Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We've Had a Request, People :: Veggie Packed Meatballs.

Welp. We've had a request. A friend of mine asked me what to do when she is needing to eat something on the way to a workout, but doesn't have the time to fix something right then or needs it on the go. This is a great question AND a very important element of feeding your body at the right moment.

While I must remind you I am NO expert or nutritionist, I know some stuff. There are two key windows to fueling your body to really take advantage of your hard workout efforts! One would be the hour or so leading up to a workout and the second would be that 15-30 minutes after a workout when your body is recovering and makin any gainzzz you can off your ever-so-recent hard work. Just like when you eat at any point during the day, your snacks are just as important to keep completely balanced with your macro-nutrients. Getting a balance of protein and carbohydrate (come down people...this is referring to carb dense, nutrient-ful veggies, not glowing buttered rolls and other complex carbs) is vital to serving your body fuel and not consuming wasted, invaluable calories.

My favorite easily prepped such snack is the Veggie Packed Meatball. I prep these at the start of the week and store them by two's for an easy to grab snack on the way to Crossfit or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
A lot of people have their own variations, and to be honest, I change it up based on what I remember to buy each week but I'll share the gist!

What I use:
  • 1 pound ground meat of choice (ground turkey or ground beef both work great)
  • 1 egg
  • 5-6 strips of cooked bacon (I prefer to bake mine to be crispy)
  • 1 cup/or a handful of baby carrots
  • 2-3 handfuls of leafy (LEAFY) greens...I use spinach, kale and chard or whatever other power greens I have on hand
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of sun dried tomatos
  • 1 shallot
  • a little salt and pepper
  • really, the list can be endless, zucchini, shredded sweet potatoes, peppers, green onions or anything like that will be great add-ins!

Then What:
  1. Heat oven to...you guessed it, 415!
  2. Pulse all the veggies in a food processor along with the bacon. You can puree if you prefer but I like it to look like this with some chunks still in there for better texture.
  3. Let's get messy...in a large bowl, hand mix the veggie mix with the ground meat, salt and pepper and one egg. Hand mix it all until thoroughly incorporated. 
  4. I line a deep pan with foil as there will be some juices baking out from the meat and grease/spray with some EVOO
  5. Create ball shapes about 1.5-2" in diameter and spread out evenly across your pan
  6. I like to drizzle a little Frank's Red Hot Sauce across the meatballs for some added flavor baked into the top!
  7. Bake the meatballs for about 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. You can check them to see how the meat looks and I often cut one open to do a little taste test if they look done!
  8. I put these in containers of 2 and eat them cold on the way to Crossfit or sometimes after. I also have been known to eat a few of these for breakfast in a pinch and they're great reheated or cold....in my opinion.
Having things like this already prepped and packed full of nutrients makes it easy to grab the right kind of snack and keep that metabolism going throughout the day!

Get to snackin!
Finding Fit,

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Meal Preps Take 2 :: The Juggling Act.

Well a two month wait for the second installment on my meal prepping was probably a little overkill, but I've been busy, people. And now that December is half-way over, let's just say we're lucky I've remembered to breath...and I know I'm not alone on that feeling.

I believe the last meal prep process blog ended somewhere around you've got a food haul: now what? (Check out that meal prep post to see what sort of things are making it home with me from the grocery stores) So today, we'll focus on getting from shopping cart to this:

The easiest way for me to explain my own chaotic process is to walk you through my tasks. Some Sundays I get home with all my loot and have a sudden feeling of overwhelming impossibility...so I just turn the oven on. First things first, people. Oven at 415 and I know I can make anything happen.

Turning around from the oven, your counter may look something like mine...well let me tell you how I start. Bacon. Just bacon. Bacon seems like a perfectly reasonable and thoughtful way to start a meal prep. I throw a tray of bacon in the oven to crisp up while I move on to other elements. And, let's face it, once the bacon is employed, everything else just falls into place.
For this meal prep, I knew I was planning to prep a couple dishes to bake and needed to get those in the oven and then could tend to more stove top elements. Paleo Shepard's Pie and Pizza Spaghetti Pie took precedence on this. Browning meat takes little attention at first so I started to chop my sweet potatoes for breakfast bowl while monitoring the meat. Balancing two stove top elements while prepping other veggie elements like the mashed cauliflower top for the shepard's pie and baking the spaghetti squash for the pizza spaghetti becomes quite the juggling act. Phone, microwave and oven timers are deployed in the hopes of keeping the balancing act going.

Removing the bacon, I choose a veggie (broccoli or brussels sprouts) to spread across the pan's bacon grease and toss that pan back in the oven (after spreading evenly and seasoning of course)! Getting the shepard's pie and spaghetti squash dish in the oven along with some veggies, I move on to that breakfast bowl.
Brussels after roasting in the bacon grease and FlavorGod seasonings!
I got the sweet potatoes simmering in oil over medium heat with a lid to steam them for softness. While that cooks, I browned more meat for this dish and moved on to getting an additional protein ready. This week it was salmon...I prefer my salmon a little crispy on the edges so it's easy for me to season this up and throw it in the oven next to the veggies with the casserole dishes on another shelf. As long as timers are kept straight, it's easy to just allow all these elements to cook at that same temp...at least for this multi-tasking chef.

Once the meat and sweet potatoes are ready for the breakfast bowl, I scramble up a pan of eggs and get this all mixed together. <<I'll be posting this recipe (and any others not up yet) later>> With one breakfast simmering together, I start in on my veggie packed meatballs <<Again, I'll share these soon>>.

