Thursday, January 28, 2016

White Beans with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Something has changed in me over the last few months. Competing in CrossFit has lost its "fun." It was the thing that I used to love the most, I trained for it, planned for it, and reveled in doing them. I maintain when something has lost its fun it is time to make a change. I don't know if it is my frustration with not being able to be as good as I want to be because my priorities affect my time, or if I am ready to just take a step back for a short time and re-group because I am in a funk. I have told my friends that these next few competitions are in for me for the foreseeable future. I don't like that they effect the little time I get to spend in the gym and make me so sore for days after I can't train hard again for a bit. Last weekend I competed in a 6-person team competition called the Great Lakes Games. I like team competitions a lot, especially with the right people. 

This competition was crazy heavy for me and I spent time preparing to lift weights 95%+ of my PRs. I didn't have a bad day, but I wouldn't say I had a good day either. The GHDs got to me which is surprising since I am not bad at them, the muscle-ups felt good, the lifts were what I expected and the running on the TrueForm was god awful! But my team was a blast and that's all that matters. Next up is Swolemates with Matt. I took 4th in it last year with a different partner so I am excited to see where we place since I am in a new category this year being that I am actually dating my partner. 

I meant to post this recipe a while back when I posted my meal prep found here...oops! I know beans are not Paleo, but they are cheap, have protein, I like them and I had them on hand so you do what feels right sometimes. :)

White Beans with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

- 1lb Chicken Sausage (5-6 Large Links), cut in 1/2" pieces
- 2 15-oz Cans of White Beans (great northern, cannellini), rinsed and drained
- 1-2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 1 14.5-oz Can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 6-8 Cups Baby Spinach
- Salt
- Fresh cracked Pepper to taste
- Pinch of Thyme (optional)

1. In a large skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat, drizzle in a little olive oil and sear the sausage on both sides. 

This will only take a few minutes. Remove it from the pan. I always put it in the container I will be storing it in later. :) 

2. Add the garlic and onion and saute for a few minutes until it is turning translucent and fragrant. Add the tomatoes (with juice), beans and 1 cup of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 30-45 minutes until the beans are tender.

3. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts. Add the sausage back. If it is thicker than you would like add more stock. Taste for salt and pepper. It will thicken slightly after being stored in the fridge. 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 5.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 205
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7 g11 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 48 mg16 %
Sodium 989 mg41 %
Potassium 879 mg25 %
Total Carbohydrate 21 g7 %
Dietary Fiber 11 g42 %
Sugars 7 g
Protein 16 g32 %
Vitamin A157 %
Vitamin C64 %
Calcium19 %
Iron31 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kofta-insprired Meatballs and Meal Prep

Meal prep this week was cheap and easy... it was also probably the completely healthiest one we have done in a while. Sometimes you need to go back to the basics to get back on track. Its no secret I needed to put on some weight... after the last crazy three years my weight was hovering at an (unhealthy) 115-117lbs. I know for 5'2" that's not bad, but 5'2" that lifts that looks emaciated- I actually wanted to gain something because after all, mass moves mass... but I have a complex about it, as most people might, and I feel like my stomach and waist are the hardest hit. I found a picture of Charlie the other day and it reminded me of myself during a cheat meal, so I turned her into a meme hehehehe. 

Okay, I know I look better and healthier but when I see the scale, feel the clothes getting tighter, my gymnastics getting more difficult it's not easy on the mind. So currently I float between 124-126lbs... the heaviest I have been without being pregnant since before Charlie ...ouch. I know, complain away you skinny bitch, but I am guessing most people can relate to not feeling good in their own skin, or at least being uncomfortable with body changes...and I am not complaining... I am just stating my stats so it is documented and I will now move forward with a healthier weight and friends who want me stronger and turn that new mass into muscle.... muscle needs to be fed so let's start in the kitchen...
So here we go!

Meal Prep

This week we made a trip to Costco to load up on steak, chicken, mashed sweet potatoes and a vegetable medley of asparagus, brussels sprouts and broccoli. For a treat I also made beef kofta with yellow rice (see below.)

