Month: November 2014

shredded sprout salad

Posted by Corie

images-3Thanksgiving is comin’ in hot. Before you know it, there’ll be turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and then all the other stuff that’s always on the table, but no one talks about. You know what I mean. There’s always like one or two vegetables that get passed around and everyone feels obligated to take, but really we all just want another scoop of mashed potatoes covered in gravy ’cause that’s the shit that tastes good. Well, in honor of this phenomenon, today’s post is all about finding new appreciation for one of those unappreciated Thanksgiving veggies… the Brussels sprout.

 

900c8a714b5c6897b53069c1342ce9b2206322e2bb5caab7c2c53cbdc4c54df6Brussels sprouts look like cute little bundles of cabbage. They are a cruciferous vegetable meaning they are in the same class as broccoli, kale, bok choy, and cauliflower. Cruciferous veggies are rich in nutrients like carotenoids, vitamins C, E, and K, minerals, and fiber. They are even being studied for their association with cancer prevention. They get a bad rap for being smelly and tasting bad, but that’s just because all those people saying that haven’t had them this way yet.

Shredded Sprout Salad

For the Salad:

3 tbsp fine chopped shallots

1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded

2-3 large handfuls spinach or kale

 

Last night was a feeding frenzy, but I managed to get a picture of the sprouts in my salad today!

Last night was a feeding frenzy, but I managed to get a picture of the sprouts in my salad today!

For the Dressing:

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, diced

1 tbsp minced shallot

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried)

1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp water

Salt & Pepper to taste

To make the dressing, combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, thyme, and hazelnuts in a blender. Blend on medium while adding in oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and water. Add salt and some pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan heat up shallots in an oil of your choice [you could use coconut oil, olive oil, or even just throw some bacon in there] until transparent and fragrant. Throw in your Brussels sprouts and continue to cook until they begin to soften. Add the dressing and the kale or spinach to the pan. Work it all together and cook until the kale or spinach begins to wilt.

Remove from the pan and plate. If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts this dish will change your mind. If you already love Brussels sprouts… why haven’t you started making this yet? Go! Go! Go!

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recipe adapted from edible Jersey

Resources:

http://www.cancer.gov

http://www.cancer.org

whfoods.org

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Conventional vs Organic: The ultimate food fight

 

Posted by Corieimages-2

The idea of conventional versus organic produce can be kinda weird. We know that veggies and fruits are really good for us, full of vitamins and minerals and all that jazz. They are nutrient dense, meaning we get more nutrients for fewer dense calories and thus more nutritional bang for our buck. imagesHowever, not all produce is grown the same. Conventional produce is grown with pesticides, ya know like bug and weed killers, while organically grown produce is not. Through research we’ve discovered that some of that conventional produce, even after washing, has lots of pesticide residue stuck on there. That means along with those nutrients, you get chemicals that kill other living organisms… that doesn’t sound like a good thing to me. If we can avoid that, isn’t it kind of a no-brainer. Lucky for us the EWG puts out a Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list where they outline the dirtiest 12 produce choices that it might be smarter to buy organic and the 15 cleanest conventional fruits and vegetables. Isn’t that cool?

images-1Wanna know the top 3 dirtiest produce items on the list that you should for sure buy organic ’cause they’re covered in pesticide residue?

#3 – Grapes

#2 – Strawberries

#1 – Apples

Boom. Go read the rest of the EWG article.

P.S. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help protect human health and environment, empowering the people to live healthier, happier lives. They do research and publish results on consumer products that may be harmful to our health on anywhere from the cleaners we use to wipe down our house to the foods we put in our body.

They even went a step further this year and made a Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives. The FDA allows more than 10,000 food additives to be used in processed foods. (One of the reasons we say to stay away from those highly refined foods) They say that they are generally recognized as safe, but some are concerning because they are so closely linked with serious health problems. The list makes it easy to see which are the worst, why, and how to avoid them.

Moral of the story here is that the more informed you are, the better the chances of you making awesome decisions. We don’t ALWAYS have to eat organic or never treat ourselves to something processed. It is, however, great to know which conventional and processed foods are the better and worse choices. It’s great to know what those pesticides and food additives do to your body. Soak it all in. Never stop learning. Be informed, be smart, and be awesome.

