Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIAW #49

Between the snow piled up and the cold, I'm seriously over winter at this point. Hello? Paging spring, come in spring!

While warm weather and sunshine would be nice, all that tasty fresh spring and summer produce would be even better. As much as I enjoy cooking with squashes and cauliflower, I'm nearly over them as well. 

Sigh. Its gotta come sometime, right?

Maybe a little WIAW action will lift my spirits! Let's give it a go...



I've been loving this breakfast lately! "Oat bran" without the oats, topped with chia seeds and almond butter. Fantastic swap for my much beloved and missed oatmeal while I'm eating paleo.

"Oat Bran" Without The Oats
recipe from Carrots 'N' Cake
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 egg whites
1 banana, mashed
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
1. Whisk together almond milk and egg whites. Stir in remaining ingredients.
2. Pour into a saucepan and cook until set. (This doesn't take too long, maybe 5 to 7 minutes?)
3. Top with whatever you wish - nut butter, seeds, fruit, raw honey, etc.

\

A recycled photo but one that I could use practically every week if I wanted to. The usual chicken and salad lunch....aka Snoozeville. I was doing pretty well at making enough leftovers to bring for lunch, but have definitely dropped the "prepping food" ball lately. 


Steak, onions, and salad - a crazy easy dinner but a winner! I kept the steak simple, using only salt and pepper and broiling it to medium-rare. Sometimes the simplest method yields the best results.

What's your favorite whip together dinner? Always love those great ideas floating out in blog-land!

Have a great Hump Day! ;)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crossfittin'

Happy Monday everyone! 
Hope you all had a great St. Patrick's Day and are feeling alright today. ;)

For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling great after St. Pat's. I only ended up having one beer yesterday and that was more to celebrate my Open WOD 13.2 do-over success! 


I'd done 13.2 on Friday morning and ended up being pretty disappointed in my performance, completing only 6 full rounds (or 180 reps). I couldn't stop thinking about how I coulda, woulda, shoulda done better, so Sunday morning I gave it another go. Thankfully, it ended up being worth it! I added 43 extra reps, bringing my total up to 223 reps (or 7 full rounds plus 5 shoulder-to-overheads and 8 deadlifts)! :)

Obviously I'm nowhere near close to ever making it to Regionals, but that doesn't matter to me. I just want to push myself to do the best that I can. And, so far, I'm very happy with my personal performances!


Last month was my Crossfit one year anniversary and it is crazy to think about how much I've learned this past year; how well I've improved in this short of a time span.

And it is also crazy to think about how far I still have to go.

But that is the best part - knowing that I will again improve so much this year. And by this time next year, I will be even stronger, faster, and better!


A few of my favorite reads:

Four Reasons Every Crossfitter Should Participate in the Crossfit Games Open
All true, but especially #4. On Sunday, only one other friend and I were redoing the WOD. Yet a handful of other members (and my babe!!) came to watch us get at it. So much fun having them there and cheering us on - such a great community!

What Is A Crossfitter?
Exactly. 


Chicks + Muscles
Your workout is our warm-up! ;)

21 Confessions of Crossfitters
Haha these are great! Well, except for #18 - that's just crazy talk.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Irish Car Bomb Brownies

Since it will be Saint Patrick's Day this weekend, I figured it was in my blogger duties to share a yummy holiday recipe! (That and these photos have been taking up space on my computer for a year now...)

Most St. Patty's Day themed recipes I've come across are either: 1) green or 2) boozy. And well, this one is no different. It is, in fact, both. These brownies are actually have three different kinds of booze in 'em. 


Go big or go home right? ;)

Seriously though, these were fantastic! They looked gorgeous with the bright green swirl running through the dark chocolate-y color. And the ganache was ridiculously sinful - it has over a pound of chocolate in in so how could it not be?

Swirly goodness

Irish Car Bomb Brownies
recipe from A Spicy Perspective

For the brownies
1 cup flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
12 ounces chopped chocolate
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
10 ounces Guinness

For the Bailey Irish Cream swirl
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
Green food coloring, if you wish

For the whiskey ganache
1 pound chopped chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 teaspoons Jameson (or other Irish whiskey)

*Tip: If you don't have any Jameson on hand and don't want to buy an entire bottle, look for mini bottles aka "nips" in the store!*

1. Preheat the oven to 375*. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil.
2. First, make the cream cheese swirl: in a bowl, cream the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar together until completely smooth. Add 1 egg and 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream (and food coloring, if you desire); beat until smooth. Set aside.
3. Now let's start the brownies: in a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
4. In a third bowl, melt the butter and 12 ounces chocolate together in the microwave, in 30 second increments, stirring well after each. Alternatively, melt together in a double boiler in the stovetop. Either way, let cool slightly before proceeding.
5. And in a fourth bowl, beat 1 cup of sugar and 4 eggs together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Next, slowly add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture while the mixer is running. Then, slowly add the flour mixture. Now, stir in the beer.
6. Pour half of the brownie batter into the baking pan. Top with the Bailey-cream cheese mixture. Top with the remaining brownie batter. Using a knife, swirl the two mixtures together.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan.
8. Once cool, make the ganache. Pour the heavy cream, Irish Whiskey, and 1 pound of chopped chocolate in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Or, again, use a double boiler. Pour over the top of the brownies and smooth with a spatula. Place in the fridge for the ganache to set.
9. Once ganache has set, lift the brownies out of the pan using the foil edges. Cut and serve. The brownies cut much better while they are cold, but taste better at room temperature.


