Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bacon, Guac and Caramelized Onion Burger

Happy Football Sunday!  Every Thursday, Sunday and Mondays during the fall are holidays for me.  I'm always hungry for some good tailgate food and a little bit of indulgence when I watch football.  So today I broiled up a burger and fries and stuffed my face, paleo style. 

Loaded burger and fried plantains

I seasoned and broiled a 1/4 lb 80% ground beef patty.  (it was on sale) (also, with less carbs, I can eat the flavorful meat and not worry about it) while I worked on the toppings for my burger. 
-caramelized oniones

Now, a plantain is "ripe" when it's almost black.  The one I got was literally within HOURS of being too ripe.  Slice it up and throw it in the pan. 

Brown each side, and then take them out and give them a smash.  I use the bottom of a coffee cup. 
The smashed 'nanas go back in the pan for another round of crisping. 

They're sweet and a little tangy.  They have all the best flavors of a banana and lack all the nasty flavors. (I don't love bananas.)

I like them with a mix of mayo and ketchup, but, alas, I don't have any Whole Life Challenge-friendly mayo or ketchup in my fridge. 

Either way, perfect for game day.  Now, if only my team could win one!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making a List, Checking it Twice

I go to the gym to decompress, de-stress...  I'm totally addicted to the endorphins, and I feel like a normal person when I've had a good sweat session. 

Today, I hit the weights.  I wanted to give my tootsies a little rest, they were starting to scream at me for all the running I've been doing lately. 

Today's workout: (Weight = right and left barbells added together)
Bench Press with Barbells 40 lbs 3x10
Tricep Extensions (scull crushers) 24 lbs 3x10
Bicep Curls 40 lbs 3x10
Incline Dumbbell Fly 24 lbs 3x10
Shoulder Press 30 lbs 4x6
(Get an even workout by hitting biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and chest)

Step-ups on weight bench 3x6
Leg Curls 50 lbs 3x10
Machine Squat 210 lbs 3x10
(Not gonna lie, I do mostly workouts that target my glutes.)

20 minutes on the stationary bike to flush the legs out

Also, the joy of every-other-Thursday... Grocery list day!
I love making lists and spreadsheets.  I have endless to-do lists (they never get done, but I love making them) and gigabytes of excel spreadsheets. 

Here's an awkward funny story (boys, skip ahead) I used to be embarrassed to write things like tampons and pads on my grocery list, so I spelled them backwards.  Sdap, Snopmat... 
Here's the plan for Whole Life Challenge weeks 3&4

Beef Tacos in lettuce wraps
Tilapia Tacos in lettuce wraps
Dry Rubbed Oven Baked Pork Spare Ribs
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
Bunless burgers
Coconut-Orange Pound Cake

I was browsing Hy-Vee's website to check the sale items, and I found out that they have this AWESOME new feature that I'm borderline obsessed with.  You can look through their ad online, click on the page, and add each item to your grocery list.  It tells you how much it costs, when the sale ends...  Pretty freaking awesome.  I planned my whole week around the meat that's on sale and I took note of  the produce that's on sale, so I don't have to scour the isles for the best deal. 

This solidified my choice to shop at Hy-Vee.  Plus, I'm always surprised, but I always seem to get out of there under budget. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Shuffled 5K Today!

Oy, I'm a little sore today already!

I have been running, training for the Color Run, and I was sorta stuck at 2 miles.  Both physically and mentally.  I'd been doing the Gray's Lake loop, it's 1.9 miles, but I round up, okay? okay.

I've been trying everything.  I got breathing tips from a coworker:
1. Open your throat and breathe in and out through both your nose AND your mouth.  (This worked!)
2. Pick a foot and inhale and exhale every time that foot strikes the ground.  (I felt like I was hyperventilating)

I've been listening to "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" instead of the motivational rap/pop I had been listening to... (For some reason when I'm running and listening to rap & pop, I picture myself booty dancing. Anyone else do that?)  The podcast makes me laugh, and I'm not thinking about how worn out I am from all that booty dancing... ahem, running. 

I've tried to run clockwise, counterclockwise, speed up between every other light pole, picture myself crossing the finish line, picturing myself as an olympic marathoner, wear sleeveless shirts, wear shorts, wear pants, thin socks, thick socks, no underwear... (kidding)

Nothing was working, I was stuck at 2 miles.

