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Show up for yourself in 2023 — You're worth it
Some Kinda Good
chicken fried rice
Some Kinda Good Chicken Fried Rice is prepared Southern style with squash and Georgia pecans. Start the new year with healthy habits like meal planning or taking a walk in the park. - photo by Photo by REBEKAH FAULK LINGENFELSER/special

The new year is off to a great start. I’ve been doing my level best to focus on the things I can control this year, and showing up for me. Sometimes, the things that are out of our control can be all consuming if we let it, and this year, I’ve just decided that I’m not going to let it. 

I’ve been exercising and making healthier choices, walking each day on my treadmill for 30 minutes and remembering to give myself grace. I may not maintain the same speed as I used to, but I’m moving more and feeling better because of it. If it’s a beautiful day, I may swap the treadmill for a walk outside at the park and some fresh air. I do some light yoga stretches at the end of each work day before my cardio, and it is a great stress reliever. After a long day at work, it is a nice separation to come home and break up the day this way, before cooking dinner and watching the evening news. 

And speaking of cooking dinner, I’ve also been managing mealtime better. Preparing and planning meals in advance not only makes the day go smoother but it also helps to ensure well-balanced sustenance. It can be as simple as packing a turkey sandwich with some chips and an apple for your lunchtime break, or taking out meat to thaw for the next evening’s dinner. Taking a moment to put some thought into the day ahead can really free up time and headspace for other things, help you be fiscally responsible and a better life manager in general. If I don’t plan ahead, I find myself going out to eat much more often, which is fun, but not always waistline or pocketbook friendly. 

When it comes to managing life better, easy weeknight dinners that are healthy, quick to prepare and of course, Some Kinda Good, top my list. It’s good to have a few go-to dinners on rotation and some cooking techniques that deliver great dishes every time. Roasting, pan searing and sauteing are the methods I use most this time of year. I might pan-sear some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and while that’s cooking, roast a pan of squash, carrots and onion. A five-minute brown rice made on the stovetop with chicken stock can round out the meal. 

One night this week, I made chicken fried rice, Southern style, with yellow squash and Georgia pecans. I had just enough leftover rice in my refrigerator begging to be used. It turned out so good, this recipe may just become a regular. Red pepper flakes give it a kick, and the pecans add a satisfying crunch. It came together in minutes and my husband said it was the best chicken fried rice he’s ever tasted. You can keep dinnertime rocking and rolling with a well-stocked pantry and a creative perspective on reinventing leftovers.  

So, if you’re like me and your life could benefit from a bit more discipline, join me in bringing some intentionality to everyday decisions. You are the only one who can show up for you and you are worth it. So, whether that means lacing up your tennis shoes or going grocery shopping on the weekend when you’d rather be watching Netflix, let’s make it happen in 2023. It’s never too late and there’s no time like the present.   

Some Kinda Good Chicken Fried Rice

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow squash, halved and sliced lengthwise 
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. of unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice, preferably leftover
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Fresh parsley

Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper on each side. In a large non-stick wok or cast iron skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 1/2 teaspoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts, and saute until cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Return skillet to medium-high heat, add remaining 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 teaspoon canola oil. Add squash and onion and saute 1-2 minutes, scraping up any bits of chicken, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Push vegetables to the edges of the pan, add eggs in the center, cook and scramble. Season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes.

Meanwhile, chop chicken into bite-size pieces. Add butter to the skillet. Return chicken to the skillet along with the rice. Add in soy sauce and stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped pecans. Garnish with fresh parsley. 

Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season. 

Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit

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