Chicken Fried Cauliflower “Rice”

Remember when I posted at the beginning of the semester, terrified about whether I would be able to finish off the semester and actually graduate? Well graduation is 5 weeks away. Can you believe that? FIVE WEEKS.

This semester has been an absolute whirlwind. Statistics has officially taken over my life. Between working as a supplemental statistics instructor, tutoring at my university’s tutoring center, and privately tutoring, it’s safe to say that I spend at least part of every day fully submerged in statistics.

I may be a bit of a nerd though, because I totally love every minute of it.

I actually put this on a handout at the beginning of the semester (original image taken from here).

I actually put this on a handout at the beginning of the semester (original image taken from here).

Because I was so afraid of taking on too much this semester, I allowed my blog to slip from my grasp. With class, work, research, applying to graduate school, and training for a half marathon (more on that later), I had to give up something. But it was only temporary!

And now I am back with a mouthwateringly guilt-free meal that will keep you coming back for more. Seriously. It’s amazing.

Meet Chicken Fried Rice’s fit and healthy first cousin.

ohhhhhhh yeaahhhh.

This cauliflower “rice” will have you thinking you’re eating real rice. In fact, you should put it to the test. Serve it to someone without telling them that it’s not actually rice. They will not be able to tell the difference. Guaranteed. I actually played that trick on my brother. When he found out it wasn’t real rice, he asked for seconds. 😉

It even looks like rice…ish.

Disclaimer: The recipe looks like a lot with complicated steps, but it comes together quickly and easily. Pinky promise.

Chicken Fried Cauliflower “Rice”
Serves 3-4


The “rice”:
-1 head cauliflower
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-1 teaspoon minced ginger (or powdered ginger)
-2 teaspoons minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-2 tablespoons soy sauce

The stir fry:
-green beans
-green onions (you can use regular onions if you’d like)
-edamame (I used frozen)
-green peas (I used frozen)
-2 chicken breasts*
-1 teaspoon peanut butter or almond butter
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons Asian salad dressing of choice, or stir fry sauce
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon minced ginger (or powdered ginger)
-2 teaspoons minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 egg, cracked and beaten in a bowl and mixed with 1/2 tsp soy sauce

*You can prepare the chicken however you prefer. I marinated it overnight in 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons almond butter (or peanut butter), 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon minced ginger, then grilled it and cubed it before adding it to the cooked vegetables. You could just as easily sauté it before you add in the veggies, but I still recommend marinating it however you choose for maximum flavor! Ps. Even if you don’t marinate your chicken with this marinade and grill it for this recipe, you HAVE to do it sometime. It’s the best chicken EVER.

As for the vegetables, you can use whatever you have on hand! I didn’t give any exact measurements because how much you add is really up to you. Just make sure you chop ’em up before you throw it all together!

But I DO recommend cutting all of your vegetables and having them ready because it makes the cooking process quick and easy.

The Cauliflower Rice:

First, break apart the raw cauliflower (removing most of the large stem), then put it into a food processor. I had to do it in two sessions because I couldn’t fit all of the cauliflower in at once. Pulse it only 3-4 times until you see that it has broken down tiny pieces, then set aside.

Warm up the canola oil in a large skillet or wok, then add the cauliflower. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. When smoke starts coming up, add a little more oil, then add the soy sauce. When the cauliflower starts to turn yellow (in the process of browning), add ginger, garlic, and black pepper. After it starts to brown, set aside.

The Stir Fry:

Warm up olive oil in the same skillet (after the cauliflower has been set aside in a bowl or plate), then add all the veggies except for the green onions (if you’re using a regular onion, add it in with the rest of the veggies, but green onions take less time to cook so they would be added near the end). If you are using raw chicken, then you should add it before you add any veggies and then add them in when the chicken is almost cooked.

Sauté veggies for about 3 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, and green onions. After 2 more minutes, add peanut butter/almond butter, soy sauce, and salad dressing/stir fry sauce and stir it all together (if you decide to grill your chicken like I did, this is when you would add it in).

After this is mixed and vegetables are soft, add cauliflower “rice” and mix it all together. If the mixture seems dry, you can add more soy sauce if you want. Push all veggies to the side, forming a circle in the middle of the pan, and pour egg into the center. Quickly scramble the egg, then mix everything together.

So yummy!

So yummy!

Packed with vegetables and extra punches of protein, not to mention incredible flavors, this meal will leave you feeling satisfied and happy…with room for dessert.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we have!

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Living in Fear

Here’s a not-so-secret: Classes start today.

Here’s a secret: I’m terrified.

I’m not terrified of school, of course. I love learning, being actively engaged in class (I’m the annoying student who always sits near the front row and asks a ton of questions), and being productive. I love everything that has to do with Psychology and the prospect of expanding my knowledge of psych always excites me.

