Spicy Orange Chicken (Paleo)

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you day hasn’t been a series of awful events, mine has been pretty great… I had the day off from work, didn’t fall down hiking, haven’t run into any walls, didn’t burn down the kitchen… it’s one for the books! Anywho, as people are off to the races trying to stick to their “New Year’s resolutions” I wanted to throw a wrench into your gears and talk about finding balance.

Often in the beginning of the year you see an influx of people hitting the gym, starting new diets, chanting that “this is the year” they are going to make some fitness and nutrition goals and stick to them. But- what are your goals? Are they realistic? What’s kept you from attaining them before? If you have attainted them before why didn’t they stick? I feel like these are the questions we all dig to make excuses for, but ultimately they should be the number one thing you address when you start something new.

Setting goals is something everyone should do, going out and working towards them is wonderful! But keep in mind, you need to do so in a sustainable way. If you haven’t been to the gym in a year and decide to hit it hard for 5 days straight off the bat, you’ll likely find that your body has other plans, and let’s face it, who WANTS to go workout when you’re so sore you can’t get out of bed? Perhaps slow and steady is a better approach…

The same goes for diet changes. Say you sign up for a nutrition challenge, you dive in head first, throw out all of the sugary processed crap in your house, kill it for the first 3 days, and then come home late one night, realize you didn’t prep for dinner and are too hungry to wait, so out of desperation you order the quickest delivered pizza in town and then deem yourself a failure. Perhaps if you took some time to restock your cabinets with canned wild alaskan salmon or sought out places that make fresh healthy prepared meals you’d have a solution to that problem without falling off the diet-wagon for the night, or for good.

With that being said, should you have to be 100% strict on your conquest to being the healthiest, most fit version of yourself? Whats wrong with a taco here and there, a skipped gym visit, or a glass of wine? In my opinion, nothing.

I personally believe that if you want to make a lifestyle change STICK, it has to be sustainable, and to be sustainable, you can’t restrict yourself all the time. You can and SHOULD make better choices most of the time, but you also shouldn’t sacrifice a night out with friends, a family get together, or spend your whole vacation worrying about how your going to burn off the calories in that Pina Colada you just had. You only live once- and your journey to better yourself is a lifelong one, so take the time to plan out your new goals, conquer them, and celebrate with no regrets. Food for thought ūüôā

And now to the part you’ve been asking for, the recipe! This is the second time I’ve made orange chicken and I think I finally got it right! Tell me what you think ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 Tb. avocado oil
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced (*zest before juicing!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tb. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tb. tomato paste
  • 2 Tb. honey
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot
  • 1-2 Tb. sesame seeds

Instructions:

-Dice chicken into 1″ cubes

-Add avocado oil and chicken to a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook (turning once or twice) for 7-10 minutes until chicken is no longer pink inside

-While chicken is cooking combine orange zest, juice, coconut aminos, ginger, honey, salt, garlic, and red peper flakes

-Add sauce to the pan with chicken and simmer on low (stirring often to coat chicken) for 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces to about half

-Turn off heat and add arrowroot to thicken the sauce, toss thoroughly to combine

-Add sesame seeds to the chicken, pair with your favorite veggie and rice-variation and enjoy!

 

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Apple & Cherry Stuffed Pork

Pork has been on sale at River Valley Market for a few weeks now. Depending on when I’m able to get there I usually stock up on whatever is a good deal! Most of their meats are locally sourced, pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free- so the good news is you can’t really go wrong there! Same for the butcher shop in Northampton: Sutter Meats. Everything there is top of the line, although it’s a little more expensive so I tend to just get specialty items there like marrow bones.

Anywho, the last few times we’ve eaten pork chops the recipes have been super basic: grilled, seasoned and baked, etc. So today I wanted to change things up a bit. I’ve stuffed pork chops with all sorts of things, but growing up I HAD to have applesauce with my pork so for me, pork and apples are like peanut butter and jelly. When I was thinking of other ingredients to add to the mix I quickly shuffled through the usual suspects like pears, bacon, cranberries, and decided to try out cherries! For shits and giggles I googled stuffed pork recipes and what do you know- I definitely wasn’t the first one with this idea!

