Plantain Chips 3 Ways and of course more running stories!

Plantainchips1Hi folks!  How’s your day going?  Mine is just fine.  Rainy, humid and dreary but I like it anyway.  I’m getting ready to go on a girls trip!  That’s how this recipe was born.  I told you I’m on this Paleo challenge with my Crossfit peeps.  I’m taking it seriously.  Which means I can’t pull over to gas stations and buy peanut M&M’s.  Damn.  So, I made my own plantain chips.  They turned out really well!  They are super crunchy which means they need guacamole really.  I have here plain, feta and “cool ranch.”  They are going to be great for the road!  The best part is I bought the plantains at Aldi for $0.50 a piece.  Score!

So my girls trip??  My mom, sista and I are headed to Oklahoma City to watch some buddies run in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half Marathon.  One particular is running her first marathon.  I’m going equipped with signs and cowbells to cheer them on.  My awesome cousin just happens to live near there so she is coming as well.  We are going to take on the town.  I’m not running so I get to stay up past 8:30 and even walk around as much as I want.  I know, crazy talk.  I have new outfits and everything.  Look at me go!  I’ll take lots of pictures.  I guarantee you though the very best pictures will be of my friends at mile 23.  Hehehe.  Blackmail.

My sista is also preparing for her first half marathon next weekend so we will get in some miles together.  I’m excited about that.  I’m definitely out of the little running funk I got in a couple of months ago.  I want to just run all of the time!   

Lisa is back!  I have the best buddies I tall ya!

Lisa is back! I have the best buddies I tall ya!

So back up to this morning.  Guess what?  Remember my friend with the broken leg?  Well, she came back for her first 5@5!  (That’s 5 miles at 5am.)  My little group is my family and having her gone is like missing one of those family members.  Especially her because she is even more passionate about running than I am I think.  I know that it killed her to be out!  It was wet, humid and hot but we didn’t even notice.  We were all happy. 

After the run we got to chat with some of the Boston team.  Man they are so cool.  We heard a few stories from the race but mostly they were encouraging us!  I am fully aware that my mental game holds me back a little.  I assume the worst in myself.  I got a pep talk from Coach and another team member about believing in our goals and training for them.  Hmmm, I get the feeling Coach is about to whip us into shape.  That’s ok.  Bring it!  GASP!  I just said that on the internet.

Well, folks I need to go prepare for my departure.  That means pack the offspring up and send them off, try on a bunch of new outfits, pretend like I’m cleaning the house, and most importantly get all of my road trip food together.  One the menu you ask? I’m pretending like you asked anyway. Plantain chips (duh), pistachios, almonds, oranges, roasted beets (I know, I know) and probably a couple of boiled eggs.  I’ve found out the hard way as long as I’m not hungry I can resist even the best food temptation.  We all know hangry mommy is a bad deal.

Have a great weekend and awesome luck to those running in OKC this weekend!

 

Plantain Chips 3 Ways - Plain, Feta and "Cool Ranch"
3 different ways to prepare crunchy, salty plantain chips.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 plantains peeled and sliced thin.
  2. 1.25 tsp. salt
  3. 2 tbsp. crumbled feta
  4. 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  6. 1/8 tsp. dill weed
  7. pinch of black pepper
  8. 3 tbsp. avocado oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Divide sliced plantains into three different zipper storage bags.
  4. Add 1 tbsp. of avocado oil into each bag and toss to coat evenly.
  5. For the Plain chips add 1 tsp. of salt and toss to coat.
  6. For the "Cool Ranch" chips add 1/4 tsp. salt and the garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed and black pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  7. Lay all of the plantain chips out on the baking sheets evenly.
  8. For the Feta chips spoon some feta onto each chip.
  9. Bake for approximately 30 mins. Watch closely. Depending on the thickness and evenness you may need to remove some before others. Careful not to burn.
Cut The Grain http://cutthegrain.com/

Garlic Dijon Cabbage Steaks

 cabbagesteaks1

Hello my peeps.  I told you I was going to add some more sides so here ya go.  I wish cabbage had a different name.  When you put the word cabbage in a recipe I feel like it takes a little wind out of the sails.  However, cabbage is CHEAP.  This is a good way to prepare it that adds great flavor.  Also, if you cut it in steaks like this it takes about 30 seconds to get it cut and laid out on a baking sheet.  That’s my kind of preparation.  I think the marinade would be good on just about any roasted veggie as well.