So what is it?

Well…this could be my last semester of undergrad. It technically is my last semester of undergrad…I hope.

I know my health has been stable (for the most part) for a year now, but given its instability in the past, I just cannot allow myself to be excited about potentially graduating in December. It doesn’t feel real yet.

I’ve been disappointed and hurt repeatedly, and I’ve had to withdraw from college so many times that I have grown increasingly afraid of this semester. I’m an emotional wreck behind closed doors because I’m scared of the possibility of getting too sick to complete the semester again. The disease I have is way too unpredictable and I know that it’s never smart to get too comfortable with what my immediate plans may be.

On one hand, it’s horrible because the stress of the fear itself may be enough to push me over the edge and back into serious illness.

But on the other hand, it’s a great thing because it forces me to take myself and my body seriously. Instead of taking on too much or not being as careful with what I eat, I’ll be doing the exact opposite. I will take extreme care of myself this semester to ensure (to the best of my ability) that nothing goes wrong. And I will be paying close attention to my body along the way.

I had initially planned on running a marathon or two in the fall, but after much thought and prayer, I have decided against it. My main goal this semester is to graduate; nothing else. I don’t need to put obstacles in my own way right now. It’s my turn to move on with my life and finally be done with my undergraduate career.

But I can’t help but think…is this what it will always be like? Will I forever walk into timely commitments with fear of my health plummeting? Although it can be extremely humbling as well as important to understand that my plans are not the ones that prevail, living in fear is exhausting.

I want to be excited about graduation. I want to shout from the rooftops that this is my last semester as an undergraduate.

But I am terrified.

Posted in Anecdotes, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Marathon Mondays, Misc | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

10 Questions to Never Ask a Marathon Runner

Happy Marathon Monday!!

My friend Monica and I sat down to dinner last fall and had a good laugh over the various questions we’ve received as marathon runners, either while training or post-race. We compiled some of our favorites and I’ve been dying to share them with you!

  1. “So do you actually run, or is it more of a jog?”
    Usually, this question is asked in a more condescending manner. Like “how can you call yourself a runner if you’re just jogging?” Here’s the thing: no, I’m not in an all-out sprint the entire time. Most of us are not professional runners. Honestly, the only time I’m sprinting is when the finish line is in sight. I want to cross that thing!!

  2. “Did you run the whole time?”
    Um, who cares? I just traveled 26.2 miles by foot!

  3. “How long was this marathon?”
    26.2 miles. Always. Unless it has the prefix “Ultra” tacked on…then it’s even more than that.

  4. “Do you eat a ton of carbs?”
    I eat more carbs than normal, but only slightly. We don’t stuff our faces with pasta and bread, as many people may imagine. We may carb load a little the night before a long run, but even that means eating one serving of pasta with vegetables and plenty of protein, not just a huge bowl of neverending pasta. Also, we get lots of  good carbs from vegetables, so piling on the pasta/bread is not necessary, nor is it beneficial.

  5. “Is it hard?”
    Absolutely. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Every time. It never gets easier. A coach Dean Karnazes had in junior high, Jack McTavish, once told him, “If it felt good, you didn’t push hard enough. It’s supposed to hurt like hell.” We push ourselves until we hurt.

  6. “I want to sign up for an upcoming marathon but I haven’t trained. Do you think I’ll be okay?”
    Unless you are a professional long distance runner, this is the worst idea ever. Ever ever ever. Training for a marathon isn’t just about getting your body ready–it’s about mental preparation as well. I spoke to a friend recently who had considered running a marathon last year without training, but ended up running one this year instead, fully trained. She said that she would not have been nearly prepared if she had run it last year. It’s about the focus, the research, the understanding, the preparation. When we cross that finish line, we don’t just cheers to the 26.2 miles we just ran; we cheers to the months of training, tears, blood, time, sweat, and dedication we poured into accomplishing our goal. Training is everything.

  7. “Do you think you’ll run any more marathons?”
      Nine times out of ten, the answer is yes. Once you’ve caught the marathon bug, there’s no going back. In fact, most of us start planning for the next marathon while we’re still sore from our previous!

  8. “How much time did it take you/Did you PR?”
    If I’m not bragging about my time, chances are it wasn’t great. And even if it was great, I want to focus on the fact that I finished the race. And setting a PR (personal record) is much more difficult than it seems. Even shaving a minute off of your time means running a completely different race. It’s not just about running the last mile faster–it’s about running the whole thing faster. So, if we want to talk about our time, we’ll do it regardless of whether or not we’re asked.

