Basic Recipes & Local Treats

I often turn my nose at the idea of “paleo-izing” items from modern food culture. Bread, brownies, pancakes, noodles… attempting to recreate these items doesn’t allow you to fully change your habits. One of the first rules of new habits: Set yourself up for success. Not failure.

In my head, I either change or don’t change. Eating paleo bread makes me want to choose regular bread when there isn’t a paleo option. While I’m pretty black and white for myself, I understand folks may be easing their way into this lifestyle change or, perhaps, look to such food items for comfort or tradition.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

That said, I’ve been known to bake chocolate chip cookies from time to time. You can find my Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in Paleo Parent‘s first book “Eat Like A Dinosaur” along with an arsenal of approachable go-to’s for families or people with a traditional palate including freezable chicken nuggets, fruit roll ups, waffles and more. I respect their copyright and would encourage you to check out the book for yourself, it’s been one of the most used recipe books in our house! Not to mention, there is a children’s book, their familiar back story of (un)health and an easy-to-read allergy index included on every single page.

Now that I got you all amped up on the idea of a delicious chocolate chip cookie, I’ve got great news for my local friends! Betsy’s Bakery created their first prototype! As soon as I saw their Facebook post about Paleo cookies, I grabbed a kid and headed right over. As the story goes, Betsy has Celiac disease and her bakery is entirely gluten-free! She also has dairy free, vegan and now (the most healthy of all) paleo options!

Betsy's Bakery in Mechanicsburg, PA has recently added a delicious PALEO cookie to their gluten free repertoire.

Betsy’s Bakery in Mechanicsburg, PA has recently added a delicious PALEO cookie to their gluten-free repertoire. Remember to support local commerce for the things you want in your life or don’t complain when it’s lacking.

When we chatted briefly about her chocolate chip cookies, future recipes and marketing to the audience of these sweet morsels, she thought Fridays would be a great day to offer fresh Paleo items. I agreed! As a used-to-be Crossfit’er I know how focused I was during the week, but by Friday it was definitely time for a reward. What better way to celebrate then with a naturally sweetened, protein and (good) fat packed dessert that tastes like a cheat, but isn’t! Remember to refrigerate paleo baked goods – fresh ingredients stay fresher when chilled.

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Paleo eating is easy and shouldn’t overwhelm anyone with ‘how to cook’. I am not, repeat, AM NOT a ‘good cook’. In fact, I didn’t begin really cooking, or understanding how to cook, until I decided to eat paleo. Plants and protein, so EASY. I typically roast or crock pot large proteins, I’ll pan cook smaller portions of proteins, and sauté or roast veggies. The creativity comes in the spice blends, medleys and pairings.

Roasted-Brussels-Sprouts-Carrots-and-Leeks-1.jJPG_.jJPG_-1000x288
To roast veggies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Add a dollop of coconut oil or grass-fed butter to a baking sheet
  3. Place in oven till oil is melted
  4. Toss chopped veggies onto sheet
  5. Season to taste (salt, pepper and garlic are my go-to’s, be as simple or creative as you’d like with your spice)
  6. Toss veggies every 10-15 minutes until desired  – typically around 25-30 minutes for most of my vegetables – the softer the veggie the faster it cooks so I may wait to add onions to a sheet until half way through, etc
After greasing the pan, dip your veggie fries in egg then a blend of coconut & almond flours with preferred seasonings.

After greasing the pan, dip your fry-cut veggies in egg then a blend of coconut & almond flours and preferred seasonings. It’s definitely a special treat in our house. Who has time for dredging?

Alternatively – and a great way to cook ‘fries’ (sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, etc):

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Chop vegetables to even sizing, add to bowl
  3. Pour melted coconut oil or grass-fed butter on top
  4. Season with preferred blend
  5. Mix
  6. Add to baking sheet
  7. Toss every 10-15 minutes until cooked

CHICKEN on the bone

I get asked how I roast my chicken a lot. I forget how something so simple can feel so scary for a new cook. It wasn’t 3 years ago that I cooked less than 10% of the time and now I do most of the cooking/preparing. Paleo food is EASY and that’s the whole point. While I roast/bake most of my chicken the same way (350 and flip/marinate every 20 minutes till cooked – whole birds I flip every 40 minutes) the wings I made for dinner tonight were too good not to share. I only regret I didn’t take a snapshot, but they were gone before I gave it a thought. Moist and crispy. They were a flavor so delicious the whole family enjoyed them.