So this week has been fun.  As you know, the Boston Marathon is Monday.  Goodness, we have been celebrating all week!  You would think our whole running club is going.  We went out for a bowling and karaoke night on Wednesday with the Boston team.  I ended up singing along to Wannabe by the Spice Girls.  I do call myself sporty spice so how could I pass up that opportunity??  I’m also having a little watching party at my house on Monday.  We are planning a brunch menu fit for kings.  Kings that are still in their pajamas with about 100 kids running around, but kings all the same.  Wait.  I think we would be Queens.  Anyway, I’m rambling.  GOOOO Boston Team!! 

BestBreakfastPersonally, I’ve had a full workout schedule this week.  For now nothing is hurting so I’m taking full advantage of a body that is feeling well.  (Knock on wood!)  Also, as I’ve said, we are in the middle of this food challenge with Crossfit.  I’m doing some experimenting with carbs.  Meaning, I’m adding a few more carbs than what I’m used to.  It’s getting close to swimsuit season so hopefully it doesn’t backfire.  We’ll see…  I’m also trying really hard to hit my other macros meaning getting enough protein, fat and calories.  I know, I know you’re thinking BORING.  Well, guess what, I change diapers and do preschool things all day.  Nutrition is something that keeps my mind busy.  It’s fun to tweak my diet and workouts to see how things change.  Also, I get to eat a breakfast like that.  Not arguing here.  I would be curious to hear from some of you with your ideas about carbs.

MeMarcelaandAndreaThis morning was Friday morning Crossfit as usual.  Guess what?  Push press again.  And lots of back squats.  I didn’t take any action shots because I STINK at push press! I look like a gremlin trying to get them done.  I did get this lovely selfie of my girls, Marce and Andrea.  At the end of the day, the buddies I’m headed to see are what get me out of bed.  So what if my happy hour is at 5:00am?  It’s happy…unless there’s push press of course.

 

Garlin Dijon Cabbage Steaks
Roasted cabbage with a Dijon flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cabbage, core removed, cut into steaks
  2. olive oil or coconut oil spray
  3. 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  4. 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  5. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  6. 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  7. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic and orange juice. Mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil.
  4. Arrange cabbage steaks onto sheet in a single layer.
  5. Brush each steak with the marinade until coated well.
  6. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
  7. Spray a thin coat of oil over the top of all of the steaks.
  8. Roast at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until they are browned to your preference.
Cut The Grain http://cutthegrain.com/
 

Boston Strong! By Association…

Man!  I hang out with some REALLY cool people…and REALLY fast people!  The Boston Marathon is Monday, April 20th so today was the last track workout before the race.  My buddies and I decided to send them off with the best wishes possible.  This is the picture my awesome photographer friend Crystal got.  It was so dark!  All of my pictures looked like they were taken behind a fog.  Anyway, unfortunately they couldn’t all be there in person this morning, but they were there in spirit.  We are sending 14!  That’s 14 people in my little (big) club that qualified and are able to run Boston this year!  Yep.  We are super cool.

So about a month and a half ago my little group of running buddies and I decided we would put together a Boston Basket full of goodies they need for the trip or the race.  Well, we go big or go home.  That basket in front of them is so full of stuff.  We were so excited to give it to them it was like Christmas morning for us.  Such nerds!  We’ve been scouring the weather apps for Tuesday morning praying it didn’t rain.  The weather was perfect and they seemed excited.  Almost as excited as us!  Oh and those posters are their initials.  Our friend Jennifer stayed up late last night making each one of them that they can keep.  You thought you caught us being bad spellers huh? 

The thing is, these guys and girls are elite runners.  I don’t know how fast they run.  As far as I’m concerned as fast as a bolt of lightening, or faster.  But you would never know it in a conversation with them.  They are humble and gracious for their talents.  Every single Tuesday while I am hauling myself around the track they are shouting encouragement to me.  They care how our workouts go and compliment us for a job well done.  As they fly by me I also hear them encouraging and pushing each other.  They accept no excuses and lay it all out there.  That’s part of the reason they are flying to Boston this weekend.  The other part is just pure awesomeness…

Crystal also got a great picture of the whole group.  One of these days maybe we will run in the daylight...not really.

