Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pork Salad a la gourd

The candyman caveman makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious.
Talk about your childhood wishes --
You can even eat the dishes!

Pork Salad a la gourd
Okay, you probably won't eat the shell of the spaghetti squash.  But I thought it was pretty fun and clever to eat my lunch this way!  Bachelor's should like it too -- only a fork to wash. ;)

There was a bit of leftover spaghetti squash in the fridge, so I fluffed up the remaining strands and piled spinach and pork on top and warmed it up.  After a topping of guacamole and a lime wedge, it was ready to devour.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Green Ice Cream

Well, folks, here we are at the end of the 60 Day Challenge.  My grand plans to post often during the challenge got a bit swallowed up in being engaged.  *sheepish shrug*

Instead of making actual recipes, I've been very fond of shredding whatever veggies I have on hand and stir-frying them with spicy sausage or shrimp or chicken or pork.  I throw on whatever spices sound good to me (I usually sniff them before I sprinkle them, to make sure they're what I'm in the mood for).

A little over a month ago, Superman built me my own Poor Man's Crossfit gym.  I now have a pull up bar, rings, three stacking boxes for jumps, a 40 lb. sandbag, and paralettes.  I've done several workouts at home with my new equipment.  It's great!  I pull the car out of the garage, do my WOD, put the car back, and get on with my day.  True, I don't have a bar and weights for heavy lifting, but we're working on a solution for that.  In the meantime, I still have the rec center -- I just don't go as often.  All three of my WODs so far this week have been in my garage gym:

"Cindy"
20 min AMRAP
5 pull ups
10  push ups
15 squats

I got 12 rounds.  Those push ups kill me.

Tabata Double Unders.  Let's just say tabata + jumprope + sneakers + Ms. Julie = frustration.  I got 22 on my first round, and not even close to half that on every subsequent round.  I kept stepping/tripping on the silly rope.  *shaking fist*

5 rounds
6 Handstand push-ups
12 pull-ups
24 sandbag lunges

16 minutes.  And my legs were very shaky afterward.

And this morning's wod:

15-1, 14-2, 13-3...1-15
box jumps 12"
DB swings 30#

Yes, I know that's a small box and a light weight for DB swings.  Holding the 20# dumb bells criss-crossed for swings smashes my fingers, and I had to play the piano today, so I was protecting myself.  And the smaller box?  Well, we all know why I'd be skittish about box jumps.  So I determined to push for speed.  I was hoping I'd get sub 10 mins.  I finished in 13:30.  Not bad, but I could have worked harder.  It's hard when you're working out alone.

And now, for a very healthy dessert.  Yes, healthy.  I'm not kidding.


I tested this out as a smoothie a couple weeks ago, and decided it would work well as an ice cream.  I wish I had a better name for it, but it's just not coming to me.

Green Ice Cream
1 can coconut milk
3 bananas
2 eggs
3 cups fresh spinach
1 can pineapple
juice of one lime

Puree everything in a large blender until smooth and no flecks of spinach remain.  Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. 

I need to make this again because one, it's delicious, and two, I need a more appetizing photo.  With perhaps a sprig of fresh mint for garnish.  But look at this!  You've got your protein, your fruit, your veggies and your vitamin C!  Bingo!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Coconut Daiquiri Cheesecake

As you can imagine, I've been a bit distracted this week since my birthday.  I keep meaning to get back to the blog, but then I find myself looking at wedding rings and thinking about guest lists and organizing the house for the move... there's a lot to do in the next few months.

With only one week left in our 60-Day Challenge, I'm realizing how sustainable this nutrition plan is as a lifestyle.  I hardly even think about it anymore.  I enjoy (usually) the challenge of finding something healthy to eat within the Paleo framework, even incorporating comfort food flavors and textures (another tasty chocolate recipe is on its way). 

As promised, here is the recipe for my birthday cheesecake.  Four out of five taste-testers agreed it should be named Coconut Daiquiri Cheesecake.  I don't remember what the fifth tester suggested.  It doesn't matter; it's my recipe, and my birthday dessert, and I get to decide what to call it!  (I'm trying on a bit of Bridezilla for size...I don't think it's working for me. :)  )

Coconut Daiquiri Cheesecake
Step one:
Chocolate Almond Crust
2 cups almonds, toasted (pop them in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, let cool)
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (stir in a hot dry frying pan until nicely golden)
1 square unsweetened chocolate
8 pitted dates

Whir ingredients in a food processor until they are the consistency of a crumb crust.  Press into the bottom of a springform pan.

Step two:
Cashew Cream Filling
3 cups of Cashews (soaked for 1 hour)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup lime juice (fresh)
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour into nut crust.  Place in freezer during following step.

Step three:
Coconut Daiquiri Topping
1 can coconut milk (refrigerated for thickness)
the juice from 1 - 2 limes
1/4 c. honey

Whisk ingredients together, carefully pour and spread over the cashew filling.  Return pan to freezer, cover with a plate.  Freeze at least three hours.  Pull pan from freezer about 15 minutes or so before serving, so it won't be too firm to slice.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was my birthday.  Ballerina made me breakfast in bed:  Roasted Red Pepper Sausage, coconut milk scrambled eggs, carrot hashbrowns, cantaloupe chunks, and carrot juice served in a champagne flute.

A birthday is a good time to reflect on the year, on fitness goals, on emotional and spiritual progress.  I'm happy to say this has been such a good year.  I've learned so much.  And my birthday suit has never fit better.  When I looked in the mirror during ballet class, I kept thinking, "are those really MY legs?"  Thank you, Crossfit and Paleo.

For dinner, my girlfriends and I went to La Jolla Groves.  I chose the most paleo-friendly things on the menu, but I admit, I did splurge just a little.  It was my birthday, after all.  I did not partake of the offerings in the bread basket, but the waiter brought complimentary stuffed mushrooms (they had some breading and were filled with gorgonzola cheese) and I ate one.  I ordered mushroom soup (gluten free!) and Lemon Roasted Chicken, and asked for asparagus instead of mashed potatoes.  Because it was my birthday, the waiter brought dessert -- chocolate molten cake.  I'm not a cake girl, but when you add "chocolate" and "molten" to it, I admit it does persuade me.  I had a few bites, but left most of it for my girlfriends to enjoy on my behalf.