I bake my wings and other chicken parts atop a cookie cooling rack, over tin foil on a baking sheet. Sophisticated.

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place wings on rack apparatus mentioned above, or something similar
  3. Brush with coconut oil or grass-fed butter
  4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Savory Spice Shop‘s Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning: Hickory smoke salt, Hungarian and California paprika, roasted garlic, toasted onion, black pepper, hickory smoke flavoring and oregano OR ANY OTHER SPICE/MARINADE YOU CONJURE UP
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Flip wings and repeat steps 3, 4 then 5
  7. When timer goes off the 2nd time, flip wings as you place them onto the tin foil covered baking sheet
  8. Wrap wings – I use an additional piece of foil for leaking and insulation – place in oven
  9. Turn heat up to 450
  10. Bake for 10 minutes
  11. Flip foil package and turn off oven – this is when I make salads, get the table set, etc.
  12. ENJOY!
A friend recently tried my Cookie Bar recipe and was delighted! I haven't made them since I originally posted this photo, perhaps I'll make a batch for an impending slumber party.

A friend recently tried my Cookie Bar recipe and was delighted! It’s been some time since I made a batch, perhaps I’ll whip some up for a certain (about-to-be) 5 year old’s slumber party. A special treat packed with protein!


There’s an App for that!

I’m on my iPhone all the time. Whether I’m looking up a word in the dictionary, scheduling my calendar, posting to Pushups and Carrots on Facebook or using it to log my workout, everything I want or need is handy! I’m not a junkie, however. I have 1 page of apps. And I’m not a gamer so everything I download is a tool with a purpose.

Here are a few of my favorite apps that help keep me focused, motivated, and in shape. AND THEY’RE FREE.

 

  • dirtydozenDirty Dozen – Simply lists the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies. 5 servings from this list will bring no less than 14 different pesticides into your body a day. YUCK. You’ll want to buy these 12 plants organic whenever possible. The app also offers a Clean 15 list which you can find deals on since you’re not committed to organic-only options. It’s an easy go-to when I’m in the produce section. They even have a list of 53 fruits and veggies ranked in order of most pesticides. Apples are #1. I believe 5lb bags of organic apples are on sale this week at GIANT. Just saying.

 

  • nongmononGMO – I’m the asshole standing in the organic aisle just staring at her cell phone. I promise I’m doing something valuable, not texting my girlfriends. Typically, I’m comparing brands via my nonGMO app and finding the brand who doesn’t use genetically modified organisms in their ingredients. I am especially interested if this is a non-paleo item, as I want it to be as clean and wholesome as possible for my 4 and 5 year olds’ bodies. Just because something is labeled organic, does not mean it is the best choice. Research your food.

 

  • workoutsWorkouts – This takes the guess-work out of what exercise routine to perform when I’m running behind, only have 30 mins and can’t think straight because I just rolled out of bed. Choose your target area ie; abs, arms, butt, legs, cardio or full body, then choose your length of time 10-30 minutes. Only have 5 minutes? Make it count. The app provides a count down during each exercise so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it also shows a video of the movement along with posted tips for best form and technique. EASY PEASY. Remember to stretch.

 

What are your favorite apps? PLEASE SHARE!


No Ladies Allowed

From the time we’re born, female humans are prompted to be sweet, delicate, polite, dainty, helpful, soft and pretty. I’ve spent 30 some-odd years first rebelling against, than attempting my best to adhere to, this very definition of being a lady. I always cross my legs, and when not, my knees are tucked gently together. Napkin upon my lap, elbows are never on the table. Although forever-clumsy, I try my best to be graceful even if that means while falling. *Sigh* There’s a lot of pressure on chicks, man.

Enter CrossFit: That sly little devil of a fitness community where ladies are left at the door. Otherwise you’ll find it mighty uncomfortable as your coach prods you to use your ass and not your thighs to get your self below parallel and back without a bounce at the bottom, chest straight up over knees, as fast as you can and with perfect form. Knees out. Keep trying. GO! Shit… what?

Exactly.

Any proper lady could also offer the advice that your hips are to remain closed, quiet and still. Shhh. A lady does not talk of such things for long. At the Box, your hips are everything. Your central power source. Thrust from the hips, bring them up, throw them out, open, stretch, let’s GO! *Deep breath* It’s intimidating as hell. Liberating, as well. Imagine your self in a squat, a weighted bar across your chest, your HIPS are the way you’re going to get your ass up to then thrust that bar straight over your head. RAH! Lady… who?

