Friday, November 12, 2010

Reinventing an Old Favorite

Chicken & mushrooms in a cream sauce over mashers.

The paleo version:

Chop cauliflower into small pieces and cook in a pan. Once cooked, mash. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and ground pepper.

Pan cook the chicken & mushrooms in a little evoo. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, a tiny bit of Italian seasonings, and fresh ground black & white pepper. Once the chicken is cooked, add a little bit of coconut milk and allow it to thicken a bit on a very low heat.

Set chicken next to a scoop of cauliflower on a plate and pour mushrooms and sauce over the top of both.

This one was so good, I've made it twice this week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blueberry soup?

While experimenting with paleo friendly foods to eat while sick, I discovered something fantastic. By doing nothing more than heating some frozen blueberries in the microwave and then smooshing them up a bit with my spoon, I created a sort of blueberry stew. I think if I put the mixture into a food processor or mashed the berries up more, the consistency would closely resemble tomato soup. Another option would be to heat them on the stove in a sauce pan. I think this would also create a smoother soup, or allow you to smoosh up the berries more. As it was, the process was quick and easy and the results were delicious. I highly recommend this tasty treat for a cold night.

The idea for this came from my mother and my Swedish upbringing. Yes, blåbärs soppa is something I grew up on. I haven't had any in years. This is an extremely paleo friendly version. On day, I'll have to get my hands on a box of the pre-made stuff and see if it is also paleo friendly. Nom. Nom.

Paleo & Gastroenteritis

Wednesday evening I came down with a nasty case of the stomach flu. I guess it's just one of those little "benefits" of working with people who drive themselves too hard. If you're sick, don't come in to work and spread it around to your coworkers, please! At any rate, I was up most of night with it. Without going into too many details, lets just say I spent way too much time in the bathroom. By Thursday morning was so weak and drained that I could barely moved. After having found someone to cover my shift in the ER, I crawled back to bed and began thinking about how I was going to fuel my body with the basic necessities while I couldn't eat. I'd been drinking as much water as my stomach could tolerate, because I knew dehydration is a major concern during this kind of stomach illness. But only drinking water won't cut it for very long. Losing all your electrolytes without replenishing them can lead to complications from hyponatremia (too low sodium) and hypokalemia (too low potassium). The commonly recommended diet for gastroenteritis is the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples, and toast. Well, obviously this presents a problem for a Paleo eater since half that diet is not on the menu. This was my solution:

I'm a firm believer in the value of western medicine. Bismuth Subsalicylate (the pink stuff) helps a bit. Any over the counter anti-diarrhea/nausea mediation is worth keeping around, but make sure you read the ingredients. Some flavors of Tums even have gluten in them.

For the first 24 hours, I could not really tolerate any form of solid food. I drank plenty of water, some black tea with locally produced honey & salt (get those electrolytes and a few calories), and a cup of watered down chicken broth (recipe from The Primal Cookbook) with salt added. I also managed to eat 2/3 a banana, one slice at a time, and 1/2 a snack cup of applesauce. A good trick for the banana is to slice it up and put it in the freezer. It keeps the individual slices from going brown. Plus, the coolness is soothing. Don't expect to put any of this stuff down in large portions, everything I ate or drank was spread throughout the day. The broth took me 2.5 hours to drink and even the first cup of tea took a couple of hours.

Hours 24-36, I slept... a lot. When I woke up Friday morning I ate the rest of the banana and the apple sauce in one go. Not completely better, but greatly improved!

Hours 36-48. I successfully ate one soft boiled egg and half a baked apple. I'm actually starting to feel hungry, but don't want to eat more than my poor shrunken tummy can handle. 41 hours into it, I decided to test my limits a little further. I had my chicken broth with chopped up cooked carrots & cauliflower and a shredded slice of deli turkey. Almost real soup! I ate the other half of my baked apple and heated some frozen blueberries into a soup.

Here's the short version:
1. Use over the counter upset stomach medication.
2. Liquid diet: Black tea with salt and honey. Weak broth (only add salt if your broth is homemade and doesn't have any to begin with).
3. Add some soft solids: Skip the rice & toast. They have minimal nutrients anyway. Bananas & apple sauce.
4. Advance diet as tolerated. Cooked veggies in the broth. Baked apple. Soft boiled egg.

Despite these efforts, this has been a horrible case of the stomach flu. I had no intentions of losing 5 pounds in 36 hours, but I simply could not put enough food into my body. Obviously, I don't recommend this form of weight loss. Hopefully, no one ever needs this post, but in case you do get sick, this method seemed to work fairly well for me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Salad for dinner.

