Iowan Surprise Recipe

Growing up, I was the luckiest girl when it came to food. My family is full of recipes. From my mum’s recipes to my grandma’s recipes, I was surrounded by flavor and diversity. One that particularly stands out to me is Iowan Surprise–or simply “Surprise” for short. This one comes from my Grandma in Iowa. You’re probably asking, What is “Surprise” anyway? Well. it’s basically a special version of chili, if you want to relate it to another food. It’s a wonderful comfort food while being a great family meal. Plus, there is so much variation allowed in this recipe. There’s a meat version, a vegetarian version, a spicy version, a non-spicy version, and so on! I obviously had the vegetarian style, while the rest of my family had the meat version. All you have to do is leave out the beef. Let’s get to the recipe. 

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Iowan Surprise

Serves 8
A wonderful version of chili atop crushed tortilla chips


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Prep Time
2 min

Cook Time
15 min

Prep Time
2 min

Cook Time
15 min

The Goop
  1. 1lb ground beef (for meat version…obviously)
  2. 1 15oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  3. 1 15oz can enchilada sauce
  4. 1 large can of refried beans
  5. 1 4oz can chopped green chilies
The Toppings
  1. 1 bag tortilla chips
  2. 1 cup grated cheese
  3. 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  4. Guacamole or avocado
  5. 1 cup chopped lettuce
  6. Salsa
  7. Peppers (for spice)
Instructions
  1. Brown the beef and drain the fat
  2. Add all the canned ingredients except the chopped green chilies
  3. Heat the ingredients through and then add the chopped green chilies right before you’re ready to serve
  4. To serve, crush your tortilla chips up, then put the goop on top, and then add your toppings!
Notes
  1. If you like it to be spicier, add the green chilies earlier
Adapted from Grandma
Adapted from Grandma
hungry and fit http://hungryandfit.com/

This recipe always brings a smile to my face and I always try to fit another serving in my belly even when there isn’t room. It keeps really well for leftovers and it takes no effort and next to no time to make. This is the perfect Fall recipe for busy families, and people like me! It’s a treasured family recipe that will continue to put smiles on eater’s faces. Make this recipe to stay hungry and fit!

Our Past Weeks in Pictures

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Interviews

Interviews

First day of work flowers

First day of work flowers

Dinners made by Sophie

Dinners made by Sophie

Walks with Noke on the beach

Walks with Noke on the beach

Workouts with Elevation Training Mask

Workouts with Elevation Training Mask

Celebratory meals

Celebratory meals

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Food trucks

Food trucks

Paintball for brother's birthday

Paintball for brother’s birthday

Close up

Close up

Noke settling into the new apartment

Noke settling into the new apartment

Shortcuts Are for LOSERS

(Note: Apologies, loyal readers, for our absence yesterday. It was supposed to be a food post day and we failed to provide so here’s an extra special and meaningful article brought to you by Hungry, King of Rants… and Motivation.)

Have you ever seen all of those get ripped quick programs? Lose 10 lbs in 10 days? Drink this magic juice that arms your blood cells with swords and shields to destroy all of your fat cells while you sit on the couch? How about machines that burn more calories in 10 minutes than an hour in the gym? You know, the ones that you stand on and they just vibrate!

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Well, I’m not here to discredit or review any of those products. Those posts are due to come at a later time. I am here for something far more important, a lesson that someone like myself has learned personally and seen others learn over time. I am here to tell you that you don’t actually care about your results in your fitness journey.

Does that sound crazy or what? Of course you care! You’ve wanted that six-pack for ten years. You’ve wanted to fit in those size 4 jeans ever since you graduated high school. Your trainer or coach told you to set a goal, so you set a goal. And now that you’ve reached the goal, how do you feel? Great, of course!

But something is missing. It’s missing because all you’re doing is looking at your new body in the mirror and telling that body you love it! Still, you know that there’s a bigger player in this game. Emerson said “life is a journey, not a destination.” You’ve probably heard some version of that phrase, right?

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Now relate it to that body in the mirror. What does having the six-pack really mean to you now that you have it? It shouldn’t be the most important thing in the room. That six-pack can come and go in a matter of months, even weeks. Slip from your training regiment and start eating poorly and it’s nothing more than a photo of what used to be, but there’s something you never lose.

You NEVER lose that journey. (Unless you actually lose your memory) You NEVER forget what you went through to get to that point. You don’t forget the sweat. There might have even been some blood and tears… some scars to remind you. And once you’ve been through that journey, it’s not so bad to go back. You’re a seasoned veteran. You know your limits and you want to crush them!