Happy St. Patty's everyone! Drink a green beer for me!


Also, check out last year's Guinness Brownies HERE


They were also amazing (so fudgy) and take a lot less work and dishes to make!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIAW #48

And we're back with another WIAW!


Or perhaps I should say WIAINYC? 

Nah, that sounds weird. 

Well whatever - this is What I Ate...in New York City! (Spoiler alert: nothing healthy! Whoops.)


Delicious mac n cheese from Macbar
Mac Quack w/ duck confit, caramelized onions, fontina cheese, and "fines herbes."


McSorley's
You only have two beer options here: light or dark. I went for light!


The Meatball Shop was fabulous! Great food and super reasonable prices.
Chicken cordon bleu slider, classic meatballs with classic red sauce, cheesy polenta, and a snickerdoodle & brown sugar ice cream sandwich.


Brunch at East L.A. in Hoboken, NJ
Huevos Con Chorizo: chorizo & cheesy scrambled eggs, rice, refried beans, tortilla, side of avocado. And a super strong mango margarita.



Grimaldi's!
Brick oven pizza topped with black olives! <3


Bagels & Schmear (Am I the only one who thinks the word 'schmear' sounds gross?!)
New York-style everything bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. 


Pez!
Lots of different flavors of Pez from the factory tour in Orange, CT.


More pizza, this time from BAR in New Haven, CT
Mashed potato, bacon, and onion pizza. Heaven!


I was in a serious carb-coma after this weekend. 

Bring on the veggies!

Friday, March 8, 2013

German Apple "Pancake"... Muffin...Thingy

I only started Crossfit a year ago so this is my first time competing in the Opens! Even though I have absolutely, positively no chance in going to the Games - or even Regionals - it is still a really cool experience to compete with over 100, 000 other Crossfit athletes worldwide!

This morning I completed the first workout, Open WOD 13.1. It feels really good to get that first workout done and under my belt, especially since it was pretty fierce sounding:


I finished with 121 reps! (So, for those not familiar with Crossfit, I completed both sets of 40 & 30 burpees, plus 30 45# & 21 75# snatches. Make sense?) Overall, I'm pretty happy with my score. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and I am now thinking of how I'd do it differently next time but whatever. I'm going away this weekend (NYC!) so there's no opportunity to redo it and that's just as well...I'm already sore!


ANYWAY, let me dish up what you actually came here for: the German apple pancake. Well, that's what the recipe was named at least; I might have said it was a muffin. (Perhaps there's a reason its called a pancake in the first place? Anyone German here?) 

But really it doesn't matter what it's called as long as it is delicious, right?

One bit of advice I have for you: make sure to cook 'em completely. Mine were just a tad underdone and, while still yummy, they were a bit eggy in the middle, as tends to happen when using coconut flour.


German Apple "Pancake"...Muffin...Thingy :)
recipe from Civilized Caveman
makes 7 to 8

6 eggs
1 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 apples, cored, peeled, and diced (I used Fuji)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Chopped pecans, as many or as little as you want

1. Preheat oven to 425*. Grease large-cup muffin tin or 8 ramekins (placed on a baking sheet) with extra coconut butter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs through maple syrup.
3. In a small bowl, whisk coconut flour through nutmeg.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; beat until well combined. Set aside.
5. In frying pan, melt the 2 tablespoons coconut oil and raw honey. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Cook 1 minute. Stir in the apples. Saute a few minutes and get 'em all coated up.
6. Divide the apple mixture evenly among your greased tin/ramekins. Top with an even amount of the egg/coconut flour mixture.
7. Bake for 20 minutes at 420*. Then, reduce the heat to 375* and continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until cooked throughout.
8. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans before serving. I liked topping mine with a little extra maple syrup, too!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIAW #47

First off, I want to thank everyone for your kind 'get wells' last week - you made my day! Luckily, I'm feeling a lot better this week. :)

 And I've got a delicious paleo recipe for you folks today, one that even non-paleo eaters will enjoy. So let's get this WIAW party started!



I got creative with breakfast finally and made something new! Okay, fine, the egg whites and bacon aren't new but see that thing in the back? A paleo German Apple "Pancake." Yep, this girl who doesn't like hot, mushy fruit made these...and liked em! Recipe to be posted soon - so head on back in a couple days!


Sushi lunch! Hard to believe that until a year and a half ago, my babe and I didn't eat sushi...and now we actually sort of crave it. So we hit up Asian Ginger and got spicy tuna, spicy crunchy yellowtail, and Philly rolls. (I think!) An order of pork fried rice and the fabulous beef satay rounded out our feast.


Funnily enough, I went for sushi the next day with a bunch of my Crossfit ladies. We got two enormous boats of stuff - it was insane! I honestly could've gotten into one of these boats and sailed away, that's how large they were. :) One of my buddies and I got a little daring and tried a few pieces of sashimi. Eh, not really my thing...I need the rice and veggies to offset the strange-ish texture of the fish.


