Wednesday, May 22, 2013

People matter & Recipe...of course!

I just have to say it...I love how Facebook and the Internet allows me to connect, reconnect, and stay connected with people that otherwise I wouldn't have in my life. Ok, I understand that sometimes those "connections" are passive but the fact remains I am encouraged, blessed and humbled daily by these friends and people. Just yesterday I received a message from an old friend that sadly I haven't seen in probably 14 years but she wanted to share with me a little about her journey over the last 15 months and how I was somehow a part of it and an encouragement to her.

She has lost over 100 lbs, changed her lifestyle, started working w a trainer (who is implementing Crossfit WOD's into her routine) and over the course of this incredible journey was reading this blog and found recipes, stories and encouragements through it. Wow! I was moved to tears to find out I was a part of this. The great part of moments like this are the memories that flood back in minutes-the  fun we had, the things that I learned from her and STILL implement in my life! I wrap gifts better because of her, I decorate with thoughts of her running thru my head, I still make recipes we tried together when we were both newly married, I entertain using little bits of flare she taught me, I light my Christmas tree like she taught me...she impacted me in so many positive ways and is a part of who I am today! I am better because of her and as I sit here typing the memories continue to overwhelm my thoughts!

So, although we haven't seen each other for 14+ years, today I am closer to her then I was 2 days ago and I am grateful! So proud of you! Thank you for sharing with me! Thank you for making me a stronger person! And now for a recipe for you,  see the connection from our past.

Paleo Almond Szechuan Sauce
(Use this as a mix for cole slaw, on grilled chicken, pork or shrimp or even on a paleo pizza crust)

2/3 cup almond butter
1 T chili paste (add more for additional heat)
2 T raw honey
1 t coconut aminos
1/2 t fish boat sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together. Enjoy!







Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Well then....

Cookies? What is your favorite type of cookie? Snickerdoodle? Oatmeal Raisin? Truth be told, I bet that Chocolate Chip Cookies are the MOST popular hence the reason they have their own day! And as soon as I heard today was the day...I put it out there that I was BAKING tonight!

And after a rough morning as Mom, I was ready to channel the Mrs. Cleaver in me and bake for my family. In many ways it proves to be therapeutic for me and I think it ministers to the hearts and tummies of the kids too.

This is not a recipe that I can call my own, in fact I owe it all to Kristin Carter for introducing me to it. The other day, she actually told me that she thinks she has the recipe memorized...love that kind of honesty! We are women after all and women love chocolate! These cookies are YUMMY...I especially like the mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips because there seems to me oodles of chocolate in every bite (yes, I said oodles). You can also reduce the chocolate chips by 1/4 cup and replace with shredded coconut or chopped nuts.

Ingredients

 

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
  5. Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough, about a tablespoon in size.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool and serve

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life is FULL!

I just need to write tonight. Maybe it will help me to get ALL these thoughts out...I give you permission to close this blog immediately OR scroll to the bottom to find the recipe OR read it and get a closer glimpse into me. Your choice and I won't judge! I appreciate you regardless! =)

Hmmmm where to begin. Well let's start with how thankful I am to have participated with Renita, Ally, Kristin, Mayra and Jill in the Femme Royale All Women competition at Orange Coast Crossfit! My thoughts & emotions are still processing in my mind...it was hard, it was exciting, it was like nothing I have ever experienced before! I loved the time working up to it (even though I was nervous), the community that I competed with & against (Andrea Ager & Maddy Curley-seriously they are in a class all their own), the friends and family that came to support (too many to name but a big thanks to my Mom for coming-her first Crossfit experience), our coach Andrew for being in every moment with us (Alisha was AMAZING, too!), the vendors (this girl LOVES to shop)...yep it was a very good day! What did I learn? I learned that working on form is so important so that it is natural even in a competition-this will save me from injury and also help me perform at my peak...I learned that focus is key-especially during those darn double unders...I learned NOT to use my head or neck to assist in a ground to overhead lift (my coach Andrew said he had never seen anything like it and that wasn't a compliment, LOL)...I learned that I can compete-Renita & I were the oldest team competing and we tied for 20th out of 23, HECK YES!...And finally I was reminded that "I can do ALL things through Him who strengthens me"-Philippians 4:13-thanks Merisa & For Him Gear! Finally, the Crossfit Open started today...I take on13.1 this Saturday-I am excited & nervous. =) www.games.crossfit.com


So much going on at home too! Zach turned 16 last month, he got his first job at Porky's Pizza in Placentia, got a new football coach and every day he comes home with exciting news about weight lifting, play books and drills. We are also working through some challenges with homework and although that is HARD on both of us, I am confident we are on a path that will ultimately lead to success but there is likely to still be some pain along the way. Thankful for great teachers, even better doctors and support from family and friends. As I write we are experiencing our second all-nighter in 2 weeks to complete homework and late assignments. BUT again, here I am reminded of Philippians 4:13 for the both of us! I see a theme developing!