To be honest, I'm not sure how this is going to taste, but it's an experiment. I put a bunch of things in a bowl that all sounded good at the time. Spinach base topped with tomatoes, strawberries, a tiny sprinkle of feta, avocado, cashews, red onions, and smoked salmon. Here goes nothing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dinner: It's not pretty, but it tastes great.

Simple salmon with avocado shrimp and roasted cauliflower.

Salmon: Pan cook in a small amount of coconut oil, sprinkled with tarragon and lemon juice.
Avocado Shrimp: Pan cook shrimp and onions in a small amount of coconut oil, garlic, and dill. Add to a bowl of chopped avocado. Good warm, but for some reason I prefer this cold.
Roasted Cauliflower: Based on the recipe in the Primal Cookbook. Roast cauliflower in a tiny bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt in an oven pan at 450 degrees. This takes about 10-15 min. Dry roast walnuts & hazelnuts in a dry pan on medium to medium-high heat. The recipe calls for medium-high, but since I'm a bit ADHD I prefer lower heats to keep from burning things when I get distracted by shiny things. Remove from heat before nuts are completely roasted. The sauce is lemon juice, dijon mustard, and coconut milk, I didn't measure the amounts. Mix in the cauliflower and nuts and black pepper to taste.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fun with your food.

Last night's dinner was "fun with food." Playing with your food makes it happy! Fresh squash from Monika's garden, rutabaga greens from 3M's garden, and red kale with a weiner from Whole Foods.

Dinner tonight was my first attempt at authentic Chinese cooking. It's sorta convoluted, but here's how the story goes... My dad's Chinese wife's mother is living with them. This last time I visited she introduced me to the glorious world of sweet potato noodles. Needless to say, they rock my world. She taught how to cook with these noodles. It does take a bit of extra time, but the payoff is totally worth it.

: Buy the sweet potato noodles at any Asian food store. While you're there, pick up some fish sauce, tamari*, and baby bok choy.

Prep: The noodles need to soak before you cook them, so put them in a bowl of cool water while you prepare the veggies and meat. In this meal, I used turnips (fresh from 3M's garden), carrots, asparagus, and turkey (from a chopped up turkey burger) to make the main dish. This is mostly because this is what was in my house. It turned out DELICIOUS. Slice the veggies into thin strips. I'm sure there's a way to use a food processor to do this, but I haven't figured that out yet. Separate the bok choy leave/stalks from the "root" of the stalk. I also sliced up some squash (from Monika's garden) to cook with the bok choy. Cut the meat into thin strips.

In two pans
Pan #1: Cook the squash first and add the bok choy when mostly done in a little fish sauce, olive oil, and tamari*, and water**.
Pan #2: Cook the veggie mix in the same types of sauces, oil, and water. Once cooked, set aside on a plate. Cook the meat in the same types of sauces & oil until mostly done. Then set aside with the veggies. Cook the noodles in the same types of sauces, oil, and water. This is the slightly tricky part. Only add a little water at the start. Stir continuously. Add a little more water each time the water begins to run out in the pan. Repeat this until the noodles are cooked, then add the meat and veggies back into the pan and mix it all together. It should only take a minute to finish cooking the meat and then you're done.

*Tamari is gluten free soy sauce, not strictly paleo, but much better than straight soy sauce - plus I use less than a tea spoon in each pan. You don't need a whole lot of any of the sauces, just enough to add some flavor. (I'm looking for another option instead of the tamari, but haven't found it yet).
**You don't need a whole lot of water, either. This is just to keep it from drying out and sticking to the pans.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Post-Op 1 Week

One week down, only 5-7 to go! Okay, so that might be slightly forced enthusiasm, but I am glad to be able to check at least one week off. Today I had my cast put on. This is something I am actually excited about. I had the most uncomfortable splint in the history of post-surgical splints... and today I found out why. Apparently, the OR had run out of splint material during my surgery, so the gal who wrapped it had to create a make-shift splint with whatever they managed to find. My reaction was apparently the same as my doctor's reaction: "How the hell does an OR run out of splint material!?" Seriously. Needless to say my cast is MUCH more comfortable. I tried to get a multicolored cast, but the VA's color choices are fairly limited. In the end, we went with a black & blue combo. The black is underneath and pokes out through the few gaps we left in the blue. The best part was having two awesome doctors laughing while we wrapped up my foot. I bet they don't often get patients who make surgery as fun as possible.