PaleOMG popped up as one of the first recipe links so I happily followed her recipe (with a few variations) and it came out pretty darn good! Heres what I used:

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 thick cut pork chops
  • 1 medium apple, cored and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup red cherries, pitted and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 TB of coconut oil until translucent

-Add the apple, cherry, cinnamon, garlic powder and cloves to the skillet an cook until soft, about 6 minutes

   

 -While stuffing is cooking cut pockets in the pork through the fatty side of the meat, be careful not to chop off a finger or cut through to the other side!

-Season the outside of the pork chops with salt and pepper then stuff them with as much yummy goodness as possible

-Place stuffed chops on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

-Then enjoy!

  
 

 

 

 

Surf & Turf Stuffed Summer Squash (Paleo, AIP, LowFodmap, 21DSD)

I am starting to feel myself again after having some time off from one of my jobs and from weightlifting. Not to say those were the issues but it has given me some time to really reflect on things and organize my life. This morning at physical therapy I was finally able to play with a barbell again and given the “OK” to add some lifting back in! I plan on taking my time and really focusing on improving my form, technique, stability and mobility so I don’t end up back where I started. Every time I injure myself I take it as a learning experience and use it to grow stronger and more aware of my body’s capacity. I tend to get so wrapped up my goals that I overlook smaller details in my training that need attention. This past week was quite humbling and a good reminder that I am still recovering from years of being sick and treating my body like crap. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and having strong foundations inside and out is without a doubt the most important. 

I won’t bore you with too much blabbering about myself today, but stay tuned for an update of my bio within the next week or two. I left it with a little bit of a cliffhanger because I wasn’t sure that I was ready to share my full story at the time. But after the loss of a friend who was a big influence on my life and ultimately some of the reason why I am where I am today, I feel compelled to share in hopes that it might reach some people that are struggling or have struggled with the same issues that I have and give them a glimmer of hope.

Anyways, to lighten up the rest of this post lets get to the recipe! This is based off of my all time favorite recipe from the 21 Day Sugar Detox . If you don’t own the books or haven’t tried the detox, you need to! I can honestly say that through many years of being Paleo I always continued to struggle with an addiction to sugar. It’s one of those things that is INCREDIBLY hard to shake, probably harder than smoking although I’ve never smoked so I can’t compare personally, but the withdrawals are real! Once you realize that you don’t need sugar for energy, your body can start to fuel itself properly and you will get a whole new and sustainable level of energy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 TB. cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TB. coconut aminos
  • 3-5 drops fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out as much of the insides as possible (the more you scoop out the more room for stuffing!!)

  

-Place the squash face down on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on thickness) until they are easily pierced by a fork on the inside

-While the squash cooks, melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat 

-Dice the remaining squash and add it to the skillet along with the onion, carrots, celery, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper

  
  

-Satuee veggies for 5 minutes then add minced shrimp, ground beef, minced ginger and scallions to the skillet

-Continue cooking until the shrimp are pink and the ground beef is browned

  
-Remove squash from oven when fully cooked and flip them over on the pan

-Stuff each squash as much as possible! Then broil them in the oven for 2-3 minutes until they are nicely bribes in top

-Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and some more diced scallions and enjoy! 

  
Notes: The recipe in the 21 DSD cookbook is called “cabbage-wrapped dumplings”. Diane gives a recipe for a delicious sauce to top these with but I will keep that a secret… Grab the book to find out!ūüėú

Also- to make this lower FODMAP leave out the white onions and add more scallions. 

    White Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP)

    Hey everyone! I apologize for neglecting my blog lately I have just been consistently wrapped up in too many things! It’s definitely gotten to me as my adrenals are telling me they can’t keep up. Between long hours of work, cooking, baking, personal training, lifting, WODs, and now physical therapy, there just isn’t enough time in the day! Lucky for my readers and for myself I have decided to (and been forced to) make some changes in order to restore my health once again and to get back to doing the things that make me happy (like THIS!).