OK now for work-I am encouraged EVERY DAY with new opportunities with clients! So thankful for these provisions. Yes, the deals still take longer BUT the market continues to improve, I continue to learn, the division continues to grow and we continue to work hard and yes, Philippians 4:13 is true here also. OK pause...one great thing about being up late is the chance to watch Friends re-runs! Oh my gosh that show makes me laugh! Reminds me of when we lived in Chicago and every week we had Must See Thursday! Good memories!

Thanks for "listening" now for the recipe. When I first did Whole30 last January, I tried the Firecracker Tuna Salad Recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl and YUM! This is a regular staple for me during the FULL times in life! So over the course of the past year, I have played with the recipe and added a few things for variety and here it is thanks to Melissa Joulwan and her amazing recipe (with a few additions to make it from me too). I serve this over mixed greens or spinach with sliced mangoes (the sweet and spicy together are so good).

www.theclothesmakethegirl.com
Firecracker Tuna Salad
Serves 2 | Prep 10 min.
Ingredients:
1/2 to 1 large jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1/2 English cucumber seeded and chopped
4 scallions, green & white, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 cans tuna
salt & black pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons homemade mayo

Directions:
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the jalapenos, scallions, mustard powder, Aleppo pepper, cayenne, vinegar, and tuna. Mix well with a fork, breaking up any large clumps of tuna. Taste for seasoning.
2. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the mayo so the salad becomes creamy, but the mayo doesn’t devolve into its component parts.
3. Pile on a plate with raw veggies — I like cucumber slices, jicama sticks, green pepper strips, and carrots because they’re cool and sweet in contrast to the spicy tuna.







Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Love Languages & of course, a recipe

So today was Valentine's Day and I thought I would share a little bit about a book I read 20 years ago...The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. First, I have to tell you that I think it is a must read for everyone! I will not do it justice in this blog, so please read it! Even if you aren't in a relationship with the opposite sex, the principles are good for ALL relationships-friends, family, etc.

Essentially, you understand that every person has a Love Tank and that tank is "filled" by receiving love in 5 different ways...

1) Acts of Service
2) Words of Affirmation
3) Quality Time
4) Gifts
5) Physical Touch

But wait! We all have dominate Love Languages-ones that fill the tank more. And it then makes sense that the way we feel loved best is the way we show love! Now it gets tricky...what if your Love Language is different than your main squeeze, your friend, your family member or your child? We are encouraged to learn to appreciate each person's dominate language or languages (yes most have 2) and commit to showing love the way that fills their tank-yep, this takes effort...it takes understanding...and at times it is HARD! Any guesses on what my Love Language is?

As for me; my husband, my son and my daughter all have DIFFERENT dominate Love Languages but looking at the bright side, I can do almost anything and SOMEONE will feel loved. Ha, seriously though I love getting to know a person well enough to understand their heart and have a chance to help "fill their tank." In fact, I can honestly say I am passionate about it.

Here is the website to check it out more if you are intrigued. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Now for the food... that is what you wanted right? This one came from the urbanposer.blogspot.com. She is a great resource and I am not at all good at creating the dessert recipes so I look to the experts! I am dying to make her Strawberry and Coconut Macaroons this weekend.  To keep with the love theme and let's face it chocolate says love; the recipe I made was her Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting...they are Paleo, they are EASY and they were GOOD! You could even just eat the cupcake as a chocolate muffin with coffee.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Feb 10th is Chinese New Year-Beef Stir Fry!

I love celebrations! I love parties and I am always looking for a reason to make something a party! =) So you now have a reason to make Chinese New Year a PAR-TAY! Oh, by the way...this is the year of the snake!

Last Saturday I made Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry-it was sooo tasty. I can't take total credit for the recipe though. I found it on thefoodee.com and then made some modifications. EverydayPaleo.com is one of those consistent chefs that has great recipes and her Ginger Beef Stir Fry inspired my Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry below.

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 pounds thinly sliced steak-I used Carne Asada meat
 
 
 
Marinade
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
 
Veggies
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
 
In a large mixing bowl mix the sliced beef with all of the marinade ingredients, coating all pieces of the beef with the marinade. Let the beef marinate for at least one hour but overnight in the fridge will give the meat the most flavor. In a wok or large skillet, heat the coconut oil. Add the onions and cook until they start to become tender. Add the broccoli and saute for another 3 minutes then add mushrooms and saute 3 more minutes.  Add the beef and the marinade and saute for 4-5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through but still tender. Serve with a few more splashes of sesame oil on top & red pepper flakes for that extra kick that I LOVE!
Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Whole30 & Crossfit reversed my diagnosis of osteopenia

Heck yes! Crossfit & Whole30 VICTORY!

I guess the best place to start is March 31st 2010. I was with a group of friends at church directing a skit. I got up to show them what I was thinking in terms of blocking for a certain part of the skit and...well, I am a self admitted klutz and I tripped over my purse, fell backwards, catching myself with my right hand and POP! I felt something and heard something that I knew was UGLY. Here is what I saw when I looked at my wright hand...


