/2 tsp (or more!) powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp (or more!) powdered garlic

Heat a large frying pan on high heat. Spray lightly with canola cooking spray.

While pan is heating, it’s time to dissect the entree! Start by taking the chicken pieces out and chopping them into small pieces. Set aside. Then put the rice into the hot pan. Finally, take the gravy with the carrots and mushrooms and put in a small bowl.

The rice will take awhile to cook and due to the moisture levels in the rice, you will end up flipping it over like patties in order to get them brown and crispy. Don’t push down! You don’t want actual patties!

While the rice is cooking, add the remaining ingredients to the reserved gravy. Mash the carrot while mixing all of the sauce ingredients together to increase the creamy texture. I think it might be even better if you mix all of the other sauce ingredients in advance and store in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld and really develop.

When the rice is nearing finish (your desired crispiness – can take several minutes on each side and may require multiple flips), move rice to the outside of the pan to keep cooking. Add the chicken to the center (where the pan is the hottest) and allow chicken to brown, stirring occasionally. With the hot pan and the chicken already being cooked, this should only take a couple of minutes.

Finally, when the chicken has started to brown and the rice is ready, it’s time to plate and enjoy!


Calorie Counting Anxiety

Every week in HMR class, we are given assignments. And I have wanted to write about this particular assignment for weeks but get anxious whenever I try to confront it. Today, coming from a class, I finally feel strong enough to share.

Funny. My writing stopped again for 24 hours. See, the assignment that got my nerves in a bundle and me from writing? We had to log calories in addition to what MR we were eating. I became aware of what I was trying to forget.

The first week on HMR, I kept calculating calories. But it was all in my head. Before the end of the week I had committed to memory how many calories each MR was. It took at least another week before I had stopped the mental calculations, to try to embrace the “more is better” and avoid depravation.

So when this assignment was initially given, I was hesitant but committed to it as fully as all of my other class assignments. I refused to give anything less than 100% to my homework.

However as the week went on, I began to notice how hungry I was. Instead of choosing a higher calorie entree, I would opt for a lower calorie one — even though I really wanted the original entree and it was only a fifty calorie difference. I was avoiding having the extra shake, because it was another 160 calories.

The point of the assignment was to figure out water math. And to show us how a few extra MR in order to stay satisfied and “in the box” would not have an adverse impact on our weight-loss. However, even though I knew what the purpose was and I understood the positive elements of the assignment, I found myself restricting my caloric intake to my bare RX of meal replacements. I was starving and cranky and anxious.

I am incredibly good at limiting calories. Initially. But upon reflection, the restricting always ended in a binge. A derailment. And then the end of that bout of dieting. My anxiety over numbers would end in my hands flailing and waving a white flag. I would give in… and then the numbers and the feelings of failure would haunt my dreams.

Doing this assignment brought back the anxiety and the old behaviors, with one exception. Attending class that week and talking to others in my class and to the nurse and health educator… I realized that while I can’t handle the numbers now, I can handle the HMR diet. Because those 50 calories don’t matter in the long run if it keeps me from the 500 I would pick up at a drive-through.

I don’t have to count calories any more. At least not for now. And that relieves a lot of my anxiety. I know there will come a day I will have to live outside of the HMR meal replacement box but by then I will have the tools I need to do so confidently and will be able to face my fears and conquer my restrictive habits. I am working towards a balanced approach to health and I am proud of all that I am learning and doing in the process.

HMR Turkey Chili “Burger” Patties


I have had mad cravings for a burger. Luckily, playing off the idea of the risotto cakes and the chili being the special of the month at the clinic and I had an idea. Now I recommend playing around with spices, as I have had a different version each time I make it and all have been great! I leave the fruit in for a sweet and savory taste in the patty.

HMR Chili Burger

  • 1 pkg HMR Turkey Chili
  • 1 pkg HMR Oatmeal
  • 2 oz water
  • Spices: Cayenne, Smoked Salt, Chili Powder, Liquid Smoke, Garlic Powder (note if you use liquid smoke you don’t need more than 1/8 tsp for the whole recipe! it’s very strong but totally awesome!)

Preheat frying pan and spray with cooking spray.

Mix oatmeal, chili, water, and spices together and microwave for 90 seconds.

Pour “batter” onto frying pan in small batches. You want to keep the patties small so they cook evenly. It will take a couple of minutes on each side to brown. I like to press down on them once they have been flipped once to help release more moisture.

Once they are cooked, let sit for one minute before enjoying. They are fabulous! And I am sure once I am on Healthy Solutions, I am certain they would be great wrapped in lettuce.

HMR Sriracha BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry


I have made this twice and am seriously in love with the spicy sweet dipping sauce.

1 HMR BBQ Chicken with Red Beans & Rice
Garlic Power
Red Salt (optional – I just link the clay flavor but regular salt would also work)

First heat a large nonstick frying pan. I do a quick spritz of cooking spray as well.

Clean your chicken breast off, reserving the sauce (don’t mix that goodness! You want to keep the rice and beans as dry as possible). Chop chicken into small bite-sized pieces.

Add rice and beans to pan. At this point I add a couple of tablespoons of water because the rice is hard. I also add salt and garlic powder – amount will depend on your taste and I love garlic!

You will want to use a wooden spoon to avoid scratching the pan. I start pushing the rice and beans around, breaking them up. After about a minute, add the chicken. Continue stirring until everything is heated up and you start to see some browning.

Okay confession… One of my favorite parts of this process is using the wooden spoon to scrap off all the brown parts that stick to the pan. I scrap them into the bowl (or eat them off the spoon – no shame!) for extra crunchy texture.

Pour your fried rice mix into a bowl.

Depending on your heat preference, the sauce measurements will vary. Add a little sriracha at a time to the BBQ sauce until you find your perfect sweet and spicy blend. Spoon sauce next to stir-fry or pour over.

I love Asian food and while this isn’t quite the same, it is a delicious kick to one of my favorite HMR entrees!

HMR Toasted Raviolis


I made these for a Thanksgiving appetizer and will be repeating again for Christmas. The only real problem is that repurposing them out of the sauce made me realize how there are only FOUR raviolis! I had definitely had some portion-distortion going on pre-HMR.

This isn’t my recipe but I wanted to share my review. I definitely pressed down with the spatula to get as much of the outside browned as possible. I also doctored the sauce with various herbs like garlic.

You can find the recipe here.

More is Better

I feel like I have been working a second (sometimes third) job most of my life.

When asked what hobby I do on a regular basis, I am tempted to reply “I diet.”

Dieting has consumed my life for almost half of my life. I gain, I lose, I gain, I lose. The perpetual seesaw.

This new program? HMR? It’s another diet. I know I am supposed to say it is a lifestyle change but I am not there yet. Many diets I have attempted have been “lifestyle changes” but my life didn’t change.

I am working on it. Working hard to live fully in the program. To not try to calculate calories too much these first few weeks but eat my prescription and when needed to practice “more is better” which is a mantra of the program. Hungry? Eat another HMR meal.

The idea of “more is better” is counter to everything I have ever been taught about dieting. I have been constantly bombarded with what needs to be cut. The only more that was ever better was more minutes on the treadmill.

The rational part of my brain understands the justifications for the program’s “more is better” tenet. But it is a struggle some days to eat the extra and not feel guilty. I know I need to eat extra some days. I understand this is an ultra-marathon and not a lap around the track. That staying “in the box” (eating only HMR products) is how I stay on track. And by staying full, I am not tempted to binge.

All of this makes sense. But it’s a hard hurdle to jump over some days. Today is definitely one of those days.