No recipe here, but one will be coming soon! Stay tuned.

fajita salad

Posted by Corie

The fajita. A beautiful union of sizzling hot peppers and onions, with tender, juicy chicken or steak, slathered in guacamole and covered in a mound of fresh tomato salsa. Ditch the tortillas and add a bed of crisp lettuce… ayup, fajitas just became your new best friend.

stepbro

This shit I’m about to drop on you all is super easy. You can make everything from scratch or you can buy some of your favorite brand salsa or guacamole, it’s all up to you. These have tons of muscle building protein from the chicken, vitamins and minerals in all your veggie toppings and healthy fats from avocado. The brown rice is optional, but it definitely gives the dish a faux-chipotle feel and satisfied my complex carb craving. Sometimes, the body wants what the body wants, and it’s important to listen. But if gluten bothers you or you’re going all full-scale paleo, then by all means leave it out. Last note, you can definitely make this with steak or shrimp or a mix. Have fun with it.

friggen’ fresh fajita saladIMG_3629

serves 4-5 w/ leftovers

For the Chicken:

(Feel free to use your own marinade instead)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1.5 tbsp honey

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp grainy mustard

2 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro

4 cloves garlic, minced

Throw the chicken in a gallon zip lock bag. Season with the salt and pepper. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, when combined, pour over the chicken. Seal the bag and let that stuff sit in the refrigerator for one to a few hours. If you’re pressed for time, a half hour will do, but you won’t get all the flavor. Also… some adobo sauce would be bangin’ in there, but I didn’t have any.

Take the chicken out and cook over medium high heat on the stove in a sauté pan. Get a nice deep golden brown color on the outsides and then let them cook on low until done throughout. Make sure they are cooked all the way through because we don’t need any cases of salmonella round here. Then slice then and set aside.

For the Rice:

1.5 cups brown rice

pinch of salt

1 tsp coconut oil

juice of 1 lime

chopped, fresh cilantro

put your brown rice and 4 cups water in a pot over high heat. Throw in a pinch of salt and let that come to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer until all the water has been absorbed by your rice. Fluff with a fork and then stir in the coconut oil, lime juice, and fresh cilantro.

For the Peppers: 

3/4 medium yellow onion, sliced into strips

2 red, 1 orange, and 1 yellow bell peppers, sliced into thin strips

In a large saute pan, heat the onions and some coconut oil over medium-high. Cook these, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown and caramelize. Throw in the peppers and continue to cook and stir until the same thing happens to them. You want to get a real good color and flavor on these so taste often if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Salsa: 

I made a fresh avocado salsa, but feel free to sub here.

2 large tomatoes, small chopped

1/2 small red onion, small chopped

1.5 avocados, chopped

juice of 1 lime wedge

pinch of salt

fresh cilantro

Just throw it all together and let sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to let all those flavors mesh.

Put it all together: 

Over a bed of thin chopped romaine and mixed greens, pile high a small scoop of rice, a healthy handful of those peppers and onions, slices of the chicken, and then the salsa. You can put all the salads together ahead of time or make it like a fajita salad bar where everyone makes their own. Get a good simple dressing, I used a chili-lime vinaigrette my mom picked up at whole foods, and drizzle that all over your salad. DIG IN. Gainz galore.

 

 

muscle maker meatloaf

Posted by Corie

I love meatloaf.images

No, not that Meatloaf… the other kind.

Meatloaf is a powerful meal.

It has the power to build muscle in a protein packed loaf form. It has the power to hide some nutrient dense veggies with a crispy bacon crust. It has the power to comfort you on those increasingly chilly fall and winter nights. Meatloaf is versatile and tweak-able. Most importantly, meatloaf has the power to please to everyone from the fussiest of 11 year old boys to the health nut dietician and all the way to the bacon loving, muscle builder.

The Meatloaf Method:

1. Choose your meat. I prefer the grass fed ground beef in my meatloaf, but any good quality ground meat can work. You could do chicken, turkey, veal or pork, or a combination of a few.

2. Get your veggies. With meatloaf, you just can’t pass up the opportunity to pack that baby with nutrients. You’re going to get such a great flavor, why not get optimal nutrition too? Use spinach and sweet potatoes, mushrooms and caramelized onions, shredded carrots or zucchini. Whichever veggies you use will determine which spices and seasonings you throw in, but that’s something easily google-able for those of us who haven’t entirely developed that pairing knowledge base yet. Not only are they going to add nutrient density to your meatloaf, veggies can help keep dat loaf nice and moist.

