Running dreams and chicken

It was a long time coming, but last night I finally had my first dream about the marathon.

In the final few weeks leading up to every half marathon that I've ever participated in, I start having race-specific stress dreams. Though the locations and outcomes vary slightly, the general plot is always the same: unpleasant.

Before the Hoosier Half last April, I had a dream that the race was through a partially underwater obstacle course in Oprah's backyard. While that actually sounds like it would be all kinds of fun, it was quite frustrating. The obstacles never ended and for the entire duration of the dream, I was only 2 miles from the finish line; I just couldn't seem to get there.

Well, last night I dreamt that I ran a "practice" marathon the day before the race. As in, I went out and ran 26.2 miles the day before I ran 26.2 miles (my dreams are never based in logic). And I had to run it indoors ... on a track ... in a circle ... that was only as big around as a swimming pool.

Apparently the rules of this "pre-race" race were they we had to keep track of our own laps and holler at the officiant when we were done. Well, since I'm terrible at math, I opted to rely on my Garmin to keep track of my distance and after running for almost 5 and a half hours, I realized my Garmin was broken and stopped counting laps hours ago.

But I still came in 2nd.

I technically finished the marathon first, but they gave the first place award to a girl that everyone felt sorry for because she tripped and fell at the beginning of the race. And when I say that everyone felt sorry for her, I mean everyone felt sorry for her except me.

I hate when people try to tell me their dreams because they're never as interesting or entertaining to me as it is to the dreamer (obviously). 

So I'm sorry I just told you about my dream. I wish you could go back and un-read about my dream, but you can't. Tough break.

*Transition to next scene*

This might sound weird, but I got really excited about a box of Chicken Helper on Monday. For weeks I've been seeing their commercial for the new Sweet n' Sour Chicken Helper and as gross as I generally find any form of these pre-created box meals (nothing triggers my gag reflex faster than the mere thought of Tuna Helper), I was intrigued. I love Chinese food, but it's one of the most expensive types of takeout and our grocery store carries boxes of Hamburger Helper for a measly $1.

I don't generally have high hopes for any kind of meal that I can buy for a $1, but we decided to give Sweet n' Sour Chicken Helper a try. We already had a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and the box comes with its own rice, so when you factor in the cost of the 1lb of chicken we used, this whole meal cost about $3.00.

Now, I consider myself a pretty darn good cook, but sometimes I struggle with mind-numbingly easy things like boxed mac n' cheese and boxed mashed potatoes (which taste like buttery chalk, by the way. But hey, it was college). I don't know if I expect food that simple to be able to just cook itself, but I tend to walk away from the project thinking everything's under control and then come back to discover that its burnt or stuck to the bottom of the pan.

So we can all understand my hesitation with Chicken Helper.

But how did it turn out? In one word: fan-freakin'-tastic! It's probably one of the best dollars I've ever spent (second only to the dollar I spent on double Oreo cookies in a Dairy Queen Blizzard a few summers ago. TOTALLY worth it). 

All you have to do to make your own yummy Chinese take-in (<---- see what I did there?) is this:

While boiling the rice in a small soup pot, cube two chicken breasts, toss them in a bowl and coat with the provided seasoning packet, brown the seasoned chicken in a skillet, stir in the sauce packet with some water, boil, pour over rice and ta-da! Dinner is served!

And the graphic designer still buried somewhere deep inside of me was just smitten with the red and purple packaging.

Easy peasy!

One box of Sweet n' Sour Chicken Helper and 2 medium-sized chicken breasts yielded plenty of food for two people. In fact, after completely filling our bowls, there was still some chicken leftover for another portion.

And no, Chicken Helper didn't pay me for this review in any way, nor do they have any idea who I am. It's just one of those things that I saw, wanted to try and then decided to share with my readers. If at any time a company approaches me to talk about their product (and if I ever get an compensation for doing so), I will be sure to let you at the beginning of the post. I always think it's a little fishy when a blogger randomly starts talking about how awesome some obscure product is or keeps name-dropping a specific brand; I promise to never do that. But this is basically a moot point because I've been blogging for over 3 years and though I have been asked to do a giveaway, I've never once been asked to tout something.


  1. Eeek! So close, good luck for your marathon, can't wait to hear how it goes!! Hopefully better than that there dream you had! x


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