I made a new paleo cheesecake (I believe I shall call it "Coconut Dacquiri Cheesecake") for my birthday, so we left the restaurant after dinner to go back to my house and enjoy my creation.  When we got there, the house was dark and my daughter's car was gone.  I opened the door and noticed that the back porch lights had been left on and the back door was unlocked.  Oh great, I thought.  The house has been left open and all the kids are gone.  I walked to the back door and peeked through the blinds to assess the situation.  Standing on the back porch was Superman, dress shirt and tie, by a lovely fire in the firepit and a vase of roses on a little table.  I screamed and ripped the door open and jumped into his arms.  I kept touching his face, reeling, trying to believe he was really standing there in front of me.  He started talking, saying beautiful loving things, and the realization began to dawn on me -- he's proposing!  He pulled out a ring and put it on my finger, and asked me to marry him.  I said yes...then I said it again...and again...and again.  Then I climbed onto the roof (high heels and all) and shouted to the neighborhood.

Superman and I are getting married.  This was the best birthday EVER.

Oh, and the cheesecake was delicious.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Bounty

Herb Crusted Chicken, zucchini, cantaloupe

Finding a place to set down my plate is tricky right now.  Our table is covered in peaches and our counters are accumulating tomatoes.  I'm so grateful!  Having great neighbors really cuts down on the food bill.

Besides, have you ever noticed how many fruit trees in your neighborhood go unpicked and underused?  Fruit falls and rots and no one benefits (except perhaps the bugs and birds).  When I'm in Superman's neck of the woods, I practically weep at the wasted citrus.  I can't grow citrus where I live, and it's such a shame to see it neglected.  I should form some sort of produce co-op -- a weekly swap meet, or something.  There's enough and to spare!  Let's share!
----
This morning's WOD was one part easy, one part challenging and one part just plain hard.

50 Squats
20 Pull ups
10 Ring dips
35 Squats
15 Pull ups
8 Ring dips
20 Squats
10 Pull ups
5 Ring dips

I used a rubber tube (my old resistance bands -- one of my past fitness attempts, from about ten years ago) for assisted kipping pullups and assisted ring dips.  During my last set of pull-ups, the tube slipped off my foot and snapped all the way up to my crotch.  OUCH.  The ring dips were very difficult for me.  I don't think my rubber tube is helpful enough for those.  But I gave it my best shot.  Reviewing the video I took, I can see I still have some work to do.

I finished in 9:15.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin!

Today's post is all things pumpkin.  Generally, whenever I get a pumpkin or two, I cook and mash and freeze the squash so I can use it all year.  Since I still have several bags of pumpkin from last year, and it's almost pumpkin season again, I pulled a couple ziplocs from the deep freeze for yesterday's meals and dessert.

Chicken in Savory Pumpkin Sauce
inspired by this recipe

4 T. coconut oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 c. yellow tomatoes, skinned and diced
1/4 c. white wine (or substitute)
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. chicken broth
pepper
dried sage
fresh basil
1/2 c. coconut cream
2 large chicken breasts, diced
shredded zucchini

Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil.  In a large pot, stir together the tomatoes, wine, pumpkin, broth and spices/herbs.  Add the onion and garlic.  Simmer.  Using the saute pan, cook the chicken.  Puree the sauce, return it to the pot, then add the cooked chicken.  Melt a little more coconut oil in the saute pan and cook the shredded zucchini.  Stir the coconut cream into the sauce.  Serve the sauce over the shredded zucchini.  Very nice with cherry tomatoes.

For the sake of honesty and full disclosure and stuff, I just want to tell you that when you puree the sauce, you must be careful to not overfill your blender.  I was too confident, and as soon as I turned the blender on, the lid blew off and pumpkin sauce exploded everywhere.  My counters were loaded with gifted tomatoes and peaches, so the mess was, well, a big mess.  I screamed (full disclosure) and looked at the mess and screamed again.  My daughters came running in, certain I'd put my hand in the food processor.  They were fantastic, coming to my rescue, cleaning up the disaster.  I nearly swore, then censored myself, then almost cursed, and bit my tongue, then finally muttered dammit (more full disclosure) and thought it would make me feel better, but it really didn't.  I was going to be so amazing, multi-tasking dinner prep with dessert prep, but it got away from me.  The girls assured me they still thought I was pretty amazing.  When we sat down to dinner, I sheepishly said, "my throat hurts from screaming," and the girls smiled at me.

Coconut Pumpkin Squares
inspired by the Civilized Caveman (although I'm not sure how his turned out the color they did...as soon as I added the spices to mine, the brilliant orange pumpkin color was browned by the cinnamon)


1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1 Tsp Baking powder

2 c. pureed pumpkin
1/4 Cup honey
3 Eggs
6 T. full fat coconut milk
¼ c. Coconut Oil, melted
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Allspice
1 Tsp Ground Cloves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the coconut flour with baking powder and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine all of your remaining ingredients and mix well.
Add your coconut flour and baking powder and mix well.
Line a 8x12 pan with parchment paper, or grease with coconut oil.
Add your batter to the pan.
Bake in your preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the bars pass the toothpick test.
Cool down and cut into squares.

Peach Pumpkin Ice Cream
2 eggs
3 peaches, skinned and diced
1 c. pureed pumpkin
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 T. date powder
1 T. cinnamon
1/8 t. cloves
1/8 t. nutmeg

Mix everything in a blender until smooth.  Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.

I loved the pumpkin squares.  They tasted like pumpkin pie.  The ice cream was good, but I would have liked the peaches to be a little sweeter.  Powdered dates are not a very strong source of sweetness.  I might add banana to this if I make it again.  I toasted some shredded coconut (in a dry frying pan) to top this dessert. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Herb Crusted Chicken

Leaving the windows open.  Feeling a crisp, gentle breeze wafting through the house.  Watching the neighbor kids tiptoe along the stone path through my flower garden while I stand at the sink peeling peaches.  Smelling the scent of cinnamon and apple drift from the crockpot.  This is the part of Fall I like best.
Spiced Apple Butternut Squash Soup

In honor of Autumn's approach, let me encourage you to try Spiced Apple Butternut Squash Soup and Herb Crusted Chicken.  I love the soup recipe, but instead of following the instructions, I just throw everything in the crockpot and then puree it at the end of the day.





I invented a really good salad dressing!
  Almond Balsamic Dressing
  creamy almond butter
  balsamic vinegar
  pineapple juice

  Mix and adjust to desired texture.  Pour over salad (or   chicken or pork or veggies).




Herb Crusted Chicken
Herb Crusted Chicken 
inspired by this recipe 

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
olive oil
 
1 c. almond meal
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Using meat mallet (or sturdy rolling pin), pound chicken breasts in two gallon size ziploc bags to 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness. Pour lemon juice over. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Remove chicken from bags and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix almond meal, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in food processor, transfer to a plate. Brush chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil. Coat chicken on both sides with herb mixture. Place chicken on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until chicken is cooked through and coating is golden,  20-30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blasted Bench Jumps!

