Lightning

Editor’s Note: If you have not checked out the Slim Kicker Slow Cooker Giveaway (and by checked out I mean entered!), click here to go do that now!!

Have I mentioned how much I love the mountains? I love the mountains.

Our trip didn’t exactly go as planned–we got stormed out of the park on our second evening after finding ourselves on an exposed ridge at about 11,000′ as a heavy lightning storm rolled in. We were on our way to our second campsite after having spent the day hiking to an amazing high alpine lake, and got caught at just the wrong time in an area with almost no vegetation except for the dead, limb-less bodies of trees that had clearly been hit by lightning multiple times. After spending an hour crouched in the lightning position in a small stand of uniform-height trees (Hey, I did learn something as a backpacking guide after all!), and knowing that our next campsite was at a very similar elevation, and looking to the west to see more thunderheads starting to form, we decided our best bet was to head home. If it had been part of  a longer trip, or if we had felt like spending all night huddled in our tent trying not to get wet, I think we would have toughed it out–but instead we came home and ordered a pizza. Oh and then we woke up today to find that it actually SNOWED at the elevation our campsite was at, so… yeah, pretty glad we didn’t try to stick that one out!

We were rewarded for our decision to turn around when we came out of our clump of trees and saw this.

Despite our trip being cut short, it was an amazing time. Getting into the mountains always makes me feel like I’m going home, and somehow I still never do it quite enough. I might try to get out again this weekend (Labor Day! Woo!)–although we also have plans to go see Book of Mormon (the musical!), which I am SO excited about. Who is doing something fun for Labor Day weekend?

Into the Wild

Right now two fantastic girls who I studied with in Argentina (over two years ago, yikes!) are here for a visit. Today we spent 45 minutes looking for bear canisters at REI, and tonight we spent at least another 45 minutes wondering how one bear canister is going to hold enough food for three girls for three nights. And by food I mean ramen, red wine, and chocolate covered mangos. The mangos didn’t make the cut in the end, unfortunately.

Tomorrow I will strap on a backpack for the first time in far too long and take off for a few days of wilderness therapy. I can’t wait.

Image

The (probably freezing) alpine lake I am planning on taking a (skinny) dip in on Wednesday night… Be jealous.

In the meantime, please please please go check out my giveaway! Seriously only ONE of you has left a real idea so far? Really? Come on, people, I expected way more outta you!

Have a great few days and see you on Friday!

SlimKicker Slow Cooker Giveaway

I know you all like to win free stuff, especially free stuff you will actually use, like an awesome 6 qt Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker! So, here they are–the deets! (Is it ok for me to say deets? I think yes.)

As I mentioned yesterday, SlimKicker.com is a website/app that helps you track your health goals with points and rewards for logging what foods you’ve eaten and what exercise you’ve done that day. You can also join groups and message boards for inspiration, and work towards personal goals like a cheat meal, a night on the town, or a new iPod or pair of shoes. You rack up points by tracking healthy calories, and by completing Challenges, which is where the giveaway comes in!

SlimKicker is looking for a new fun idea for a Challenge. Some examples of what they currently use include giving up soda for a week, not eating any snacks after dinner for a week, or spending 30 minutes a day each week for a leisure activity to take your sanity back and work on your mental health.

So here’s what you have to do:

Step One, go check out SlimKicker.com and get started with keeping your food journal and exercise log.

Step Two, comment on this post with your idea for a new challenge. You can come up with as many ideas as you want–the more, the better, actually! At the end of next week (August 31, 2012), the folks at SlimKicker will pick their favorite idea and give the winner a Stay or Go 6 Quart Portable Slow Cooker by Hamilton Beach!

Get those creative juices flowing and spill your best ideas for health and fitness challenges! My idea is to start with 10 push-ups and do one extra push-up every day for a month! But I can’t win, so I’m counting on you guys to be more creative than me, which shouldn’t be too hard!

 

Busy Recipes and a Giveaway

Let’s just cut to the chase because I know that very few of you are really as interested in the fact that I did a Hero WOD yesterday morning on an empty stomach and more interested in the fact that you can win free stuff just by being a creative fitness person, which I know that you all already are.

Starting tomorrow I am teaming up with Slim Kicker to give away a slow cooker! Slim Kicker is a super fun free fitness app/site that I’ve been using that helps me keep track of what I eat, because I always have my phone with me but definitely do not always have all of my colorful sharpies with me (sad but true).

The site also has fitness challenges, message boards, groups, and other ways to connect with people who have similar goals. Even though I am not a big calorie counter, I can put in the foods I eat and it will help me track my carbs/grains, sodium, sugar, etc, and I can work towards gaining points, which then can be turned into challenges where I can win prizes!

Check back tomorrow for more details, but here’s a hint: Go to their site, sign up and take a look at the “Challenges” section if you want to get a head start!