At the time I was 39 years old. I was considered healthy. I ran several times a week and was training to run my first half marathon that June. My doctor was surprised that I had such a severe break based on all this information. I had surgery the next day and live w 1 plate  and 6-8 screws in my wrist. NOTE: I WAS NOT A CROSSFITTER YET! I had several friends that did Xfit at Canyon Crossfit and I was definitely intrigued by it but had not taken the leap yet.

My doctor prescribed a Dexascan (bone density test) because he thought there might be a concern there. The results came back and I was diagnosed with Osteopenia. The doctor explained that this was pre-osteoporosis and that we could begin to treat it with vitamin supplements that included extra calcium as well as a multi-vitamin. He said to keep running and being active but suggested that the osteopenia could possibly get worse over time but hopefully with the supplements as well as continuing to stay active and run, we could slow down the process.

So, there I was...39 years old, I ate well (or so I thought) and I got regular exercise (cardio-only). I guess this was just going to be "my thing." I mean, we all have a thing right? And being that I was a positive person and I did what I was told, I stayed the course he prescribed and moved forward.

Fast forward to June 2011, I was able to join Canyon Crossfit! Loved it immediately! By that point I had just ran my first full marathon that February. I had ran another half and was signed up for 2 more in the coming months. Running was a place I could sort of getaway-getaway from the hustle of the day,  get time alone with God to pray, praise and worship w the songs on my iPod and when I ran I was always smiling. I was also still taking my handful of vitamins.

Then came the introduction to Whole30 in January 2012 and with that MANY changes. Whole30 said don't take vitamins or supplements (the food you would eat would give you plenty), remove dairy from your diet (the food would provide plenty of calcium, also)...so there I was committed to trying this and I am so thankful that I did. I completed my first Whole30 (actually went 45 days) and then remained eating a very clean paleo from that point on. AND I NEVER WENT BACK TO TAKING THE VITAMINS OR SUPPLEMENTS!

Several months later when the book "It Starts With Food" was released I read that Whole30 has reversed numerous health issues...INCLUDING OSTEOPENIA! I wondered...could I have those results? I wanted to know...I asked my doctor if he would order me a follow up Dexascan to see if the osteopenia had progressed and last Saturday I went in to have it done. Later that week, the call came..."Your Dexascan is normal, there is no osteopenia!" HECK YES!

I like to say that Crossfit and Whole30 have enhanced my life and in this case they have changed it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Girl talk...& Rutabagas


I am increasingly thankful for the amazing women in my life! God has truly blessed me! I know with certainty that I can turn to them for love & encouragement, advice & accountability, laughter & tears, hugs & a strong shoulder. And they are women that touch different parts of my life...my heart & my walk with God, my family, my work, my hobbies (insert cooking and Crossfit here to just name a few) and of course the friends that just are GREAT at making me relax and are so fun to have lunch with, go out for a quick dinner or drink, run to the mall or just chat any way that we can! You know those women in your life? And girls, this is a public THANK YOU for being my friends! XO

Well today I had a great day connecting with a few of these women-lunch plans for next week with one, coffee planned with another, checking in via text message with several, a good chat with my Mom and then there was the talk you can only have with a girlfriend after Crossfit! As I was having this conversation I was thinking..."I need to blog about this...this is too good not to share...too important. BUT, the friend will remain nameless"

So after a great WOD, I was practicing my double-unders while my sweet potato cooked in the microwave (ask me about that later if you are curious). Our chat quickly made me realize something-there are certain things that only women can talk to other women about! And thank goodness she did because we quickly realized that we were in the same boat and until then we both thought we were the only ones! Friend...you know who you are and I am so glad we get to workout together a few days a week! You are so genuine, so strong and REAL! I am glad we stumbled into that lil' talk! WE AREN'T ALONE! Thank goodness! I drove home and thanked God for the women in my life!

OK, that is the personal story for the blog...now for the recipe. The other morning I came home from Crossfit and embarked on trying a new vegetable...the RUTABAGA! Yes, I had never had one in my almost 42 years of life and after seeing Juli from PaleOMG use them in a few recipes recently I decided I needed to do that same! This is what I came up with...

Rutabaga Breakfast Patties
 
 
2 rutabagas-shredded in food processor or grated
5 eggs-whisked
2 T fresh basil-chopped
1/8 c sun dried tomatoes-sliced
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 T ghee/clarified butter
 
Combine all the ingredients except ghee in a bowl. Mix with your hands.
 
Heat nonstick skillet on med-high heat and melt ghee/clarified butter. Using 1/2 c measuring cup scoop mixture and place in prepared skillet. Honestly I used my hand to do this but measuring cup sounds more professional. =) Cook for 3 minutes then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Recipe will make 5-6 patties. Serve with fruit and breakfast sausage or bacon. Also, you could do the same recipe but substitute the rutabaga with a sweet potato or yam but I would you to TRY the rutabaga. =)