Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cheers & Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!!

I wish you all a fantastic 2010! May it be successful, healthful, and wonderful! May it be full of Paleo goodness and knock-out CrossFit PR's! .... Cheers!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paleo Pork Chops

This was a hearty meal & I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! Pork chops are always a family favorite!
Hope you enjoy!

4 pork chops
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 C white wine
1/2 C chicken broth (low sodium)
1 T olive oil
1/4 C golden raisins
2 small sweet potatoes, sliced
I head red chard
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put sliced sweet potatoes in a baking pan (I sprayed pan with some olive oil cooking spray) and cook for 15 minutes. Trim all visible fat from pork chops. Sprinkle pork with ground pepper and sea salt (optional). Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet and brown pork chops on both sides... remove from pan and put in the baking dish (with the sweet potatoes). Add additional tsp. olive oil to the skillet and saute shallots. Add white wine and golden raisins. When liquid starts to thicken, add chicken broth, and cook for a few more minutes. Pour sauce over pork chops, cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes (until pork chops are done... that's an internal temp. of 175 degrees).
Meanwhile on stove top... saute red chard in 1 tsp olive oil and garlic. When pork chops are ready serve them on a bed of the red chard with the side of sweet potatoes. It was a tasty combination! The golden raisins and shallots made a tasty sweet pairing! Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Caramelized Onion Chicken Breasts & Broccoli

This week (for me) is about getting BACK on track with my food choices! Tonight's meal was just that... as well as simple and quick! I'm still cooking out of the cupboards and using up leftovers! This was a simple yet tasty recipe to keep this week looking "Paleo strong"!!!

4 chicken breasts, cut in half, and pounded fairly thin
1 small yellow onion
1/4 C green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C white wine
sea salt (optional)
olive oil

After pounding chicken breasts, sprinkle with some black pepper, paprika, and sea salt. Brown chicken breasts in about 2 tsp. olive oil. (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove from pan. Add another tsp. olive oil to pan and saute onions, scallions and garlic. Add the white wine, and caramelize the onions. Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and cook, stove top, on low for about another 15 minutes (until chicken is done). If liquid starts to evaporate too much, add a little more white wine. The Chicken should be cooking in a small onion-wine sauce! It was really good! (unless you have a cold, like my husband and son... who said they really didn't taste anything). Serve with some steamed broccoli and a side salad! Hope you enjoy! :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Turkey Soup

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!!

Tonight's dinner was about utilizing leftovers, and getting back on track! After a few days of dietary liberties, I sure needed it! And... there is nothing like a "wake-up-call" WOD like today's to get re-motivated. Heavy deadlifts and 400m sprints are nothing but "telling" of one's nutritional well-being! Anyway, it's back to Paleo! This was a great use of leftovers and so comforting on a chilly rainy day. Not to mention totally delicious, nutritious and Paleo! :-)

We enjoyed a turkey for Christmas dinner, and boiled the carcass for a tasty stock. We put the stock in the crock pot and added the following ingredients:

leftover turkey pieces, about 4 cups
1 C celery, chopped
1 C carrots, chopped
1 golden beet, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
1/2 C sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 whole bay leaf
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
splash apple cider vinegar

Cook all ingredients on high for about 2 hours, and then simmer for about 2-3 hours more.
Serve with a side salad, and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Athlete Profile: Madeline Hurst

Madeline was one of our Paleo-Zone challenge co-winners for "most performance improvement". She successfully followed the paleo-zone method for the three month challenge, responding really well to the Paleo lifestyle. She lost a total of 6 lbs. and had significant body composition changes! One of the most dramatic changes she noticed eating Paleo was an increase in her energy level. She said she had more energy throughout the entire day! She also had noticeable improvements with her endurance during WODs. I had the pleasure (if you will) of sitting next to her during a 2k row... and she was quite impressive (and certainly smoked me) with her performance! WOW!!

After two weeks into the challenge, Madeline went from ZERO kipping pull ups to 12 kipping pull ups! I know every crossfitter can relate to what that meant to her!

She said her success in the gym gave her increased confidence which enabled her to finally tap into the potential she knew she always had within!!! SO very proud of you, Madeline! Congratulations on your success! I know we'll see more PR's as you continue your Paleo/CrossFit journey!