Until today!

Want to know the trick?

Do you really?

Are you sure?????


I went on a jaunt with my friend Emily, (@emilysparkles) (I knew we would be friends when her twitter handle had the word "sparkle" in it.) and we started a bit fast... I think it was my fault.  I was worried I was too slow.  So we took an asthma break (she said it's even cooler that I'm running and I have asthma, so there "one-mile run that I could never finish in middle school"... SO THERE). But it was just a short one, and we got back to it and made it all the way around.

And then I walked her about 1/2 a mile back to her path home...

And then it happened.

I started to run again.

And then I got tired.


It was that simple.  I just resolved to keep running when I felt tired.  I did a quick bod-scan.  My breathing was okay, I wasn't struggling, my legs were tired, but they've been tired before, so I just decided to keep running.  I decided to run to the bridge, and then I decided to run to the end of the bridge, and then I decided to run to the top of the hill, and then I was basically back at my car, so I JUST KEPT RUNNING.  I kept thinking to myself, I can't wait to tell everyone I basically ran 4 miles. 

Really, in all, I ran a little more than 5K and walked the rest.  But I feel like I'm in the club! I'm a runner! I can read Runner's Magazine without judging glares from the cover model,  I can discuss gait and post run snacks.  I've made it.  I've arrived.

I'm excited to take a day off tomorrow (lifting! woot!) And get back on the trail on Friday.  Gonna push the whole 4 miles.  I'm gonna start off slow. 

I know you just pictured yourself booty dancing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I searched tirelessly for some sugar-free bacon... Don't laugh, most bacon is  cured with .03% of some sort of sugar mixture... And this paleo challenge is sugar-free. 
I knew there had to be some somewhere, but my Whole Foods excursion came up short. 
FINALLY I found some La Quercia bacon. They dry cure it like their pancetta, so you could even eat it without cooking it! But who wants to do that... 
I cooked it up for this carbonara, and then I had to cook some more because I ate it all. 

So, once I stopped eating all my ingredients... I made some delicious spaghetti squash carbonara.  WLC compliant and I almost forgot it was squash instead of angel hair pasta.

1 medium spaghetti squash
4-6 strips of bacon
3 eggs
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Split the squash in half long-ways and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
Fry up the bacon and remove it from the fat.  Don't throw that good stuff away!
Combine the eggs, seasonings and half of the bacon fat.  Wisk like crazy!
Once the spaghetti squash is done, break it up with a fork into long stringy angel hair "pasta" and then scoop it into a frying pan and cover it with the egg/bacon fat mixture.
keep stirring the pasta until the "pasta" is covered with delicious Italian herby eggs.  Finish off with the bacon, chopped.
SO filling.  I said it was 2-servings at first, but there was so much that I split it into 3 servings.  

In other news, I got some dates and they taste like mini caramels.  I think I'm going crazy...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fun Weekends and a Fajita Salad

What a weekend! I drug my bf all around Ames to meet some college buddies and my childhood bestie who was in town from Cali. 

I had to recharge with some serious noms.  And with this Paleo lifestyle, I've gotten creative. 

Introduce, chicken fajita salad... UM, YUM!

1/2 onion
1 bell pepper
1 Tomato
1/2 chicken breast

sprinkle in some....
Chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
cayenne pepper

Now, I know that's an extensive list, but I had it all in my seasoning bucket, so I think you might too.  Plus, if you don't have something, leave it out... call it your secret seasoning, like Emeril... BAM! Remember that?

So, I cooked up a ton of onions and peppers with the seasoning, because they keep really well.  I don't feel like leftover chicken is ever very good, and it's so easy and quick to cook, so I cook that in ready-to-serve batches.

So saute the onions and peppers in some olive oil and the seasonings.  The oil will dry up and you'll be left with what looks like a burnt pan....  This is when you slice a tomato in half and rub it around the pan with a little more oil.  The "burnt" will start to break up and create a beautiful sauce.

Then you can add the chicken and cook it while the tomato breaks down into a sauce.

Put it all over some lettuce, and you have a delicious salad. 

I audibly said, "mmmmm" when I ate this.

And I didn't miss the tortilla at all.

On another note...  I went to the ISU game this weekend, and I had great seats!