Naturally, I'm the kind of freak who thinks frankenfoot pictures are cool. I like to get a closer look at injuries and sutures, especially if they are my own. So I snapped a couple of photos of my foot after they took off the splint and before they put on the cast. My poor little tootsies are so swollen and bruised. It's a little freaky looking, but almost cute. In a Frankenfoot sort of way. Plus, I love my chaco tan.

I received some excellent comments while I was at the hospital. First, you need to know I was in a wheelchair while at the hospital. They don't let you walk around on crutches. They actually have people staffed whose sole purpose is to find gimps like me and make sure we're taken care of. It's kinda awesome. Next thing you should know is that I wore my favorite Pikes Peak CrossFit shirt. It's the green one that has the Rippetoe quote on the back, "Strong people are harder to kill and just more useful in general." So as I'm wheeling around the hospital, two types of comments were made by quite a few people. Several people read my shirt and asked me about it. Most of them were impressed by the idea behind it and the reason for it. A couple of people actually just took one look at me and asked me how I work out, what sort of exercise program I use. I was told that I just look so obviously strong. It definitely made my day. One guy invited me to be on a "team" for the Boulder Bolder next year, sponsored by the VA. Another guy asked me to write out the website where he can get more information about CrossFit. Here I am feeling weak and gimpy, I'm forced to accept a ton of help, and people are calling me strong, fit, beautiful and asking me for guidance about fitness. CrossFit really is an amazing thing.

I had just enough time to stop by the house, "run" in, and change my shorts. Then I went down to the gym. Today's gimp workout (also called modWOD short for modified workout of the day): 21-15-9 Turkish sit-ups with either an 18# kb or 22# bar & Seated Sots Presses with 36# bar. Time 12:01.

Dinner was a piece of grilled chicken from Whole Foods and some veggies I'd cooked yesterday. I knew I wouldn't have time or energy to cook after a moderately long day, so I stopped at the store on the way to the hospital. Sometimes it's good to give in to the easy way out. It was fantastic to have dinner ready for me when I got home from the gym today. :)

Again, to appease the medical nerd in me, here is a photo of the post-op x-ray. My first internal hardware.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Avocado Swordfish

Lunch today, with the help of LaaLaa, was cooked swordfish with fresh avocado, red onion, and dill on a bed of spinach. Nom nom.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Warrior Dash

Two days before my surgery, I decided it was a great idea to run the Warrior Dash of the Rockies. I was right. It was an excellent idea. What a great race. It's like it was designed for hashers and CrossFitters. Since I'm both, it was perfect for me. The race itself was short, only 3.27 miles. The elevation was the toughest part, but even the hill climb wasn't as bad as it could be. The 12 obstacles were relatively easy, just challenging enough to be fun, but not enough to be dangerous. I definitely will be running this again. Hopefully, next year I can talk enough of my lunatic friends into signing up at the same time as me and wearing goofing costumes.
The concert was a nice bonus, too.

Notes on costumes: Gleaned from watching other people struggle through the mud pit, I got some valuable insight into what things should NOT be part of a groovy WD costume. WD costumes should NOT include:
1. Pants. Skirts & shorts are fine. But LONG pants or skirts really caused problems.
2. Bottoms without a drawstring or button. Make sure your bottoms are either fitted & not stretchy OR they have some sort of drawstring that you can tie really tight. Running the second half of the race with my skirt trying to fall off was an unnecessary challenge.
3. No tutus or big ruffles. They catch a TON of mud. Almost impossible to move after the pit.
4. Shoes must be tied on tight. Can't count how many people's shoes came off!

Other random note: PLAY IN THE MUD. This is for fun, people. We're not tip-toeing through the tulips here. Get dirty!

Percocet, surgery, and rambling.

So this past Monday I had surgery on my foot to correct a bone alignment issue. It was getting bad enough that even sneakers were rubbing my foot raw at the big toe. The procedures done were a lapidus bunionectomy, an osteomy, and a tarsal-metatarsal fusion. The gist of it is this, the first metatarsal in my left foot was being pulled out of alignment by the tendon. Surgeons went in to straighten the bone out. They shaved off a bit of excess bone that added to the bunion and then fused my 1st metatarsal to my cuneiform. The fusion should keep this from recurring. In the long run there should be no noticeable difference in my ability. The immediate future is a bit more grim. The schedule looks something like this:

Aug 18 - Pre-op. Finding out all the information I need about my upcoming: Lapidus Bunionectomy.

Aug 23 - Under the knife. Owwie. I hear surgery went really well, don't know for certain, I was unconscious. I got crutches, a shower chair, Percocet, and an uncomfortable temporary splint.