 ...While I can, let me take a moment of confession: I'm Lisa and I have some OCD tendencies. This often causes me to use any down moments between spatula tossles to wash dishes and keep up with the kitchen...making the overall experience less overwhelming, and more controllable....that's all...

So back to these meatballs. I keep this simple and am able to pretty much dump a bunch of veggies in the processor and pulse a couple times. Gettin my hands dirty, I get these suckers rolled and into the oven in almost record time. I mean, it's pretty impressive. Ha
The meatballs headed into the oven. Recipe share coming soon!
As sides and dishes come out of the oven I begin to portion these out into my individual containers to get more pans out of the way and get more grasp on how many of each dish I will have for the week. The remaining time is a balance of chopping, washing and bagging some fresh raw veggies and any fruit or nuts for snacks as well as getting the dishes out to portion and pack up.
One question I get a lot is about storage containers and fridge life...
I find this sort of personal preference. Always check your eggs and other dates as the original food's expiration dates should be maintained as the meal's shelf life. In effort to be able to prep for my whole week, I do not ever have issue with reheating meals or eating the same thing a few times a week. Others may prefer to prep a few days of food and then prep more mid-week, but my preference is to knock it all out!

As for containers, my favorite meal containers, as you can see from the picture, are actually from Snap Kitchen (or My Fit Foods or Simply Fit...or whatever ready made meal place you've got...). They have great sizes, bpa free, a nice tight seal and they stack and fit well everywhere, storing the right size meals. I typically dump my food on a paper plate to spread it out and heat up but you can also heat up directly in these (unless you've got the whole fear of plastic thing going on). I collect these containers from week's I don't meal prep or from friends who don't keep theirs and love having them ready to use for my own meals.

In regards to what all I try to prep...
That depends on the week a little. Ideally, I would have 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and at least a few dinners if not all of them. I also am sure to have something yummy for an afternoon snack or pre-workout fuel (the meatballs) and raw veggies and nuts for healthy snacking options. Just remember to be considering your macro-nutrients and fueling your metabolism throughout the entire day with real whole foods.

With all of these elements ready and raring to go, there's no room for cheats, going hungry, or having to spend extra money throughout the week for food. 

If I can prioritize this in my busy schedule, you can too. Start simple and get excited to see how your love for cooking will grow, or as in my case, come out of nowhere!

Happy prepping friends!
Finding Fit,

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Taking Thanksgiving :: Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Welp, the Holiday season tis definitely upon us. One such tra-la-la-festive day was our recent beloved Thanksgiving. Turkey, dressing, casseroles, mashed taters, steaming starches, all things pumpkin, and pure indulgence are all elements associated with this holiday...right alongside the pilgrims...

Wearing 'pants that give' is just wise planning and a post-meal food-coma-induced nap is an expected sidebar to ridiculous amounts of football and Lifetime Christmas movies (yes this day makes it officially okay).

Family, friends, and loved ones gather round with hearts of gratitude to break bread together...except THIS girl would have no grain breakage. That's right. I wanted to take Thanksgiving and let it know, just like the rest of my life, that this day of thanks and celebration would not have to revolve around food on food on food #onfood.
Since completing the Paleo challenge in November, I have decided to go into events and holidays with a planned mindset of whether I was going to allow a cheat or not and that's just what I did this time. My mindset for Thanksgiving? I could have it if I wanted at that specific meal, but not before or after and not in excess. So I headed on home to a loving and supportive family. With just our immediate family this year, we went ahead and cut out a few items, including the homemade rolls from heaven and my favorite mama's apple pie. To bypass the mashed potatoes, I whipped up some simple roasted rosemary sweet potatoes and my now well-known-amongst-my-friends roasted bacon brussels sprouts. 
While I did opt to allow myself 2 bites of steaming stuffing and a small scoop of creamy green bean casserole, that was it. I kept the rest of the meal clean and did not feel one bit deprived. Where I would have reached for a second scoop of something (even the clean eats), I sat back and realized I was satisfied and had met the taste bud needs across the board. I never hit the indulgence phases of too stuffed to move or regret. And ya know what? Thanksgiving wasn't any less thanksgiving without all things gluten-filled.

I even whipped out a batch of my favorite Paleo chocolate chip cookies so I could opt for a cleaner route while pumpkin pie and a cheesecake sampler were dished up. Again, I did not feel deprived one bit. The few minutes I thought I'd stray, I just had to mentally LOCK IT UP and I was good.

Moral of the story? I did have a few bites of cheat for Thanksgiving meal but kept it planned and precise and have zero regrets. After all what's not to like? Turkey? Good. Veggies? Gooood. Family time? GOOOOOD. (Please enlighten yourself on that FRIENDS reference because It. Is. Good.)

I have been meaning to share my go-to brussles sprouts method for a while now; and, after making it for several Thanksgiving events this season, it is time to share my ways!

Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts::

What I use:
  • Package of Pederson's Uncured Sugar-free bacon
  • Large bag of Brussels Sprouts, chopped (you can often find pre-chopped sprouts in some stores like Trader Joes or Whole Foods as well)
  • A spritz of Avocado Oil or EVOO
  • Salt&Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
Then What:
  1. Oven at 415*, line a lipped baking sheet with foil
  2. Line the bacon out side by side across the tray and bake for about 15-18 minutes, just check for crispiness based on your oven.
  3. While bacon bakes, wash and chop your sprouts. Easiest is to cut in half and place those flat sides down and then chop them lengthwise into about 3 pieces each half. Once you have a rhythm down, it's very simple!
  4.  Remove your baked bacon and set aside, leaving the tray filled with bacon grease. THIS is the secret key ingredient :) Good ole bacon fat (from healthy bacon, of course!)
  5. Spread your chopped brussels out across the grease in as thin and even a layer as possible. Spray with a spritz of your oil of choice to get the tops to roast well and season with a good covering of garlic powder and pepper and a dash of sea salt. 
  6. Bake on the top rack for about 20 minutes, checking and shuffling them at least once. I like to have some crispy texture in there at the end so mine may bake for a little longer.
  7. Crumble bacon into them to serve fresh and flavorful! 
  8. I often make sprouts to use throughout the week (sometimes without the bacon step if I'm in a hurry) and they are great reheated with fried eggs over them for breakfast or alongside a protein at lunchtime!
Bacon on my friends!
Finding Fit,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

STRESSED | DESSERTS :: Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

When Dallas decides to drop 30 degrees and wobble back and forth between a tease of fall and the looming winter cold, and the hustle of a crazy busy time of year grabs you, it becomes increasingly hard to avoid those warm cozy foods...more specifically desserts...
Is it a coincidence that "desserts" is "stressed" spelled backwards?! I think not. Something about the reward of a warm cookie with an afternoon coffee calms that right eye twitch...just me? Surely not.

A friend of mine found this recipe for easy Paleo cookies online a couple years back and we've both sort of adopted it to our own thing. While this is not a Whole30 approved treat, it is technically a "clean eat" and is a great occasional treat as long as you share them with friends and don't eat them all. Prepare for simplicity.

What I used:
  • 1 cup almond butter (each one creates a different texture in your cookie. I prefer to use a crunchy almond butter...make sure it is just almonds and no oils or additives!)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or agave)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a dairy free "paleo friendly" brand that makes awesome dark chocolate chips. I bought mine at Sprouts)
  • ...that's it. No seriously.
What Had Happened Was:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix everything in a bowl with a spoon
  3. Line a cookie sheet with foil and use some coconut oil or EVOO to grease the pan
  4. Use the spoon to make drop batter on the foil, spread about 2" apart. I usually make 8-10 cookies from this.
  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes
  6. Remove and let cool on the pan a bit
I like to keep them in the fridge for a cool gooey treat at a later time too. 
As a reminder, this is a fat dense treat and still has natural sugars that you have to consider when treating yourself. That said, everyone deserves a little "stressed" spelled backwards every once in a while. Enjoy!

Finding Fit,

Friday, November 14, 2014

Here's a story...of a happy fat kid.

For as long as I can remember, Obesity has played a lead role in my life.
What? Is that a little heavy of a start to this post? Welp, it's the truth and this is my story, full of those "heavy" moments in oh so many ways. Buckle up.

I grew up in a wonderfully supportive, loving and encouraging, Christ centered family environment and would not trade my amazingly crazy family for anything. But I do think the three Sorenson girls could have dealt without the weight. Literally.
With genetically slow metabolisms from the start, we were just always happy fat kids. I know how hard this had to have been on my very "normal" sized parents as they watched their daughters grow up; but, I have to say it didn't hold us back. Perhaps, that's why it took so long to find my way into a new healthy lifestyle ...there just wasn't much I felt held back from!
Thank you Early 90's for the jewel tones and socks with loafers.
I have always been an over-involved girl, taking on any leadership roles, opportunities to perform and, of course, making new friends at every chance I get. Personality, self-esteem, and drive never fell victim to excessive weight which is why I think getting the weight off always took the backseat on the priority list.
Senior Banquet with my beautiful (and noticeably smaller) parents, 2006
Weight Watchers was a common thread in our home, by the time I hit middle school and we settled our Air Force family down in San Antonio, Texas, for what would become the long haul. "How many points is that" was a regular family phrase, and alongside Curves or whatever other "exercise" regimen, participating in the program with my supportive mama led to 30 pounds down here, 40 pounds down there. But keeping up with high school, extra curriculars, and a social life to boot never left anything sticking around.
High School Graduation 2006 after singing our Alma Mater for our graduating class. Strike Em Rattlers.
I don't even know that I noticed my peek weight but I sure did ride that roller coaster up and down and into college, never losing more than 50 pounds or so, but always sure to put it back on without truly noticing. I'm sure college allnighters, drinking and college food habits consistently played into it, but it still never really held me back. I watched as my two older sisters lost over 100 pounds each at different times...and then put it back on and I just didn't understand what it would take or why God wouldn't just fix it.

The Lord kept bringing me to a scripture through my prayers, through my friends, and through different experiences and convictions in my struggle with weight.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body"
I began sharing my struggle with friends and using it as a point of relation to friends who confided in me their own struggles. While I don't doubt the Lord created me to be empathetic and intentional with these friendships and relationships, I can now see that my struggle with obesity was a crutch, but not something I was willing to turn over to God and His sovereignty. "Rejoice in Hope, Be Patient in Tribulation, Be Constant in Prayer"...Romans 12:12 was another scripture ticker-taping through my brain as I tried to pray away my tribulations and those of my friends, whatever they were. But it wasn't God not hearing my prayers, it was me not leaving anything more than words at His feet.

