Puerco Asado

Puerco Asado

It’s almost been a year since I’ve posted…sigh! Food is still a big part of my life. I’ve been thinking I should post this recipe for some time because it’s so delicious! First off, this is not something I created…I copied something I ate at a restaurant and fell in love with. I’ve been working in downtown Seattle since December. Many people eat out on a regular basis, but I try to stick with my healthful food that I pack in every day. I do like to do team building and get to know my employees, so I started doing a once a month team lunch. Someone else in our office had mentioned a newer hole in the wall that we had to try…so we did. It’s called La Bodega and they serve Dominican food! They have a specialty sandwich called the “Puerco asado con chimichurri, repollo”. They offered it “gluten free” as a bowl with rice, so that is how I tried it. Immediately I was in LOVE!

The bowl had a coconut rice on the bottom, roasted pulled pork, shredded cabbage, chimichurri, pickled red onion, and house aoili. After inhaling my food I realized this could be pretty easy to make! I already had a recipe that was super easy for pulled pork and I had heard of chimichurri before! So, I set out to create a copy! It’s never quite the same as the original and I could likely eat there every day, but making my version at home is fine with me too!

My version of the puerco asado bowl from La Bodega.

My version of the puerco asado bowl from La Bodega.

Ingredients:

  • Pulled Pork
  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • Chimichurri

Directions:

  • Make pulled pork same day or night before
  • Make Chimichurri - this is the recipe I “follow”. The only thing I really measure is the oil and vinegar. The herbs I just put handfuls in and occasionally (if I have it) i will add red onion for some additional flavor!
  • Shred the cabbage – cut in half and lay flat on cutting board. Slice thin then cut in thirds so it’s easy to eat with a fork.

To put it all together, put some of the shredded cabbage in the bottom of your bowl, add pulled pork, and top with chimichurri! For my at home version I do not eat rice, but occasionally when I eat at La Bodega I like to splurge on the rice! I haven’t found pickled red onions at a store to buy, which is why I add some red onion to the chimichurri. I tried adding it to the dish finely chopped, but it was a little too strong, blending it in the chimichurri was more enjoyable!

Reach for the stars!

Reach for the stars!

I’ve known Evie for a long time. We haven’t spent much time together, but a few things over the last couple years have connected us! I’ve mostly been following her on Facebook and watching her progress through her weight loss journey! I’m always excited when people make a conscious effort to improve their overall health and fitness, obviously because it’s something I’m really passionate about! Evie reached out to me a while back to get some tips on Paleo eating because her husband was interested in making the switch! I’m blown away by the commitment she has shown to improve her fitness, as this is not easy. I also witnessed her strength in hard times and remaining positive and focused on God. I think it’s important to share stories because everyone has a different journey and we never know how it will inspire someone else. I asked Evie to share her story because she has been an inspiration to me! Initially she wasn’t sure she wanted to for fear of what people would think, but I encouraged her to share it because there are so many things in her story that I felt would resonate with people!  So, please take a few moments to read her story…it’s awesome!

eviebeforeafter

I was always an overweight child. I was made fun of my entire childhood. I came from an overweight family with overweight habits. My father passed away when I was 15 and my mother nearly died after cardiac arrest when I was in my early 20′s. Obesity has haunted me as long as I can remember. I was never happy with being overweight, but I accepted it as my norm. I tried many diets and was successful in losing 60 lbs with Weight Watchers in 2005. Weight Watchers is a great tool for losing weight but like any diet program, it can be abused. I lost my weight without ever stepping foot in a gym or working out. I lost the weight while binge drinking and eating as much fast food as I could fit within my points. I achieved my goal, to lose weight but I went about it in the wrong way and resulted in gaining it all (plus some) back. I went back to living an overweight life.

I continued to gain/lose/gain/lose for my entire adult life. I tried many diet plans, had a personal trainer, gym memberships (plural!) and lacked emotional and spiritual happiness. This all changed in 2011 when I met my husband and renewed my faith in God. Mike met me and fell in love with me while I was extremely overweight. I never believed I deserved to be loved. We were married and had a son all within 1 year. Life had never been more complete for me, however I was still not “happy”. After becoming a mother, I knew I needed to change my life. I wanted to do whatever I could to live long enough to see my son grow into a man and grow old with my husband. I did not want my son to have to suffer the emotional scars that come along with being an overweight child nor did I want him to lose his parent to  before graduating high school like I did. I decided that I needed to make a radical change to turn my life around. After much discussion with my husband and prayer, I choose to get lap-band surgery in June 2011.