    For those of you that know me, I continue to struggle with spinal issues. It’s a work in progress and at this point it just one thing after another, but I hope that eventually my troubles will be much farther and fewer between. Most currently I have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my lumbar spine that was causing muscle weakness in my right leg and subsequent knee pain because my right leg was failing to get into the proper position. Since I went back to Physical Therapy (shout out to ProEX in Springfield for being amazing!) I have seen a HUGE improvement in my right leg. In fact I ended up getting a PR on my snatch a few days into PT. On the downside, the pain has since centralized itself to my lumbar spine which is far more uncomfortable than my knee! It’s a process that needs to happen though, and since i have had back pain I have been advised to cease all activity that compresses the spine‚Ķ. It doesn’t take long to realize that cuts out mostly everything besides a few specific exercises. Luckily I should be able to get back to lifting in about 2 weeks or once the pain is gone. Until then I’m all about them core exercises! And my compex, which has super helpful in muscle recovery and also has strength settings so I don’t feel like I am doing NOTHING for the next 2 weeks!

      
    On the plus side, my relatively nonexistent workout load gives me some much needed time to let my creative wheels turn again in the kitchen! (I’m sure my boyfriend will be happy about this because I’ve been cooking the most basic and uninteresting things lately! lol‚Ķ sorry Mickey!) Some of you might have seen my recipe for Red Velvet Hash, which was AH-mazing! Well, this one has similar ingredients but a whole different flavor profile, a MUST try!


    Ingredients:

    • 1 large white sweet potato (Japanese or Hannah), shaved
    • 2 medium golden beets, peeled and shaved
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 2-4 TB. coconut oil
    • 2 TB. fresh chives, diced
    • 1 TB. tarragon
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1.8 tsp. pepper

    Instructions:

    -In a large skillet melt 2 TB. coconut oil over medium-high heat

    -Add diced onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes

    -Add shaved beets and potato to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice

    -Add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the coconut oil if you need it) to the skillet and stir to combine

      
    -Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beets and potatoes are soft

      
    -Add in some cooked meats if desired, top with some eggs or use as a delicious side dish! You could also turn the skillet to high and really crisp up the hash if you prefer it crispy! Lots of possibilities with this one!

      
    Enjoy!

    Crispy Slow Cooked Ribs (Paleo, AIP, 21dsd)

    The last week I have been doing some self-experimentation and seeing how my body responds to different types of stressors. 

    If you read my last post I went on a rant about how exercise (aka Crossfit and Olympic lifting) seem to have such a great positive mental and emotional effect on me that it seems to negate the “stress on the body” factor. Physically it is demanding, and my body has been getting stronger and more stable each week, but with every step forward there are bound to be some bumps in the road. 

    I have had a long history of right-sided shoulder pain caused by a pinched nerve in my spine. I stay on top of it as best as I can with weekly trips to the chiropractor, bi-weekly accupuncture, and a massage once a month. These things help greatly but sometimes things go arye. I experienced that last week when I was doing snatched and something caused a pinched nerve, but this time on the left side. The pain was pretty serious and I couldn’t lift my left elbow past parallel without excruciating shooting pain. This might have been one of the most frustrating moments for me… I wasn’t doing anything different, didn’t catch the bar in any super awkward compromised position, it just was one of those things that was going to happen regardless of what I did. 

    Upon leaving the gym I scheduled an appointment with my chicopractor for the following day and also made a doctors appointment because my frustration got the best of me and I decided that I wanted to get X-Rays. Not only of my neck but also of my collar bone which has recently developed a large bump, that I am fairly certain is a contusion from the barbell but I wanted to be sure. You know if you google “lump on collar bone” you get everything from fracture to cancer and multiple other scary sounding things. 

    Well, after my Chiro appointment I felt 95% better, had full range of motion back, only a slight tightness in one position. From there I went to the doctor, who (warning: western medicine vent coming up) told me that I shouldn’t be lifting, working (bc my job is physically demanding), or going to the chiropractor, and should take anti inflammatory drugs….. 

    I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself on natural ways of healing, and also know how our modern day health care system works. What the doctor told me didn’t surprise me at all and when she followed her prognosis up with “that’s what I tell all of my patients” it really hit home. Now would be a good time to strongly suggest to everyone reading this to go and download the Underground Wellness Podcast and listen to episode titled “Gerland Roliz: Ex-pharma sales rep tells all”. It’s a game changer in so many ways. 