Our Grocery List-
- 8 Sweet Potatoes
- 10-12 Chicken Breasts (about 6-7lbs)
- 2 Flank Steaks (about 3lbs)
- 3lbs Fresh Broccoli Florets
- 2lbs Fresh Brussels Sprouts
- 2lbs Fresh Asparagus

--> Sweet potatoes were peeled, cubed and cooked in boiling water until for tender- 

then blended until smooth with butter, lots of salt and pepper, and a splash of milk

--> Meat was grilled with lemon pepper and garlic salt

--> Vegetables were cleaned and cut and roasted on sheet pans with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper at 425 degrees for 20-ish or less minutes depending on the vegetable, I checked and stirred them every 10 minutes

--> Everything was cut and portioned and ready to go :)

Kofta-inspried Meatballs with Yellow Rice

Kofta (or Kafta) is a spiced meatball, often on a skewer, that you might find in lebanese restaurants, all over the Southern Mediterranean region of the world, and India also has their own versions which can even be vegetarian. I am no expert on this type of cuisine, but re-read my indian cookbooks and love the flavors so I added what I liked and subtracted what I don't, hence the "inspired" in the title. Because I was not going to outside in the literally 5 degree weather I made mine into meatballs and baked them in the oven... when it warms up I will make the same recipe, put each meatball on a skewer, flatten them slightly and grill them- it just seems like the more traditional version I have had before. :) Served with a good quality hummus from our local specialty store this was a perfect dinner! I also added some broccoli to mine! 

- 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
- 1 lb Ground Pork (or another lean meat like lamb, or even more beef)
- 6 Garlic Cloves, grated using a microplane
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, grated
- 1/4 Cup+ Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
- 2 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Allspice
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (less if you don't like spicy)
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Combined all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hands until just combined.

2. Roll into 1.5-2" sized balls and place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your balls.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 5.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 330
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22 g34 %
Saturated Fat 8 g40 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 145 mg48 %
Sodium 1188 mg50 %
Potassium 405 mg12 %
Total Carbohydrate 8 g3 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g8 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 38 g75 %
Vitamin A9 %
Vitamin C14 %
Calcium8 %
Iron32 %

Yellow Rice

Yellow rice is something Matt's grandma used to make so we thought we would give it a try. Since I have worked with turmeric before I warned him,  and will warn you, that it stains wooden spoons so now is the time for your metal or plastic unless you don't mind the color change! 

- 2 Pinches of Saffron
- 2 Cups White Rice
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Small Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock, divided 1/4 cup + 3 3/4 cups
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric

1. Grind the saffron the best you can with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon. In a small bowl, soak it with 1/4 of the chicken stock that has been warmed.
2. In a sauce pan, drizzle in the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
3. Add the rice, spices and saffron plus liquid and the rest of the stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it sit another 10 minutes. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Almond Flour Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I have been trying to keep up with my strength at home... it takes more motivation and lack of excuses than anything. I am ok doing EMOTM (every minute on the minute) type workouts and regular strength training... anything with me and a clock is just hard with her because I get interrupted. But we try and Charlie and I have a system now... she gets to play on the rings and run around as long as I am not doing a set. While I am doing a set she sits on the orange med-ball and counts (if she wants)... this particular day I was doing 4x5 backsquats and she wouldn't count past "1"... every rep was "1".... I swear I was getting low enough, and shouldn't her mom be given a "bro rep?"

When I moved into my new house I discovered a few things... one of them being that I have way too many containers of oatmeal, combined with Matt's containers there was way too much oatmeal in general. Since I am the only person who eats it as a breakfast food, I thought why not make some cookies since the other thing we had an abundance of was raisins. The container of old-fashioned oats had a recipe on the lid so I based my initial attempt of these at that- swapping regular flour for almond and getting rid of the vegetable oil... we made these more than once... a lot do to the fact that they are very family friends to make... so much that once we made them at 8am because she wanted to... 

so anyway! after some trial and error I think this is the perfect combination. The whole family loved them.

Almond Flour Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

(Makes ~30 cookies)

- 2 Cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
- 1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Nutmeg (Optional)
- 2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Grass-fed Butter, melted (or coconut oil)
- 1/3 Cup Raw Honey
- 2 Cups Raisins

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flaxseed. 

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients, except the raisins. Pour this liquid into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. 

Add the raisins and fold them in until they are evenly distributed.

3. On a parchment-lined, or greased, baking sheet, place about tablespoon-sized of the dough and press it together slightly with your hands. Bake 12-15 minute until the tops have started to become golden. Let them cool slightly before removing them from the cookie sheet, they become less fragile as they cool. Store in the fridge. 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 30.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 120
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7 g11 %
Saturated Fat 3 g13 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 22 mg7 %
Sodium 91 mg4 %
Potassium 51 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 14 g5 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g6 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 3 g5 %
Vitamin A3 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium2 %
Iron4 %