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AMAZING Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Kabobs

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Shannon is Eat To Perform’s resident food blogger.  When you buy Metabolic Flexibility for Fat Loss, you gain access to the Science Lab private forum, webinars, and a collection of dozens of recipes like this one as well as help with planning your daily meals.    

After the last week of awesomeness, I figured I need to get a new recipe out there.  I need to start by saying that the support I have received from everyone, ETP members, friends, family, etc. has been AWESOME!  I never thought my story would serve as motivation for anyone.  Obviously, Paul saw something more than I saw in myself.   It is humbling and motivating for me to know that my story can touch so many people and I can’t wait to continue this journey I have begun.

I grew up on the East Coast, where fresh seafood was in abundance.  I remember “clam bakes” with my Dad’s family where there would be pots full of clams and lobster.  Oh, how I miss that!  Being in Minnesota, I just have to make due with what I have…store bought seafood  and fish from the grocery store….meh!

Salmon is a pretty good choice here in the Midwest.  You can usually get a pretty good piece of salmon that’s somewhat fresh….(at least that’s what I tell myself)

My first idea was to soak some cedar planks and grill my salmon with some basic seasoning, but it was raining most of the day here, so I thought I would create some salmon burgers to sear in a pan instead.  Typically, salmon burgers need some mayo and breadcrumbs to help bind them.  Not these ones!  Instead of mayo, I used coarse ground mustard and some almond meal instead of breadcrumbs.  They turned out delicious!

As for the sweet potatoes….how have I not thought of this sooner?  Skewered sweet potatoes on the grill?  Brilliant!  So simple too!

Here are the recipes!

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of salmon
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tbsp of course ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove the skin from your salmon and put the meat into a food processor.  Pulse a couple of times for 10 seconds – until the salmon is broken up, but not totally ground.  In a separate bowl, mix the salmon with the remaining ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  Form the mixture into 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Place the salmon patties in the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes.  Flip and continue to cook another 4 minutes.  Remove from heat, top with a dollop of lemon dill yogurt sauce and enjoy on some bibb lettuce or a bun – whichever you prefer.

Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 6-8 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a lemon’s juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sweet Potato Kabobs

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Wooden skewers

Heat your grill to medium heat.  Coat the sweet potato cubes in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Skewer the potatoes onto the wooden skewers.  Place the skewers on the grill and cook for around 5-10 minutes per side.  Remove when the potatoes are tender in the middle.

A Week in the Life of Murph….

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The goal of Metabolic Flexibility is to fuel your workouts by loading carbohydrates around them, relying on mostly fats, proteins and fibrous vegetables the rest of the time.  For more information on our book and how to get help with your body composition goals click here for information.

By the way this is Shannon speaking…

Sunday, May 19th….

This is the post from my CrossFit box:

Reminder:

Saturday all classes are happening-both adult and kids.

Monday-Memorial Day we will have only one class at 10:00 am.

We will be doing Murph. Be ready to run rain or shine!
For those of you new this year Murph is a hero WOD.

For time: (the mid section of body weight exercises can be partitioned any way.)

1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 mile run

Do not be intimidated by this WOD; everything can be scaled.  There is no time cap, and if you think of it as one movement at a time you are golden!

See you all there!

My reaction – hell to the double f’ing no!  I will move on…

Throughout the week, I didn’t think much about Murph.  I wasn’t doing it, so why would I be concerned about it?  I went about my week completing my WOD’s, which felt awful and hard….Paul chuckled as he observed the carnage after Thursday’s deadlift WOD…I kinda wanted to beat the shit out of him as he laughed, but couldn’t lift my arms….fucker….

Later that night as we stayed for our kid’s teens class, Paul bragged that his third CF class was Murph….he failed to share his results…I still thought nothing of Murph, I would go and take some great pictures of the brave souls who came out in honor or Murph, and I would honor him as I toasted my beer to him….