Does this look familiar?


Yes, I did it again.  Perhaps my body thought I should have matching battle scars.  Thankfully, I was wearing my shin guards this time, so I didn't open my leg as severely as last time.  There's still blood though.  I banged it pretty hard.

I woke after less-than-adequate sleep, but I was determined to complete today's wod, even though it was going to be pretty challenging for me:

4 rounds
100 feet walking lunges, 25# plate overhead
30 box jumps (bench jumps, actually)
20 wall ball shots, 10# ball
10 hand stand push ups (modified)

Those walking lunges really fatigued me.  I lunged down the rec center hallway and back, then set down my plate and started my jumps.  On jump #19, I missed.  I smacked my shin, HARD, then fell all the way to the floor.  I rolled back up again and figured I could shake it off and keep going, but the pain wouldn't go away.  I did a few ankle rotations, kept shaking out my leg, but it just hurt more.  I reached down to rub the area, and felt a huge lump already swelling up.  Okay, I thought, we're done here.  I put away my 25# plate, returned the 10# ball to the front desk, gathered up my stuff, and limped out to the car -- trying not to weep like a toddler.  Man, it hurt!  (Hm...I just realized, I left my piece of paper with my wod written on it taped to the wall in the hallway.  Oh well.)

I called Superman on my way home and let the tears fall.  I was in a lot of pain, and I was frustrated that I didn't even complete one full round of my wod.  And I'm not sure which of those things I hated more -- the agony of injury or the agony of being defeated by the bench again.

If it weren't for the shin guards, we would be replaying our event from four months ago.  Thank you, shin guards.  I believe they're red on the inside to keep the blood from showing so much.


See my skin there?
Not quite matching.

Four months after the infamous first bench jump incident.
Stupid.  That's how I feel about it.  I would very much like to not bang up my legs anymore.  It hurts, it's unattractive, and worst of all, it slows me down.  I'm a woman on the go!  I don't have time for pain!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fire Pit Experiments

Last night was "Fire Pit Night".  We'd been looking forward to it with much anticipation, mainly because of our star experiment.  See, since I knew we'd be cooking dinner over an open flame, I broke down and bought marshmallows for the non-Paleo girls in the family.  But Ballerina and I would want something, I reasoned.  Well, what's bite size and sweet that can be roasted on a skewer?  A banana.  But it will get soft and fall off the skewer, so what could be wrapped around it that would hold it together?  Preferably something that might shrink and get crispy as it cooks?  Ah!  Bacon!  I was feeling so very pleased with myself...until I googled my ingenious idea, and found it's already all over the internet.  Darn.  Well, so much for being original.

The skies were blue and clear as we walked home from church.  The temperatures have given way from sweltering-heat to pleasant, just right for sitting around a fire pit.  I changed out of my Sunday dress and built the fire.  Then I piled up a platter with our skewerable foods.


We couldn't wait for dessert to try our experiment (besides, it could be both appetizer and dessert, right?), so we started with those.






Ballerina was the smarty-pants who came up with securing her skewer with a rock.  She was multi-tasking (reading AP something-or-other while dinner cooked).  It wasn't quick to cook bacon over a fire, it turns out, but it was working.  My bacon shrank and squeezed off part of the banana, so I had to let it loose on my plate and return the rest to cook more.





They look pretty good.  I, however, do not enjoy "wiggly bacon".  I prefer mine quite cooked and crispy, thank you.  I started devising a better way to wrap the bacon around the bananas while we cooked the other courses of our dinner.


Just so you know...one bite of Roasted Pepper Sausage plus one bite of zucchini are a delicious combination.  Soon after this photo, Actress had mishaps of gigantic proportions, as everything fell off her skewer, she spilled food all over her lap, and her following attempt at shishkabobbing involved skewering her finger with a hot prong (which she had already burned while baking at her dad's house that morning).  Then the wind picked up from nowhere and blew grey clouds over us, stirring up the ashes of our fire all over Ballerina and her AP textbook.  We decided to move the party indoors.

I turned on the oven and broiled the remainder of our dinner (including another attempt at the bacon-bananas).





It was interesting.  I liked the flavor combination, but I could never get the bacon to cook to my desired done-ness.  And I was so excited to give you a gourmet dish to try.  *sigh*

Yes, I realize bacon is cured with sugar.  Yes, I do feel a little pin-prick of guilt that I haven't been as religious about absolutely-not-a-grain-of-sugar-during-the-challenge.  

----

This morning's wod was a longer effort.  I love those little 6 minute AMRAP's, but you can't have those all the time, I guess.  The following took me 20 minutes:

21-18-15-12-9
Power snatch 45#
jumping air squats
knees to elbows (which ended up being closer to knees-to-armpits or even knees-to-chest)

I wish I could grip that pullup bar better.  I hate the feeling of my skin folding over on itself at the pullup bar.  I wear gloves, but they're not snug enough, so I end up feeling the glove folded over instead of my skin (which hurts less, but is still annoying).

And I admit, sometimes I feel a little goofy power-snatching 45#, because it's just the barbell with no added weights.  I console myself by looking in the mirror at my awesome muscles while I'm tossing that bar over my head.  By the end of the wod, I was starting to feel confident in my technique.  Power snatch is no simple movement.

I did manage to convince the front desk girl to find me a piece of chalk.  I keep track of my rounds by making hash marks on the floor (remember, it's a converted racquetball court with that black spongy-ish gym-floor-covering), then I erase them when I'm done with the disinfectant spray and rags they supply for wiping your sweat off their cozy machines.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Soup Night

Partway into my first Paleo challenge, I despaired that my cookbook shelf was full of resources that would never again be useful to me.  All those recipes for foods that don't work for my body.  Last night, I realized with delight that I can modify the living daylights out of those recipes!  Show a little creativity, Julie!  So now I'm on a journey to delve into those cookbooks, changing up ingredients to suit my new lifestyle.  The recipes below are no-brainers (substituting coconut oil and coconut milk for butter and cream), but I plan to do some more in-depth experimentation, illustrating what can be substituted for body, flavor, texture.

I'm warning you ahead of time, the Fresh Tomato Soup was so good, people were fighting over it.  It was clearly the winner in the soup race yesterday.