Aug 24 - Post-op day 1. I'm annoyed at my immobility already. Taking Perci-treats as often as I'm allowed. SO grateful that LaaLaa is here to help take care of me and keep me company. First trip to the store, I love/hate the motorized carts. I think I may be one of the few people using it for a legitimate reason. I also think I may be 100lbs under the minimum weight limit for them. Next stop was for a snatch clinic at PPCF.
Mostly, my goal was to socialize a bit and to listen. I played with a 15# bar and did the upper body stuff seated. I was way too drugged to get much out of it, but it was good to be around my CF family.

Aug 25 - Post-op day 2. LaaLaa had to go home this morning. I miss him already. The couch and my computer definitely don't make very good companions. Fortunately, I was really worn out from my excursion to the store and to the gym. So this turned into a proper rest day. The most adventurous part of my day consisted of trying to organize things better for a gimp.

Aug 26 - Post-op day 3. You really take for granted the little things; showering and dressing yourself in 15 minutes instead of an hour, standing up to cook & wash dishes, being able to carry the trash out, and not needing to ask help with just about every task. I am an independent person. I really think about just how independent I am and how much I love my independence until I am forced to ask help. I hate asking for help. No, that's not quite right. What I hate is actually needing help... with everything. I also hate not being able to help others. I love my role as a strong, capable person. I am learning to ask for help humbly (not easy for me) and I'm infinitely grateful to those who love me enough to help despite my difficulties with asking. Also, I have learned that the maximum dose of Percocet affects my moods and my ability to control emotional responses. So, again, to those who love me enough to help me, thank you for tolerating my shortness. I am infinitely grateful for your time and efforts.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back in the game.

So I guess you could say that I've been out sick for the past month or so. But I'm starting back strong. I have some fabulous fresh veggies and can't wait to enjoy them for lunch. Tomatoes brushed lightly with olive oil + fresh basil and a Mediterranean salad with chicken will taste even better after a nice little CF WOD. Especially when enjoyed outside on my front porch in the last bit of sunshine before the storm moves in.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bacon wrapped fillet!

Bacon wrapped fillet mignon and broccoli, spinach, bacon salad. Nom, nom.

Breakfast this week.

How to eat eggs every day for a week? Vary the way you cook 'em!

Two eggs scrambled with sausage, onion, and topped with guacamole. King Oscar's sardines in olive oil on the side.

Two egg omelet with sausage, bacon, onion, mushrooms and topped with guacamole. King Oscar's sardines in tomato sauce on the side.

Three egg scramble with bacon, onion, and spinach. Delicious with King Chef Diner's gluten free green chili!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Warrior Dash

Warrior Dash

I think half my crossfit gym is going to run this crazy event. I'm looking forward to the obstacles... well, except for the long hill climb at the beginning. But, hey! We're in CO. You can't have an event like this if it doesn't have you run straight up a mountain at some point!

Jonathan was nice enough to post some training tips here.

My plans, do crossfit, hike the incline, and do a bit of running. So far, I've done the crossfit part. Now just to drag my butt outside for the running and hill practice.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I love my friends.

I love my health crazed, supportive, athletic friends. Thanks for all the tips and for pointing out the good stuff for me. The new thing I wanna try are paleo cookies from the Son of Grok website. Del says they're fabulous. Gonna have to find out for myself.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meaty Squash

Tonight's dinner was a bit of an experiment. I cooked butternut squash (because that's what I had in the fridge) and a meaty tomato sauce. Squash: cut in half, cover with plastic wrap, and nuke for 8-10 minutes. The sauce: 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 lb LEAN ground beef, 1/2 can of tomato paste, black olives, red onions, zucchini, mushrooms and spices. Brown the meat first (with some spices). Saute the mushrooms, zucchini and onions. Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. This makes a VERY thick, meaty sauce.

NOTE: This was pretty tasty, but I think I will change it in the future. This sauce would have been fabulous on spaghetti squash. For butternut squash I think I'll shoot for a spicy/sweet sausage sauce.

Now that's a steak!

The brilliant Geoff bough these fabulous steaks for dinner on Friday night. I think I was still digesting it on Sunday. Delicious. The Mediterranean salad went beautifully with them. Nom. Nom.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

High protein breakfast.

Breakfast today was a delicious pile of eggs scrambled with smoked salmon and feta and a side of bacon. The eggs are easy. Simply cook the eggs mostly through. Add the salmon (cut/torn into small pieces) and feta and finish cooking. Done. Nom. Nom.