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So please, before you sign up for any get ripped quick programs or try to take any shortcuts, think about what really matters. Think about what really lasts. Think about YOU! Oh, and stay HUNGRY AND FIT!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2014

Awareness. It truly can save lives, especially when that awareness is related to something that is preventable. If everyone knew exactly what poison ivy looked like, do you think the cases of poison ivy would go down? I would say so. What about for something worse… like cancer? If you were aware of how to prevent cancer, would you take the means to do so for yourself? I most certainly would try. And this all brings us back to the title of this post and that one word that might not look so familiar, mesothelioma

We’ll make this clear, mesothelioma is a very dangerous form of cancer that attacks a similarly named lining of your body cavity. It tries to, usually successfully, hurt a part of the inside of your body… obviously, you don’t want that to happen. What causes it? Exposure to asbestos. What is asbestos? You might know already or at least you’ve heard the word, but asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally on our planet, and it is a known carcinogen.

To put that into perspective, aspartame, which has a very negative public opinion due to its presence as an artificial sweetener in so many processed foods, is declared as a non-carcinogen on www.cancer.org. That was even after studies and lab experiments. (I still don’t consume aspartame because I’m not convinced, yet.) What about arsenic… would you ingest it if you had a choice? You shouldn’t. Asbestos, however, is still used in construction projects throughout the world; developing and developed countries use it in homes, schools, industrial, and commercial buildings. So… how do you know if you’ve been exposed; what are the symptoms?

Here is the scariest part. Mesothelioma sits dormant in your body for 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. Every year, nearly 3,000 new cases are diagnosed. Their average time given to live… 10 months. Although, it’s most common in individuals 50-70 years old, there have been of cases for those in younger generations. The three types that have been identified are in the lining of the lunges (80% of all cases), abdominal lining, and heart lining. All crucial parts of the body and all extremely painful, I’m sure. 

So, what’s the point of me writing this post? Why exactly is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th, 2014 the 10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day? Because your awareness can save your life or someone else’s life. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in most products in 1989, by 1991 the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it and most products containing asbestos are still made today. Try to avoid them and try to avoid buildings that were constructed with asbestos.

My personal input to this is that asbestos is easily a billion (maybe even trillion) dollar industry, and people aren’t willing to let that go. Money has significant control over the government and we know that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Court of Appeals was bought for that decision to overturn the ban because the money in a few pockets is worth so much more to those individuals than the lives of nearly 10,000 Americans a year who die because of asbestos related diseases. 

Become knowledgeable, spread awareness, avoid asbestos, fight the use of asbestos, and save lives. It could be someone you never met, it could be someone you love, it could be you. And stay hungry and fit!

Homemade Banana Fritters

In my experience, it seems like banana fritters are not a huge thing in the United States. However, growing up in my household with a Kiwi mother promises otherwise. Oh homemade banana fritters, how can words do justice to your magnificence? Banana fritters are a special part of weekend breakfasts in my family. They are basically a banana and flour mixture that’s fried in oil on the stove top. We usually top them with powdered sugar. It’s so delicious. And better even still–they are incredibly simple to make! Let’s get to the recipe.

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Banana Fritters

Yields 8
A decadent breakfast recipe that takes under 15 minutes to make


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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
6 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
6 min

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flour
  2. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. water
  4. powdered sugar
  5. 2 bananas
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and baking powder
  2. Mix with water to batter consistency (water amount could be different for everyone)
  3. Slice bananas and stir them into the batter
  4. Heat a pan with quarter of an inch of oil
  5. Take a large spoonful (see pictures) of fritter mix and plop into pan
  6. Cook until little bubbles start to appear in batter (roughly 3 minutes)
  7. Flip and do the same
  8. Take out of pan and put on paper towel
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar
hungry and fit http://hungryandfit.com/

I can usually only get through about two because they are very rich and quite rewarding. I’m sure many other Americans would love to play around with this recipe like put syrup or fruit on top. You should experiment! For me, it’s powdered sugar until the end. This is my mum’s recipe and I feel very lucky indeed to have it and also to be able to share it with you all! She’s been making it for who knows how many years, so it’s almost as easy as making a cup of tea for her. Enjoy this recipe to stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: What’s a special breakfast tradition for your family?

#19 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Finally! We have broken the twenties, and now climb down to reveal the teens of the Greatest Video Game of All Countdown! Welcome to #19! If you don’t remember our video game brain trust, please click here to freshen up. Ladies and gents, this is going to be a fun one! Please click respectively if you haven’t read our previous game reveals: #25, #24, #23, #22, #21, and #20. I hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed revealing the #19 Greatest Video Game of All Time!