Fresh Tomato Soup

6 T. coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. chicken stock
3 lb. chopped tomatoes
1 t. coarse salt
¼ t. pepper
1 c. fresh basil, loosely packed
½ c. coconut cream

Melt coconut oil, add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cook until tomatoes are falling apart (5 minutes).  Stir in basil.  Remove from heat.  Let cool slightly and blend.  Return soup to saucepan.  Add coconut cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh basil.

***edit***
Know what goes great with a comfort food like Tomato Soup?  Cheese Crackers.  Try these from Nourish Bakery! They specialize in grain-free baked goods for your healthy lifestyle!


Curried Zucchini Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
sea salt to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes to taste           
4 small zucchini, diced
1 quart chicken stock

Heat the oil in a large pot. Stir in the onion, and season with curry powder and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir in zucchini, and cook until tender. Pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Puree.  Serve with a dollop of coconut cream.

--------
I was practicing my power snatch at the gym the other day, but I wasn't doing as well as when Superman was here.  I couldn't figure out what the difference was.  Why wasn't it feeling right?  After I got home, I reviewed the video Superman had taken that morning.  Ah!  At his recommendation, I had removed my sneakers that day, and it had made a world of difference.  Just that little bit of pitching forward from my running shoes got in the way of really great technique.  The trouble is, I'm not willing to do box jumps (or metal bench jumps, as is required by the dearth of equipment at my rec center) in my stocking feet.  So I'll have to deal during a wod.  But for pre-wod practice, I'm going to take my shoes off from now on.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Carrot Colada Ice Cream

I've been busy creating new recipes.  Some of them aren't ready to share yet, but once I've perfected them, you can bet they'll be posted here!  With pictures!

So, one day I was checking my stats, and I saw that someone found my site by googling "carrot colada".  And I thought, "hey, cool!"  I ran the idea past Lo and Peef, and received mixed reactions.  I made a carrot colada smoothie to test out the flavor combination, and it was gooooooood.  Truly.  When I told Superman, he was all for it.  Topped with jalapenos, of course.



Carrot Colada Ice Cream
1 c. carrot juice
2 bananas
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.  Pour into ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Drizzle Jalapeno Mojito Syrup and garnish with toasted unsweetened shredded coconut.

Jalapeno Mojito Syrup
inspired by this recipe

2 c. fresh mint leaves, well crushed
12 oz. can apple juice concentrate (100% juice), thawed
zest and juice of one lime
1 jalapeno, washed and stemmed (remove seeds for only the slightest hint of heat, leave seeds for noticeable heat)

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 3 minutes, turn off heat and cover.  Steep 15 minutes.  Strain.  Store in fridge.
---------------------
The syrup seems to develop more robust flavor overnight, so I recommend making it a day ahead.  Also, I didn't bruise the mint leaves much, and my syrup didn't have a very minty flavor.  Next time I'll give them a good beating!  I tried the jalapeno without the seeds, and even my tender sensitive mouth couldn't detect much heat at all.  I'm going to have to make it again, and experiment with keeping a few of the seeds.  You could also substitute white grape juice concentrate, but I really liked the flavor combination of the apple with the carrot.

Lo didn't think she could like an ice cream that had carrot in the title, so I told her it was Sunshine Colada ice cream.  After tasting it, she conceded that it was good, darnit.  I've actually come to the point where I prefer the texture of paleo ice cream.  The last time I had traditional ice cream, it felt foamy and thick and sticky and unpleasant to me.  Shoot.  You know this means I'm going to have to come up with a chocolate ice cream substitute now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Morning Max

I finally had the chance yesterday to bring Superman to my "box", aka the rec center.  We spent a leisurely Saturday morning practicing movements, getting some much needed coaching.  Correct technique can make all the difference in the world!  I wish I could be getting that kind of training every day.

My two goals for the morning were to work on technique, and then to find my max on deadlift and bench press.  This was the first time I'd ever attempted to find my max on anything.  When I finished my max deadlift, I started crying.  Crying?  Yep.  I was surprised at my own emotional outburst.  Superman hugged me and I asked why I was weeping.  "Julie, you just lifted heavier weight than you've ever lifted in your life!"  I looked at the bar and solemnly said, "That's like lifting a person.  A person heavier than I am myself."

Max deadlift:  145 lbs.
Max bench press:  88 lbs.


Saturday morning wod:

15-12-9-6-3
power clean 70# (heavier than I've worked out with before!)
burpees

10:24

And then Superman and I flexed in the mirror together, admiring our muscles.

Chicken with Cherry Chutney


Sometimes it's surprising how easy it is to adapt a pre-Paleo recipe for our new lifestyle.  Chutney is sort of like a fruit-inspired salsa.  The main ingredient is usually fruit, cooked with vinegar and spices -- and generally a considerable amount of sugar.  The sugar adds brightness and glossiness, but we found the flavor is still quite enjoyable without it.

Cherry Chutney
inspired by this recipe


1 lb. dark, sweet cherries, pitted
3/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup of raisins
sprinkle ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp mustard seeds, ground in coffee grinder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Mix all of your ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer the mixture for about 45 minutes, uncovered, until it starts to thicken.

While it simmers, cook chicken breasts, using your favorite method.  Spoon chutney over cooked chicken and talk in an uppity accent (I find simply saying the word "chutney" brings this out in me).

Onion Rings

I had a stroke of genius the other night.  I was making our lettuce-wrapped quarter pound hamburgers, pondering the fact that if boys lived at our house, I'd need to make at least four times as much food, when I suddenly wondered if I could make Paleo onion rings.

The answer is yes.  Actually, the answer is oooooooohhhhhhh yyyyyyyyessssssss!

Over dinner, Ballerina asked with delight, "why haven't we thought to do this before?!?"


Paleo Onion Rings
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
1 egg, beaten
shredded unsweetened coconut
coconut oil

Separate onion slices into rings.  Beat egg in a large bowl.  Heat coconut oil in a frying pan (enough oil to come to the halfway mark on your onion slices). Toss onion in the egg, then on a separate plate, coat in coconut.  Place onion rings in the frying pan, turning over once the first side is browned.  Serve alongside lettuce-wrapped hamburgers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your New Fast Food

The crazy of being a single mom with two jobs and three teenagers is in full swing!  If you find yourself in similar circumstances, let me suggest two very fast meals to put on the table in 30 minutes or less (depending on how adept you are at working under pressure).