Saturday, May 25th

Dalton has CrossFit teens class and my husband and I both go to watch.  There is still a lot of talk about Murph…Mostly people dreading the 2 miles of running .  I off course shared in their complaining, even though I wasn’t doing the WOD.  There were a few who asked if I was planning on doing this Hero WOD, luckily, I tweaked my groin on Thursday which gave me the perfect excuse to NOT do Murph, although I had no worries about simply telling them, “Hell No!”  After Dalton’s class, Gretch, his trainer, was telling us how it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the other WODS.  “Just break it up and it’s doable” she says…Well, if I could break up the mile run at the beginning and end over a few days, I might be open to trying it!  We left CrossFit with no thoughts of Murph.

Later that day as I am browsing Facebook, I come across the video about Murph and his story.   Shit!  Now I am feeling a little guilty about not doing it.  Certainly not guilty enough to sign up for the WOD, but still a little guilty…

No thoughts of Murph……watching the Blackhawks beat the Redwings (Woot woot!!!)….no thoughts of Murph….

A message pops up on my Facebook…it’s from Maggie….

“Leaning towards coming back tomorrow night and would then sign up. How can I convince you to join me in an almost death WOD? (I bet we could do 10/20/30×10 rounds to break it up?)

Or I might just skip and drink . Crap. Decisions.”

DAMN YOU MAGGIE!!!!!  That was the only push I needed.  My reply…

“Ugh….I am starting to feel guilty about not doing it…I just don’t wanna run…I could walk faster than I could run…Vicki is also contemplating…it’ll be an hour + wod for me…

double crap

we could drink after…..”

That was that…I made it public information that Maggie and I were doing Murph by posting it on Facebook…no turning back now!  Now the dread begins!

Sunday, May 26th

I wake up thinking, “What the hell did I do last night?”  Regret seeps in along with a whole lot of fear.  I can’t even cancel because SO many people were so happy that I decided to do it…damn damn damn…I guess I should EAT TO PERFORM today!  CBL in all it’s glory!

Not the best carbs, but made some absolutely delicious blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  They really are phenomenal.  I was going to post that recipe, but I ate them so fast and forgot to take a picture.  I started thinking about what to make for dinner.  It’s memorial day, so grilling would be the popular choice, however, it’s 50 degrees and cloudy in Minnesota, so I have no desire to grill.  I have been contemplating making some sort of lasagna type dish but never figured out what ingredients to use.  I’m not a big fan of eggplant so I didn’t want to use that…sweet potato?  Hmmmmm…Well Murph, you not only got me to sign up for your HERO WOD, but you have a dish named after you too…Let’s hope it helps me make it through tomorrow!

Murph’s “Lasagna”

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (lengthwise)
  • 2 pounds italian ground turkey sausage
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I prefer the tomatoes from San Marzano – they cost more but taste DELICIOUS!)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Cook your turkey sausage in a large skillet, drain and set aside.  In the same pan, melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and cook your onions until transluscent.  Add the 3 cans of tomatoes, coconut milk, italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.  In your crockpot, grease the bottom and sides with melted coconut oil.  Place one layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the crockpot, followed by a layer of the tomato mixture and then sausage.  Continue layering until you run out of one of the ingredient layers (I got about 4 or 5 layers done).  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!

And the Grocery Bill Doubles….

cioppino2My 19 year old son, Lucas, is home from his first year at The University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  I have two boys (3 if you include my husband) and they could not be more different.  Dalton is our athlete.  He acts like an athlete, eats like an athlete and definitely SMELLS like an athlete.  He knows random facts about professional athletes that the typical person could care less about and even has a special alert on his phone that sounds when something “BIG” happens in the sports world.  Lucas has no desire to play or watch sports.  He is our intellect who can read a book faster than you could watch the movie, loves animals and nature and….is a vegetarian!  While I completely support his choice not to eat meat, it does make cooking and grocery shopping more complicated and more expensive.  It also worries me that he is not getting the nutrients he needs.  Thank goodness he will eat fish and seafood, so he can get some of his protein needs there, but the amount of protein he is putting into his body is far from what he needs and his caloric intake is way too low.  It’s one thing to hear people, like Paul, talk about how fueling your body affects your performance.  It’s another thing to see it first hand, and it’s not pretty.  (By the way Paul, I can’t wait for you to talk to him!)  We are in the process of forcing Lucas to stay awake while feeding him whatever we can.  He is in this vicious cycle where all he wants to do is sleep, which keeps him from eating, which makes him want to sleep more.  6 months ago, I may have thought that this was just typical behavior from a college student who just finished a week of finals and whose sleep schedule is off.  Now, I think differently.  This is not normal, even for a college student.  This is a body that has not been fed correctly and can no longer function properly because of it.  Mom to the rescue!