Some of Madeline's stats:
Deadlift: went from 217#s before challenge to 235#
Back Squat: 184 to 192#
Bench Press: 117 to 132#
Diane: 9:02 (used bands for HSPUs & 133# DL weight) to 6:32 (still used bands for HSPUs but did RX weight for DLs)

Great Job, Madeline! You are truly an inspiration. Keep up the great work! :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Paleo Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

I know I have said it before.... but there is NOTHING like a good burger!!! I made extra for lunches, too. We are in busy prep mode for the holidays, so quick dinners and lunches are a key for staying on track and maintaining good Paleo options in the house!
I have this nifty little slicer that gives my sweet potatoes a scalloped edge; so they look like fancy fries! I sliced one medium sweet potato, and tossed it with about a tsp of olive oil, sprinkled with a little sea salt, black pepper, and paprika... then baked at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Okay, now for the burgers...
I used ground pork (about 2 lbs)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp flax seed oil
2 tsp toasted flax seeds

Form burgers, I use the palm of my hand as a guide for size, (slightly bigger) and grill to desired doneness! Use romaine lettuce leaves to wrap the burgers and stone ground mustard as a condiment, as well as some sliced tomatoes. Serve with a side salad, too. I doubled the recipe so that we would have extra for lunches. It really hit the spot! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

This really took very little work. I laterally threw this in the crock pot and ran out the door this morning... not quite sure what to expect when I got back home this evening! But it worked! I really liked it! And the kids ate it! Scott... well, he's just not a curry fan.
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
32 oz chicken broth- low sodium
1 T curry
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. black pepper

I threw all the ingredients (even the whole chicken breasts) in the crock pot and cooked on low ALL day (about 9 hours)! When I got home, I shredded the chicken breasts (using two forks... they pulled apart so easily). I sprinkled a little chopped fresh parsley over the top right before serving.
That's it! Super EASY... So if you know you're having "one-of-those days" where time is "not on your side".... I highly recommend this!! Hope you enjoy! :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Teriyaki Skirt Steak

Tonight's dinner was a little splurge, but as close as Paleo as I could get! However, I rowed a 5K today, so I felt justified! And so should all of you who came and rowed today!!! That was tough!

I really miss marinating my skirt steak in teriyaki sauce! So, I tried a homemade pseudo version of a teriyaki sauce, and it was pretty good!

Pseudo Paleo Teriyaki Marinade:
1/3 C soy sauce (low sodium) ... this is the splurge part!
2 T lime juice
2 T lemon juice
3 T beef broth (low sodium)
2 T olive oil or flax seed oil
1 T toasted sesame or flax seeds

Marinate the skirt steak for about 8 hours (or overnight). Grill steaks for about 3-5 minutes on each side! That's it.... We served this with a side of chard and some slice sweet potatoes. Hope you enjoy! :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Athlete Profile: Tamara Meyer

Tonight I would like to highlight one of our Paleo-Zone challenge winners, Tamara Meyer, who showed the most physical change. She successfully followed the zone diet during this 3 month challenge and lost a total of 15 pounds!

Tamara said the toughest part of the zone was giving up her diet coke and red wine! She does continue to enjoy a glass of red wine with her "cheat" meals. She was surprised how much the diet affected her mood! She was noticeably happier and less irritated on a regular basis. She just felt lighter all over! I know every time I saw her in the gym she was smiling!

Her performance in the gym certainly improved! During the challenge she increased her days at the gym from 2-3 days per week to 4+. Her weights went up in all exercises. She said she noticed an especially big difference with body weight workouts! In fact she got her 1st rope climb during the challenge (and has a nice scar to remember it by). She is also on the verge of having kipping pull ups!

Goals for 2010....
She plans to continue the zone lifestyle and maintain her 4 days per week schedule. She compliments her CrossFit with swimming and mountain biking as well. She says she has no intention to drink another diet coke again. Her ultimate goal for 2010 is to do workouts as prescribed by the end of the year!

Congratulation, Tamara! I am so thrilled for you. You took on this challenge whole-heartedly and were rewarded with amazing success! You look absolutely fantastic and are a true testament of how this works! You are an inspiration and I completely believe you'll achieve your 2010 goals!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I "Heart" Tuna!

When CrossFit Santa Cruz Central dishes out "FGB"... I thought I better dish out some omega 3's for recovery! This was a quick and easy dinner, which was perfect... because I want to go to bed! I loved how it looked like a perfect heart when it was done (somehow that helped).

