Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers (Paleo)

My life has been pretty darn hectic lately with a lot of big changes. Normally change has been a cause of anxiety for me (and lets be honest, at times it still gets to me!) but I have been doing the best I can in taking things day by day, moment by moment, and seeing the positive in each situation. For instance: I’ve recently accepted an offer on my house, which is great! It was only on the market for 5 days before I got my first offer and signed the P&S after 9 days! Now, pending inspection, things are moving quite fast and it seems that the closing date is going to be MUCH sooner than I anticipated. After having JUST gotten settled at my new job, new gym, new weightlifting program, and new schedule, of course another curve ball comes my way. BUT- I knew it was coming, eventually. The only thing that has changed is the timing, which, in the grand scheme of thing, isn’t a huge deal, right? Well, I keep telling myself that. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason (as corny as that sounds) and therefore stressing over things like this serves no purpose. I’ve always been one to take life by the horns and run with whatever is thrown at me so even though my plans for the future aren’t clear at this point in time, I know that it will all pan out as it should and I will be able to look back and appreciate these moments as they are the ones that spur growth, acceptance, and self discovery.

So, how does this rant tie into Stuffed Peppers? 😉 Easy- stuffed bell peppers are a pretty mindless meal that you can throw together quite easily with just about anything you have laying around in your refrigerator. Not only will it look like you created this fancy meal (because you did) but if you know the basics of meat and seasonings that go well together they are bound to taste good as well! This is one of my go-to variations because most of these ingredients are almost always found in my fridge (less things to forget at the grocery store) and you can also add some kind of sauce like coconut aminos, thai ginger, peanut, curry, teriyaki, etc. to easily kick these up another notch. It’s a great recipe for when life is cray and you don’t have any brain power left to get too creative. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups cauliflower, riced
  • 1/2 cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • chopped fresh scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

-Place bell peppers, upright, on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside

-Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes

-Add garlic and ground turkey to skillet and cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes

-Add the cauliflower rice and mushrooms to the ground turkey and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until soft, about 2 minutes

-Remove skillet from heat and add in parsley and cilantro, stirring to incorporate

-Carefully stuff each bell pepper with the turkey mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the peppers are soft

-Optional: after 20-25 minutes set the oven to broil and broil peppers for 2 minutes to get a little crispiness on the tops!

-Garnish with scallions and enjoy!

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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… 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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Egg-less Break-fast. (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Breakfast is one of the meals thats like clockwork to me. I have just about the same thing every morning which takes all the planning and stress out of my morning routine. I make small tweaks to my breakfast when certain foods aren’t available but I generally keep it as: some sort of meat cooked with a leafy green or other vegetable, 1/2 an avocado and a soothing warm beverage. This breakfast works well and enjoy it so much that I actually looked forward to breakfast before I go to bed. (Or maybe I just love to eat?)

One of the hardest parts about starting the Autoimmune protocol was changing my breakfast… NO eggs, and NO coffee! I’ve had eggs and coffee for breakfast for the last 6+ years of my life! It was the epitome of breakfast to me and I had a REALLY hard time trying to wrap my brain around not consuming two of my favorite things anymore. Lucky for me I knew the day would come when I had to follow strict AIP and therefore had mentally been preparing and brainstorming ways to survive when the change occurred. I started slowly switching over to decaf coffee to avoid the caffeine-headache-withdrawals, while also trying to have bone broth with breakfast instead of coffee from time to time. This process got more difficult when I started working at a breakfast restaurant and am surrounded by eggs and coffee all day… but anyone who has been battling with severe autoimmune disease will tell you that there is nothing more motivating than the thought of one day being out of pain.

I also, fortunately, love all food, so having something different for breakfast wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I knew I would miss the convenience of eggs.

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So my new AIP and low-FODMAP breakfast now consists of:

  • 1/4 lb. of ground beef, turkey or pork
  • 1-2 cups of kale or spinach
  • 1/2 cup avocado*
  • 2 TB. coconut oil or tallow
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup bone broth

* avocado is listed as a moderate FODMAP food, but for those of us that need larger quantities of fat (are very active), avocados that are NOT very ripe contain less FODMAPs!

I usually start by throwing my bone broth in a pot and bringing that to a boil. Once boiling I remove it from the heat and put it in my mug with 1 TB. of coconut oil. Once the oil has melted I blend and forth it with my handily frother and set it aside to cool.

In a large skillet I melt the other TB of coconut oil or tallow(from the broth) over medium heat. Then I add in the greens, pre-cooked meat, turmeric and salt. Sauté until the greens have wilted and the meat is warm, then transfer to a bowl or plate. Top with avocado and enjoy with the bulletproof bone broth

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