Kai — Team Fortress 2 — One of my favorite multiplayer games, Team Fortress 2 is a fun role-based shooter.  There are 9 classes: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Medic, Sniper, and Spy, each with very different play styles and goals.  There tons of different maps and map types, from Capture the Flag to King of the Hill to Robot Destruction.

There’s no story, no real characters, just great game mechanics and lots of fun.  There’s also a whole set of customization pieces that you can unlock, which brings in revenue for the developers at Valve (since the game is free).  There’s very little frustration and the community is much better than any other I’ve participated in.  Overall, it’s a great FPS to blow off steam after work or on a boring afternoon.

Po – The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker —Beautiful. In & out. Beautiful.

Andrew — Starcraft – What would you ask of me? Starcraft is really the game that made RTS’s (and Blizzard) so popular (we could argue Warcraft II – I mean it did have turtle submarines in it) but SC was just so polished for the time. Fenix, Tassadar, Artanis all day Executor. I preferred Protoss (obviously) and was very fond of a strong defense while I rushed a carrier army (airforce?) in order to crush my foes. Mutalisks and Lurkers were super fun too on the Zerg side, and Jim Raynor was a war hero time and time again. (Confession: I haven’t played SC2 yet, I plan on waiting for it all to come out before I run through it). 

Also, I was super into level building and had more than a few which were just overly indulgent in favor of me destroying stuff.
 

Fit — Mario Kart — For this one, I’m simply naming the series. What a fantastic, family-fun-filled game that has the replay value that is invaluable. I believe I first started playing on Nintendo 64–many many hours of it. Then on Gamecube, the fun continued. I loved the different modes, racing, battle, and so forth. I loved the variety of all the different maps. I have tons of fond memories sitting beside friends and family, trying to blow up their balloons or staying on the Rainbow Road track. It was always a bout of fun with Mario Kart–rarely did it ever end up in frustration. It’s a classic that will always be a classic you can play over and over. Great for groups! (Great, now I have the Rainbow Road track song stuck in my head)

Hungry – Starcraft – PC (1998) — Starcraft most definitely earns its place on this list if only for the insane amount of hours I contributed to the campaign and Battle.net for nearly half a decade. It’s also one of the only games that I ever played at any competitive level and most certainly one of the only games that I was ever ranked within the top 100 in the world at some point. The story was better than it needed to be for the way it appealed to the masses; I know loads of people who never even opened the campaign mode. This game was also crucial in Blizzard’s growth and I appreciate many things that have contributed to the success of a cornerstone in the video gaming industry. 

Gameplay could be fast or slow-paced depending on the mode and difficulty, the characters had some personality and development, the graphics and soundtrack were well-developed for the time, and it was a game that could be played by yourself or with your friends. The Battle.net was also relatively well-organized and the ranking systems definitely helped players become more enthused and competitive. But what is the crowning reason the game finds its way on the list: Fenix’s and Raynor’s cutscenes. Raynor was the man and Fenix is one of my favorite video game characters of ALL TIME. I fear not death.

We were waiting until someone had the same game at the same point in their list! Awesome! Remember that none of us see each other’s video game reveal until the time it is posted, so it’s just as much of a surprise for us as it is for you. I hope this starts you off on a nostalgic yet fun note for your Monday and for your week! And as always, stay hungry and fit!

BONUS PUPPY PIC

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Is California Rental Project a Scam?

Yes, in a way, but scam might not be the best word. I would never let anyone I care about or got the chance to talk to use them, but keep reading. It’s worth it if you want a good answer to this question.

NOTE: Obviously, I need not remind you that this a blog and in those regards it is subjective and we have certain freedoms of speech. We could use it for defamation, and use that negativity to become more popular, but we are honorable people and are just trying to help others.

A few weeks ago, while apartment hunting in Los Angeles, we nearly closed on an apartment when we found the California Rental Project. Their prices were not just competitive, they were unbelievable. The deals were so great that we contacted them to apply to multiple apartments, just to be safe. Our “real” apartment that was $1125 a month for 700 square feet in Koreatown seemed like a total rip-off compared to the over 1700 square foot apartment in West L.A. that was ONLY $900 a month.

How does it work? They claim that their service does something along the lines of favorably adjusting the prices of the general market while also providing lower-income housing options. The process, as you may know, is to submit a general application with a $50 fee before you can actually get to ever see the apartments or even find out what the actual address is. The website only gives you intersections and very few pictures. Oh, and by the way, trust us… we called them on average more than once a day for about two straight weeks. We spoke with them a lot, which makes this such a convincing “scam.” But hey, if you can make a few thousand dollars a week or month, what’s the harm in paying one or two people a fraction of that to talk on the phone and respond to a few emails.