Tonight, a nutrient packed dinner for the boy!  Since he will eat seafood, I pull out the scallops from my freezer.  Since they have been in the freezer for a while now, I can’t just do the typical salt and pepper, sear in a pan with butter scallop…this will need some extra flavor.  I love cioppino!  Cioppino is a stew full of various types of seafood in a tomato based broth.  Since I don’t have a variety of seafood (remember, I am in Minnesota) I will make a scallop cioppino.  I think I will add some spinach to it too, since I add spinach to as many of my dishes as possible just to add a little bit more nutrition.  Since the boy is basically in starvation mode, I will serve this over some cooked white rice too!

After I made this recipe, I tasted it and thought…YUM!  You could substitute chicken, fish, veal or whatever protein of choice and it would still be delicious!

Ingredients

  • 10-12 medium scallops
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 16 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • cooked white rice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a skillet, heat the coconut oil until melted over medium high heat.  Add the red onion and cook a couple of minutes, until transluscent.  Lower the the heat to medium/low and add the garlic.  Cook about 1 minute and add the coconut milk, tomatoes, italian seasoning and spinach.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

In a baking dish, arrange your scallops in one layer and pour your tomato mixture over the top.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes (this is a perfect time to cook your rice).  Scoop your rice into a dish, top with your scallop cioppino and enjoy!!!

The best cure for PMS…a WOD..and some delicious food!

Today I am crabby…actually, I will admit, I have been a bitch today.  It’s one thing when your family recognizes that they need to keep away, but when your co-worker asks you (somewhat jokingly) if you are no longer friends, you know that you have been a bitch.  Nothing like a little PMS to motivate you to go to Crossfit.  I actually was dreading the WOD all day since it involved running.  Running sucks.  I hate it and my body hates it.  If I could go the rest of my life without running a single step, I would.  Regardless, I signed up for the WOD and I have not cancelled a WOD reservation yet.  Honestly, I needed to go to Crossfit more than ever today.

I was right to dread the workout.  It sucked, especially the running (and occasional walking on my part).  I managed to complete 100 kettlebell swings at (1P) along with running/walking a mile in 20 minutes.  Not bad and it put me in a MUCH better mood.  The bad news, by the time I picked up my son from soccer and got home, it was 8:00 and I had nothing planned for dinner.  Defrost some chicken to throw on the grill…naah…let’s go to the pantry…

So in my pantry, I find a large can of crushed tomatoes and in my freezer, a package of italian sausage links.  I’ll just make a simple tomato sauce with some sausage – simple.  I ran the idea by my 15 year old who, at this point, was “hangry” (being so hungry that you become angry) and he was actually ok with the idea with one suggestion, “Do you have any of those hashbrowns that I can have it on top of?”  Hmmm…Dalton loves the shredded potatoes that you can just throw in a pan to crisp up.  We had some left in the freezer, but it gave me an idea…I couldn’t believe how good this was!!!!

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Sweet Potato Hash with Simple Tomato and Sausage Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb italian sausage links (I used the mild)
  • 1 32 oz can of crushed tomato
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the minced garlic.  Once the garlic is softened, add the can of crushed tomato, spices and salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium low.  In a saute pan, cook your sausage (cut into about 1/2 inch slices).  Once it is cooked through, drain the sausage and add both the sausage and tomato sauce back to the pan.  Heat on medium low heat while you prepare your sweet potato hash.

Peel your sweet potato and use a grater to shred the potato.  Heat a small skillet over medium high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add half of the shredded potato to the pan and press into a pancake.  Cook for about 4 minutes on each side (no worries if it doesn’t stay together when you flip it, just do your best).  Do the same with the 2nd half of sweet potato.  Transfer to a plate, top with the sausage sauce and parmesan.

Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa

mediterranean chickenI think the dark is gone…for now.  I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth this past Saturday (the Crossfit workout Elizabeth).  She and I are not friends….As I finished the last couple squat cleans of my first round of 21, I was pretty sure that I would not finish this workout, but I huffed and puffed my way over to the rings to start the torturous round of 21 ring dips.  5 squat cleans into my second round of 15, I was positive I would not be able to finish…I thought to myself, “This is crazy!  How can I possible to this?”, yet I kept going.  I realized after getting through 5 more that there was no way I couldn’t finish.  This was not because of me by any means, it was because of all the people around me (who had already finished Elizabeth) who would not allow me to quit.  I mustered through the remainder of my workout to the sound of Jill and Pam cheering me on and finished with a time of 15:10.  This Crossfit community that I have become a part of is like nothing I have ever encountered.  Never have I met a group of people that get as much or more joy and pride out of another person’s success than they do their own.  It’s pretty surreal and I feel so lucky to have found Crossfit Templar.

Ok, on to the recipe.  I made this a couple of nights ago and just had leftovers for lunch.  It’s SO good!

I just recently was introduced to quinoa and have really tried to find ways to incorporate it into some recipes.  I like it because it is a gluten free high protein grain and pretty easy to make.  When I make it, I usually make an entire box of it and save whatever I do not use in my recipe for another use later in the week.  One cup of dry quinoa will yield about 3 cups of cooked, so you get a good amount from one box.  I also cook my quinoa using stock instead of water to give it more flavor.  If you have homemade bone stock, it’s a great option, otherwise and store bought stock will work.

I have to give props to Suzanne, the cook at the child care center I teach preschool at, for giving me the idea for this recipe.  Suzanne does a great job trying to incorporate healthy meals to the menu at my center and tries to expose the children to some foods they may not ever have tried otherwise.  She serves a simplified version of this recipe to the children and it’s one of my favorite lunches.

The recipe calls for feta or parmesan cheese, but again, if you have been strong enough to omit cheese from your diet, feel free to leave it out.

Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, sliced or diced
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Feta or parmesan cheese

Rinse your quinoa in a strainer for at least 2 minutes. Rinsing the quinoa removes its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse.  In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and add rinsed quinoa.  Dry and toast the quinoa, letting the water evaporate (about one minute).  Add the chicken stock and salt and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook until spinach is wilted and everything is heated though.  Serve topped with feta or parmesan cheese.

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The Perfect Burger with Plaintain Chips

Let me start out by saying, it’s May 1st and it’s supposed to snow in Minnesota….Screw this weather!!!!!!!!!  I will not be confined to my kitchen!!!  Regardless of my gutterless house dripping cold drops of water on me as I go out to the grill…I will NOT cook my burgers in my grill pan tonight!

Ok, enough complaining about the weather….I back squatted 240 pounds last night.  I am trying to work this into every conversation I have had today and I think people are a little weirded out when I start shedding my hoodie to show them the bruises across my back from the huge amount of weight I squatted.  I don’t really care about how uncomfortable it makes them…it’s all about me right now.  I am usually not so abnoxious about my accomplishments and stay pretty humble and quiet about them, but I never even fathomed the idea of back squatting this much since the most I have ever done in my 3 1/2 months of Crossfitting has been 165 pounds.  My goal was to break 200…..the back squat is now my favorite lift by far…for now….

Back to the burgers…I have been trying to create the perfect burger for years and when I finally realized that the only thing you need to do to make a great burger is add salt & pepper to some 80/20 beef and handle it as little as possible, I was a little irritated yet pleasantly surprised.  Don’t try making your burger meat fancy and gourmet.  If you want a gourmet burger, add gourmet toppings, otherwise, you lose the flavor of your beef.  On this burger, I have a slice of colby jack cheese (more power to you if you have the will power to give up cheese…I do not), a spoonful of all natural salsa, a tomato slice, avocado and a dollop of greek yogurt…all on top of 2 bibb lettuce leaves.

