Fiery Zucchini Chips

I like to think I’m making up for lost sriracha time.

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Even with my intense love for all things spicy, I didn’t try sriracha for the first time until last year. One of my college roommates had a bottle of it in the fridge, and it always intrigued me, but she usually ate it on top of tuna (which I now know is really delicious), and I just never really wanted to try it. She also knew how to make homemade Indian food, and I never took her up on the offer to teach me how. You can bet I’m kicking myself in the face for that.

Anyway, I’m happily on board the sriracha train, and was looking for new ways to add it into my life that go beyond squirting it directly into my mouth.

Gotta keep it classy, yo.

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So I took a couple of zucchini that were looking a little sad, and decided to chip-ify them using my beloved fiery condiment.

-I sliced them using a veggie peeler

-then a generous portion of sea salt to let some of the liquid out of the zucchini (this step is optional, but I find that it makes veggie chips more crisp after dehydrating)

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-I patted them dry with a paper towel, then added a heaping tablespoon of sriracha, a teaspoon of Tamari, some garlic powder and a pinch of Stevia

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-They dehydrated overnight (at 115* on Teflexx sheets) and were perfectly crisp when I woke up

The chips taste AMAZING, but the trick is going to be eating these without Livi seeing them; she likes spicy, but these are pretty intense!

If these are outside your heat tolerance, check out my BBQ zucchini chips recipe– super savory with a hint of sweetness.

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Measuring Workout Success

Last night after teaching Zumba, I saw my heart rate monitor in my gym bag, which Β has a dead battery and I haven’t used in at least 6 months. I used to love having it as a gauge for my workouts, because even though it isn’t perfectly accurate, I could compare with past workouts for calorie burn. As you guys know, I used to count calories, got away from it for a while, then got back into it when I became pregnant and was teaching so many classes. (This video of my pregnant Zumba dancing still cracks me up.) Using the heart rate monitor for my workouts while pregnant was invaluable, because it helped me keep my heart range in a moderate range (my midwife said that the belief that you need to keep your heart rate under 140 was old school, and just to be mindful of how I felt, but of course, listen to whatever your doc says!). The main goal was to make sure that I never felt too hot or like I was overheating.

Belly3

(some of my pregnant fitness instructor tips are here, if you’re in the same spot!)

After the pregnancy, I didn’t want to think about calories anymore. I used my heart rate monitor initially, when I was trying to get my fitness levels back, and then the battery died. I never took it to get a new one and have been going by how I feel. I can tell the days that I feel more tired or have a lot of teaching classes in a row, or the high-energy days when my hair is totally soaked afterwards. For running, I still like to use my Garmin for pace and timing, but other than that, it’s kind of freeing to teach without personal technology for now.

Do you wear a heart rate monitor when you work out? How do you gauge workout success??

Hope you have a great day <3

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. I say, you go for Chicken & Waffles Flavor Zucchini chips next πŸ˜‰ REALLY show Lay’s how it’s done! Haha. xoxo.

  2. Laura B says:

    One of these days I’ll try veggie chips in the oven!

    I used to live using my heart rate monitor for working out. It felt motivating to see it all there on the little screen. Now my gym has a system that tracks how much you workout and how much weight you lift and you earn points for it, so I find that motivating. I judge my workouts by how I feel and also what the machines say as far as distance, rpm, etc. some days I know I’m just not feeling it, but it’s ok, at least I’m there getting something in! I’m going to put a battery in mine again so I can use it as a watch since I’ve recently started running outside about once a week and need to know the time while I’m out. Who knows, maybe using it again will get me back into it. I am kind of curious to wear it during Pilates just to see how much that burns.

  3. I stopped measuring my calorie burn but more because the heartrate belt go too large for me and I was too lazy to buy a new one πŸ™‚ I must say, I never missed it. My workouts are intense and I know that I burn a lot of calories, I don’t need to know the exact amount. I may invest one day in a new belt, just to measure it once in a while out of curiosity. I still count my calories here and there, but also, maybe once every other week to check how much I dig in πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for sharing the link to the pregnant fitness instructor tips; I hadn’t found that post yet. We are thinking about starting a family in the not too too distant future and I really really want to keep teaching when we do. I’ve been torn about adding certifications and things thinking I’ll have to really scale back when the time comes (and therefore wondering if it’s worth it). It’s super helpful to see how you made it work!