Crystal also got a great picture of the whole group. One of these days maybe we will run in the daylight…not really.

 
MeandDawnTrackSo on to the workout.  We were so inspired, my buddies and I kind of killed it.  The workout was 6×400 with 400 recovery.  It is actually a short workout because they are tapering.  We are too…by association.  My buddies Dawn, Dana and I had one of the fastest workouts I’ve had in a while with negative splits.  (Which means we got faster with each 400.)  It really helped that our other fast buddies, Sarah and Alisha, literally chased us down for the last one.  I mean chased us like a couple of skinny greyhounds after a rabbit.  We survived and lived to brag about it on Facebook.  I got that awesome, foggy looking, picture of Dawn and I.  Dana bolted before I could catch her.  She’s fast like that.

Now that we are all on the Tuesday track high, I promise I am still cooking and creating recipes for you!  I will get one posted later this week.  I am full blown committed to the Paleo challenge so I’m making some new stuff to go along with that.  The challenge is going well.  I’m such a weirdo.  I like having a regimented food plan and a regimented training plan.  Maybe a little Type A ya think?

Challenge? Ok. Challenge Accepted.

 Apple1Challenge

First things first.  Tonight is Kindergarten Roundup!  We are so excited in this house!  I know, I know the love of school everyday will probably wear off faster than the love of a diet but for now my boys are beside themselves that they finally get to go to kindergarten.  Um, I’m not so sad either.  Except for the fact that I’m going to lose my hour to myself every morning.  That hour between my workout and when they get up is glorious.  Oh well.  Wait!  I’m sitting here ruining my own excitement.  Ok I’ll stop.  Still excited.

I’m assuming you can tell from my amateur graphic at the top that I have a Paleo challenge going on.  Let me tell you all about it.  In Crossfit world they have these food/workout challenges.  They are always different to some degree. The big picture, in my experience, has been centered around eating Paleo food and ideally getting leaner and stronger over the course of a specific time period.  Most of the time it’s a competition with different ways to score and a winner at the end.  Let me just say that I LOVE that they do this.  It does help folks understand the Paleo lifestyle and see the progress they can make when eating well.  Selfishly, I also love that I have a group of people I can talk to about the way I eat.  The Bearded Husband and I actually started Crossfit because they had the same eating ideals that we did. 

Now, let me also say that I have been in this Crossfit world for almost two years and I’ve never actually participated in one of these challenges.  What?!  I know.  Here’s the thing, one thing I don’t like about this sort of set up is it does make it feel like a diet.  A way of eating that has an end date.  The idea is the date ends and you love it so much you keep going.  Some do, some don’t.  I am NOT on a diet.  I eat the way I eat because I get to actually eat tasty food and it makes me feel good.

I mean seriously.  Sooo good.

I mean seriously. Sooo good.

 It cures what ails me I tell ya!  Another simple reason is I’m usually training for a race so I have to tweak my diet.  I know what works and I go with it, as opposed to what the rules say.  Now, if you’ve read other posts you know I’ve done my own “challenges” but I made up the rules…

This time is different!  I’m not technically training for a specific race so that excuse is out and I’ve gotten a little stale with my progress.  I’m eating Paleo and doing all of the same stuff but I feel stale, plateaued, paused…whatever you want to call it.  I need some excitement!  I paid my buy in and signed up.  I’m going to let my trainer tell me how to eat.  I’ll try not to punch him in the throat.

One other big difference I have mentioned before is our Crossfit box has changed.  We are not Crossfit any longer, it’s called Form and Function Fitness.   Besides Crossfit workouts he’s added other classes that encompass other types of fitness.  As far as the runners go he encourages us and works with us to run a billion miles a week.  I like it.