Until this girl decided she was going to protest sitting and be the only one in the section CONSTANTLY standing.  She didn't even really cheer... She just stood there with her arms crossed. 

"No, the team plays better when I'm standing here in silence."

We stood up on 3rd down, or when there was a great play, or when they were close to scoring....  But not during timeouts and every 3-and-out....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paleo Zucchini Fritters and Chocolate Mousse

So, on day 1 of my Whole Life Challenge, I'm loving it!

I got a quick (like 9 minute) workout in this morning at the Y.  It was the prelim workout required for the workout.  7 kettle bell swings, 7 burpies and a 50 m sprint.  Do this as many times in 9 minutes as you can!  I only made it 5... I had dreams of double digits, but once you get swinging and jumping and running... it gets tough. 

I can only improve, right?
For breakfast, I grabbed some almonds before the workout, and packed a peach for the drive home. 
But lunch had the wow-factor.  Zucchini and sweet potato fritters and peanut butter and chocolate mousse dipped apples. All WLC compliant. 
I know some of you had your doubts... but I bet you'll get excited about this. 

So, the fritters were fun for me, because I hadn't used the shredding option on my food processor.  After a slight mix-up with the direction of the shredding plate, I figured it out! And it ROCKS. 

Zucchini Fritters
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for frying

I shredded up one zucchini and a sweet potato. 

Mixed that with 1 T coconut flour (use reg flour if you're not going paleo) and 2 eggs.  The coconut flour tends to clump, so sift it.  Season it with salt and peppa.

Drop them in your pan with a little olive oil and fry away. 

Flip them when the bottom gets browned. 

Now, get excited about the chocolate apple dip I made!

Chocolate Mousse
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 packets of Stevia

Take a can of full fat coconut milk.  Open it up and put it in the fridge overnight.  DON'T SHAKE.  EVER. 

In the morning, skim the cream off the top.  It will be pretty solid. 

Whip it with 1/4 cup cocoa powder and sweeten to your liking.  I used two packets of Stevia, because it's WLC compliant. 

Put it in the fridge to thicken up again!  Delish. 

I mixed it with a little peanut butter and dipped my apples in it.  mmmmmmmm. 

Well, welcome to the Whole Life Challenge!  Now to secure some  meat for the tailgate tonight.  Go Cyclones!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Tarzan, Me Hungry!

So, if you know me, you know that I love fad eating crazes.  I've done a cayenne pepper lemonade fast (even after my friend told me 1/4 TABLESPOON instead of 1/4 teaspoon), ate local for 50 days, tried pescatarian (vegetarian plus fish), I even dabbled in Slimfast when I lived in Chicago... but that was mostly because I left for the gym at 6:00 in the morning and didn't have the energy to put together a lunch. 
I don't do these so much for the weight loss, although that's not the worst side effect they could have, I do them because I'm always convinced it's the best way to live healthy (except the slimfast...)
Well, my most recent interest isn't so far off from what people have been saying for years... cut out flour and sugar. 
It's a paleo diet. 
The idea is to be eating like the cavemen ate... 
The challenge is the Whole Life Challenge.  It's a mostly paleo diet with a few tweaks.  I found out about it from Petite Athleat.  A blog I've been falling in love with lately. 
I was planning on cutting flour and refined sugar, and this challenge came around at just the right time.  There are prizes involved... so you know I'm gonna kick it up a notch.  And I have my first two weeks planned out! It doesn't seem too tough. 
Here's the plan: Menu
Note that the "rice" is actually cauliflower, and I have some great recipes in store for the next two weeks! 

I'll need some serious empathy during all of this, because I have a feeling my sugar/flour detox is gonna come back to bite me in the rear. 

8 weeks of eating like a cavewoman! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been hording some thin mints for months now, ever since I gave a presentation on internet safety to some Girl Scouts. 

I don't really like thin mints that much... so I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate them into a dessert I'm gonna like... So I packed these puppies in a chocolate chip cookie.  Nothing like wrapping a cookie you don't really like inside a cookie you do like to make a cookie that you like even more!  boom. 

Put a chunk of cookie dough down.... top it with a thin mint. 

Top that with another chunk of cookiedough...  Is that a hamburger or a cookie??

It's a cookie....

Bake it for 15 minutes at 350.  Yum.  (PS, Autumn, you're getting some of these with your congrats for giving birth meal)