Pork Salad
shredded lettuce
pulled pork (we had pork roast on Sunday, remember?)
fresh cilantro
limes
tomatoes (we have both red and yellow)


Paleo Thai "Noodles"
2 chicken breasts, cut up
kosher salt
cumin
sesame seeds
1/4 c. creamy almond butter
juice from one large orange
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
shredded zucchini
1 green onion, chopped
1 orange, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

Stir fry chicken with salt, cumin and sesame seeds while setting a pot of water to boil.  Remove chicken from pan and turn down the heat to low.  Drop the shredded zucchini in the boiling water, turn off the heat and let it sit while you make the sauce.  In the warm chicken pan, stir together almond butter, orange juice, balsamic vinegar and garlic.  Stir over low heat until smooth.  Drain zucchini.

Serve by making a bed of zucchini, the place chicken and orange pieces on top, drizzle sauce.  Garnish with green onion.

---

And I must say, you are a quiet bunch, my dear readers.  Feel free to comment anytime!  I'd love to hear your input!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What about breakfast?

I remember, when I started my first Paleo challenge, wondering what I would eat for breakfast.  I mean, a person can't eat eggs every blessed morning, can she?

The truth is, we do eat (and drink) a lot of eggs.  However!  You don't have to forgo your old breakfast of cereal/oatmeal/pancakes/whatever to instead have dinner for breakfast each day.  Yes, there are Paleo pancakes (try these or these) that are delicious and completely grain free.  And we've been known to shred up a carrot or two and cook 'em up like hashbrowns.  For a delicious, non-traditional breakfast that still has a very happy mouth-feel, try shredding up veggies and stir fry them with some of the meat from last night's dinner, or slice up a sausage (there are sugar-free varieties, check the label!) and throw that in.  For example:

This morning's breakfast
There was a bit of bacon fat left in the pan after Ballerina made her breakfast, and I wanted to use it.  So I started with some onion.  Then I sliced up a stalk of celery.  Hmmmm...what else is in the fridge?  Ah!  The leftover grilled carrots.  On top of that I sprinkled a little bit of minced jalapeno, then threw in some of the pulled pork from last night.  That's half a pear you see sliced up next to it.  I also ate the last of the grape tomatoes (there were only four left).  Excellent breakfast -- in fact, I would have made it into an omelet, but I thought I should show you an egg-free meal this morning.

Okay, now it's your turn.  I know I have readers, my stats tell me so.  What are you eating for breakfast?  What ideas can you share?

*edit -- Oh!  I almost forgot to mention!  I totally crushed my wod this morning!  Eleven months ago I did the following at the track:


10 rounds
100m sprint
10 pushups


My time then was 24 minutes.  Today I did it in 12!!!  Go me!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So...potatoes?

Busy weekend.  And I did make interesting food on Friday...I just didn't blog about it.  But now I will!

My good friend Peef came over on Friday and we made coconut-encrusted tilapia with peach-tomato salsa, guacamole in sweet peppers, and mixed green salad.  The peach-tomato salsa is good on fish, but I like it best on pork chops.

Sorry for the fuzzy cell phone pic.
 Saturday I decided to throw a bunch of things on the grill.  I have a charcoal grill, which probably would have worked fine, but I asked my good friend Lo if I could please use her fancy shmancy gas grill, and she said yes.  Unfortunately, I'm not an expert when it comes to grilling stuff.  That's really Superman's territory.  Still, the zucchini and the sausages turned out perfect.  The grilled carrots were a bit undercooked, and so was the onion (but I could tell they would have been marvelous if they'd been done properly).

Today was pork roast day.  I slipped the roast into the crockpot last night (well, okay, at 2 am this morning).  The side dish is thanks to the generous neighbor who owns the wonderful garden, who is nice enough to bring free food to us.  You may be looking at the glorious fluffy white concoction on my plate and asking, "Hey!  Aren't those potatoes?!"  Yes, I realize red potatoes are a starch, and technically that's a no-no for Paleo eaters.  But we do eat other root veggies, and besides, when you're a frugal single mom, you don't say no to free food on Paleo principle.  You say yes, thank you, and you eat it up, giving thanks to God that you're so well provided for.  *end short sermon*

Besides, I'm not going to get into the whole "Grok wouldn't have eaten that" debate.  I'm not embracing Paleo so that I can re-enact the Paleolithic era.  I'm doing it so that I can be a healthy woman.  My best understanding is that variety is the best choice I can make for my family, and that reducing our carb load (grains, sugars - in all their seductive forms, legumes, dairy, starches) is going to be the most helpful to our weight and to our organs.


Actress gasped and said, "We're having potatoes??!?"  It made her night.  I dressed them up Paleo-style, of course.  After they were boiled tender, I mashed them with fresh garlic, full-fat coconut milk, and a dab of bacon grease.  Ballerina and I were careful to just take a modest portion of the starchy root.

And that condiment masquerading as BBQ sauce atop my pulled pork?  Pureed apricots.

I've been "resting"...which means I haven't done a wod since Thursday, but I took ballet class on Friday, was up and down a step stool all morning Saturday banishing dust and cobwebs, and I rode my bike to church today.  Tomorrow I'll be back at the rec center, throwing weights around.  I'm determined to crush my workouts this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Best Chicken Stir Fry


Not even kidding -- this is the best stir fry I've ever made.  I wish I'd made twice as much.  This is what I did:

The Best Chicken Stir Fry
3 chicken breasts, cut up (Double it.  Trust me.)
olive oil
kosher salt
cumin
curry powder
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 broccoli crown, broken into florets (slice up the stalks)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 head cabbage, sliced into "noodles"

Drizzle olive oil in large frying pan and begin to heat.  Place cut up chicken in frying pan, sprinkle with kosher salt, cumin and curry powder.  Stir fry until cooked through.  Set aside and cover.

Drizzle more oil in pan, throw in the carrots, celery, broccoli, onion and garlic.  Stir fry until the vegetables are crisp-tender and broccoli turns bright green.  Set aside and cover.

Drizzle more oil in pan, dump cabbage shreds in.  Cook without stirring, covered, until bottom layer is golden, then stir so it doesn't burn.  Cover and heat until cabbage is crisp-tender.  Turn off heat but leave covered while you set the table and cut up some fruit.

Layer cabbage, then veggies, then chicken.  Feel free to sprinkle shredded coconut and/or sesame seeds.  Serve alongside a portion of fruit.

------
So remember my conundrum from last night?  I shouldn't have spent a single moment worrying about it.  When I arrived at the rec center this morning, I simply asked at the front desk if I could bring a barbell out to the track.  The nice girl smiled and said of course, as long as I bring it back.