Our WOD today was modified for working out at home with limited supplies (for now). Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes of 4 pull ups, 8 squats, and 4 push ups. Short, sweet, and sweaty.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

3 rep Thrusters

So I'm pretty sure I got a new PR today, but it's hard to count it as one since I don't think I've ever done a 3 rep max on thrusters before. Successfully lifted 100#, but only got 1 rep at 105#. Not too shabby, I think. Of course, it's hard to feel impressed with myself when lifting with Del & Kristina who both simply kick my butt. I love having fabulous, tough gals to lift with!

Yet another salad?

You'll probably start to notice that I make a lot of salads. It's my go-to lunch. It's quick, easy, and delicious. There are a ton of variations on salads and playing with different ingredients keeps it interesting. Today's was a double meat day honoring my favorite: bacon. Mmmm... bacon.

Chicken & bacon salad. On mixed greens with portabella mushies, red peppers, zucchini, onion slivers, and avocado.

One trick: I grill 3 chicken breasts and a huge steak at the beginning of the week. After grilling, I cut them into salad sized pieces and put them in individual sized portions in the freezer. That way, when I want a quick lunch, I can make my salad, thaw out some chicken and it saves a TON of time. Plus, it travels well if you have to take lunch to go.

March has been a busy month for me.

Here are some of the quick & easy meals I've been eating lately.

Salad = pile of veggies topped with grilled chicken and a sliced red pepper on the side.

Spinach, mushroom, and sausage omelet. I always make too much filling and it goes on the side.

Baked sweet potatoes & onions with sauteed sausage and mushrooms.

Friday, March 5, 2010

CrossFit Lunch

Went to the noon class today and had 21-15-9 of 185# dead-lifts and 75# overhead squats for lunch. 15:38 was my time. Del beat me, of course, by 37 sec. She probably would have been even faster if we hadn't had to share bars. Oh, and we definitely should have done 85# overheads.

Afterwards I rewarded myself with a hot shower followed by a Susan Standard Salad. Green leaf lettuce with tomatoes, mushies, red onions, green peppers, snow peas, and grilled chicken topped with a oil & vinegar dressing and fresh ground black pepper.

Hospital Food.

Who knew it could be so yummy. I worked at St. Francis Medical Center Wednesday. Lunch was so good (pictured below) that I bought dinner on my way out. No need for home cooking.

Salsa chicken and veggies.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pan Fry - Chicken & Sausage

Tuesdays are my long days. Class from 9:25 - 4:20, finishing with Physical Chemistry lab. Then hurrying down to CrossFit for a good workout. Since I missed yesterday's WOD and it looked like fun, I decided to give that suck-fest a shot today. Modified to my abilities I did 3 rounds of 25 Jumping Muscle Ups, 100 Squats, 35 GHD sit ups (regular situps for rounds 2 & 3). Took me 27:19. And, yes, it sucked. :)

Fortunately for me, I have left overs! No cooking necessary tonight. I reheated some of yesterday's dinner (featured below) and had some squash w/ applesauce to go with it. Took all of 3 minutes to put together. Good thing, too. I could have eaten someone's arm.

Pan Fry - Chicken & Sausage
Cut brussel sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus into bite sizes and steam. Cut chicken & sausage into bite sizes. Cook in a wok with coconut oil and spices (I used a cajun mix this time). When meat is just about done, add in veggies. Spice to taste. And done.

Pretty simple. Just one note... if you're going to add red peppers, make sure the lid of the jar doesn't come off while your shaking them into the wok. Whew! I scraped as much out as possible and still my mouth was burning. Those who know my love of hot foods can tell you that it's really saying something if I think a food is too hot. :) Ooops.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Steak Salad

Grilled steak with lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and avocado. Topped with an olive oil & vinegar dressing and fresh ground pepper. This is a standard lunch for me. Some sort of salad with a pile of meat on top. Yum.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Avocado Chicken w/ Asparagus & Butternut Squash

2/27/10 Dinner

Chicken: Spice as desired. I used McCormick's steak seasoning, but a New Orleans style blackened spicy would be delicious, too. Cooked on grill. Serve with fresh avocado on top.

Asparagus: Grilled in tinfoil with thinly sliced onions. Seasoned with light drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper.

Squash: Cut squash in half, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 8 minutes (until soft). Put portions onto plate, add applesauce on top. Right before serving, microwave for additional minute to heat applesauce. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

My reason for this.

So I realized that vast majority of my web postings are all related to CrossFit workouts and paleo cooking. I decided it might be a good idea to put all of that in one place. So here I am. :) Not that it's likely to stop me from posting these things to my facebook, but I do like to blab about this stuff an awful lot.