Seeking the Lord's plan in every nook and cranny of my oh-so-defining college years, I could not understand why I could not just give this over to God and honor him in that surrender. But my selfish control and pride would not free me to His grace in my struggle with weight.
Baylor Graduation, May 2010. Sic Em Bears.
It wasn't until I graduated in the pit of our economy, with no job and no plan, and had to head back home to San Antonio, that I truly found a place uncomfortable enough, I had no other choice but to see God flagging me down. With the unending support of my parents, I joined a gym, where I was handed over to a pesky trainer, who would become one of my closest friends for the next 14 months. I soon learned that the Lord had gifted me this time of living with my parents who supported my healthy eating changes, and being able to spend 3-4 days a week with my trainer. As I began to accept the Lord's plan in this and truly just submit my struggle to HIM, I began to see a determination and a desire for this change that I had never seen before. God met me where I was, in a frustrated pit of not knowing what was next, and He planted a seed in me to pursue HIS purpose with my body and with my life. I spent the next year doing "crossfit" style workouts with my trainer and watching as I developed a love for working out and the thrill of my body changing shape. It was literally just eating the right foods and exercising, but at the core of it, I knew I was doing it to honor the Lord.
August 2011 as I prepared to move to Dallas and leave my beloved, trainer, Byron.
Just over a year later, God opened up incredible doors for me to take an amazing job in Dallas. Before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to my trainer and shipping off 5 hours north on 35. My first free weekend had me signing up for a free trial at Crossfit Strong. I left that morning in tears...of joy. I knew this would be my home to continue my journey of this healthy lifestyle...and 3 years later, it still is. Moving out of a house where my dad prepped chicken and salads for lunches, and my parents and I shared in healthy dinners together was a hard transition but I quickly found a passion for cooking. Nutrition and knowing the WHY's of what I believe is a healthy eating lifestyle continues to drive my passion for clean eating and fueling my body.

In the midst of a (very) busy life, I have found some of my greatest joy in pleasing God by treating my body as HIS temple. When I put good things into my body and push myself in the gym, I see results. But I see even better results when I do it for His Glory, knowing He has already overcome this for me. 

Over the last 4 years, I have still seen ups and downs. I have had great wins, and hard defeats. I have fallen short and into food traps or social-life eating and drinking habits. I have completed numerous Paleo/Clean eating challenges. I have been through A LOT of clothing.
It's hard work and I sometimes buy into the satan's lies that it would just be easier to just be the big girl and not fight this. But my God is Greater, Stronger, and Higher than any other. He continues to meet me where I am, often with friendships and accountability to help me through, because He intends more for me than being the happy fat kid.
People ask what my goal is...there is no number...mainly because I don't even know what that looks like. But there is a hope that I can honor God, roll these successes up into praise to Him, inspire others to seek the same...and ya know, be really strong too.

This is my journey. My forever journey. And I'm thankful for it, even in the trials. This is my way of finding fit, in all the ways.

With a heart of gratitude (especially if you made it through the novel)
Finding Fit,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Paleo-ified Homecoming Weekend.

Homecoming Weekend is one of my absolute favorite times of year. It is reunions, parades, song and dance, hugs galore, football, scarves and coffees, friends who are family, and copious amounts of green and gold. And at the root of it all, it's about TRADITION. I love the comforting embrace each time my Alma Mater welcomes us home to celebrate together.
So what does this have to do with my journey? Well, as you can imagine, there are some food oriented traditions that come along with this celebratory weekend and a non-stop schedule of events, reunions, and little sleep, make it difficult to stay ahead of my every meal and snack need. One of our traditions is to share in some yummy bread loaves sent from one of the mamas each year. The early morning cold and sunshine mix perfectly with a hot coffee and a slice of zucchini or pumpkin bread as the parade passes by. And let me tell you...that bread is GOOD.
Well I came into the weekend guns loaded. I am not a huge fan of "paleo-ifying" breads, desserts and other treats that still trigger reactions in your body, HOWEVER, there is a time and place for even a clean treat and THIS was just that for me.

I chose to make the Paleo Chai Pumpkin Bread from PaleOMG's awesome blog. This hit two birds with one stone... made for an excellent breakfast companion to my venti Starbucks Red-Eye... AND prevented any fear of missing out on the breads or feeling deprived around my friends. It is a pretty easy recipe and is completely Lurong Paleo Challenge approved....oh and it's pretty. (Especially for my first ever bread making experience...Paleo or the like.)

While conquering the parade munchies was a success, I still had a busy day ahead of me. We were spoiled to get to join a wonderful family in their suite at the new McLane Stadium as the Bears slaughtered the Jayhawks. With that box seating, came a spoiling spread of gourmet foods from ribs and mac n cheese to fried chicken, buffalo salads and slaws, and a dessert bar for days.
In all honesty, my spirit was killed a little when I saw how difficult it would be for me to truly stick to my guns and actually get to EAT anything. Hungry, defeated and frustrated, I walked away from the food. Insert one of my best friends swooping in with loving encouragements and ideas. She literally cut rib meat off the bones for me and helped me load up on some raw veggies which had been masked by a typical dip tray. For a bit, I was able to ignore the popcorn, candies and chips and dips flooding the suite life, downing water and focusing on the game.
A couple hours later, Dr Pepper floats (a great tradition of Baylor), were delivered to the box. I once again found frustration as everyone devoured snacks, desserts and continued to munch with freedom through the afternoon. While I have come to a place where I don't mind missing out on treats and choose to cling to my own decision and convictions for what I am personally deciding to do and not do, those rational thoughts become fuzzy when my stomach starts grumbling with no clean eats in sight...