    Anyways, the doctor did provide me with what I went in for, which was the X-Rays. They may or may not be of any actual help or value in the end but for peace of mind I wanted to take a deeper look. In the mean time I have been back at the gym, snatching and completing all of my lifting without pain, thanks again to my chiropractor. I have found a way to cushion my barbell so it doesn’t irritate the bump on my collar bone, and my anti-inflammatory diet keeps my RA in check.   And to celebrate: let’s get to that recipe! 

    This recipe was based off a recipe from: https://salixisme.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/aip-paleo-pork-ribs-spice-rub/

    However I didn’t have some ingredients so I improvised and instead of creating a sauce for the ribs, I mashed the parsnips from the crockpot which made a tasty flavorful side dish!ūüėĄ

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large rack pork ribs
    • 2 TB  spice rub (see below)
    • Juice from 1/2 an orange
    • 2 TB bone broth 
    • 1 extra large or 2 medium parsnips, diced
    • 1 TB Fresh thyme
    • 2 TB chopped scallions

    AIP Spice Rub

      • ¬Ĺ tbsp Himalayan Salt
      • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
      • 1 tbsp dried oregano
      • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
      • 2 tsp dried thyme
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • ¬Ĺ tsp ground ginger
      • ¬Ĺ tsp turmeric

      Instructions:

      -In a large crockpot, add the diced parnsips, orange juice, bone broth, scallions and fresh thyme 

        
      -In a bowl or herb grinder combine ingredients for the spice rub and mix thoroughly

      -Rub mixture over the entire rack of ribs

        

      -Cut the rack in half and place on top of the parsnips in the crockpot

        

      -Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours

      -Preheat oven to broil

      -Remove ribs from the crockpot and cut into individual wings

      -Place on a baking sheet and broil until crispy, about 3-5 minutes 

      -While ribs are broiling, transfer the parsnips to a large bowl and mash with a fork or hand mixer until no large chunks remain

        

      -Serve mashed parsnips with crispy ribs and enjoy!

        

      Parsnip and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Thighs (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

      Sometimes life likes to throw everything at you all at once, for me this happens quite often. As much as I feel like I handle multiple tasks well, the body¬†isn’t made to be in a constant state of overdrive. If you think about the human lifestyle before the modern convenience of homes, cars, grocery stores and etc, humans hand to find a way to survive and thrive on their own. Hunting and gathering were tasks that involved much walking, short bursts of high intensity movement, and selectively expending energy if the payoff was greater than the loss. Humans slept when the sun went down and woke when the sun came up. They had to expend enough energy each day to achieve deep restorative sleep each night, they couldn’t rely on coffee and energy drinks¬†to get them moving in the morning. The human body works the same way as it did back when life was simply about survival.

      When the body is in a state of heightened alertness, it is in fight or flight mode. Essentially your body is turning up its senses and getting ready to react to whatever situation may arise. In this state, the focus is on survival, all other processes like digestion are slowed so the body can react quickly. Your body enters the fight or flight stage more often then you think, this response can be triggered by daily deadlines, important phone calls, incoming bills, making big decisions, or simply running late for work. Most of us live in this state quite often, and even though it may not trigger a panic attack or extreme anxiety that being chased by a bear would elicit, the effect on your body remains the same.

      In addition to living in a world where¬†the daily¬†hustle¬†exists in almost everyone’s lives, we tend to stack harmful behaviors against our bodies by not getting the proper quantity or quality of sleep. Sleep is¬†the only anabolic state for the body‚Ķ¬†deep¬†sleep, that is. Being awake is a catabolic state, meaning our bodies are breaking down daily and the only way to restore and replenish them is by getting DEEP sleep! Can you see how this would be important? Deep sleep is also known as stage 3 and 4, Non-REM, during this stage you typically do not have dreams.¬†Your body can only make growth-hormone when you sleep, and it’s also smart enough to only make this available at night. if you think you can outsmart your circadian rhythm and sleep whenever you feel like it and reap the same benefits, you are sadly mistaken.