  5. I’ve thought about getting a heart rate monitor if only just to know when I could be pushing myself harder when I don’t feel like working out. But I’ve noticed lately that I’m feeling stronger when I run or lift and I think judging how you feel from one workout to the next is a great way to gauge your success! If you are feeling stronger, you must be doing something right!

  6. I am obsessed with Sriracha!! I put in everything. As for heart rate monitors, I have never touched one. I own a Garmin for running just for pace/distance, but I don’t want to mess with anything counting calories or whatever because I used to count calories and it was a hard habit to break. I like being free of numbers!

  7. Colleen says:

    As a mom of a little one, I think completing ANY workout is a success, no matter how short, long, intense, or easy!

    But usually:
    Cardio: Whether I’m “high” or not afterward
    Weights: The tingly feeling in my muscles, and the feeling that basic things like brushing my hair or holding the phone are really hard.
    Yoga: The zen goober smile and feeling of walking on air.

  8. I am working on making a veggie garden this year (first time!) and I’m betting lots of zucchini chips will be in my future.

    I really love my Garmin HR monitor combo for walking outside. I am trying to run more and often get my HR over 180 so I like to keep it on so I know when to ease off. Don’t want the heart exploding! Eek! But I also love it for monitoring progress. As my average HR drops over time and my pace is the same, I can tell I’m getting more efficient and my body is better able to handle the workout – so I can kick it up a notch more the next time.

  9. Ah, I love zucchini chips! They are amazing!! I think they may be my top veggie.
    I have a HRM but never use it since the strap is wayyy too big, and I can’t feel complied to get a smaller one. I used it occasionally, mostly because I was curious not much else though.
    I think it’s great for some people, maybe just not for others (like if you get obsessive over numbers), but I feel it was helpful when I had it.

  10. I personally do not wear a heart rate monitor. I gauge success by whether or not I’m having fun doing it, and 10 times out of 10, I’m enjoying it otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. πŸ™‚

  11. i gauge my exertion by this: if i feel like i am going to puke or my pulse beating in my ears, then my heart rate is too high. simple!

  12. Mmm- I definitely want to make those zucchini chips. Do you think it could be done without a dehydrator? I do kale chips often in the stove- would the same method work, do you think?

    I never use a heart rate monitor or any technology for working out. I use to be huge into calories- counting the ones I ate, and monitoring the ones I burnt. Now I just go with how my body feels. If I feel strong, I push myself harder and if I feel fatigued, then I’m more gentle with myself. Same with food- if I’m hungry, I eat!

  13. Those chips look amazing! I also love your bright yellow nails πŸ™‚ I think you are so right with going by how you feel. Unless you are training for something specific, I think it is best to choose activity you love, and to do it with all you have, so that you feel good afterwards. That way is so much more fun than slogging it on a treadmill trying to get into a specific heartbeats per minute or calorie burn. Working out should be fun for the most part, at least that is what I think πŸ™‚

  14. I used to use a heart rate monitor during undergrad classes. We were learning about fitness testing and whatnot, so the HR monitors were a huge part of my life. Since then, I haven’t even thought about investing.

    Are these made in the oven or dehydrator??? Spicy and zucchini are two of my fave things!

  15. I do wear a heart rate monitor when I work, mainly because I am truly fascinated with the workings of the human body and love seeing how my average heart rate and maximum heart rate reflect on how much of myself that I give to my workout! For example, it interest me to see how my body prefers the heart rate of 191 when I run. Anything less and I naturally pick up the pace and anything more I’m gasping for air!

    For the most part, I gauge my success based on that “I’m a boss!” workout feeling you get after a crazy good workout :). Love gettin’ swoll πŸ˜‰

  16. Melissa says:

    I made my first batch of zucchini chips in the dehydrator on Saturday…they turned out soggy πŸ™ I will have to try the salt method, maybe they just had too much liquid. The flavor was great but the texture was just not what I wanted.