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THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. “Evidence.” When we called, they told us that the apartment we were interested in had been posted over two weeks before and no more than three people had called with interest; plus, no one had yet applied. We submitted an application no more than two minutes later, BASICALLY, confirming we were the first applicants. That helps in a first come, first serve process. (Remember that.) Next, they told us it would be 8-10 days for all credit/background checks to go through. Well, we’ve worked with MUCH BIGGER companies that deal with multiple times more of these checks, and they have gotten them done for us THE DAY WE APPLIED. We also worked for a company that conducted THOROUGH background checks on every applicant and we know they can be done in two days, easily. 

We kept calling back because we knew they didn’t need 8-10 days but they were always adamant about company policies. Surely enough, it was no less than 10 days, THE WHOLE TEN DAYS, before we heard that we were approved. YES! Then they sent us a general spam email that said next they would take the people who applied and were approved in order and call them to set an appointment to FINALLY see the apartments. We had called over the weeks before that and asked for the address or the landlord’s contact information, but of course, they claimed they were not allowed to give that information out to us… yet. They also claimed that they made it easier for the landlords and property managers by taking care of the background checks BUT when we asked who we were waiting for over those 8-10 days, they blamed the landlords. We were in a lose-lose helpless situation. Really.

Still, we knew we had the apartment. There was a 99.9% chance we were first to apply, and we were approved. It’s been weeks since we got that email. We never got a call. We contacted them, but we never heard back. And, the apartment is still listed as available on the website. So I won’t be the first guy on the internet to say this is a scam but you can read the TRUE story, if you’re patient and were interested in using California Rental Project, and decide if you want to go through that same process. Let me end with a single image. 

Imagine a person paying a website host five dollars a year to have a url. That person puts together a very simple and very clean page with very little content, but keeps it professional and descriptive enough to stir interest. Next, individuals find that site, get excited, and provide that site with a $50 fee. Since the site clearly states that if your application is denied, the fee is not refunded, they create the perfect way of getting $50 from every person that stumbles by… and no one can ask questions, because they can simply not be answered. But what if the service promised doesn’t exist? Would you play the lottery if you secretly knew that the winning ticket was staged every time and no one ever won the jackpot. It’s there to entice you to be a customer and pay up, but you can never actually get it. A brilliant way to make money, right? Not the right thing to do… but disgustingly brilliant, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

Feel free to ask questions below and I will be COMPLETELY HONEST from personal experience, answering anything that I can and saying I don’t know when… I don’t know. I am not doing this for me. My time and money are gone and were wasted. I am doing this to save you $50, prevent your future frustration, maintain your hope for the human race, and save you the time and effort of following a pipe dream during a very stressful time… which is while trying to find a place to live!

Sorry for the length, I hope it helps and as always, stay hungry and fit!

Talk Like a Pirate (Sweat Like One Too!) Workout

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Happy Friday! And more importantly…Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!! Today is the international day where you shouldn’t be judged for talking like a pirate. In fact, it’s encouraged! Today, we got featured on FitFluential, for an epic pirate-themed workout. You can do this workout anywhere, and you certainly don’t want to miss out. Check out the article here. Happy reading! Below is an excerpt:

“On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, why would you ever want to workout like you do every other single day of the year? Whether it’s CrossFit, strength training on machines, or with free weights, doing an endurance workout, or something at home, we all know that you’re going to do the same workout as always. Why? How about this… today, we do something FUN. ARRRRR you interested yet?

Pirates and ninjas… everyone loves them. You do, or your kids do so you do anyway. Pirates, unfortunately, have a bad reputation BUT what you don’t ever think about is… are pirates in good shape? Sure, they drink a lot of rum, but they actually must be really fit. Imagine swimming, rowing, and sword fighting all day. Maybe they didn’t do it all day, but carrying all those barrels of rum around couldn’t have been easy! And if you think about, look at Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean. Pretty fit, right? So let’s give this a shot. (No pun intended… pirate’s pistol. Shot. Get it?)

I should have to walk the plank for that bad pun but instead, let’s workout like a PIRATE!”

FitFluential

And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Eating Big in LA! (Hokkaido Seafood Buffet Review)

NOTE: We’re having some media issues with the pictures… we will get them up ASAP!

