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Butcher’s block - June 25, 2014

After spending a week with 46 of the most beautiful young women in the state at the Miss Arkansas pageant it makes you reevaluate everything you thought a beauty pageant entails. I’ve been involved in this Miss America system for a number of years but each year walk away with a new found respect for these young ladies.

These women train like athletes focused on one prize, a shiny little hat and the title of Miss Arkansas. The regimen of many of these contestants is fierce. Aside from having to cram their brain full of information to know what is happening around the world, in their state, and their hometown for the interview portion, from riding in festivals and parades and kissing little babies, and the numerous speaking appearances at schools and civic clubs, these women train and train hard. Many spend hours in the gym toning and sculpting their bodies to near perfection, followed by hours of talent preparation. I’ve witnessed dancers whose feet bleed due to all the hours of practice, vocalists who literally lose their voices due to all the strain placed on their vocal cords. And regardless of popular belief these women eat! They have to! Their discipline in regards to diet and a healthy lifestyle is remarkable. Protein packed meals to fuel their practice hours, and gallons of water.

I leave every year with low self esteem and a desire to jump onto the fitness bandwagon; well, until I hit the Hot Springs city limit sign on the way out of town! So in honor of all these extraordinary women, here is a recipe that is not only delicious but a healthy alternative and perfect for summer grilling!

“Just Peachy” Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 cups peach preserves

Pinch of salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat grill to medium heat and lightly oil grill grate. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In mixing bowl combine each preserves, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and mustard. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Set aside. Place chicken on grill cooking 6-7 minutes then flip. Cook and additional 5 minutes and brush peach sauce covering both sides of chicken. Cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until chicken has no pink center or until meat thermometer reads at least 165 degrees.

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