A lady would find herself flummoxed by the uncontrolled grunts, yelps, gasps and buckets of sweat pouring out of each woman’s reddened face as they push themself farther than they ever thought possible, just to finish …. a workout? But it’s more than that. It’s a routine affirmation of your ability to be successful outside your comfort zone. The zone where ladies wear sweaty tank tops and weird, flat shoes. Where your hair is a mess, your hands smell like dirt and you perspire like a man. You’re allowed to yell and drop heavy things on purpose in CrossFit, although I’m still trying to get used to the later half, still trying to leave my ‘lady’ at the door.

And yet, the most exhilarating part of being a CrossFit Lady, for me, is that you also get to walk around, pretty dress and pearls in check, knowing you could help move that tub of ice and drinks across the yard during an early afternoon brunch, but you’ll let the man of the house struggle on his own instead. A proper lady would, of course, prefer to keep her dress pressed, her nails pretty and keep the fact that she could lift that bucket over head, sprint around the block, drop into a dozen burpees and place the bucket in its desired spot all to her herself.


Have another “No Ladies Allowed” anecdote to share? Post in comments or join in the discussion on the Pushups and Carrots Facebook page.


Stubborn Belly Fat

I love/hate those commercials “Got stubborn belly fat?” uh…yeah!  Who doesn’t? Selling a ‘cure’ for something that is a result of the food you eat, without changing the food you eat, will either 1) not work or 2) backfire. Everything we buy between the produce and the dairy sections in the average grocery store has sugar added for taste – yes, even the healthy/organic foods and most of the dairy too. If it’s packaged, it’s usually not very healthy after all. We are taught that food is bland without sugar. So where do you think that layer of stubborn fat comes from, and why it doesn’t go away with regular ‘dieting’ and exersize? Because you’re still filling your body with sugar. 

Image

Sugar, sugar everywhere!

After a year of working out at the Y and watching what I ate through calorie and portion control (and losing a significant amount of weight), I thought I had reached my new ‘thinnest’ and had a handle on the belly fat. While I realize everyone’s post-baby belly is different, I was blessed with a pronounced gut which cut off like a ledge right above the bikini line – not attractive – I thought I was stuck with it as well as the layer of fat that extended straight up over my ribs, my thicker thighs and fat butt because it was genetic. Too much information? We’re all friends here and it is what it is… or it WAS what it WAS

During my 1st two weeks of going strict Paleo, I lost 2-4 pounds but more amazingly, my stomach was actually flattening and my gut didn’t seem so gut’y! I had cut all sugar from my diet, only eating fresh vegetables, eggs and meat whenever I was hungry. I knew I was going to see more progress as time went on and I did. Of course I also joined CrossFit towards the end of the summer 2011 which helped firm and tone what I got down through diet. CrossFit strengthens your core through complex moves without even trying. Hundreds of sit-ups have never done for me what a random routine of deadlifts, burpees, squats, v-ups, sprints, kipping pull-ups, wall balls (kill me) and the like have done for my ‘stubborn belly fat’. Now my ‘gut’ actually smooths right into the rest of my body, I forget where that ledge once lived and I can see fitness lines that I thought I’d only see in magazines.

Image
                                                         V-ups

Remember, fitness takes time. It isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. My gut a year later is what I was aiming for in the first month, silly woman. Instead of refined sugar, choose alternate sources, when necessary, like honey or dark maple syrups or puree some dates for a sweet punch to a yummy meatball or loaf. Also keep in mind, natural sugars ARE sugar and too much is not a healthy choice. If you’re in a weight-loss frame of mind, cut the fruit out of your diet other then a special treat. Otherwise, keep it to a minimum. Moderation is key and too much of one thing is never going to end well. But most importantly, sink your money into fresh produce and not the gimmick-of-the-day that promises to make you lean and toned – only YOU can make that happen through smart choices and hard work. No really, you can. 


My 1st Post on CrossFit

CrossFit taught me that I can do anything.

I dig the gym enough and it helped me to lose a good chunk of that post-baby weight, but now that I’ve had a taste of the magic formula that is CrossFit, I don’t think I could ever go back. In fact, Santa hooked me up with the essentials for Christmas so I can work at home when I can’t make it into the Box (aka, CrossFit gym). Let’s put it this way: Would you rather drag yourself into a crowded building with rows of machines in front of televisions where you’ll barely look into another person’s eyes …OR… would you rather circle-up with a dozen other athletes in a brightened warehouse ready to rock a serious workout, cheer each other on, while practicing form and strength? I AGREE!