I was planning to do front squats today, but my back muscles were really hurting last night.  I had to take advil just to get to sleep.  After discussing it with Superman, he said he wanted me to do back squats instead, to force me to keep good posture.  Better to alter the workout a bit than to damage my back because I don't have a coach watching me, making sure I'm using correct technique.

Warmup:
40 leg lifts on the roman chair
stretch
practice back squats 65#
carry 45# bar out to the track (about 100 meters)

Wod:
5 rounds
400 m run
15 back squats 45#
Time -- 16:00

Buy out:
Carry 45# bar back inside (about 100 meters)
2 sets of 5 back squats 95#

A class of PE students came out to the track in the middle of my wod.  The teacher was instructing them on the rules of sharing the track as I came around the bend, and she was standing right next to my bar.  She moved herself and her slightly clueless students out of my path.  I panted "thanks," crouched down and grabbed the bar, and started my back squats.  Shortly afterward, the students set off on their required 400 meters.  There were kids who couldn't even keep running for one entire lap.  That's just sad.

Tomorrow my workout is ballet class, and dinner is leftovers.  If I end up fixing anything interesting, I'll let you know, otherwise expect a post on Saturday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sadly, the rec center is my "box".

We had zucchini "noodles" and bolognese sauce again tonight.  And once again, it was delicious.  I used a combination of red tomatoes from my garden and yellow tomatoes my neighbor gave me, and served it all alongside spinach salad and pear slices.

Now that school has started, we're in frantic-busy mode most of the time.  We get up early to pray together before the girls leave for school, then I go hit my wod at the rec center.  In the evenings, I get home from work and focus solely on making dinner while the girls plow through their homework.  By the end of the day, I'm completely wiped out.  Some Saturday, I really need to make a humongous batch of bolognese and divide it and put it in the freezer.  My goal during this challenge isn't necessarily to come up with new stuff every night.  I just need to fix delicious stuff every night.

Pre-pre-workout warmup:  Jump in the car.  Turn the key.  Get frustrated because it won't start.  Call Superman.  Jumpstart the car with on-the-phone assistance.  Drive to the auto parts store.  Buy a new battery.  Watch the manager install it.  (I was totally prepared to put the new battery in myself, but the manager was on the job before I could tell him to stop.  Meh, I thought, let him get his hands dirty.)  Jump in the car.  Go to the rec center.

Pre-workout warmup:  Run hard for 800 meters, then immediately to the roman chair for 30 leg lifts. 

WOD:
4 rounds
15 SDHP 65#
7 jerk 65#

Finished in 12:22.  Then I went home and mowed the lawn, staked the tomatoes, and drilled new holes in the garden box dripline.  And somehow, got my hands really dirty.  I guess I should have put that battery in myself after all.

So, tomorrow.  The wod I want to do is a combination of running and overhead squats.  I have a conundrum.  Will the rec center allow me to take a barbell out to the track?  Also, since school has started (and the rec center uses the high school's track), will I get in the way of PE classes?  Or, do I keep the bar in the weight room, but increase my time because I'll have to start up a treadmill for the running portions every round?  Or do I substitute running with jumproping again?  Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pork Chops with Peach-Tomato Salsa

Let's get right to the food, shall we?  I found this recipe while browsing through Meal of the Day on foodee.com, and had to try it out.

 Pork Chops With Peach-Tomato Salsa
inspired by this recipe from everydaypaleo.com

3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 fresh lime, juiced
4 (3/4- to 1-inch-thick) boneless pork chops

2 peaches
1 fresh lime, juiced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño chile
several fresh basil leaves, chopped
a couple sprinkles dried mint
2 tablespoons red-wine or cider vinegar


Combine minced garlic, olive oil, and lime juice in a gallon-size ziploc bag.  Add pork chops, marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.


Preheat oven to 450.  Drizzle a little olive oil in a glass baking dish.  Place pork chops side by side in the baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes on each side (or until it starts to brown on top).


Toss chopped peaches with lime juice in a medium bowl and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, herbs, and vinegar. Let stand while pork bakes.  Serve chops with salsa.

The sweetness from the peaches balances out the spicy from the jalapeño very nicely.  We served this alongside roasted asparagus and cantaloupe.

Today's WOD:

3 rounds
40 double unders
30 box jumps
20 DB swings 50#
Time - 18:43

The prescribed wod was 5 rounds, but I modified it when I realized it would probably kill me.  My rec center doesn't have a box for jumps, but it does have metal benches for people to sit and wait for a racquetball court.  I pulled one of those close to the entrance of the weight room (a converted racquetball court) so that I could step out and do my jumps.  The DB swings were hard -- partly because 50# is heavy for me, and partly because a dumbbell is not a kettlebell.  You can't grip it the same way.  There was one other person in the weight room today.  He was not a creep, but he did watch me yell my way through my last two sets of DB swings as he finished his bench presses.  I can't blame him.  I was a sight to see (and hear).  When I was done, he asked me how many rounds I did, and said it looked like I was keeping up a great pace.

After my workout, I came home and dove into my yardwork.  That Farmer's Walk from yesterday totally affected my skills with tree pruning today.  Very little grip ability.  And my forearms were spent!  I had a devil of a time pruning the boxwoods with the shears.  

The good news is that next time, I'll be stronger.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pina Colada Smoothie

Remember Eric Estrada?  When I was a kid, we used to watch CHiPs on TV, and I'd kind of sick out every time he'd crack a raw egg into a glass and then just drink it.  It didn't bother my mom.  She raised chickens when she was young, and had no qualms about cracking an egg into a smoothie for us.  Except she never called them smoothies.  I don't even think that word was invented yet.  For some reason, she always called those morning shakes "eggnog" -- although it was nothing like eggnog.  *shrug*

Over the years, I became a mom and read all kinds of scary things about raw eggs.  Salmonella.  And so I wouldn't let the kids eat raw cookie dough ("yuck!  raw eggs!") and I changed any recipe I came across that had raw eggs in it.

As my kids got older, I realized I lost the battle about raw cookie dough a long time ago.  And then, recently, I suddenly changed my mind about consuming raw eggs myself.  What a convenient way to boost the protein in a smoothie!  (And in ice cream, as you may have noticed in yesterday's recipe).

So, I had some leftover pineapple from yesterday's ice cream experiment.  I had stumbled into a smoothie recipe from Elana's Pantry and felt inspired.  Seriously, this is delicious.  If you feel squeamish about raw eggs, I do believe there are pasteurized alternatives out there.  Or you could leave the eggs out and get your protein elsewhere.