Oh my gosh, this dinner was SO awesome! Cinnamon-Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa and sweet potato coins. The pork was tasty but the apple salsa took it over the top! I wanted to just eat it with a spoon - so fresh and flavorful.

Cinnamon-Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin w/ Apple Salsa
recipe slightly adapted from Multiply Delicious

1 pork tenderloin (mine was about 1 pound)
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Cut off any extra fat and silver skin from the pork tenderloin. Season with salt and pepper.
2. With a whisk, combine olive oil through cinnamon. Add the pork and turn to completely coat. Let marinate about 30 minutes.
3. Bake the pork on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 135 to 140*. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting. (Not only will this keep juices in but the internal temperature will continue to rise to 145*, the recommended safe pork temperature.)
4. Slice and serve with apple salsa.

Apple Salsa

2 medium Fuji apples, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Let the flavors marry by tossing it into the fridge for a bit.

If you make this, let me know how it turns out! How else would you use the salsa?

Have a great day everyone! :)


Oh, and check out this post yesterday about the weirdest cocktails and spirits! What have you/would you try?!

Can I interest you in some snake wine?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

You want me to drink WHAT?

While in Africa, a group of us ate at a local restaurant called The Boma. Fabulous food aside, we were all treated to a small gulp of their traditional beer.


Oh. My. Gosh. 

It was awful tasting! I don't even know what to compare it to - it was sort of sour, salty, and I seem to remember it being a bit gritty, too. Certainly not the kind of beer I'm used to swilling! Nevertheless, it was another one of those 'when in Africa' moments.

So when I came across this slideshow this morning, The Boma immediately sprung to mind. While they didn't make the cut, see what other odd cocktails did!


Would you try Vietnamese snake wine?

Have you ever - or would you ever - try any of those cocktails?
I'd definitely give both Calimocho and Screech a try - they don't seem too awful. And maybe I would give the snake wine a try...mostly just for the bragging rights that are sure to come with it! :)


[Edited to add: Found another weird booze slideshow HERE.]

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clyde's Grill & Bar

I can't wait until it warms up enough to start grilling again! But, in the meantime, if I want barbecue - I go to Clyde's in Walpole. This unassuming-looking restaurant is home to some meatastic meals. 


The restaurant and bar are on the smaller side but their menu sure isn't. Deciding can get a little tough because everything sounds good; plus their specials menu is usually pretty awesome too. In the past, I've had the mountain of nachos, a queso-cheese and chili topped burger & steak fries, and their pulled pork sandwich, which is excellent.















While you're waiting for your meal, kill some time by playing a game of cards or drawing on the paper tablecloth with the chubby crayons. Seriously, do it. Your food will come out so much quicker. ;)


On a recent visit, I devoured an order of Clyde's Signature Steak Tips. The beef was great quality and didn't really need any sauces and the seasoned fries were perfectly crunchy. My babe ordered the baby back ribs, which are always a great choice. They were messy, saucy, and oh so delish!


For the really hungry, try the 10 Gallon Burger challenge. This enormous burger comes with a heap o' chili on top, a ton of fries, and a half-hour time limit to finish it. Finish the entire plate and your meal is free and you'll be on the Wall of Fame. Fail to finish it and end up on the Wall of Shame. 

Trust me, the burger on the plate is larger than it appears!

A couple of years ago, two friends of mine attempted the challenge in a head-to-head competition. Unfortunately for them, neither finished their plateful but it was a lot of fun to watch!


Overall, Clyde's is a low-key place to grab a quick bite and the prices are certainly right. Wrangle up some friends and hit the trail for Clyde's!

Clyde's is located at  642 Providence Highway, Walpole MA. They don't have a website (that I can find) but check out some of their menu offerings here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/ Spicy Feta-Olive Salad

Among the many places I find my recipes (cookbooks, magazines, Pinterest, other blogs, etc etc etc), a cooking board that I belong to is one of my favorites. All the great contributors there really know their stuff and are always sharing endless recipes and tips. 
This is a recipe that I doubt I would've found without someone on the board pointing it out. But I'm sure glad they did because it is deeeelish and an easy way to jazz up the usual sweet potato. The salad is mighty addicting on it's own, too.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad
serves two (four, if served as a side)

2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 pound quality feta cheese, chopped (use the best here! Trader Joe's sells a fantastic one - Pastures of Eden)
2/3 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped (I used Kalamata)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Packed 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (may need a little more)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
Extra salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375*. Wash potatoes and put on a baking sheet. Bake on a foil-lined sheet until soft throughout, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
2. Meanwhile, mix together the feta through the lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl. Place in fridge to marinate until potatoes are done. Try not to eat it all before the potatoes are done, like I almost might have. ;)
3. Slice cooked potatoes in half lengthwise. Season with a little salt and pepper. Top each potato with half the feta salad and serve. 

Note: I felt like the salad was creamy enough and didn't need anything else, but feel free to top with yogurt, sour cream, hummus, or whatever else you may like!