      Recognizing the importance of getting adequate sleep and spending large parts of the day in rest-and-digest mode instead of fight-or-flight is the first step. Doing so in such a fast-paced modern world presents its own challenges. While I am doing my own experimentation on learning how to find the proper balance to support my body, learning and listening to other people’s methods of relaxation is always helpful. I have recently tuned into a few new podcasts. I highly recommend listening to episode #51 from the Total Human Optimization podcast called Sleep Smarter with Shawn Stevenson. (Thank you Rick for recommending that one!) There are also some great talks on the Underground Wellness Podcast, and tune into the Functional Wellness Summit that will be available to listen to for FREE from April 14-21st, all you have to do is enter your e-mail to receive the link to the interviews. There is always more to learn and educating yourself is the best way to start living a better life.


      Now for the recipe! This is another one that came out of the “whatever is in my kitchen” approach, but I have to say its savory, satisfying and delicious! Oh, and its pretty easy! Try it out ūüôā

      Ingredients:

      • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs (I used skinless but you could also leave the skin on!)
      • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
      • 1 package of sugar-free bacon
      • 2 cups spinach
      • sea salt
      • poultry seasoning

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large skillet, cook 2 slices of bacon until crispy.

      -In the microwave or on the stove, steam parsnips until you can easily pierce them with a fork and mash them until no large chunks remain

      IMG_0930

      -When bacon is cooked remove it from the skillet and add the spinach, sauté until spinach is wilted

      -Chop the crispy bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and add it to the mashed parsnip

      -Add the cooked spinach to the parsnips also, mix to combine ingredients

      IMG_0931

      -Season the inside and outside of the chicken thighs with salt and poultry seasoning

      -Place a large scoop of the parsnip mixture in the center of each chicken thigh and wrap with an uncooked slice of bacon (use a toothpick to secure the bacon if needed)

      IMG_0933

      -Place the stuffed thighs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

      -Turn the oven to HI broil and cook for 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway so the bacon cooks on all sides

      IMG_0935

      -Remove from oven and serve! Yum!

      IMG_0940

      Hidden Liver Bacon Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      I hope everyone had a great Easter! I spent my day working at Jake’s¬†and baking most of the evening.¬†I did, of course, miss seeing my family and my boyfriend’s family but I plan to see them all another time soon! This past Saturday I had a great Primal Treats and Eats tasting at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will. It was the last day of the Lurong Paleo Challenge and I was super impressed by everyones improvements and overall results. I love the paleo challenges because it motivates people to try paleo and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Obviously not everyone is successful in staying on track, but at the very least it helps people develop the skills to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish everyone would take these skills and continue on with the paleo diet and lifestyle after the challenges, but if they don’t then I hope they were successful enough during the challenge to see and feel the difference in their body when it is properly nourished. (Here’s where I will remind everyone that gluten remains in your system for about 14 days‚Ķ if you can’t go 2 weeks without consuming gluten then you will never know how great your body can feel without it!)

      IMG_0765

      Here’s a shot of my setup at CFIW! I love being able to provide people with paleo treats! I do, however, know that treats are treats, and they aren’t meant to be binge eaten just like conventional processed crap. I take pride in making sure all of my treats have only the highest quality, organic, locally sourced (when possible) and nutrient dense ingredients. These are intended to be consumed as treats! They are perfect for special occasions, for a quick boost of energy, and as a reward for¬†a long week of hard work. I bake them because I find that there aren’t many (if at all) good options for paleo treats, and they have become part of a modern¬†lifestyle. I also happen to really enjoy creating beautiful, delicious and nutrient dense treats, and the same goes for meals. Paleo can be fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging if you commit yourself to it. It can also be pretty darn easy! It is what you make of it, and I hope that more people start to realize that you only¬†have things to gain¬†when you switch to a paleo lifestyle.


      Today I wanted to share this awesome recipe that I created to work on incorporating more organ meats into my daily life. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and it’s a shame that people get so irked by them! I love liver pate but I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated liver¬†and could appeal to a larger group of people, including kids! I think these tasty bacon-wrapped meatballs might be the key, try it out and let me know what you think!