Tuna steaks (about 4 oz each)
1 T olive oil
garlic powder
black pepper
sea salt (optional)
golden roasted flax seeds

I used a cast iron pan, and heated the oil on medium high heat. Sprinkle tuna steaks with garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and the flax seeds. Press the seasoning into the fish. When the oil is hot, sear the tuna steaks for about 1 minute on each side. I placed them in a warm oven until the broccoli was done steaming. I also accompanied this dinner with a side salad (sprinkled with a few more roasted flax seeds)! Hope you enjoy, and recover well!!
Good night! :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mustard-Agave Chicken Breasts

This recipe was adapted from one of those free magazines you get at the grocery store! I changed it up a little for Paleo purposes, but WOW it was good!

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (pounded and cut in half)
1 T olive oil
Garlic powder, black pepper, and sea salt (optional)
1/4 C chicken broth, low sodium
3 T agave nectar
1/4 C dijon mustard
2 heads broccoli crowns, cut up
1 small yellow onion, cut in half moons

Sprinkle garlic powder, pepper and sea salt over chicken breasts and brown in olive oil, about 3 minutes on each side, then place in baking dish. Deglaze pan with chicken broth. Whisk together mustard and agave, and add pan juices! Mix well and pour over chicken breasts. Top chicken with broccoli and onions, cover with foil and bake for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees. I loved the idea of cooking the broccoli with the baking chicken! It worked great!
Hope you enjoy! :-) Zone blocks: 1F, 4P, 2C
~Add a side salad with some avocado or slivered almonds!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Apricot Pork Chops

Tonight was a crock pot dinner with pork chops! Getting home late to dinner already made is the BEST! These pork chops were really yummy! It was a pretty sweet dish, and I actually think the cauliflower rice from last night's post would have gone fantastic with this dish... next time!

4 pork chops, trimmed of all visible fat (mine were pretty thick, about 1 inch)
1 apple, pealed and diced
1 C dried apricots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 C dried cherries
1/4 C agave nectar
1/2 C apple juice
1/2 C white wine
2 stalks celery, chopped

I coated the pork chops first and browned them in about 2 tsp olive oil.
Coating: 1/4 C almond meal, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp black pepper, 1 T dried parsley flakes!

After browning the chops, put them in the crock pot. Cover them with all the other ingredients. Cook on low for 6 hours. Yum! We served these with a large salad. But as I said earlier, cauliflower rice would be an excellent choice to sop up all that delicious leftover juice! Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice

Well, I 'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but until tonight, I have not yet tried the cauliflower rice! I don't know why! I think I was afraid of the mess, or maybe even a little skeptical! Well, not anymore... I'm a fan! I used my food processor and it was quick, easy, and very little mess! I think it is a wonderful rice substitute with a great flavor and texture!

My meatballs tonight were interesting. I used up ingredients I had on hand. So these were a mixture of ground pork and ground turkey. It was an interesting, yet tasty combo! I don't think you can really go wrong with meatballs!

Cauliflower rice:
I head cauliflower
In a food processor with the shedding blade add pieces of the cauliflower. I microwaved the cauliflower on the vegetable setting. Do NOT add water. Just cover with some saran wrap, heat, fluff and serve! Easy!

about 1-1/2 lb. ground pork
about 1-1/2 lb. ground turkey
2 celery stalks, copped fine
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
3 eggs
1/2 C almond meal
2 tsp garlic powder
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp ground black pepper
Mix together (with your hands) to form 2 inch balls. Put in baking dish.

Sauce: Start the sauce first!
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes (no added salt)
1-6 oz can tomato paste (no added salt)
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 C water
1 T Italian seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
ground black pepper and sea salt (optional) to taste
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer, until ready to pour over the meatballs.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour sauce over meat balls and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve with cauliflower rice and a side of salad or vegetable.
1 Cup of Cauliflower rice is only 5g carbs! So, enjoy! :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

CHEERS to the Paleo~Zone Challenge Winners! ... with some "Nut Nog"

'Tis the season to enjoy some Paleo egg nog! We all agreed, that although this was VERY tasty, it was more like a "nut nog" than an "egg nog". We also thought it should definitely be served chilled! Mmmmm, delicious.
1-1/4 C unsweetened original almond milk
3/4 C lite coconut milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T blackstrap molasses
1 T agave nectar
cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a shaker or blender. Serve chilled. Top with fresh ground nutmeg and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!!!