Before I go any further, I will say a couple things about weight loss surgery. There are 2 types of weight loss patients- a person looking for a fix and a person looking for a tool. Surgery is not the easy road. WLS is like any diet or workout program, some succeed and some fail. Just as with any diet or exercise plan, you are in control of your choices. Surgery is not a fail proof solution to weight loss. After having lap-band I am faced with the same choices I was before surgery, I can choose to eat small portions, track my calories and choose healthy foods or choose to drink milk shakes and fast food. Many patients will continue to eat the same foods as they did prior to surgery but in smaller portions. I promised myself that would not be me. Since having surgery I was committed to making healthy lifestyle choices for myself and my family. Immediately after surgery I began walking 3-5 miles with my girlfriend. I was way too insecure to go to a gym in front of “fit” people. It took me 3 months before I took the plunge and got (another) gym membership to ensure I continued my progress! I did the typical 30-45 cardio and light core workouts. I was losing weight steadily, but not dropping inches. My diet consisted of a very low calorie diet with as much protein as I could get in! I was getting in the groove and then…. life happened.

I was laid off from my job of 12 years unexpectedly so my family decided to start over in Las Vegas! December 31, 2012 we found out we were expecting baby #2! We were beyond excited, but I can honestly say I was also a little scared. I had a miserable pregnancy with my 1st child and did not want to regain the weight that I had fought to lose! When I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd child I weighed 180lbs, which was significantly lower than my first pregnancy. Unfortunately, in March 2013 at 16 weeks, we lost our little girl. As expected this was a very difficult time emotionally for our family. I needed an outlet, so instead of eating or drinking away my emotions- I decided to run. I started C25K the Monday after I lost our baby. Running gave me the feeling that I was in control of something and I felt I needed desperately to be in control of something since I had absolutely no control of losing my daughter. This was the start of a new Evie! At this time, I also had my lap-band emptied to enable me to consume enough calories to fuel my workouts as well as give me 100% control over my journey. I signed up for a 5k and started Insanity with my husband. Working out together became a huge bonding experience for us as a couple. Not only did we get stronger physically but we became stronger as a couple. Every night we waited until our son was asleep and then headed out to the garage to workout. After completing the 90 day Insanity program we started doing HIIT training and weights! Our garage was slowly becoming a personal gym. Every night at 7 pm we had a “date” with each other and our gym.

Evieworkout

I no longer have a goal to lose weight to become skinny, I want to lose weight and become FIT! Fitness is a way of life for us now.  I have modified my diet to be as clean as possible while monitoring my calories, carbs and protein. Our dates now include hikes and jogs instead of always going to eat. As a former fat girl, it’s very hard to change your mindset and make yourself eat more to lose more. I am currently within 15 pounds of my goal weight. I have lost a total of 153 from my highest weight and 110 since June 2011. I religiously track my calories,  water, consume 0 alcohol and workout 6-7 days per week. I started my journey wearing a (tight) size 20 and I am currently in a 6-8.The biggest surprise along my journey has been that the emotional change can be more difficult than the physical change.

Knowing what I know today, I would not choose to get lap-band because I now have the knowledge and tools to live a healthy life however I do no regret my decision as it helped me to see the strength I never knew I had. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it!

Healthy living is the end goal, how you get there is your choice! I challenge everyone to find a path that works for you and reach for the stars!

eviehubby

 

10 minute Paleo dinner – 2 options in 1

10 minute Paleo dinner – 2 options in 1

Costco is our standard grocery shopping location mostly because we eat a lot of meat and vegetables! I’m sure a lot of you know how things come and go at Costco, so if you find something you like….stock up! One thing we recently discovered was a bag salad. Ok, I know how this sounds, but stick with me! It contains 7 superfoods (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, chicory, cranberries, and roasted pumpkin seeds). I have come up with 2 ways to eat this and they are both delicious!

BagSaladCostcov1

Quick & Easy Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Salad mix
  • meat of your choice (I’ve used, ground turkey, ground beef, chicken sausage, pork sausage)
  • balsamic vinegar (dressing)
  • Avocado (optional, but highly recommended!)

Directions:

  • cook  meat
  • Put salad mix in bowls
  • top with meat
  • add dressing
  • Enjoy!

GroundturkeySaladv1

Quick & Easy Stir-fry:

Ingredients:

  • Salad mix
  • Chicken Sausage (I like to get it from the butcher in fun flavors like Rosemary Apple, or Spinach Feta)

Directions:

  • cook  meat
  • Add salad mix to meat and cook until it’s soft, but not mushy (this should only take a few minutes)
  • Enjoy

Veggiestirfry

Blasted Broccoli

Blasted Broccoli

Broccoli has become one of my most favorite things to eat! It is one of those tricky vegetables that for whatever reason kids don’t like to eat. When I participated in a nutrition challenge, one of the comments after my week 1 food journal was that I should eat more vegetables for breakfast. Unless I was eating an omelet I wasn’t sure how to eat vegetables in the morning…why is that? I think it’s because of how I was conditioned to eat. The go to items were cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. Since I’ve opened my mind and changed the way I look at food I’ve become interested in a lot more foods at ANY point in the day! All of this is to say that once I just went out on a limb and tried broccoli for breakfast….I was HOOKED!! I can now eat this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and I love it!

