04/06 My big fat Greek Keeeenwahhhh

It’s finally getting warmer in GA. We are able to open the garage doors and workout, and actually sweat!
We also just got these bad boys for the summer.

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I’m super stoked to get out on the water and use them!

About 5-6 years ago before I started becoming more mindful of GMO wheat and corn, I made pasta salad in the summer. It was my go to for lunch during the week or if we had a busy evening of running around doing errands and sporting events.

Last week I decided to try a similar version with quinoa (keen-wah). Many people think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually more closely related to spinach and beet roots. It also lacks gluten, is high in protein, and contains small amounts of omega-3′s – making it an excellent addition to anyone’s diet.

Quinoa can be used in many different dishes but I’m going to focus today on using it as a pasta alternative.

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Greek Quinoa.

Cooking quinoa -
1 cup uncooked quinoa: 2 cups water
bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until all the water has cooked out. Approximately 10-12 minutes.

Making it Greek -
12-14 kalamata olives (pitted) and chopped – more if you really like olives, like myself :-)
1, 12 oz jar of artichoke hearts
8 stalks of lacinato kale, I can only find it at Whole Foods
2 grilled chicken breasts or 4 grilled thighs (boneless/skinless)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Putting it all together -
I’m going to give you two options here, because some of you follow a more zone approach to eating.
1) Zone people (ZP), measure your quinoa and set aside in your individual containers – everyone else, empty the quinoa into a large bowl.
2) ZP – dice up the chicken, measure and place in each container – everyone else, dice the chicken and add to the quinoa.
3) ZP – chop all olives, artichoke hearts, and kale – mix well and add to individual containers. Everyone else, chop olives, artichoke hearts, and kale and add to quinoa/chicken bowl.
4) In a glass bowl, whisk balsamic vinegar and olive oil together. ZP – measure and add to containers, then stir all ingredients together and set aside.
Everyone else, whisk vinegar and olive oil together, drizzle over ingredients and mix well.
- This should make 4 large containers worth of lunch/dinner for the week. You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger family.

Congrats to all the PG’ers that made Regionals – there are quite a few of you :-)
Happy Monday.
~M
#BlackList

03/14 Ready, Set, Goooooo.

The ability to eat well is mainly dependent on planning ahead. Everyone plans slightly different. You need to do what works best for you and/or your family.

Here is a little glimpse inside how our family plans for the week. Hopefully you can gain a few tips or tricks to incorporate in your weekly routine!

- Our main prep time is Sunday afternoons and we tend to make it a family event. My daughter and I prep a lot of the food, and put all the meat to the side. My husband lights the charcoal and then we grill – like massive amounts of meat!!! This is only round one of usually three to four rounds on the grill.
Brined and Grilled pork chops
We prep the eggs, these eggs last the week for my daughter and I – my husband eats fried eggs every morning. *side note, these are similar to the egg muffins but faster and easier! She requested plain eggs this week and it pretty much turns out like scrambled eggs but in a perfectly squared casserole shape. I usually put chopped spinach and tomatoes with goat cheese in there.

egg caserole for the week
My husband however, loves hash in the morning. And the chopping and cooking of sausage, etc. was annoying. So I came up with chopping everything really quick, including the sausage links, throwing it in a pan and baking it at 350 for 45 minutes to 1hr 15. It’s WAY easier and I can do tons of other stuff while the egg casserole and hash cook at the same time.

easy hashThis hash has red potatoes, red and green bell peppers, onions (chopped really small) and sausage links chopped up (I did not remove the casing).

We usually put asparagus on the grill as well as zucchini and I will usually make some kind of vegetable for myself inside (salad, kale, etc).
After all the cooking is done and cooled. We bag it up or put it in containers…depending on the item.
It looks similar to this -
Whats in the basket picAsparagus on the bottom left, followed by grilled chicken, hamburgers and porkchops, and on the bottom right are sweet potatoes cut in half.
Top left is bags of grapes, that is one of my daughters jobs – and if you have kids 5 or over, they can certainly do this as well. Rinse the grapes for them, and have them pick the grapes off the vine and put them in a bowl. Afterwards ask them to count grapes out and put ten in each bag (or however many you choose) – it not only allows them to participate, but they are also using their math skills to count out each bag of grapes.
Top right is kale salad.