Disclaimer: the first description did sound good as I read this back, I can tend to keep to myself or become anxious in group settings, but trust me, the later is so much better. Exhilarating. 

The Box is a place filled with positivity. Camaraderie. Support. The Coaches at CrossFit717 probably just rolled their eyes thinking of all the bitching and complaining they hear, but that’s part of the fun! (no seriously, quit complaining – just do it.) We’re excited to be there, or we wouldn’t be. We know we’re going to push through whatever fears or walls we meet, give our all, and we’re going to do it together. There’s no half-assing it when you’re one of many committed to accomplishing a similar goal. I’m not only my own worst critic, I’m my only critic at the Box. Everyone else believes in me. And that’s not surprising, since I believe in them.

October 2011

There’s something to be said when your able to fill your schedule with positivity throughout all avenues of support. It’s so easy and often you hear of other’s negative impacts. They seem to be everywhere for some people. CrossFit has become another constant for me. A section of my day, 3 times a week, that is filled with something intense, empowering and satisfying. Each and every visit.

Now that I’m over the initial shock: the fear of every WOD because I didn’t understand the agents or finding a reason not to make it in just because wall balls were on that morning’s menu; the workouts don’t make me nervous. I’ve learned there are two definites: I will finish and I will be proud of myself. How can you beat that? It’s a thrill to have such an uplifting start to my day.

Don’t get me wrong. CrossFit is a lot of other things too, like an excuse to wear your Vibrams and yell from the gut or swing a sledge-hammer. And no one cares what you do outside the box because inside it we’re all the same: sweaty and stronger than we were a year ago.

 

 


Never Quit

I’ve never had a serious injury, so when I sprained my kneecap and patellar tendon on November 26th, I took it like a death in the family. Mind you, I fall a lot. But this time I couldn’t get up. I needed crutches, I needed rest, I still require a brace with light activity (but it’s getting better). I wasn’t able to work out my frustrations in the gym or catch the high off my adrenaline, all of a sudden it was a sad, slow existence. The exact opposite of my typical day.

Fast forward 3 weeks and I finally got back to the Box for my first ‘workout’ in 21 long, painful days. I couldn’t “do” anything. In fact, Coach Dan was there that morning and I remember him actually laughing when I said “No lower body.” In a world centered around the squat, I understood his chuckle but I had to get back into my fitness routine or I’d lose my mind. The abmat became my bff, I kipped a few pull-ups a day but it rattled my knee too much to do more, strict and push presses wore my arms out – but I was doing something and that made me happy.

Then came week 5. After 2 weeks of putzing around with upper body exercises and limited mobility, I was frustrated and envious of my friends who were reaching goals and setting new ones, as I watched. I once again scaled the day’s WOD (workout of the day) to suit my injury and was ready to GO. Things started off well. 1 armed push-ups were also 1 legged, as I sat my injured leg atop my good leg so my knee didn’t touch the ground. I believe ring rows, sit-ups and possibly kettle cleans were other agents in the workout. I felt good, tired, almost strong when… my injured leg fell and BAM! pain shot through my body. My eyes swelled with tears and I almost let them fall. I was pissed. Then I did something I never expected of myself: I left.

I walked out on my workout, on my team, my friends. I just left. I couldn’t see anything but my own self pity and forgot that I had support. I could have asked for help, or rested while rooting on others. I should have finished, stretched, anything other than walk out.

Like magic, CrossFit 717 reposted a blog from Rogue Fitness the next day that presented the message: NEVER QUIT. Keep going. It was the reminder that I needed. “Break through the wall”. FOCUS. We must remember to think outside ourselves. Who wants to be a quitter? Or a whiner? Not I.

I took a few days to re-gather my gumption while I prioritized my fitness goals based on my current status. Much like my diet, I stopped thinking about what I “can’t” do and focused on what I can do. I realized I wasn’t able to keep up with the other athletes (these chicks are fierce!), I wouldn’t be able to complete every move or hit the goals I was working toward pre-injury. That had to be okay before I could move forward, and all of a sudden it was. The next few workouts were thoughtful. I focused on form, not speed or weight. I checked in with the regulars at my morning workouts and while I paused due to soreness during the WOD, I watched them perform. I was mindful of their technique and how I could tweak my own. I was finally growing as an athlete again.

2011 WOD for a Cure

Today I did a snatch balance of 60lbs. Don’t laugh. That’s huge – FOR ME. If I’m going to break through any walls, they will be MY walls. I can’t compare myself to others and I will not disappoint myself again.