Another thing…where have plaintains been all my life?  I was going to make a simple salad with my burger tonight until I looked over and saw the plaintains I bought this weekend.  I have tried the store bought plaintain chips (which cost a fortune), and figured….I can do that!  I also made an alternate version with thicker slices of plaintains that were baked, smashed, seasoned and baked some more.  I prefer the chips, but both were delicious!

burger

The Perfect Burger

  • 3 lbs 80/20 ground beef
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Toppings of your choice

In a large bowl add about 1 tablespoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.  Mix with your hands just until mixed.  DO NOT overmix your meat – it will kill the texture of your meat!  Form into 6 patties about 3/4 to 1 inch thick…again…DO NOT over work the patties.  Form them until they are holding together and put on a pan.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.  This sounds like a lot of salt and pepper, but you need to season your food in order to enhance the deliciousness of the meat.  A lot of this seasoning will also end up in your grill along with all the drippings from your burgers as they grill.

Grill your burgers over medium high heat (on a preheated grill) for about 5-6 minutes per side for a medium burger.  Let the meat rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.

plaintains

Plaintain Chips or Smashed Plaintains

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe plaintains (they are ripe when there is more black than yellow on the skin)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you do not have a supply of parchment paper in your kitchen, you need to get some.  No more cleaning cookie sheets!!  Brush your cookie sheet with half of the melted coconut oil.

Peel the plaintains.  Plaintains are not as easy as bananas to peel, but not too difficult.  It’s kind of like peeling a banana that is not ripe.  Slice one of the plaintains thinly (1/8 of an inch).  Slice the other one in about 3/4 to 1 inch slices.  Place all of the slices on the cookie sheet without overlapping and brush the topside with the remaining coconut oil.  Season both the thin and thick slices with salt and pepper.  Mix together the chili powder and cumin and sprinkle over the thicker slices.  Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the over and turn all of the slices (a little annoying but well worth it!).  Take a glass cup and smash the thicker slices.  Bake for another 15 minutes, remove from the oven and try not to eat them all at once!

Creamy Cajun Scrambled Egg Breakfast…or lunch or dinner….

We have two challenges going on, one is a three month challenge for people without an extreme amount of fat to lose and then a year long challenge for people that have bigger goals.  Here are the various ways to become a science lab member.

So yesterday I did my first Bod Pod.  For those of you that have no clue what that is, you sit in an egg shaped contraption in your sports bra and swimsuit bottom, you hear some banging, you emerge to receive your body fat percentage…for some, this ends in tears and meltdowns, for me…it was what I expected.  After several years of eating foods that did nothing for my health and doing little to no exercise, my body fat percentage is at 43%.  I have no shame in sharing this percentage (it’s actually a little less than I thought it would be).  I can still say over half of my body weight is muscle, right?  This number did not put me into a depression or send me to tears….it motivated me.  I have a drive now that I did not have 2 days ago.  I plan to push my body to its limits, lift heavy weights and EAT TO PERFORM!  I cannot wait for my next Bod Pod to see how much muscle I have gained and how much fat I have shed….

However, yesterday was an eating free for all and today I need to start my newly motivated journey…it starts with a power breakfast.  I was at a restaurant the other night and had a delicious concoction of veggies topping my overcooked steak.  Very often, my recipes are created from something I ate at a restaurant.  I try to determine the ingredients and add my own alterations and it usually comes out better than the restaurant’s version.  This recipe is derived from my overcooked steak topping and I think it may top my grassfed steak that will be on the dinner table tonight too (my steak will not be overcooked though).

When I make scrambled eggs, I make them separately from everything else.  I used to cook my eggs, veggies and meat all together, but it often turned into a mess.  Now, I cook my eggs so they are yellow and lovely and cook my country sausage separately.  I combine them when I am ready to eat.  Not only does it look much prettier, but the texture and taste is great!  This also allows me to save some of my cooked sausage to add to eggs another day.  Of course the sausage is optional.  Feel free to leave it out or substitute it for something else – cajun sausage would be a great replacement…

Another favorite of mine is Louisiana Cajun Seasoning.  I use it A LOT!  This recipe is one that it is delicious in.

