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'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 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... 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 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,