I write this in both confession and celebration. I do not ever want to pretend to have it all together because I can post some great pictures and make a mean meal prep. Dedication, determination, and a goal-oriented mindset keep me from straying, especially while in challenge mode. BUT you need to know, for all of our sanity, some days are just hard and that was one. I survived Homecoming weekend and wrapped up week 7 of clean eating without a cheat. That's the celebration. And I'll keep celebrating the little moments.

Finding Fit,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Comfort Foods :: Paleo Shepard's Pie.

Another one of my go-to meals I like to have the ingredients around for is Paleo Shepard's Pie. ESPECIALLY as we continue to pretend fall is here down in Texas. This warm dish has Fall written all over it, so come on Dallas, get the hint...

I found this recipe originally from following an Instagram account, @primalappetite, and have adapted to my own technique now to where it's second nature.

With my aching mouth and teeth from all my dental work, this cozy, soft, and comfort-food dish hit the spot tonight...not to mention reheats for great (not as beautiful) leftovers!
What I used:
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used turkey tonight...great with any sort...)
  • 1-2 carrots diced
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Dried Basil
  • Salt and Peppa to taste
***Confession: The way I keep this easy and quick is by hitting up Trader Joe's. They have a "Mirepoix" stew mix that is the perfect ratio of carrots, celery, and onion already chopped! I also have been buying the steam bags of cauliflower so I don't have to steam the cauliflower and it keeps it simple and easy! Praise be for Trader Joe's makin its way to DFW!
Makin it happen:
  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet with some S&P and some dried basil sprinkled in
  2. When cooked, add in the veggies and continue to cook until the veggies are soft. I toss in a little more dried basil too and cover with a lid to help steam the veggies a little.
  3. Boil the cauliflower OR nuke your steam bag :)
  4. Transfer soft cauliflower to food processor and mix with EVOO and garlic
  5. Pulse until smooth
  6. Spoon meat and veggie mix into square pyrex and distribute evenly (I use an 8x8 but a 9x12 would be fine, just thinner)
  7. Top with cauliflower mash and spread. Sprinkle a little S&P and dried basil to top
  8. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes
Be warned, male friends have been known to really like and devour! It really is pretty simple and very flavorful!

Cauliflower is a wonderful tool when eating clean as it is a very adaptable vegetable to replace a lot of starchy, carb-loaded foods, and is packed with lots of nutrients.
Here are just some of the benefits:
  • High in nutrients and minerals (C, K, Folate, Fiber, B6, Magnesium and many more...)
  • Boosts detox processes in the body
  • Great antioxidant support with the Vitamin C and Magensium as well as many key phytonutrients
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Natural support of the cardiovascular and digestive systems
  • Just to name a few...
Feeling comforted and...
Finding Fit,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spice Up Your Life :: Chorizo Lovin.

One of my favorite go-to's was brought to my attention by a good friend. It's a recipe tucked at the back of the Primal Cravings cookbook, which I highly recommend to keep things interesting in the kitchen.


Well I love the Chorizo recipe because it is super easy but brings a whole new dynamic of flavor and interest to all kinds of meals so try it out! I mixed bison and turkey for a double batch and to keep the lean meats with the flavor of the bison. I also tweak a few things from the recipe in the book as seen below...

What I used:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground bison (use meat of choosing but mixing makes a bigger batch and keeps the flavor interesting!)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp hot sauce (use 2-3 if your spice buds are fearful...but it's really not that spicy overall)
Then What Happened:
  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet pan 
  2. Once browned, add in everything else
  3. Mix well to coat the entire meat mixture and let to simmer for a little, stirring occasionally.
I use this in taco salads, mixed with eggs for breakfast, on the side of roasted veggies for an easy meal, or even made into burger patties. Great staple to get you through a lot of meals for the week...and I just don't get sick of it! Here's mine nestled between some roasted Brussels sprouts and eggs for breakfast this week...

Get spicing people!
Finding Fit,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Date Ball Fudge Bombs.

We all have the occasional (or more than occasional) need to quench a sweet tooth.
<and for those select members of society who never really experience said need, you may quit reading now. And also, tell us your secrets! Come on now, give it up...>

While on this Paleo challenge, I usually try to stick to straight up fruit when I need desert, or my magical frozen banana "ice cream" concoction. But there are the times I explore a "paleo-ified" dessert.
Whether your desert is made of approved real ingredients or is chop full of all things artificial and xanthum gum-like, you are still taking in something your body registers as "sweet". For that reason I don't always love the idea of "Paleo-ifying" any and every dessert out there as it feels like it's missing the point of the lifestyle change. Naturally occurring sugars are going to be best for you, as found in fruit and some of the coconut sugar and other substitutes available; but, just remember, they are exactly that...sugar...still releasing into your blood and still triggering your insulin levels to have a spike reaction of some kind.

I say all this as a precaution because I think we all get caught up in the mentality that if it's "approved" or "clean" or "paleo", we can just consume frivolously. The finger is pointing at myself as well, so don't feel singled out, I assure you. Just keep tabs on when and how often you are bringing in fruit, both dried and fresh, and other clean desserts into your diet.