  17. I totally use a heart rate monitor for my workouts. I’ve found that, for me, perceived exertion is often a whole lot more than actual exertion. So, the heart rate monitor motivates me to push a little higher, amp up my resistence, try one more set, etc.

  18. I don’t use a heart rate monitor and probably never will. I feel like too many people become dependent on how many calories they’re burning or if they’re not working out hard enough. I judge my success on how I feel after sets. If my muscles are burning then I know I’m burning up those calories.

  19. Kristen says:

    I own a hrm but I haven’t used it in quite a while. I bought it when I got pregnant. I think it’s a great tool for people trying to reach a goal or maintain. Right now, it’s not something I want to use. I just go by how I feel during and after a workout.

    Maybe I’m stepping over the line with this, but I also hate seeing posted pics of people’s final numbers on their hrm. I’m never sure how to take it. Are they bragging? Are they trying to encourage others to get off their butts? I don’t know. I just feel it’s often unnecessary.

    I want to try that spicy concoction with sweet potatoes!! πŸ™‚

  20. I am definitely guilty of gauging workout success via my HRM! Even now being pregnant, I still like to see a good calorie burn.

    Loved going back to the pregnant Zumba video clips!!

  21. I love that sauce! I would put it on everything if I could.

  22. I have a heart rate monitor, but I haven’t used it in a while. I think it gets me too caught up in numbers, and takes away from how I feel. Technology like this can motivating, but it can also be discouraging if you think you worked harder than the numbers show! It’s a useful tool, and I think it’s fine to use it occasionally, but I rather gauge my workout success on how I feel. How much I sweat during a workout is also a great indicator, although other factors like weather and water retention can affect that. Overall, I think perceived rate of exertion is the winner here!

  23. I’ve never tried Sriracha and always wonder why everyone raves about it! Have you tried salsa macha? They vary a lot, depending on the type of chile and the brand, but I’m obsessed with them– if you’re interested, the ones with peanut are usually awesome, anything with chiltepin is super spicy and great, and I personally love any sauce with a buttload of garlic.

  24. Any suggestions for making the chips without a dehydrator? I’m currently pregnant and my midwife gave me the same advice, just listen to your body.

  25. I’m don’t have a heart rate monitor, and I am just inherently distrustful of those calorie counting monitors on the cardio equipment at the gym, so I usually just make sure that I’m sweaty by the time I leave, and try to go by the RPE gauge – not really up for a chat when I’m pushing myself, able of a convo during my “easy” times. It’s not a perfect science, but it works!

  26. I’ve never seen any Sirircha that wasn’t the Vietnamese red rooster brand! Crazy to see it in a TJs bottle.

  27. I love my heart rate monitor and I feel naked when I’m working out without it. It is especially useful for tough cardio classes like spinning because I find my heart rate can get too high and then I start to feel nauseous. Also, I just like being able to keep track of time, how hard I’m working and the approximate number of calories burned (as you point out, it is not 100% accurate). I actually think it is one of the best motivational tools you can use! I don’t count calories but having a rough idea of how much I’m burning does guide me in assessing my nutritional needs

  28. Mmm I love zucchini chips and Panko-breaded zucchini fries…amazing. I haven’t tried them spicy though…that’ll be my summertime BBQ go to!

  29. Hi Gina! Just wanted to let you know, on my girlfriends and I blog we are participating in a ‘Blog Every Day in May’ challenge. I have been following your blog for over 2 years now, and you are my favorite! I was supposed to blog about my favorite blogger, and you were who I chose! I absolutely love your blog and your recipes. Keep up the great work!

    http://www.serendipitousgirls.blogspot.com

  30. LOL, I didn’t know TJ’s sold sriracha sauce–what do they not sell? πŸ˜› (I love TJ’s by the way).

    And I usually gauge my workouts simply by the way I feel. If I feel like my heart is pumping fast and I feel refreshed from my sweatiness, it’s usuuuually a good sign for me. πŸ™‚

  31. Yup, like you, I mostly used the heart rate monitor when I was pregnant. Now I still use it, but because I’m using MyFitnessPal to track my calories and workouts. I still have a few baby lbs. to lose!