Cajun Seasoning

Creamy Cajun Scrambled Egg Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ poblano pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • a splash of cream, milk, half and half or white wine
  • 5 eggs, scrambled
  • ½ lb country sausage, cooked and drained (optional)

Over medium high heat, melt 1 tbsp of your butter in a skillet.  Add the onion and peppers.  Saute until softened, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for about one minute.  Add your Cajun seasoning and cook for one minute.  Add the remaining 4 tbsp of butter along with your mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until spinach is wilted.  Add a splash of cream, milk, wine…whatever you have on hand and cook another couple of minutes until thickened.  Serve over your scrambled eggs mixed with your sausage.

Enjoy!

Creamy Cajun Eggs

Pan Seared Scallops and Roasted Kabocha Squash

Soooo, a little more about myself before I share this yummy dinner…

I really began my love of cooking in the past 5 years or so.  I have been married for almost 20 years (20 this June!) and have two boys, ages 19 and 15.  We have never been wealthy by any means (at least not with money – fun, laughter and love we have had plenty) so dinner was very often hamburger helper, meatloaf, spaghetti, etc.  It was whatever we could afford and were able to cook when we got home from work.  Once my boys got a little older, I began having this fascination with recipes.  I found that the Food Network was the channel I watched more often than any other and really began learning more about flavor profiles and how to actually COOK!  This new world of food and cooking opened up my mind about food in general and how delicious foods can be transformed into AMAZING meals.

I will be honest, my family and my husband’s family, is well aware that I DO NOT LIKE VEGETABLES!  What is crazy is how open minded I have become about foods that I would NEVER have tried prior, especially since I began this journey with Paul and Crossfit.  Simply understanding the value certain foods has when it comes to performing has completely turned my world upside down.

I am putting this out there to a lot of people who do not know my past….

I grew up VERY athletic.  With an older brother (who is the one who turned me on to Crossfit) who played football, basketball and baseball, I was constantly trying to keep up with him.  I played soccer, basketball and softball and excelled at all of them.  Honestly, I probably could have gotten an athletic scholarship of some kind if I had any kind of drive or knowledge about how athletic I was.  Unfortunately, I grew up around very well off families, most of whom were a size 6 or smaller.  With legs like tree trunks and probably having less body fat than most of the boys in my class, let alone the girls, I thought I was fat.  I had little self confidence and I believe that helped lead me in the path of self destruction.

After a rough breakup with my first love, I moved from Massachusetts to Illinois to live with my parents at age 19.  I decided this was a great time to change myself, both inside and out.  The first step was to lose weight….ugh…thinking back, I can’t believe how stupid I was.   I was probably eating less than 1000 calories a day… a yogurt for breakfast and 2 lean cuisine meals a day…biking several miles to the gym to do the stair climber for 45-60 minutes a day and then bike several miles back home.  In my spare time, I would run with my beloved dog, Rusty, to get him some exercise….I looked DAMN good….

I cannot even fathom the trauma I had done to my metabolism in this time alone….one good thing came of this time however…I met my husband.  From that one night I decided to talk to him (despite his lack of an ass) I knew I would marry him…

There is so much more that I will share as we go, but I want everyone to know that I am a real person who has struggled with weight and food her entire life.  There is far more to read about my journey, but I don’t want to give it all in one blog….(this is how we keep you reading these blogs…you have to know what happens next, right?)

With the help of my past failures and successes, Paul(Eat to Perform) and Crossfit, I think I might have it figured out…we’ll see I guess…

Anyways…when my pantry and refrigerator are scarce in supplies, I find I am at my most creative…

Today, while looking in my freezer, I found some large scallops, begging to be defrosted.  While I prefer fresh seafood, here in Minnesota, that is quite impossible…so frozen will have to do…

Kabocha squash…honestly, never tried it…  Another milestone to check of my “eating vegetables” list.  (Last night I ate FOUR pieces of broccoli!  That’s a pretty big deal for me!)  I got this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo since I had no clue what to do with it.  I am not sure if these two items really “GO” together, but they both tasted great!  Enjoy!

scallops

Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients

  • 8 large sea scallops
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • A splash of citrus vodka

Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Melt butter in the pan and add scallops to the heated pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (do NOT overcook scallops or they will be rubbery!) Remove the scallops from the pan and add the maple syrup and vodka to deglaze the pan, stirring constantly.  Cook the sauce for about 1 minute and pour over the scallops.  OH!  These are heavenly!

Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash Breakfast

So I wake up this morning and am quickly reminded of the 120 weighted lunges that were part of the WOD yesterday at Crossfit.  Sitting is not an option this morning so I guess I will just keep moving…Typically on Sunday I am busy cooking all day for the upcoming week, but my pantry is desolate and my motivation to go to the grocery store is just not happening.  I look around my kitchen and find that I do have some red garnet sweet potatoes, a red onion, some eggs and of course, we always have bacon.  I can whip something up with that right?  I see some sweet potato hash in my future!

Sweet potato hash breakfast

Luckily, my sweet potatoes are red garnet sweet potatoes.  I typically use this type of sweet potato as it is very moist and has great flavor.  It tends to cook a little faster than a typical sweet potato as well, so it’s perfect for a hash.  I also have a supply of bacon fat on hand at all times.  If you want to save your bacon fat, I have found a great way to remove all of the residue from the fat is to pour it into a coffee filter placed in a bowl.  I use some masking tape to tape the filter to the side of the bowl so the fat can work its way through.  It’s a slow process, but it really removes all of the unwanted stuff from your cooked bacon fat.

grapefruit

While gathering my ingredients, I discover some ruby red grapefruit in my refrigerator too!  This will be a perfect pairing with my creation!  Whether you are a fan of grapefruit or not, you need to try this!  The easiest way to section a grapefruit is to first cut the ends off of your grapefruit.  Using a paring knife, cut the skin off of the grapefruit following the curve of your fruit.  Try to cut all of the bitter white pith off without sacrificing too much of the fruit.  Once all of the pith is gone, remove the grapefruit sections by cutting from the outside to the center inside the membrane of each section.  Once you have removed all of the sections, place in a bowl and top with some pure maple syrup.  Yup, you heard me right…maple syrup!  The maple syrup is delicious on a grapefruit and believe me, when the fruit is gone from your bowl, you will be drinking up the remaining juice straight from the bowl…..MMMMMMMMMM!

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced (I use red garnet sweet potatoes)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat (or any fat of your choice)
  • 10 slices of cooked bacon cut into ½ to 1 inch pieces
  • Eggs

Put your bacon fat into a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the skillet is good and hot, add your diced onions, garlic and sweet potatoes.  Cook the onion and potato mixture for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.  You will want a nice golden brown color on the onions and potatoes.  Add the bacon to the potatoes and continue cooking until the bacon is heated through (about 5-10 minutes).  While the bacon is heating through, in a separate pan, cook your eggs.  I suggest cooking your eggs over easy so the yolks are still runny and can ooze all over your hash when you dig in!  Scoop up some hash, place your egg on top and enjoy with some ruby red grapefruit topped with real maple syrup and some coffee!

hash and egg

 

 

Gazpacho Recipe

Jon Ruiz is a friend of this blog and the developer of “Gazelle” (which is his Crossfit board name), his app won the top spot on about.com for running apps in part because of all of your support.  I asked him for his famous Chorizo Recipe but as an added bonus he gave us this one as well.  From what I hear it’s really good.

Gazpacho

 

“I usually double this recipe and it will last my wife and I about 5 days. A food processor is highly recommended, and chop to preference Some folks blend it into a liquid, I like a little bit of texture.

3-4 Tomatoes, peeled
1/2 Green Pepper, remove seeds & stem
1/2 Cucumber, remove seeds with spoon
3 Sticks Celery
1/2 Red Onion
4C Tomato Juice
1/3C Tarragon Vinegar (rec Heinz because no sugar added)
1-3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
2T Parsley (minced)
Salt and Pepper to taste (I usually add no salt unless tomato juice is unsalted, and a good amount of pepper)

Before serving:
Olive Oil
Avocado and/or Boiled Egg (optional)

Chop/process/blend (by preference) first 5 ingredients. Add next 5 ingredients and stir until well mixed. Chill 4 hours. Before serving, stir in olive oil (1T/serving), top with sliced boiled egg and/or sliced avocado if desired.”

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