  9. “Did you know that running is a high impact sport?”
    Yes. We know a lot about running. We also take precautionary measures and make sure we have the right shoes and socks, as well as additional equipment such as compression sleeves, etc. We know to ice and to listen to our bodies (though we tend to ignore them sometimes…like at mile 24). Marathon running requires extreme commitment, and most of us do as much research as possible to ensure that we are nursing our bodies the proper way.

    And, my ultimate favorite question:

  10. “Did you win the marathon?”
    No. I…no. The person who wins the marathon can usually run it in under 2 1/2 hours…that’s an average pace below a 6 minute mile! Those are the people who sprint the entire distance. So no, I will never win a marathon. In fact, in the last race I ran, I was one of the last people to finish–and I was okay with that. Because my goal will always be to cross the finish line.

Questions for you:
What odd (to you) questions have you been asked while doing something you love? Are there any that I missed?

Posted in Fitness, Marathon Mondays, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

Hope you had a splendid Fourth of July!

Mine was fantastic. My brother is in town for the long weekend and we are all ecstatic to spend some quality family time together for the first time since the winter holidays!

Last night, it was just my mom, my brother, and me for dinner, so I wanted to keep it simple (but delicious, always delicious) while still creating a festive summer meal.

What screams simple summer meal more than chicken and vegetable skewers??


It’s realllllllllly easy. I marinated the chicken and chopped up the vegetables in the afternoon, so at dinnertime all I had to do was slide them all onto the bamboo skewers (which you can get at the grocery store–a pack of 100 for less than a dollar!) and grill away. Easy peasy!

I’m already thinking about how to mix things up for next time…maybe I’ll add pineapple…mmmmmmm.


I used yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, and mushrooms, but you can use whatever you want, or mix and match! My brother isn’t a fan of squash and zucchini, so I just layered his skewers with chicken and mushrooms. For my vegetarian friends out there, I made some with just veggies too and they were divine. The onions get all caramelized and the squash and zucchini have a perfectly charred crunch while still retaining the moisture on the inside…yummm.


Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 12.05.26 PM


serves 4

5 raw/frozen chicken breasts
2 tablespoon seasoning of your choice (I used 1 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning and 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 teaspoon salt (if needed, the seasoning I used contained salt already)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 red onion
4-5 large mushrooms
*or vegetables of your choice!
Sea salt

1. At least 2 hours in advance, cut raw chicken into large cubes, then create marinade with 2 tablespoons seasoning (I like my chicken well-seasoned!) and 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus the salt if needed). If using frozen chicken breasts, make sure they are thawed before you begin this step. Mix it all together to make sure the chicken is well coated, then cover and set in the refrigerator.

2. Chop up the vegetables and place in separate bowls. You can do this in advance to make dinner quick and easy, or just do it right before you eat.

3. Layer chicken and vegetables onto the skewers as you like. Lightly drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sea salt before grilling.

4. Preheat grill on high. Cook skewers for about 3 minutes per side, checking to see if the chicken is done and the vegetables are charred to your liking!

5. Enjoy with loved ones.

6. Follow with light, summery dessert (recipe coming soon!):


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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies

These cookies…my goodness.


My friend Nisha and I had strawberries on hand one evening (Ok, ok… it was Valentine’s Day. We had a girls’ night planned complete with gourmet truffle mac ‘n cheese, chocolate covered strawberries, wine, and a romantic comedy). We had planned on making chocolate covered strawberries, but as the time drew near, we both agreed that we were craving cookies instead. Solution? Chocolate covered strawberry cookies, of course!

Nisha was a little hesitant to add fresh strawberries into a cookie, but I assured her that it would turn out well and be delicious (I had no idea what I was doing; my fingers were crossed the whole time).


The base we used for the cookie was the rich, chocolatey base Sally uses in her death by chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. We followed the recipe almost exactly, but instead of 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips, we added 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2/3 cup white chocolate chips, and 2/3 cup chopped strawberries.

The result was the fudgiest, most decadent cookie I’ve ever had, with a refreshing tart strawberry bite that made it irresistible. The richness of the chocolate melted into the cookie paired with the chocolate chips and white chocolate made me drool, but the strawberry kept me coming back for more.


Although these cookies were good fresh, they were unbelievable the next day, after spending a night in the refrigerator. It was like taking a bite out of amazingly indulgent, cool fudge.

An important note is that they MUST be kept in the refrigerator. Once you taste them after they’ve been cooled, you won’t be complaining. Promise.


Admittedly, they’re not the most photogenic cookies…but
they make up for it in taste.

In the scorching heat of summer, these cooled cookies with a tall glass of milk would be the ultimate refreshment, don’t you think?


If you make these, please check back in and let me know how they turned out for you!


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Daddy’s Girl

I can sum up my relationship with my dad with one story. A story that still brings me to tears when I think about it:

Daddy and me, after my second full marathon.

Daddy and me, after my second full marathon.