This is my most favorite way to cook it! I hope you enjoy it! It’s best fresh out of the oven while it still crispy, but it’s also good reheated!!

Blasted Broccoli

Blasted Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  • Put broccoli on a baking tray
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder
  • Massage it all together with your hands
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy!!

 

3 month transformation

3 month transformation

I’m always hoping that I can inspire people and when they’re brave enough to tell me I’ve done so…it feels so good! The best part of this story is that not only did I manage to inspire Kate, but she has continued to inspire ME and others in her life (her mom has recently joined CrossFit as well)! I first met Kate in 2009 when I joined Clearwire. I don’t think there were many things we had in common, but I did love her sense of humor and we became good work friends. I had mentioned workouts and healthy eating to Kate, but she has always said she could never give up bread and pasta….oh and that she hates vegetables! I never pushed it, but was always willing to talk about it on her terms! She left Clearwire, but we kept in touch and over time I convinced her to try CrossFit! I asked her to share her story because I’ve seen such a change in her (appearance, happiness, health) since she made this commitment and I wanted others to hear it! Enjoy her story!

Before_After1

Sports had been a big part of my life growing up, but somewhere along the way I forgot how to be an athlete.  For years I had spent most of my time sitting at a desk, exercising my brain but little else.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, my stomach gave me problems, and I had to start taking medications for various medical issues.  Unfortunately, I still ate like an athlete.  I’d load up on carbs and calories but wouldn’t do anything to burn them off.

When my brother in law got married, I wanted to look great for the wedding and drop a few dress sizes for the family photos.  I tried training for a 5k on my own, and that stuck for a while.  After I gave up on that I started riding the stationary bike, but even my iPod couldn’t save me from that particular boredom.  So I ended up going to the wedding being unhappy with my appearance.

Enter CrossFit.  My friend Kylah had convinced me to try it, even helping me find Lake Washington CrossFit, which was close to my house and work.  I figured it was worth a shot, so I went to give it a try.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but in about nine minutes and thirty seconds, I was hooked.  I signed up that day.  In the beginning they talked about the paleo diet, but I wasn’t quite ready to make that leap yet.  I had already switched to brown rice, wheat bread and whole grain pasta, wasn’t that enough?

I had been playing indoor soccer once a week for over a year, but I wasn’t in very good shape and my play suffered for it.  It didn’t take long after I started CrossFit to start seeing results on the soccer field, plus I was down a whole dress size!  I found, though, that I was having a hard time making big improvements at CrossFit, so I decided to try to go full paleo for 28 days.

I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this.  I basically lived on all of the things that are forbidden in paleo – rice, bread, milk, cheese, pasta.  I also think I am vegetable-phobic.  I spent a whole weekend scouring the internet for paleo recipes to try to get me through this challenge.  I was surprised to find so many that sounded like something I could enjoy eating.

My coaches at CrossFit told me the first two weeks of going paleo would be the hardest.  If I could get through the cravings and decreased energy, I would really start to feel a difference.  My husband Adam cooked me so many delicious meals that all of a sudden, I didn’t need all of that other food.  A “diet” where you can eat bacon?  Count me in!  In 28 days, I lost 15 pounds, and I noticed I was lifting more, faster.  The best part of it all?  I got to decrease some of my medications, completely stop taking others, and my stomach problems are a thing of the past.  I’m almost done with another challenge, but in between I’m starting to prefer eating paleo as a lifestyle change.

There’s another great benefit to getting fit and losing over 35 pounds.  My sister in law is getting married this summer.  I’m looking forward to those family photos.

CrossFit has become a great outlet for me.  I don’t think I’ve ever found anything better for working off a tough day.  I have more energy, I’m happier and more fun to be around, and I actually look forward to working out now.  But the other day, when I sat down and signed up for the CrossFit Open, I remembered how to be an athlete.  It’s great to be in a team environment again – everyone pushes each other to be better than yesterday and celebrates in each other’s successes.  Maybe that’s why I keep going back – it’s an addictive way to measure your fitness, to make a sport out of being fit, to see calculable results, and all of this with a group of teammates cheering you on.  It sure beats going nowhere on a bike for 30 minutes a day.