3. BACON. This step is essential. Add it. Layer it on top or in the mix or maybe both.

4. Ditch the breadcrumbs. We don’t need any breadcrumbs or crumbled up crackers up in here. We’ve got ground flax seed, almond flour, and coconut flour, all more nutritious and delicious options.

Now that you’ve got the basics I’m going to give you the recipe for my favorite meatloaf. It’s sweet and savory, tender and juicy. There’s no green veggies inside, so make sure to pair it with a big green salad or some broccoli and kale.

Sweet Potato MeatloafIMG_1926

1/4 lb bacon

1/4 cup raisins

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large sweet potato

1lb grass fed lean ground beef

1/2 cup almond meal

1 egg

cinnamon

a pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Take 4 slices bacon and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat your bacon in a deep saute pan until you start to see a nice crisp on your bacon. Add in the raisins, garlic, and onions and let cook.

While those are cooking peel and shred your sweet potato. I’d suggest using a food processor, but if you don’t have one, no need to panic. When I was up at school this meal was my go-to and I always shredded them by hand with a grater or shredder. You can use a vegetable peeler and then you get these beautiful ribbons of sweet potato in your meatloaf. It’s a bit of a workout, which just means you deserve an extra piece of meatloaf when you’re done.

Once the bacon is cooked, the onions are translucent, and the raisins start to bloat a bit, add them all to a large bowl. Mix in the rest of your ingredients (the beef, almond flour, sweet potato, egg, cinnamon, salt and pepper). Get in there and mix everything together with your hands. When it’s all well incorporated press your meatloaf into a loaf pan and top with the rest of your strips of bacon… you know… for good measure.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked through. The bacon will be perfectly crispy and your kitchen will smell like heaven. Eat up.

IMG_1921

 

adapted from PaleOMG.com 

treat yo self

Posted by Corie

You’ve been working hard. You’ve been eating good and getting shit done. It’s time to treat yo self. With what you might ask? With some peanut butter chocolate avocado stuff.Unknown-2

Sounds tasty, right?

Now, before you go writing this stuff off because it’s made with avocados and avocados are for like guacamole and shit, just wait and hear me out. This chocolate avocado “pudding” is all the rage lately and since avocados are chock full of dense healthy fats, B vitamins, and minerals, all while being low in sugar… I figured, why not? I did have to use dark chocolate and I did have to add peanut butter, but the results were quite magical.

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Disclaimer: I wouldn’t eat this stuff to replace chocolate pudding. This is not chocolate pudding. Digging into this thing with the mindset that it is chocolate pudding, with the same taste, texture, and flavor will leave you crying on the kitchen floor in dissatisfaction. This is avocado stuff. It’s chocolatey and peanut buttery and banana-y. It’s a whole different animal. One that provides added health benefits and sanity to a busy week.

Disclaimer 2: This is still dessert. Yeah I know, avocado is a vegetable or something like that [let’s be honest, no one is really sure what an avocado even is], but it is a sweet meant to be eaten in moderation. Just because it’s healthier than a bowl of ice cream, doesn’t mean “eat this shit before and after every meal” or “binge on chocolate avocado stuff”. That being said, it is perfectly acceptable to treat yo self.

treat-yo-self

Chocolate PB Avocado Stuff

CREAMY-amazing-nutritionally-dense-Chocolate-Avocado-Pudding-sweetened-with-banana-and-dates

The minimalist baker made this stuff look real good. Photo from http://minimalistbaker.com

Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

1.5 ripe avocados

1 large ripe banana

1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter

1/3-1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (I used honey)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Whipped cream for topping

It’s easy. Put all your ingredients except the whipped cream in a food processor. Go light on the cocoa powder and sweetener because you can always add more after blending to get to desired flavor. Blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust sweet or chocolate flavor as needed. Divide the stuff into six small servings. Cover in plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. These are best eaten fresh, but they will stay for a few days.

Take out, top with some whipped cream and if you’re feeling real fancy you can even drizzle them with warm melty peanut butter.