On West Pico, near Overland, right next to the Westside Pavillion is a restaurant that most people walk by without noticing. Typically, it’s open 11 am-9 pm, so the hours aren’t extreme. The facility itself is one massive room with tons of tables that allow you to basically dine cafeteria style… which is why it’s so properly named a buffet. Now this isn’t the only location, and the Hokkaido Culinary Group also has Express and Ramen locations (not to mention a few other states throughout the country). Still, if you’re in the Los Angeles area and you really want to fill your stomach this is the place to go and I’ll tell you why! (Especially all you aspiring bodybuilders working out at Muscle Beach)

Price: It’s reasonable. In fact, it’s very reasonable for the selection and quality. You do get what you pay for, so don’t expect the freshest sushi, but you can easily eat well more than what you pay. Regular buffet prices are about $20 a person. You can pay extra for alcohol, etc. 

Who Should Go: People that are VERY hungry. This is a waste for people that enjoy small amounts of high quality food. It does have a very nice laid back atmosphere and the staff is not pushy, by any means, so large groups (families, birthdays, work meetings, etc.) fit in perfectly here.

Atmosphere: It’s a large fairly poorly lit room, which I like. If there are a lot of people the sound is dispersed so I consider it quiet. The tables are in the middle in a circular shaped area and the buffet is the outside wall of the room. 

Selection: It’s a buffet and it has much more than seafood. They have a hibachi station with chicken, shrimp, steak, veggies, and more. They have a whole sushi section with rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. Then, a cold food section with seafood salads, fruits, and ice cream. Next is your typical buffet with rice, hot soups, fried foods, other hot foods. Next is a RAMEN TO ORDER area, which is awesome. Then some more warm food including fresh carved meats and some BBQ selections. It’s a good selection for vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, etc. 

 

 

Bottom Line: If you like to eat, this is a great place to go with some friends or family. I would not recommend bringing a date here for a romantic meal but it could definitely be a fun meal. Plus, the Landmark Theatre is right next door. That would make for a really great dinner and a movie night out. Also, this would be a great place to bring a sports team if you’re a coach, just saying.

Let me know what your favorite big eating place is in the comment section below!

And remember, it’s healthy to eat so stay hungry and fit!

What’s Different? NEW FORMULA BSN N.O.-XPLODE

For hardcore lifters, skip this first paragraph to find what you need. As for everyone else, when I first started lifting weights in the gym and having these focused hour-long or so strength training sessions, I saw all these crazy colored drinks that all the bigger guys had. Most of those were NOXPLODE by BSN, one of the most prominent supplement companies and a pioneer in the industry. More and more supplement companies have been popping up what seems like every single week, creating an endless supplies of pre, intra, and post workout drinks. Still, BSN maintains its place as arguably the biggest there is. They’ve always said FINISH FIRST, and NOXPLODE is certainly one of those products that can help you do just that.

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WHAT’S DIFFERENT: The old formula tasted good, this tastes better. The old formula mixed well, this mixes better. The old formula came in a medium-sized tub, this comes in a much more compact one. As for the effect, as we all know, pre-workout supplements can affect individuals differently. It depends on if your stomach is empty or full, what your tolerance to the ingredients in the blend is, how long and often you’ve been taking similar substances, and if you’re on board or not. The placebo effect of supplements is real, in my opinion, and you must have that mind-muscle connection to push yourself as far as possible. But as for the ingredients, it has nearly everything necessary to promote optimal blood and oxygen flow to allow you to push yourself to the limit.

THE BOTTOM LINE: What I’m saying is that I don’t personally think the new formula is more effective than the old one, in terms of what you feel (tingling, shaking, etc.) BUT it gives you that same amazing result in a better tasting, smoother mixing, and more compact form. That’s a pretty good deal. It’s not like 1MR Vortex, which in my opinion was a FAR INFERIOR product to its predecessor, 1MR. 

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Seriously, this is one of the ONLY FRUIT PUNCH pre-workouts that I can tolerate, let alone enjoy. And the container is so cool. Plus, it’s got a great economical value. It’s not as cheap as White Flood or expensive as NO Shotgun, but it gives you a high-end product at a medium price point. That’s a good deal. Look out for deals at Tigerfitness.com and Bodybuilding.com They usually run specials. Plus you can throw a BSN Syntha-6 on there (one of the most delicious proteins on the market, period.)

Oh, and for anyone that isn’t familiar with it, (which I’m sure most of you are) pre-workout supplements like NOXPLODE help provide amplified levels of energy and endurance to help you maximize your performance and make the most out of your training sessions. It can work for bodybuilders, CrossFitters, strongmen/women, athletes, etc. Just make sure you read everything on the label and listen to all that fine print. Do not mix this in a shaker, it will become all fizz and no liquid. You have been warned. And as always, stay hungry and fit!