Slow cookers are the best. You spend 10 minutes the night before chopping up veggies and the next morning you dump everything in the pot without having to think about it, then you come home to your house smelling like grandma’s chicken and dumplings, regardless of what is actually in the slow cooker. I have had a crazy, crazy busy week so we dusted off our slow cooker this week and made a beef shoulder. The recipe goes something like this: Turn on the slow cooker on Low. Put the beef shoulder in. Add enough beef broth to mostly cover the shoulder, add about 1/2 of a cut-up onion and some garlic. Walk away and don’t come back for 6-8 hours.

Why have I been so busy, you ask? I got a new job (woo!) and this is my last week at my current job, which means I have been sweeping up all the old projects I’ve been putting off–like sending out long-forgotten newsletters, registering for far-off trade shows, and trying to organize my crap in a way that might be useful to some future version of me.

We have also gotten three WODs in so far this week, including Bull, a Hero WOD that we did yesterday morning. The WOD is 200 double unders, 50 OH squats (prescribed weight is 135-whaaaat? I can barely deadlift 135!), 50 pull-ups, and then 1 mile run. And then do it again. Yep, two rounds. I finished in 53:21 using 35 lbs, Brandon finished in 43:32 using 65 lbs. Only two guys from our gym finished the prescribed WOD, and they are the type with lats that might as well be a separate appendage on their bodies. It was hard.

Needless to say, I am psyched that Friday is on the horizon. And you should be psyched too, since the real giveaway starts tomorrow! What is your favorite slow cooker recipe? Mine is: Meat, some form of liquid, any vegetables, leave and don’t come back until it’s time to eat. Yum.

Lulu-Lust

Dear Lululemon, let’s compromise. Either you spend the next 2 years making butt-ugly clothes that I would never want to wear ever, or you start making your amazing I-somehow-believe-that-this-tank-top-will-make-me-more-flexible, these-wunder-unders-should-be-called-miracle-unders, how-is-it-possible-to-make-a-headband-that-is-really-worth-fifteen-dollars, spandex amazing-ness into a price that a normal human can afford. I appreciate it.

Seriously, though, I definitely feel more capable when I am wearing cute workout clothes. I understand that it is highly unlikely that my attire really does much to influence my performance, but since at least half of CrossFit is mental, I think that dressing the part is very important! Some day when I become a best-selling blogger (is that a thing?), I will spent all my money on Lulu, because $95 for a few yards of spandex is totally reasonable, right? RIGHT? Sigh.

 

Paleo Spring Rolls, Lettuce Wraps, and Shepherd’s Pie

Editor’s Note: Becky shared a post with us a few weeks ago about the basics of paleo, and here is a little more info from her about her own experiences after starting to adapt the paleo lifestyle. She even included some great recipes that are very budget friendly, which is hard to find with paleo! You can check out more from her blog here.

Right off the bat I’m going to tell you I don’t eat strictly paleo. I eat mostly paleo though. I don’t eat gluten containing grains (wheat, rye, and barley), dairy, and processed or fried foods. This is basically paleo with a slight twist on the grains and one alcoholic drink every other day if I choose to drink. Also, I give myself two “rest meals” if I want them. These are two meals where I can eat dairy or gluten grains.

There have been pluses and minuses to being on this lifestyle diet, as I like to call it. I really love the fact that I have lost around 5 pounds of pure fat, which has been pretty hard for me because of my body type already. I feel so much better on a daily basis due to no gluten, no dairy, and the addition of probiotics. I generally don’t have a 2pm dragging feeling, and I know my metabolism is working because I can feel when I am hungry. I do like that this lifestyle diet allows for two meals to eat the items I avoid
all week, because sometimes you just need a piece of bread no matter how bloated it’s going to make you feel in two hours.

However, this change has not been easy. I started this lifestyle diet in February of this year and I am still struggling to perfect it. Honestly, the “rest meals” are a blessing and a curse. Once you taste what you don’t have you want more or at least that is the way I feel. This lifestyle diet does take a good amount of discipline. When you go out to eat with friends you can either choose to have your “rest meal” or you have to order with a ton of alterations. New recipes haven’t been too hard to find and alter, but you
have to do a good amount of work to get your recipe list built up to where you aren’t eating the same thing every week. Also, grocery bills have shot up quite a bit. I recently graduated college and $120.00 grocery bills are a little hefty when you aren’t making a good amount.

But honestly the pluses have outweighed the minuses by far. I feel better, look better (in my opinion), and I’m happy almost all the time. What could be better?! I have included a couple of my favorite recipes in order to help ya’ll (I’m from Texas so no laughing) on your roads to healthier eating and overall wellness.

Summer Spring Rolls

This recipe is on her blog as well, Click Here for some more pictures and other recipes she has posted.

I adapted this from a recipe I found at http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/cucumber-and-avocado-summer-rolls-with-mustard-soy-sauce.html. I added meat to get some protein in there and I actually put the mint in there at first, but it over powered every other flavor, so I took it out. Also, the sauce is wonderful without the brown sugar, so why add extra sugar to your meal? The rice papers are gluten free and everything is pretty low calorie. It definitely was an adventure to wrap up the rice papers, but if I can do it you can do it. They don’t have to look perfect and from my pictures you can tell I didn’t care too much how they looked. This is a great, cool recipe for summer lunch, so add it to your list to try.