Alas, I return to the first stated fact, we all have the sweet need. And mine has been met by a great and simple recipe coming to me through a couple friends from Crossfit. It's been called "Fudge Bombs", "Date Balls", "Nutty Ball Things"...and I feel the need to share...
What I used:
  • 1.5 cups Pitted Dates (I buy mine at Sprouts generally. If you cannot find pitted, you can just rip them apart and not worry about 'neatly' pitting the monsters)
  • 1 cup Nut of choice (walnuts, cashews, almonds...I use raw or roasted unsalted Almonds)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of UNSWEETENED Cocoa Powder
  • dash of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • dash of Sea Salt
  1. Literally put everything in the food processor together and blend for about 2 minutes
  2. If you can clump a little between your fingers, it's ready to ball. If it is seeming dry, add a few more dates and mix
  3. Grab about 2 tablespoons worth and smoosh around in your hand until it begins to stick in a ball form (yes, I said smoosh) Roll the whole mix into about 1-1.5" balls. Should make somewhere around 20-24 and this part does take a little more time...
  4. I put mine straight into tupperware with one layer in each container and stick them in the fridge to set together a little and because I think they taste better cold
I bring one or two with me in my bag to enjoy after lunch. Or I'll grab one after dinner. They totally hit the spot. Dates are a very sweet fried fruit, so this is where the precaution comes in to not sit and consume them all. Stick them in the freezer if they will be a temptation to eat too many. On a lighter note, dates are also a great source of potassium, magnesium and lots of fiber!

So for you sweet tooth, chocolate craving friends, these little drops of heaven to the rescue. To you friends without a sweet tooth, the candy-lady has nothing for you.


Finding Fit,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Befriending My Alarm Clock.

Scaling buildings, throwing rocks at my window, calling my phone until it dies, piling random objects of all shape and size on my face, shouting absurdly in my ear...shaking, poking, prodding... No, this is not how I get focused for meal prep...these are all ways people have tried to wake this princess from her slumber...

You may think me dramatic but, alas, it's the truth. I do NOT wake up easily. It doesn't matter how much or how little sleep I get, I sleep HARD. My best friend even tested out every alarm clock in the store to find me the loudest one he could get me. The struggle is real, people.

Perhaps I got my sleeping abilities from my grandpa? Just a thought...
Sufficed to say, Lisa is NOT a morning person. Not only is it hard to get up, it is hard for me to function in the mornings! BUT, it's time to make a change. I call it my attempt at finding my grown-up morning person. And somehow decided it was time to actually make it happen.

With my determination set on results, I knew I needed to add in some extra spice to my weekly dosage of exercise. I keep my schedule pretty full and busy so it's hard to find extra time to add in supplemental workouts on top of Crossfit; and, with my plantar fascitis roarin in both my feet, I can't just "go for a run". I can't tell you how many times I have "decided to add morning cardio" to my regimen and NOT followed through. This perfectionist definitely prefers to follow through and meet her goals.

Something about starting my 'campaign' to have people share in this Finding Fit journey has lit a fire under my pillow and I've managed to start working this fasted cardio into my mornings...and guess what?...I'm still alive.

Having one of my awesome Crossfit friends living on my floor of the building who texts me every morning to make sure I'm getting up definitely sets this people pleaser on the right foot as well. I have already talked about how important accountability is, but knowing someone could come banging on my door to make sure I'm up and ready to go hit the gym downstairs, has made for a great new "wake-up" call.
It also helps that I get texts like this every morning...
 I won't lie and tell you it's been super easy...it's not. I've had to train myself to get to sleep earlier and be set and ready to jump in my clothes in the morning. But having a PAL who wants to help make sure I wake up early and then seeing the results of just adding in 30 minutes of low impact, interval cardio in the morning has been a fabulous feeling. Starting my day that way and feeling accomplished puts even a princess's slumber lower on the priority list.

While my brain tells me I prefer to be asleep when it looks like this in the morning...
 ... realizing there are still moments like this when you're up before the bustle, definitely adds to the pro column....
So I'm makin it happen people. I'm finding that adult alarm clock and finding ways to make strides towards my goals. Annnnd, if we're friends on SnapChat, you're likely getting a snappy pic most mornings just to prove it's actually happening. Because, let's face it friends, when it comes to Lisa+Mornings, if there's no pic, it didn't happen...

So here's to morning cardio, shameless gym selfies, great accountability....and...Grumpy Cat. Because who doesn't love Grumpy Cat?

Finding Fit...and my inner morning person,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cooking Dirty. Eating Clean.

With meal prep time running short on Sunday, I knew I had to plan one mid-week night when I could cook another meal to cover a couple more lunches. Not only that but I had that meal in my head! You know...that all consuming thought...I could practically taste it and had somehow perfected the experiment in my dreams...so it had to happen.

Tonight. Hump Day (Hump daaaaaay). I made it happen. I questioned my dedication to making it happen as I threw my body against the ground for burpees and wall-balled and rowed my legs to jello at the late Crossfit Strong class tonight. Yes, the thought of the classic and easier giant salad was a tempting out upon getting home so late. But this girl is busy and tonight was the night to make this happen. And mm-mm. I have no regrets.

I may be dripping sweat still but this meal was cleeeeeaaaan....

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Baked Chicken Wrapped Asparagus.
Got that?

One more time.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Baked Chicken Wrapped Asparagus. Yes.