      Ingredients:

      • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
      • 3-4 chicken livers, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
      • 1 package of sugar-free bacon (if your having a hard time finding this try US Wellness meats¬†or¬†Pete’s Paleo)
      • ¬†2. TB arrowroot
      • 1 TB. dried rosemary, finely ground
      • 1 TB. dried thyme
      • 1 TB. dried parsley
      • 1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
      • dash of freshly ground black pepper

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for bacon and mix until well incorporated

      -Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and wrap a half a slice of bacon around each

      -Place meatballs in a large rimmed baking dish, with the ends of the bacon slices tucked under the meatballs

      IMG_0584

      -Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 more minutes

      -Remove from oven to flip back over so the bacon is on top and turn oven to broil

      -Return meatballs to oven for 3-5 minutes until bacon is crispy (make sure to leave the oven cracked open when broiling or else the meatballs will be overcooked

      -Let cook for a few minutes and then enjoy!

      IMG_0604

      Notes: I like chicken livers because they have a more mild taste than beef liver. I have not tried beef liver in this recipe yet but once I do I will update this post with the results! Also, make sure you are using high quality chicken livers, just like the rest of the meat from the animal, organs of poorly fed and maintained animals should be avoided! Look for locally sourced, organic, pasture raised chickens without hormones or antibiotics. If you live in western mass check out Sutter Meats or River Valley Market if you can’t get to a local farm. If you have a meat grinder feel free to use that to grind up the liver. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine. Also- If you are not avoiding FODMAP’s try adding some saut√©ed onions and grated garlic to the meatballs! Yum!

      Not Your Average Pizza (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      What better way to celebrate the end of my first Crossfit Open than with some pizza?! Don’t worry I kept it paleo, of course. I know I haven’t posted much at all lately so I’ll use this post to briefly sum up my workouts and experience.

      Out of the 5 Open’s workouts I ended up doing 15.1 and 15.3 scaled. I chose to do them scaled because I was coming back from an injury and a reoccurring pinched nerve in my neck. When the opens began I couldn’t hold anything overhead with snatch grip without excruciating pain in my right trap, and the muscle that I pulled in my back was at about 85%. Prior to the opens I had been doing strictly squats (I followed the Smolov Jr. squat program) to let my back and shoulder heal. My mindset going into the opens was to listen to my body and only do things that wouldn’t put me at risk for re-injury. Looking back I think I made the right decisions in deciding which workouts I had to do scaled, but I also know that I am capable of doing them RX’d and plan on taking them on again in the future.

      The last two workouts were mentally challenging for me. 15.4 was the only workout I did twice. The first time I attempted 15.4 I hadn’t done a handstand pushup in‚Ķ months. Even when I did do them in the past I wasn’t very good! I hadn’t practiced before the workout, I was coming off of a long week of work and I was mentally and physically pretty exhausted. I ended up struggling so bad with the HSPU that I only got 6 reps total. For some reason I just couldn’t figure out how to get my feet to hit the wall and stay there! It was the first workout were I have ever felt defeated. The next day I came into the gym and got some lessons on HSPU technique from Heath, the owner of our gym, which helped tremendously. The following monday I attempted the workout for the second time with Heath as my judge, who carefully planned out when I should make HSPU attempts and how long I should rest to be successful at those attempts. I ended up with a score of 15 which is more than double my first attempt. Still nothing to write home about but it was a mental accomplishment for me and it helped give me some perspective on how to navigate workouts like that without getting frustrated.

      The last workout of the Opens was a doozy. With there only being a few movements left to choose from, its no surprise that it was thrusters and rowing! A little background on my history with those movements: rowing drains the living daylights out of me, and thrusters give me flashbacks to the first (and only) time I did Fran, as the final workout of a competition that I completely bombed… It also happened to be when my back was still injured and all I remember was pain and embarrassment. So, if you could catch my drift, this is one workout I was not looking forward to. On the bright side, I took the lesson I learned from 15.4 and tried applying it to this workout by taking friday and saturday to work on thrusters, improve my technique, and put some time in on the rower. When Monday rolled around I felt slightly better about the workout but I still had anxious thoughts that I was battling. I went into the workout with a planned rep scheme that ended up going out the window as soon as I started the thrusters but my overall goal was to stay calm and keep the thrusters feeling strong. I ended the workout in 13:38. Overall I am glad its over and also very thankful to have had a great coach (thanks Alice!) who helped keep me calm and focused.