You're all total bosses so I know that your avocado stuff is going to look just like this. Photo from http://minimalistbaker.com

You’re all total bosses so I know that your avocado stuff is going to look just like this. Photo from http://minimalistbaker.com

a big ol’ fruit knowledge bomb

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Posted by Corie

I’ve gotten some questions and witnessed some confusion recently about fruits from friends and family, so today I decided to drop some fruit related knowledge bombs on you all. Fruit has become this gray area in nutrition, fitness, and weight loss. There are differing opinions and contradicting recommendations. We are told over and over that we need to increase our fruit and vegetable intake, but the nutrition prescription that many of us in the CrossFit community are told to follow is to only eat lots of veggies and only SOME fruit. Why the inconsistencies? Why specify “some” fruit? Why not lots of fruit? Are fruits and vegetables the same? Why am I eating my fruits and veggies, but still not leaning up? Why do I feel like my head is going to explode?

IMG_0723Wellllllll, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans lumps fruits and vegetables together, placing an equal amount of importance on the two groups of food and inadvertently providing the perception that their nutritional value is the same. The USDA MyPlate sets the goal at half the plate for fruits and vegetables without describing whether or not it matters how much of each there are. This is misleading information. Fruits and vegetables are not the same nutritionally and, pardon me while I get all sciencey, a single serving of vegetables has about 5 grams of carbohydrate and 25 calories whereas a single serving of fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrate and 60 calories. Simply put, that shit is different. Although both vegetables and fruits provide many of the same vitamins and minerals, they are NOT the same. And guess what, they make all the difference in your diet depending on your goals.

Don’t get me wrong, fruit is good for your body. It is most definitely a better choice than processed packaged foods and provides vitamins and minerals your body needs. The sugar in fruit is different from the sugars added to foods and beverages mostly because fruits also have fiber and water, resulting in a slower spike in blood sugar. However, if you’re trying to loose weight… you’re exercising… you cut the refined starches and the processed junk… and you still aren’t seeing any results… the sugars in fruit, although natural, could be the reason. They may actually be contributing to some weight gain, especially if you’re eating the ones highest in sugar. Here’s the deal:

When is it good to eat fruit?

  • I think there are a few instances when it is definitely beneficial to eat fruits, as well as starchy vegetables. We can lump these two groups together into the same category because they often act similarly within the body). Directly after a workout there is this magical period in which your muscles want to grow. They are so friggen eager to grow, and they will as long as you give them fast carbohydrate and protein. This is the ideal time for carbohydrate dense vegetables and fruits to be put to great use.

Oh come on, I’ve gotta be able to eat fruits. They’re like, real and healthy.

  • The biggest culprits of hidden amounts of sugar that could actually be hindering your weight loss include bananas, papayas, apples, mango, pineapple, grapes, pears, melons, oranges, nectarines, and persimmons
  • The better fruits, the ones you might get away with grabbing more often, would be berries. These are naturally lower in sugar, higher in fiber, and full of antioxidants so you get more nutritional bang for your buck.

What about smoothies? I love my smoothiez.

  • You may remember me saying in the past that bitches love breakfast. Well if there is one thing that bitches love more than breakfast, its smoothies. When you sit down to drink your extra tall smoothie mid-day I want you to think about a few things first.
  • IMG_0315Would you eat all the fruit and vegetables and juice and flax seed and yogurt and protein and whatever the eff else you just threw into that blender, without blending it, all in one sitting? If the answer is hell no… then you should probably rethink drinking all that stuff. If the answer is yes… I’m concerned for your well being.
  • Smoothies can be tasty, but your body likes to chew and digest it’s food. It’s that whole use it or loose it concept. To have the best gut you can, you’ve gotta let it do it’s job. If not, the sugar from that fruit smoothie is going straight into your blood and spiking your blood sugar. Same goes for fruit juice, even the 100% shit. Remember, elevated blood sugars can lead to a whole mess of problems.
  • If you’re going to drink them anyway, do it during that magical half hour window right after your workout when your muscles could use the fast carbs.

That being said I AM NOT trying to tell you to cut out fruit and avoid it like the plague. This is little nugget of knowledge will help you be better. If you’re trying to gain then you can get away with eating more fruit, if you’re trying to loose then dial it back.The best way to figure it all out is to play around with the amount and type of fruits you’re eating. If you’re eating fruit with every meal, it’s time to back off. Oh and no need to worry, you can get all of the same vitamins and minerals from eating a variety of vegetables instead.

I’m informing you for a reason. I’m injecting this insanely useful knowledge into your brain so that you can have the tools to make informed decisions and some serious gainz. I’m droppin’ knowledge bombs on y’all.