Pina Colada Smoothie
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. canned coconut milk
1 c. frozen pineapple
1 T. coconut oil
1 egg
2 ice cubes

In a high speed blender, blend the water, coconut milk and pineapple.  Then add the coconut oil and egg.  Drop in the ice cubes and blend until there are no more large chunks of ice.  Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!



Today was a gym day.  I warmed up by running a bit faster than usual on the treadmill (my speed was 6.7, whatever that means.  I still haven't figured it out), then doing 30 leg lifts on the roman chair.

WOD:
3 rounds for time
Farmer's walk 50 feet, 50# (that's carrying a 50# dumbbell in one hand)
5 burpees
Farmer's walk 50 feet, 50# (holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand)
5 burpees
(4:12)

3 rounds for time
10 deadlift 115#
10 bench press 50#
(4:52)

And this evening, I attended "Hot Hula" class.  My hip flexors and quads are feeling it.  Excellent fitness day today!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pina Colada Ice Cream

I'll say it right now:  I am not a perfect parent.  I've definitely had some Bad Mom episodes.   This morning, it turns out, was one of those.

Ballerina made breakfast.  (She's also been blogging about her life as a teenage caveman.  Check it out.)  She started out making it just for herself, but it turned out there was enough for two.  She used my applesauce pancake recipe, but substituted apricot puree for the applesauce.  Then she made carrot hashbrowns (basically shredded carrots and onions, stir fried).  I cut up an avocado.  As we were getting ready to eat, Valedictorian came in and asked if there were enough for her.  Unfortunately, Ballerina hadn't planned on making breakfast for everyone.  Oops.

You can see why we'd fight over this breakfast.

There was a stormy bit of passive-aggressive discussion, in which Valedictorian said there was nothing to eat in this house, and why was it that whenever Ballerina and I wanted to make food, it was all creative and delicious, but when she looked in the fridge, she couldn't find anything?!  Ballerina stated that it was because she makes things from scratch.  This provoked questions that had an undeniably snotty edge to them, including something along the lines of well-how-am-I-supposed-to-do-that?  I stood up from the table, opened the cupboard and pulled out the Betty Crocker cookbook.

"This is a cookbook," I said.  "In it, you will find instructions for how to make food.  There are several options in this book.  Try it."  (Did you see the Bad Mom moment there?  Yep, there it was.)  Valedictorian ended up making non-paleo pancakes for herself.  And I spent the morning quietly wondering how I had failed my daughter, that she's now a college student and can't take the initiative to learn how to cook things on her own.  *sigh*

For dinner tonight, I made Rosemary Rainbow Tart and Curry Carrot Bisque.  And for dessert, a Paleo Pina Colada ice cream...



Pina Colada Ice Cream
1 c. pineapple chunks
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 can coconut milk

Chop pineapple and bananas in a food processor.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix until well-combined.  Add coconut milk, mix again.  Pour into ice cream maker and follow freezing instructions.  Garnish with shredded unsweetened coconut and macadamia nuts.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Folks, that's a new record!

Years ago, when I started doing Body for Life (the first diet/exercise plan I'd ever done that was successful), I remember some days thinking, "studies say that vacuuming the house counts as exercise.  Maybe today, instead of going for a run, I'll just vacuum the whole house."  And then my shoulder angel would say, "Yeah, right.  And how did that work for you before?"  And I'd acknowledge that housework had never kept me fit before, and it was no use justifying in order to slack off.

This is the main reason this blog is called "How's That Been Working For You?" -- because I am challenging myself, and any readers out there, to consider past habits and ask if going back to them is actually going to help.  After the last 30 Day Challenge, I was feeling thin and fit and happy.  All my clothes were way too loose, but that was a problem I was willing to deal with.  Unfortunately, over the last couple of months, I've allowed myself to slip back into some of my old habits:  being too busy to work out, indulging in treats.  My lean abs have hidden themselves again behind a layer of squoosh.  My loose pants are now fitting again.  Dang.

There are people in the world who never have to watch what they eat in order to stay thin.  Lucky ducks.  It's not fair, but there you have it.  Some of us will simply have to always be careful about the kind of fuel we put in our bodies, or we gain weight...and some of us gain very quickly.  Curses.  True, I know that if I treat my body well, I avoid disease and improve the quality and length of my life.  These things are very important to me.  Now that I've found Superman, I want to live a good, long time.  And I want to be able to spend that life doing active and fun things.   But don't be misled by those healthy goals.  The fact of the matter is that I want to look great...in clothes, in a swimsuit, and out of them!  I'm sad that I lost sight of that temporarily.  The good news is, I've already proved to myself that I know what to do about it!

As I was running this morning, I was hoping I would set a new PR for my mile.  I thought, I may not be the fittest 40-something you know.  I may not be the strongest or the fastest.  But I'm pushing myself, and I want to be one of the fittest women you know, no matter what the age.

After the run, I did the following wod:

3 rounds
12 body rows (I prop a sturdy broom handle between my kitchen counters and row up to it)
75 air squats
Time:  8:59

And I did set a new PR.  It's not a world record, but it's my record.  One mile in 8:20.

Road Trip!

Yesterday I took my daughters to Bodies: The Exhibition.  I've been planning this excursion for a couple months.  It's a 3 1/2 hour drive, but totally TOTALLY worth it.  Ballerina took eight pages of notes about the things she thought were amazing or cool (or wanted to ask questions about later from her Physiology teacher).  There were times when I stood staring at pieces of the exhibit, and felt tears come to my eyes at the amazing beauty of the human body -- all the way down to what's deep inside.  How can I describe it without sounding like a complete nerdy doofus?  Please, if you have an opportunity to attend the exhibit (it travels), jump at it.

So...trip food.  There's no way I was going to fill the car with Cheez-its and licorice.  This is what we took instead:

carrots, celery, cucumber, apples, plum applesauce, water bottles


Work it, apricots.
It's frustrating that all beef jerky is loaded with sugar.  Yes, I know that sugar is a preservative, and that's a great way to preserve meat and other food.  But it's a big no-no during our Paleo challenge.  So I went with pepperoni sticks, which have only a tiny amount of sugar ("less than 2% of the following ingredients").  It's on-the-road no-refrigeration-needed protein, and I wasn't sure what else to do.

We stopped at Wendy's for late lunch after the exhibit.   Ballerina and I each got Almond Berry Chicken Salads, prepared special without cheese.  Of course, the dressing is more like syrup (I think the first THREE ingredients were types of sugar), so I took a pass on that.  It was pretty good, but not really worth the six and a half bucks they charge for it (and not nearly as filling as good Paleo meals we make at home).