Ingredients:

• Juice from 1/2 lemon

• 2 Tbs. coconut oil (melted)

• 1 Tbs. rice vinegar

• 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tsp. soy sauce (can use coconut aminos if you are a real paleo purist)

• 1 Haas avocados

• 4 rice paper rounds, 6 or 8 inches in diameter

• 4 green lettuce leaves

• 1/2 lb chicken breast

• 1 carrots, coarsely shredded

• 1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin strips

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, and soy sauce; set aside.

2. Halve, pit and peel the avocado, and then cut it into 1/2-inch dice.

3. Cook chicken fully and spice with your favorite spice.

4. Place a wide, shallow bowl of warm water on a work surface. Lay a clean kitchen towel next to the bowl. (The rice papers do stick to the towel a little bit, but I assume this is the best surface to use). Dip 1 rice paper round into the water for a few seconds to soften, then lay it flat on the towel. Using another towel, pat the top of the rice paper dry.

5. Center a lettuce leaf on top of the stacked rice papers. Starting about one-third in from the edge closest to you top with a small row each of the chicken, carrot, cucumber and avocado; be careful not to overstuff the roll. Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper up and over the filling and then roll once to form a tight cylinder. Fold in the sides of the rice paper and continue to roll the paper and filling into a tight cylinder. Set aside, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling ingredients to make 4 rolls.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I adapted this one from http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-shepherds-pie/. I absolutely love this and it took the calorie laden, starchy potatoes out of the mix. The flavor is awesome and I wouldn’t do Shepherd’s pie any other way. I tweak almost every recipe I find. I don’t like having to buy a ton of ingredients for one recipe, so if I don’t have it I usually take it out.

• 2 tablespoons coconut oil

• 1 large onion, diced

• 1 pound turkey

• 2 cups diced carrots

• 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef

• ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 cup chicken broth

• 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft

1. Heat coconut oil in a very large frying pan

2. Saute onion for 15 minutes until soft

3. Add carrots to pan and sauté for 10 minutes until soft

4. Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes

5. Season with salt and pepper

6. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until 60% evaporated

7. Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with coconut oil (or coconut milk) until smooth

8. Pour ground beef mixture into a 9×13 inch Pyrex baking dish

9. Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture

10. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

11. Serve

Serves 4

Wanna-be PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe

I adapted this one from a recipe found here http://www.theculinarylife.com/2009/wanna-be-pf-changs-lettuce-wraps-recipe/.  This is one of our new favorites. I eat mine like a salad and rip up the lettuce, add the mixture to the bowl, and pour the sauce over it like a dressing. They really do taste like PF Chang’s!

Ingredients for pouring sauce:
Mix all together

• 1-2 Tbsp cup honey

• 1/2 cup warm water

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

• 2 tablespoons ketchup

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

• 1 tablespoon mustard

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

Ingredients for stir-fry sauce:
Mix all together

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 1 tablespoons honey (local if you can get it)

• 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Ingredients for chicken stir-fry:

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

• 2 tablespoons sesame oil

• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″

• 1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals

• 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals

• 1/2 onion, chopped fine

• 3 cloves garlic, minced fine

• 6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce

To make the chicken stir-fry:

1. Combine oils and add to large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

2. Turn the heat under the pan down to medium-high. Then add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked through, about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.

3. Serve stir-fry on iceberg lettuce and top with pouring sauce.

Do Your Thing

What a blast it’s been these past two days reading all of your comments about your real world moments! I’m so glad to find that I am not the only one who gets excited about new vacuums, and I am also a little shocked and concerned about the different tactics people apparently use to iron their clothing while it is on their bodies. Anyway, thank you so much–this little blogger is feeling the love!

Today I am a tired kid. Fran on Monday, deadlifts Tuesday, doggie training on Wednesday, new clean & jerk max on Thursday (90 pounds! Woo!), and then a WOD at 6:30AM this morning that I thought was programmed as 1 round but turned out to be a modified Fight Gone Bad: 3 rounds 1-minute AMRAPs each of wall balls, sit-ups, pull-ups, kettlbell swings, and pistols with a 1-minute rest in-between. I am exhausted. Also, I know I have been doing a less-than-great job of updating about Paleo August this week, but stay tuned because next week I will have some fun recipes to share, including some they-were-supposed-to-be-energy-balls-but-I-used-hot-cocoa-mix-instead-of-cocoa-powder-and-they-ended-up-tasting-like-cookie-dough fig balls. I am going to try a modified version of them this weekend using sweet potato to see if that works also…healthy baking recipes seem to always call for figs, but who can honestly afford something that is $9 per pound on a regular basis just for kicks? Not this girl.

Who’s doing something fun this weekend? I am taking it easy for once! Brandon starts school on Monday and I am ready to sleep in and go to the farmer’s market and eat my weight in peaches. Because there is nothing so good on this earth as a ripe peach.

Anyway, I saw this on Facebook today and thought it was a great way to say: Have a great weekend!