Now... I'd like to make a toast to all the Paleo~Zone challenge finishers, and our winners!!! Congratulations! This was a huge accomplishment, and I am so impressed with you ALL and your amazing success! I've completely trusted and implemented the Paleo lifestyle for myself (and my family), but witnessing the benefits on all of you has solidified my confidence in why it works! Thank you for taking on this challenge, and CONGRATULATIONS! Cheers!!!!


Overall: (tie)
Ellyn O'Halloran
Lisa Holden

Most Physical Change:
Tamara Meyer

Most Performance Improvement: (tie)
Kim Saxton
Madeline Hurst

Okay, winners.... this Sunday at 12:30, come and claim your loot! I would love some pictures and a little interview, too! Hope you can make it. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rolled Flank Steak

This is a husband pleaser!! (Not so much a kid pleaser... at least not in my house)...
It was really simple, not too time consuming, and it looks so pretty! It also opens up a lot of possibilities! Stuffing stuff could get kind of fun! :-)
Flank steak, (1-1/2~2 lbs.), pounded evenly
Red chard (or spinach) 1 bunch
5 cloves garlic
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. red chili pepper
1 T almond meal
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
ground pepper and sea salt (optional) to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute 2 cloves garlic and onion in 1 tsp. olive. Add chard and saute until it cooks down. In a little food processor or blender make a paste with 1 tsp olive oil, parsley, 3 cloves garlic, chili pepper, and 1 T almond meal. After pounding out the flank steak, season with salt and pepper. Spread the paste evenly over the steak and top with the chard mixture. Now... the fun part! Start at one end and roll up the steak (like it was sushi). Rub the rolled steak with a little olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. I tied the steak in two places with cooking string. Bake for about 40 minutes. (I had to use a thermometer to check doneness... 145 degrees). I let it sit for 5 minutes after removing it from the oven. Cut in 1/4 inch slices and serve!!

I had this with some sliced baked sweet potatoes (because I'm on a huge sweet potato kick) and asparagus (which is IN season right now and affordable). This Paleo meal was about a 5 blocks.
It ranks as a "highly recommend you try" meal! ;-)

Check the white board tomorrow morning! ....Wow, what amazing accomplishments we saw!
CONGRATULATIONS on your success! I will post more information tomorrow and hopefully I will have permission to tell many wonderful stories!
**** This Sunday at 12:30, we will award the winners!!! PLEASE come to claim your prize AND take some more photos!!! (this time you can keep your clothes on- hahaha).
This challenge has been pretty amazing for me, too! I feel very honored to have been a part of something life changing and to witness it every day, first hand! MUCH Congratulations!!! :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Roasted Pepper & Sausage Omelet

This morning I treated myself to an omelet! I didn't have to rush out the door for any obligations. My agenda for the day was to decorate for the holidays, and I needed a good breakfast for such a task! This was a 2 block Paleo breakfast!

I used egg beaters (I'm out of eggs! Help, Skip!) ... 1/2 C
2 Jones sausages (lites)... microwaved for 1 minute and chopped up
some sliced fire roasted red peppers (they were the BEST)... yummy
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil cooking spray
Ground black pepper

Spray pan with olive oil. On medium heat add egg beaters. when the egg starts to set add all the ingredients. Fold half the egg over, and cook just a tad longer. Sprinkle with black pepper and enjoy! I also enjoyed this with 1C blueberries, and a very large cup of coffee! I was ready to tackle the decorations! ... Still not too sure what I'm going to do about the strand of lights that went out in the middle of the tree! :-0

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Salmon With Coconut Cream Sauce

Salmon is so tasty and healthy! I was really ready for a fish dinner after this last week of poultry and miscellaneous meals! Things have been off schedule lately! I served this with a side of steamed zucchini and, as ALWAYS, a garden salad! I NEVER get tired of salads!
I've also been cleaning out the cupboards... so, I've been trying to create meals with supplies on hand! This worked out very well.

about a 16 oz. salmon filet (wild caught)
3/4 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
2 T fresh basil, chopped
zest from one lemon
fresh lemon juice, from one lemon
1/2 C low fat coconut milk

Season salmon with some pepper and sea salt (if desired) and quickly grill on both sides. Place salmon on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, saute garlic and shallots in olive oil. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Slowly add coconut milk and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and add basil. Pour sauce over salmon and bake for 10-15 minutes. Simple, tasty and Paleo! Hope you enjoy! :-)

CrossFit Santa Cruz Central