What I used to make these 3:
  •  3 chicken breasts flattened out (you can either use a meat hammer OR you can sometimes get your butcher to give you "Chicken Scaloppini"...or thin chicken cuts
  • Bundle of Asparagus spears
  • Avocado oil (or preferred baking oil)
  • Seasonings (I used Flavor God "Garlic Lovers"...garlic powder and s&p would do the trick)
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. I put down some avocado oil on a foiled pan and then laid out my thin chicken cuts
  3. Spray or brush some avocado oil on the chicken and add seasonings
  4. Add 8 or so asparagus spears
  5. Wrap the chicken at an angle so the ends are on the bottom to help keep it together
  6. Sprinkle with some more Garlic Lovers (or chosen spices)
  7. Get it baking and let it bake for about 15-18 minutes while you make the Pesto....
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto:
(This is a prime example of utilizing your community resources. In the middle of the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge, I have finally realized the recipe forums are such great resources and found this there)
  •  3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil is best)
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (a small bunch)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor or blender, mix the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs
  2. Stream in olive oil in the processor until the pesto begins to form
  3. Add salt and pepper to paste
  4. Now take out your chicken and add a nice dollop (what would you do with a dollop...) to each bundle
  5. Bake for another 5-8 minutes depending on how much further your chicken needs to cook. 
<< I like to fly by the seat of my pants when I cook so it's hard to always document times and temps but I'll try to do my best to track these! >>
Enjoy! Don't be afraid to cook dirty and eat clean!

Finding Fit,

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Meal Preps Take 1 :: Whole Food$ and Beyond.

A lot of people ask me what meal prep looks like for me and what my secrets are. Well it's a little different every time but come close and I'll tell you the secret...are you close...I mean it, lean in...ready?
...MENTAL MULTITASKING! That is the not-so-secret, yet necessary gist to every successful meal prep I have.

So let me back up and say that while it is a blast for me to post pics like THIS....

 annnnnd THIS...

...it takes a LOT of prep and, to be honest, mental dedication to what I am doing. There are times I choose to screen shot recipes off the Instagram or a blog here and there for the week, but usually, I don't totally know what I plan to prepare when I go to the store.

This post is to just focus on the first aspect of my meal preps...Collecting the FOOOD.

I get asked where I shop a lot...I mix it up. I used to have it made with a Central Market, a Whole Foods and a Tom Thumb all out my back door at my old place. Could there BE any more perfect grocery stores?! Addison is a little different now...and don't even get me started on missing the HEB's south on 35 (moment of silence for DFW missing the mark on this). When I do a full meal prep for the week, I generally hit up Costco for some of my meat, great produce and oils and nuts. I swing through Sprouts or Whole Food$ or Tom Thumb for the fillers.
<<If you have time to get to one (I often don't) hit up your local Farmer's Market! Support local farmers AND get the best deals on the best produce, eggs and often meat!>>

As you see a lot of nutrition sites mention, I stick to the outside of the store, for the most part. Lean meats (grass fed, no hormones or nitrates), fresh produce (as many greens as I can think to use, colorful veggies and a couple key fruits for the week, generally), eggs (organic, cage-free), nuts (raw or roasted with NO oils!) and then SPICES!

How do I stay away from the rut of bland chicken and broccoli regularly? Here's my multitasking gameplan...

I generally choose two types of meat per week, then pair veggies from there. I like to grab ground turkey for stirfrys or burger patties, and veggie packed meatballs. Then I usually grab either grass feed beef, chicken, or a salmon as my secondary meat. I also buy bacon...pretty much every week. For those who don't know, Pederson's has an uncured bacon that is SUGAR FREE! In other words they #NAILEDIT.

Power greens like spinach, chard, and kale always make the cart. It's easy to throw tons of this in meatballs, skillet stir frys or eggs in the mornings.
Next, I consider some veggies I can roast to have ready to add to meat, eggs or other meals for easy grab...this generally looks like brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, some sweet potatoes, and sometimes cauliflower.
The third veggie group I think of is what is easy to bag up for raw veggie snacks to throw in my bag for the day for any time I need a lil somethin somethin... this generally looks like snap peas, cut up cucumbers, carrots, or cherry tomatoes.

There are plenty of other ways to consider what vegetables to get in your cart; but, when I don't have a specific plan yet, this is the easiest way to make sure I cover enough bases to get home with proper grub for the week. It also helps make sure I, once again, don't end up with just broccoli...

Avocados, nuts, and coconut products are my go-to healthy fats and you have to have some on hand to keep your metabolism going and your body breaking down the bad fats!

Do not forget spices! I keep sea salt, fresh pepper, garlic, paprika (both smoked and not), cumin, coriander, and onion on hand at all times...among about 50 other spices. My spice cabinet gives LIFE to my food and keeps my healthy meals from dull and boring. If you're worried about combining spices, look into something like Flavor God. These are amazing paleo-friendly spices that are made with real ingredients and make foods really good without trial and error.

So you get home with all these wonderful elements for a great meal prep...now what?

Well...that'll come with Take 2. Of course.
How do YOU gather your crops each week?

<<  "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food" - Hippocrates   >>

Finding Fit,

Friday, September 26, 2014


I mentioned a certain "Paleo challenge" the other day and thought I'd elaborate. There are a lot of "nutrition/paleo/clean eating/sugar detox themey challenges" out there and, for the most part, they're pretty much 6 in one hand, half a dozen in the other...the moral is always just cut the crap, eat REAL FOOD.

HOWEVER, this challenge grabs me for some reason and I had to dive back in. The Lurong Living Paleo Challenge (also the Lurong Living Real Food Challenge) is all about a lifestyle. Targeting my people...the Crossfitting kind, it is 8 weeks of programing, goal setting, community recipe and meal plan sharing, and accountability to stay "clean". I participated with my box, Crossfit Strong, in 2012 and it was a time I felt at my best. What is it about competition mentality that makes me wanna put on my game face and prove that, in fact, Team Monica always wins?!