No workout today.  But after seeing the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, reproductive and digestive systems of the body, I'm once again motivated to make my insides absolutely beautiful!

Power Snatch

It's been a busy few days.  I apologize for my absence -- my goal is to give you something to chew on (ha!) each day of the 60 Day Challenge.  So, what I should have posted Thursday night:

Today's prescribed wod:
5 rounds for time
Run 200 meters
5 Power Snatch at 155#

Since I knew I'd need to do this one at the rec center, and that they most likely won't allow me to carry a barbell out to the track, I either needed to modify the run, or modify the lifting.  I didn't want to miss the weights, so instead I did:

5 rounds for time
100 jumprope singles
5 Power Snatch 50#

I realize 50# isn't very heavy for that movement.  While getting set up, I tried what I thought was 65# (10# plates on what I thought was a 45# bar), which I can power clean.  But I couldn't do the snatch.  There's a weak place in the middle somewhere.  This is one of the caveats of working out without a coach.  I practiced the movement with a different bar, one I knew was 45#, and felt like perhaps I knew what I was doing, watching myself in the mirror, trying to do what I've been taught.  Then I put 5# plates on the slightly smaller bar (which I weighed at the scales when I finished my workout, to find it was 40#, so my practice snatches were only 60#), and proceeded with the wod.  I called Superman when I was done, and we decided we'd better work on this movement the next time we can work out together.

I finished the wod in 10 minutes.

For dinner, I slapped everything in the oven.  Not my favorite thing to do in the heat of summer, but it made things easier.  Only Ballerina and I were home, so I coated some shrimp with coconut and threw it on the foil-lined baking sheet with some asparagus, and cooked them together.  It was tasty, but I found myself dreaming of the coconut shrimp I had in Hawaii last summer.  *drool* It was nothing like that, unfortunately.  Also, we each had half an apple, sliced up, with Cinnamon Almond Butter Apple Dip.



Cinnamon Almond Butter Apple Dip
blob of Almond Butter
drizzle of honey
sprinkle of cinnamon
some water

Stir it all together, adding just a little water at a time, until it's about the consistency of carmel dip.  We used chunky fresh almond butter, but I've also used creamy bottled almond butter, and it works out nicely either way.  It's also very tasty on celery or carrots, and probably a host of other crunchy fruits and veggies.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pasta Substitutes

Tonight I made Bolognese Sauce, and I meant for it to be served over spaghetti squash, my go-to substitution for pasta.  Unfortunately, there was no spaghetti squash to be had at the grocery store this week.  Luckily, our neighbors were so kind to drop off some rather large squash a few days ago.  Using the larger shredder attachment (have I mentioned how much I love my food processor?  Honestly, I giggle every time I use it.  Just ask Ballerina), I shredded part of an extra large zucchini and part of an extra large crookneck squash (I removed the giant seeds first), and stir fried it in some coconut oil until it was al dente (or as close to it as squash gets).  It worked!



When you crave the texture of something noodly, or need a vehicle to carry your favorite bolognese, try these alternatives:

shredded zucchini, summer squash, rutabaga, or turnip
thinly sliced cabbage (best in Asian-inspired dishes)
spaghetti squash (obviously)
bean sprouts
thinly sliced onions (perhaps better as a companion "noodle" vegetable, rather than having a plateful of onions.  I dunno, though -- Superman really loves onions)
I've read that thinly sliced eggplant, broiled first, makes great lasagne noodles

And I've just found the next kitchen toy I must buy.  This:

 

I think I shall get it for myself for my birthday, which just happens to be coming up in a few weeks.  So there.

My workout today was 75 minutes of ballet class.  And if you think that's not a workout, I dare you to come to class.  Still, it wasn't a crossfit day, and I'm missing throwing weights around.  Superman did a fantastic wod (he sent me a picture of the whiteboard), and I'm actually a little jealous:



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Slate Squats

I didn't want to skip my workout today, but I didn't have anything planned ahead of time.  So I ran.  I admit, I consider running my "cop out" workout, because it doesn't really employ those Crossfit principles of constantly varied or high intensity or functional movement.  Okay, maybe functional movement -- because it might come in handy for me to be good at running, whether it's because I'm running to catch the train or running to keep the cookies out of Superman's reach (yeah, as if I could outrun him).  Anyhow... I ran.  And I think today I ran the longest I've ever run without stopping to walk.  Go me! 

Even though I didn't do a traditional wod today, I did plenty of squats, lunges, deadlifts and carries.  I pulled weeds from my flower beds and made a trail of blue slate.  It took three hours.  I think that, plus the run, ought to count for something today.

Blue slate trail.  Don't be deceived by the thinness of the slate.  It's kind of heavy.


Dinner tonight was all about getting reacquainted with Curry Meatballs in Coconut Tomato Sauce, alongside spinach salad and fresh pears.


There's a meatball hiding in there somewhere.


I followed my own recipe with one minor change...I only used 1 lb of ground meat instead of two.  And it still worked out just fine, was delicious, cooked well (and fit in my frying pan better).  If I were making it for Superman and the boys, I would definitely use 2 lbs, but as it was, we had leftovers.

Beginning Again (Rosemary Almond Chicken)

I admit, I didn't start this challenge quite as well prepared as last time.  I've been out of town for a few weeks, and my fridge was not stocked.  Still, I didn't eat anything non-Paleo...I just didn't eat terribly well today.  Nuts, raisins, celery and almond butter, grape tomatoes.  It was a nosh day, simply because I was running around like mad trying to put things in order and balance.  I didn't even get a workout in.    But I did manage to make dinner.

Rosemary Almond Chicken
 Honestly, it could have used something...perhaps salt.  Perhaps more spices.  Perhaps some dried red peppers.  I ground up almonds and fresh rosemary, coated chicken breasts with the mixture, and cooked them in coconut oil.  Tasty.

Green Beans Angie
Now, some Paleo purists will tell you that green beans are technically a legume, and not actually Paleo.  But when you have very little food in the house, and your neighbors bring you some of the bounty from their gardens, you happily cook it up for dinner.  Thanks to Angie for this recipe.

Green Beans Angie
fresh green beans
onion
garlic
salt to taste
oil of your choice

Cut or snap the ends off the beans, set aside.  Saute the onion in the oil.  Salt the onion, then add the green beans and garlic.  Continue cooking until beans are no longer fuzzy (fresh green beans have fuzz, did you know that?), and the onions are carmelized.

We served this up with grape tomatoes from a generous neighbor.  Delicious and easy.