May 1st, 2011 was the day of my first full marathon. It was also my dad’s first day at his new job. He had reluctantly broken the news to me that he wouldn’t be able to be there for my race because he couldn’t leave work early on his first day. He wouldn’t get to see me cross the finish line. Understandable, but still heartbreaking. For both of us.

I ran the race, the most difficult run of my entire life. It was below freezing, pouring rain the whole time, extremely windy with thunder and lightning, and it even included bits of hail and freezing rain. I wanted to give up, but I knew that my mom, family, and friends were waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t help but think about how sad I was that my dad wouldn’t be there to see me cross. Little did I know what was truly in store for me at the end of that race.

As I approached the finish line, my friends began to chant my name, which sent me into an all-out sprint to the finish. Closer and closer…and I realized what was in front of me. Who, actually. There stood my dad–my daddy–standing on the other side of the finish line with his arms outstretched to me.

Just like I did as a little girl, I ran across the finish line and straight into his arms, sobbing.

He had come through, as he always has in my life. I feared that he wouldn’t be there, but of course he was. Of course. He has been there for every important moment, every celebration, every triumph, as well as every failure, every breakdown, every moment of pain. But here’s the thing: he has loved me just the same throughout all of it.

Sending his baby girl off to senior prom.

Sending his baby girl off to senior prom.

He has never made me feel like I wasn’t worthy. He has provided nothing but words of encouragement. What he may not always be able to express verbally, he can communicate in a hug. He has held me tightest at my weakest moments, when only he could provide the strength, comfort, and assurance that I needed.

I may be a daddy’s girl, but that is because my dad is responsible for teaching me to love unconditionally. His arms are the safest place in the world, his heart is the biggest heart I’ve ever seen, and his embrace is the warmest there is.

Daddy's girl, always and forever.

Daddy’s girl, always and forever.

Love you, Daddy. Happy belated Birthday and Happy early Father’s Day!

Posted in Anecdotes, Fitness, Marathon Mondays, Misc, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That Oklahoma Soul

One of my favorite Oklahoma stories takes place in Chicago:

I visited Chicago a few times while I was in high school. One time, I was walking around in downtown Chicago, just absorbing the sights and loving life, when I was stopped by a complete stranger. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked, “Are you, by any chance, from Oklahoma?” I was shocked. I wasn’t wearing anything that gave me away, so I was utterly baffled as to how she could know where I was from. After I confirmed that I was from the great state, she said she knew where I was from because I had made eye contact and smiled at her as I passed her on the street. Turns out, she was a native Oklahoman living in Chicago and was craving a bit of that Oklahoma soul. She recognized it as soon as I smiled at her and her Oklahoma craving was fulfilled. We talked for a few minutes and parted ways, smiling at what had just taken place.

I will never forget that moment because it reminded me of what it meant to be from Oklahoma.

Throughout my childhood here in Oklahoma, I learned many important lessons.

I learned in Mrs. Griffith’s first grade class that people don’t like it when you talk about them behind their backs. I learned the value of a harmless prank in Ms. Ross’s third grade class. I learned in Mrs. Wiley’s fourth grade class that people who may seem very different to you probably have the most in common with you (lookin’ at you, Paivy). I learned the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution in Mrs. Keel’s fifth grade class.

But one of the most significant lessons I learned was in Mrs. Neely’s 8th grade class when she introduced us to this quote:

“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will grieve not…rather find strength in what is left behind.” -William Wordsworth

That is the Oklahoma soul. We are bred to foster strength and muster it from the deepest core of our being when we are suffering. In fact, we value that strength so much that we lend it to our neighbors when we see that they need it more than we do. During tragedy, we join hands and spread our strength across the state like butter on bread. We unite. We pray. We help.

When the tornado hit Moore and thousands of lives were devastated and changed forever, I cried. And cried and cried. I was heartbroken for these people–my people. But as I saw the first responders, policemen, firefighters, immediate volunteers (so many that they had to be turned away), and thousands of people across the state reaching out, I realized that I was crying for a completely different reason. I was crying because of how proud I felt of my state, my Oklahoma family.

I was overwhelmed with love for the people backed up for miles in traffic with cars full of donations hours after the tornado hit. For the ones who were so eager to volunteer from the beginning but had to be turned away. The ones who have been volunteering in any way they can. And I have since been overwhelmed with appreciation for all people across the country and the world wanting to help our Oklahoma families rebuild.

After everything we have been through as Oklahomans, we only continue to grow stronger. We learn to respond more quickly; we know what needs to be done. We wring our hearts of the sadness and our eyes of the tears and face the devastation head-on, prepared to fight.

We will rebuild. It’s what we do. 


Moore tornado. (source)

Donation drop-off line of cars. (source)

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