  32. There was a time I loved my HRM but mine too has been dead for years and it actually occurred to me recently to just get rid of it. I go off the deep end with numbers and I’m much better off just keeping the focus on my body’s own signals, not man-made gadgets or values. Just seeing the words “My Fitness Pal” makes me cringe from the memories of logging calories.

  33. I live by my heart rate monitor! When I hit a plateau, my trainer advised me to alternate days of cardio in a more intense zone and an easier zone. When I did that, I saw fast results. Ever since, I love that thing! And I love how it pushes me to compete with my best days.

  34. Kristin says:

    Lol. Thats awesome you were teaching zumba being pregnant! I had a hard time doing anything while pregnant and you went through it like a champ!

  35. I don’t wear a heart rate monitor, I gauge my success by how I feel after the workout!

  36. I’m relatively new to Sriracha too, but my love is strong…

  37. Nah, I don’t really wear my heart rate monitor anymore – I just go for the red in the face, unable to stop sweating test for intense workouts and the can’t engage my muscle because I’m still shaking for the less intense workouts (barre, yoga, etc.). It has really allowed me to get to know and trust my body!

  38. I am starting to feel that a dehydrator is something I need. Plus a high speed blender.
    I want veggie chips in my life!!!!

  39. I have a polar FT60 and love it!! Recently the heart rate has not been accurate so I’m thinking the battery needs replacing, or its on the fritz! I also love my Garmin, but this past weekend ran a 6 min PR in the 10K and only checked my watch 3 times. Sometimes its just nice to go tech free πŸ™‚

  40. I don’t have a heart rate monitor, and don’t like to focus on numbers when I am working out. I work out because it makes me feel fantastic, and I am definitely able to gauge when I kick my own butt! πŸ˜‰

  41. I always wear a HRM, i feel weird when I don’t. I like to keep track of how much I burn. Maybe one day I will step away from it, but for now nah!
    those zucchini chips sound amazing, I must make asap. I dehydrated mango over the past two weekend, delicious!

  42. Wow! Amazing! I have also heard that no higher then 140 is old info.
    So, how high did you let your heart rate go out of curiosity?

  43. Alexis says:

    I just had to come here and vent about how when the husband is on nights – it’s the PITS!!! It’s been so long since I’ve endured them, due to a year long deployment (okay, nights aren’t so bad compared to that!) and then waiting on the aircrafts to return. But UGH. I hate them.

  44. I used a FitBit for a while, and I really liked it! It was great keeping track of my daily steps. But when I broke my toe a few months back, I stopped using any sort of tracking device. I have to get back on that!!

  45. Weird, I was just thinking about heart rate monitors yesterday and wanted to ask if you still use one and keep a rough estimate of calories. You must have sensed it! I’m really active and work out like a beast. I tend to underestimate the amount of calories I burn and overestimate what I actually eat. I’ve been lacking energy lately and was wondering if maybe I’m not eating enough for my activity level. I was wondering if you would suggest a heart rate monitor or have any other suggestions when trying to figure out how to properly fuel. Thanks Gina! You’re the best πŸ˜‰

  46. Just found your blog and absolutely love it! I am really interested in becoming certified as a group fitness instructor because I am passionate about group exercise and also think it would be a great part time job to have throughout college. I noticed you’ve been certified through a few different organizations,which do you recommend? I then plan on possibly getting certified through a company, like les mills or chalene johnson’s turbo kick/piyo. I would love to get to the point where you are!

  47. I’ve never worn a heart rate monitor working out before. I remember back in my calorie-counting obsessed days I totally lusted after one though! I’m really glad I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t need to worry about it; just eat when I’m hungry to make sure I’m getting enough food, and if I’m ever completely exhausted I take a cue for a rest day even if it’s ::gasp:: unplanned

  48. I wore one for a long time, but then the battery died. I loved it, but it did allow for me to get a little obsessive over the calories burned and how long I worked out and I went by that versus how I actually felt. I do like to know the range of my heart rate, but lately I’ve gotten used to working out without it and it’s been nice. You suggest a Polar heart rate monitor, right? I teach a lot of classes, so I need something that has a long life and won’t annoy me.

    thanks!

  49. I’m the same- mine went flat and I just haven’t bothered since.

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