So I’m telling you all of this craziness as background to my morning.  It was lightening and we couldn’t run.  I like to eat fries, not be one.  Duh.  So I had two choices, back to bed or Crossfit.  Well…in the challenge you get an extra piece of fruit and a starch (sweet potato) for workout days.  Guess which one I did?  Yep, I went to Crossfit at 5am for extra food.  I’m no different than my dog.

deadliftcollagefrontsquatApril2015I’m glad I went.  You never regret a workout right? Hmmm?  Anyway, I was finally able to do deadlifts without my hamstring screaming!  Yay!  We also did front squats and strict press.  Thankfully, he didn’t get a picture of the strict press.  I suck at those, and whine and complain.  I probably looked a crybaby struggling to get not that heavy of a weight over my head.  But I’m trying at least!  Trying not to punch him in the throat…Who am I kidding?  I don’t even punch that hard.

You’re thinking oh yay now we get to hear all about her meals everyday.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to go too crazy.  I do have to tell you my recipes will be missing maple syrup and honey for a while.  That’s ok.  We can certainly live without it folks!

 

Pork Chops with Roasted Red Pepper and Leek Sauce

RedPepperPorkChops2Hi Guys!  Pork Chops with Roasted Red Pepper and Leek Sauce…well doesn’t that sound fancy?  It totally is fancy!  It would be great to serve if you have dinner guests.  Hehe, dinner guests.  That makes me chuckle.  I feel like that term does not fit into my life.  Our “dinner guests” usually have a bunch of kids too so it’s wild and crazy and chaotic.  Food usually on the floor, kids fighting, drinks getting spilled, awesome food and lots of fun.  Anyway, this pork and sauce took about 20 minutes to make and it was super tender.  I’m usually not a fan of pork chops because they are dry.  Mmmm not this one.  It gets simmered in the sauce.  My Dad would like it.

So, my plan today was to take lots of pictures at Crossfit and tell you all about my awesome workout.  Well, guess what?  Totally slept through my workout…slept until 8:30 as a matter of fact.  Yep, kids too.  We are such losers!  Love it.  The last three mornings have been 4:00am or 4:30am start times with hard running.  I was so tired yesterday.  A good, “man I’m awesome for that awesome run tired,” but tired all the same.  So today was rest.  Rest is good!

Tomorrow my sista will be in town and she is training for her fist half!  How exciting huh?  Well, she is coming to run with me and my crazy crew.  We will whip her into shape.  She will probably run faster just to get away from some of the crazy conversations. 

Then, I’ll head over to our Couch to 5K group in Royse City.  I tell you what, I am really enjoying that group!  It’s a relaxed setting and growing so fast!  It’s a great, encouraging community of runners who are happy to be there and be moving forward.  If you haven’t noticed I love warm and fuzzy group settings.  I’m totally fine with intense training but I like it with the absence of drama and pissy faces.  My groups totally have that.  Awe.

Then off to spend the weekend with my family.  Happy Easter everyone!  I hope everyone remembers why we celebrate it!

Pork Chops with Roasted Red Pepper and Leek Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 3 or 4, 1/2 inch bone in pork chops
  2. 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  3. 1/3 cup roasted red peppers out of jar, chopped. (Double check ingredients)
  4. 1 leek sliced thin and washed
  5. 2 tbsp. blanched almond flour
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2 tbsp. water
  8. 1 tbsp. milled flaxseed
  9. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  10. 1 tbsp. of avocado or olive oil (avocado works better over high heat.)
  11. granulated garlic
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan heat butter until melted.
  2. Add in chopped roasted red peppers and leeks.
  3. Sauté until leeks are tender.
  4. Add in almond flour and salt and pepper. Stir until almond flour is slightly browned.
  5. While almond flour is browning, in a separate bowl, combine the water and flaxseed. The flaxseed will thicken in the water. About 5 mins.
  6. Once the flaxseed is thickened add it to the saucepan along with the coconut milk.
  7. Stir until thickened and remove from heat.
  8. In a large skillet heat oil over medium to high heat. Meanwhile seasoning pork chops with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
  9. Once pan is hot sear chops on both sides but don't cook through.
  10. When they are browned turn heat to medium/low and add in sauce. If sauce is a little thick add some water and stir to make sure pork is covered on top and bottom.
  11. Simmer for 10 minutes until pork is cooked through.
  12. Enjoy!
Cut The Grain http://cutthegrain.com/