For those who don't know, the Lurong challenge has a foundation of the typical paleo food list. The yes, the no, and the use in moderation foods. Eliminating dairy, sugar, grains, legumes and alcohol. I log in daily to report for 6 possible times of eating a day and click either "cheat" or "clean" and send it off into the judgement of the www world. Benchmark workouts mark the progress from beginning to end as well as the tangible results of weight and measurements changes.
Here's one of my favorite lifting buddies and I after she did one of the benchmark WODs with me at open gym today. Thanks for always pushing me to be better and dancing around barbells with me, Taylor!

The forums offered on the Lurong website connect you with people of all walks participating in the same lifestyle change movement. Sharing recipes, asking questions and educating ourselves, it's an extension of the Crossfit camaraderie and connection of people that I love so much. I really love people. I know. THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION.

Anywho, for someone who was needing a swift kick in the booty to refocus for the fall and get back on track with my weight loss, I was eager to sign up for this challenge...AND to tell people I signed up. I have no problem letting people know I'm participating because...yep...there goes that accountability thing again. I'm all in, folks. And while, I can't base a lifestyle solely on a challenge here and there, I sure can use these as stepping stones and opportunities where needed. And this one was needed.

I have no intention of ending these "cheat" free days when we hit the challenge's end on November 9th. I have no intention of it being easy. But I also have no intention of letting Team Monica down. Again, Team Moncia always wins.

Thank you guys for the love, support, and check-ins.

Finding Fit,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Root of Today.

Today started with a traumatic experience...it was possibly preventable, yet somehow inevitable...and, because of it, I have been changed. Yes, you guessed it...I had a root canal.
Did I mention I have a flair for the dramatics?
There's a point to this, I promise.

I was in the chair for a good 2+ hours when all was said and done; and, leaving with a growling stomach and a half numb mouth didn't exactly bode well for a girl in the midst of a "nutrition challenge". Milkshakes, ice-cream, slurpies... That was the list I got for things to consume in the coming hours. I have to say, the long gone, old mentality would have said "well YA! you deserve that now" or "well there's just no way around it..." And I know I'm not alone in that.
Not this time. Not this girl. I've made a promise to work hard and have been completely committed to this particular 8-week Paleo challenge (we'll address that later) and I was not about to throw consistency out over dental work and Novocaine.

SO first stop before meds and back to work, was The Juice Bar. Knowing it would be a while before eating, I needed nutrients. The good ones. I chose a hefty green cold pressed juice, comprised of only veggies and some fruit, with no other added junk like so many "juices" out there have. (Read your labels, people!)
The bottle of green goodness sustained me in my groggier state, and I'm sure the straw slurp-sip out the side of my mouth was an excellent added bonus.

As I arrived home tonight, my mouth incredibly sore, I was starving. My solution was crushed up tuna, crushed up avocado and some homemade jalapeno ranch sauce. Though the mush was less riveting in texture than my normal kitchen endeavors, it was yummy and compliant. Beyond that, I was satisfied and fed and proud to have not fallen prey to the typical exemption to the rule moments that accompany being sick...

My dental centered rambling is all to say...there are no excuses. Slow your roll. It just takes a little thoughtfulness and remembering where your priorities lie. At the root of it, choosing the healthy solutions is choosing the healthy ME.
I will not claim to have my act together 100% of the time (or I wouldn't be starting this blog project) BUT I have to be encouraged by these small moments of victory, and share them as ideas and inspiration for someone else like me, in need of a little victory...and some pain meds...

Finding Fit,

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Meaning is 3-Fold.

Well, it's happening.
I am starting a blog...however, in an effort to rid you of any preconceived expectations for witty commentary and perfectly arranged thoughts, I have to tell you...it's not for you. Nope. This is for me. I need a place to hold myself accountable to transparency and a genuine account of this journey I'm on (and have been on...and will be on...)
So with that out of the way, my goal is to designate this little personalized sliver of cyber space to my journey in weight loss. <I will be posting my story in future posts for those who do not know already>
I need a place to share my triumphs and pitfalls and to be completely honest about "how it's going". ..we all love this question, right? "how's it going?"...to be completely honest or not to be, that's always the question...WELL, here is where I want to be completely honest, AND, because of that, I am praying for open doors for more honesty and accountability in my life and amazing community of friends and loved ones encouraging me to work hard and be the best I can be. Thank you to those who already do this, and to others, know I have asked for this tough love so don't feel bad prying a little.

As seen in the description, what I want to share is three-fold...like the box for Chandler (FRIENDS references may be a regular occurrence also). Finding Fit is about the perpetual journey. It has been ongoing and, while I know there are those who have struggled with obesity who would seek that one and done fix-it solution, I am not them. Finding Fit is about moving forward with this healthy lifestyle and continuing to find the "fittest" version of Lisa. To me that doesn't have to mean just physically (though, that would be a perky lil sideshow) but, instead, encompasses a completely balanced life with these three particular areas to be "fit".

The physical side will come from adventures with Crossfit. I hope to share things here and there about workouts, including things I struggle with and areas where I excel!

Fueling that habit, and hopefully fueling pounds shed, will be the adventures in the kitchen. I love to cook and have found great joy in sharing that with others. A lot of people ask for different recipes and meal prep techniques I use and this is where you'll find them, as well as the links to those inspiring ME.

Above and beyond anything I can put in my body or perform at the gym, I am 100% certain my Jesus and His amazing Grace gives me strength and HE will do above and beyond what I can even imagine. He has laid it on my heart, for some time now, to put this out there, whether for 1 person or for100.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20

Thank you for making it this far and I hope you'll come along with me as I bring you the details of my journey...

Finding Fit,