Paleo Carne Asada

Paleo Carne Asada

I love being part of a community at CrossFit Industrious! We often stick around after class and chat about how sore we are or how tough the WOD was, but that we’ll be back again tomorrow! The other great thing about this community is that we all want the others to succeed and we’re all willing to help in any way we can! Recently I saw a friend from CF post a picture of her dinner (Carne Asada), so I asked for the recipe! Shortly after it was on my Facebook page for all to see! I tried it out recently and have made a few tweaks and thought I’d post it because it turned out so delicious!

Carne Asada w/fresh guacamole & blasted broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb flank steak
  • 1 Tbsp garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 large can diced green chilies
  • 1 lime

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients in small bowl and coat all sides of steak generously. I don’t really measure the dry ingredients…I just like to free pour until I think it looks good!

Dry rub

Empty can of diced green chilies into slow cooker.

Diced green chilies

Place seasoned steak in slow cooker and Squeeze lime over meat and leave lime pieces in the slow cooker.

Ready to cook!

Cook on low for 8-10 hours (I did 10).

Shred meat and serve it topped with chopped, fresh cilantro and fresh guacamole.

 

Enjoy!

Crock pot Curry Chicken

Crock pot Curry Chicken

I love using my crock pot because I can just throw stuff in and when I get home dinner is ready! I was getting tired of the same seasoning so I decided to switch things up! Also, I love Thai food and curry was sounding really good! Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen chicken breast
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 2 Tbs Green curry paste
  • Curry powder
  • Avocado

Directions:

  • put sliced onion and bell pepper in the crock pot
  • Add coconut milk and chicken stock
  • Add green curry paste and mix in with liquid
  • add frozen chicken breast
  • sprinkle with some extra curry powder
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours!
  • After cooked shred chicken with fork
  • Serve in bowl and top with avocado

Enjoy!

Basil Lime Beef Kebabs

Basil Lime Beef Kebabs

Once again while I was searching for new recipes I came across a fun looking kebab from Marks Daily Apple! So far everything I’ve tried from his site has been delicious. These weren’t difficult to make, but it was a little time consuming. You have to marinade the meat, which I did earlier in the day. Then you have to spend time putting the meat and veggies on the skewer. But once you’re done it’s worth it because you don’t have to cut your meal up! Here is a link to Mark’s Daily Apple for the original recipe. For this meal I used about 3lbs of meat…so I did make a little extra marinade.

Basil Lime Beef Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of beef (try chuck, top sirloin, rib-eye, tri-tip or tenderloin) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (zest)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, red or yellow, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:

  • Place the cubes of meat in a large, zip lock bag. Set aside.
  • In a blender, combine lime juice, coconut oil, orange zest, garlic cloves, basil, cumin, salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Pour over the meat. Let sit for 1/2 hour at room temperature or marinate for up to two hours in the refrigerator.
  • In a separate bowl toss the bell peppers and onion with either a little bit of the marinade or a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • While the meat is marinating, heat the grill to high. If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 1/2 hour so they don’t burn on the grill.
  • Skewer the meat and veggies, alternating chunks of meat with bell pepper and onion. Grill with the lid down for 8 minutes, turning the skewers every two minutes.

Enjoy!

 

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

Since I knew this nutrition challenge was coming up I spent a whole evening planning out all our meals and snacks. Week 2 brings the Bacon avocado deviled eggs! I always deviate slightly from recipes I find so I will link to the original and then tell you what I tweaked! They turned out great, but I’m not sure how long they will stay fresh. I like snacks that will keep so I can eat them throughout the week. Last week I made the egg cupcakes and those were perfect!

Avocado Bacon Deviled Eggs

The original recipe comes from CrossFit Fire – http://crossfitfire.com/amazing-bacon-avocado-deviled-eggs/ The main thing I changed was not making the Paleo Mayo and just using a little olive oil instead and a little extra lemon juice. I also used cilantro in the mix! There will be lots of filling left, but I saved it to eat with meat during the week!

Ingredients

  • 8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled nice and small
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro (optional garnish)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Cut eggs in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out yolks.
  • In a food processor combine egg yolks, diced avocados, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, bacon and salt to taste.
  • Fill egg whites with yolk mixture and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with cayenne lightly, or sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Today with the cold fall air I got a craving for beef stew. Plus, we were at Costco and the pre-cut meat looked so good! I looked up a few recipes online, but many had ingredients I didn’t want to include since they were not nutrition challenge friendly. So, I kind of made one up. This whole recipe only has 1 serving of starch…so as long as you don’t eat the whole pot in one serving you’re not using up your 1 serving of fruit/starch a day!

 

Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • Beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • mix of yellow squash and zucchini
  • chopped mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs rosemary
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs Italian spice mix
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  • Chop onion and put in bottom of crock pot
  • Add carrots, squash, mushrooms, garlic
  • Add liquid
  • Add rosemary
  • Top with meat
  • Add remaining spices
  • Cover and cook for 6-8 hours

Enjoy!!