      At the end of the day I have learned a lot of lessons from this Open competition! I still have a long ways to go and many things to work on, including my own anxiety when it comes to competition and things that I am not that good at. I came in 2,134 out of 11,255 women in the North East region, not bad for my first opens, room to grow for sure. I am looking forward to seeing how much I can improve in a year, starting with getting stronger!


      Now, back to that whole pizza thing. This recipe was based off of some delicious cabbage wrapped dumplings that I made from the 21 day sugar detox cookbook. Its essentially a deconstructed dumpling on top of a crispy, crunchy, nut and egg-free crust.

      Ingredients:

      For the crust:

      • 1 1/2 cups tapioca or arrowroot flour
      • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
      • 2 TB. coconut oil
      • 1-2 TB. water
      • 1 TB. italian seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • (optional add-ins if you aren’t worried about FODMAP’s: 2 TB. onion, finely chopped and 2 cloves of garlic)

      For the toppings:

      • 1 lb. ground pork
      • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
      • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
      • 2 medium carrots, shredded
      • 2 cups red cabbage, chopped and steamed
      • 2 TB. coconut aminos
      • 4 drops fish sauce
      • 2 TB. coconut oil
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • pepper to taste

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place your cast iron skillet in oven to heat up

      -While oven is heating, steam cabbage and grate carrots and zucchini with a box grater or mandolin

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      -In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt coconut oil and sauté carrots and zucchini for 2-3 minutes

      -Add pork and chicken or turkey, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until no pink remains in the meat

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      -While meat is cooking, prepare the crust

      -In a small pot heat coconut oil, coconut milk, water and salt until warm

      -Add the wet ingredients to the flour in a large bowl and kneed with your hands to combine

      -Add in italian seasoning and continue mixing until a large ball of dough forms (you may need to add some extra water)

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      -Remove *PIPING HOT* cast iron skillet from the oven and very carefully roll out the dough into a large crust in the pan. I usually keep my oven mits on when doing this to ensure that i don’t burn my hands

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      -Then add steamed cabbage and meat toppings and bake in 500 degree oven for 12-15 minutes

      -Cut and enjoy!

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      PBLT Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      This week is panning out to be a long one! It’s only tuesday and I’m feeling a little run-down already, luckily I have the day off tomorrow and hope to get some relaxing in between baking, errands, vet visits and the gym. I’ve started to work my way slowly back into lifting and doing some controlled WOD’s on a more regular basis and it seems to be going well! My back is completely healed now and my shoulder hasn’t been getting the shooting-intense pain that it was before, just resting annoying dull pain‚Ķ I know that doesn’t sound good either but it’s what I’ve been dealing with on and off for over a year now. Between chiropractic, electric stim, low level laser therapy, massage and now also acupuncture, its GOT to get better! Please??

      Anyways, I made this recipe about a week ago while I was i the midst of perfecting my pork belly recipe. At Jake’s we have a “Spicy PBLT” with pork belly, lettuce and tomato. Seeing as nightshades are a group of foods that I likely will ever be able to reincorporate into my diet, I thought I would come up with my own version of a “PBLT”. So, the Pork Belly, Lettuce and Turkey Burger was born! This has got to be the best turkey burger I have ever had‚Ķ I hope you enjoy it as well!

      Ingredients:

      • 1 lb. ground turkey
      • 1/2 lb. pork belly
      • 1 cup spinach
      • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and shredded
      • 1 tsp. rosemary
      • 1/2 tsp turmeric
      • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

      Instructions:

      -Follow my recipe below for crispy pork belly, after braising the pork belly and letting it cool in the fridge, cut into desired sized pieces, cut off the skin and pan sear the pork belly until the fat has rendered off. This should take about 15 minutes so plan accordingly!

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, scallions, jicama, rosemary, turmeric and sea salt. Mix with hands to incorporate and then separate into three 1/3lb. patties.

      -In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat sear the turkey patties for 5 minutes per side.

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      -Place the skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until no pink remains in the center

      -Remove from oven and garnish with a large slab of pork belly, and some sautéed spinach. If your feeling up for it add a sweet potato bun or wrap in a large leaf of lettuce.

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      Enjoy!

      Notes:¬†These burgers can also be cooked on the grill‚Ķ mine just didn’t happen to be accessible at the time!