To keep things organized so everyone knows what is or is not theirs for the week, I bought different colored baskets at the dollar store. Each person in the family gets a different color and their breakfast, lunch and snacks for the week are in their basket.
I keep left over meat in one of the drawers and that is the dinner drawer. There is also a vegetable and carb in each drawer for each night of the week.

fridge pic - use
At the end of the week, all the baskets are stacked within each other and the fridge is restocked and we do it all over again.

If you have a larger family and cannot fit everything in the fridge at once – try planning through Wednesday. On Tuesday or Wednesday you can put one meal in the crockpot and cook one on the stove or in the oven to make it through the rest of the week. If you have a family of four and are fixing porkchops, always plan on making 8-10 porkchops. If you have boys, plan on making 15-16. That way you have lunch for a day or two as well.
Finally, yes, organic and grass-fed is the best. But feeding a large family can be a huge expense. I would much rather see everyone eating meals cooked at home that are NOT organic or grass-fed, than eating drive-thru meals 3 times a week. Do what you can and keep moving forward :-)

Happy Friday.
~M
#BlackList

3/11 It’s a typical situation, in these typical times.

Too many choices…..

Positive or negative, what do you choose? Mental health is huge. Both in life and sports, your mental health can play a huge role. It can keep you from reaching your goals in sports and keep you from maintaining healthy relationships in life.

It’s been almost a month since my last post and a ton of stuff has been going on….the Open started (you guys and girls are doing awesome!), my kid has been PR-ing like nobody’s business on her Olympic lifts, I’m finally making some gains on my shoulder to overhead lifts – thank goodness! But tons of personal stuff too. I’m trying to balance a full-time job that requires a 1 hour drive each way to get there and home, I’m back in college full-time (does anyone make textbooks on audio??? Because that would be super freaking awesome for my drive!), I’m still a mom and wife trying to run a household and workout 4-5 days a week. To say things are busy is an understatement.

Last Wednesday, March 5th was the first day of Lent. We are not über religious in that we attend church every weekend, but I have my own personal beliefs and decided to give up my personal Facebook page for Lent. Personally, I look at Lent as simplifying life and enjoying the simple things in life like sitting outdoors on a day filled with warmth and sunshine.
One of my aunt’s posted an article on FB before I gave it up, stating things people traditionally gave up for Lent, and the reasons one should choose to give up something (things that cause stress, make you angry, are bad for your health, etc.). I have never given anything up for Lent before and was skeptical on how it would go…..but to be honest, people on FB annoy the shit out of me, mainly the women, so I decided to give up FB.

Yes, I’m one of THOSE women. One of those women that does not particularly like many other women. The woman with mostly guy friends, the one that remains friends with all her ex’s, and can kick it with her husband and his friends on the regular.
I do not dislike women in general. I have some really great girlfriends – but they are few, and those women and I are super-duper tight – and I will back them til the day I die.

Here’s my one issue with most women – they whine and complain – A LOT!

I have ‘friends’ on Facebook that are mothers, sometimes to 3 or more kids, they constantly talk about how they never have anytime to clean, or cook – BUT they sure as shit have time to update their FB status 10 times a day.
Then there are the women that complain that they are pregnant and do not feel well – to that I also say STFU, there are numerous women that cannot even get pregnant, so stop whining that you are. No one wants to hear it, especially not 5 times a week!
On the other hand, I have a friend that lives up the street from us, she has four kids, makes time to take care of her household, goes running, etc. and I do not think I’ve ever heard her complain. Like EVER!!!! J.D. you are a pretty amazing woman.
Or my best friend, who had to uproot her family and move to Vermont of all places. Yes, it is beautiful. But the cold up there is no freaking joke. And through it all, she bites her tongue and waits. She knows that it is only temporary and a new day will come when she gets to move back to NC again. She is embracing the temporary suck to support her husband and making the most of it by snowshoeing, skiing her buns off, and learning to love a town with no Target, Walmart, or any other major chain store Americans are accustomed to.
Those are the women I admire and want in my life!

I get it, we all have our issues in life that suck, annoy us, we wish were different, etc. Life can be messy and complicated, yet great all at the same time. But do you really need to publicly complain on a daily basis? Oh, except November, because we all know the month of November those daily complainers will suddenly be thankful for everything in life…..in between complaint posts.
Maybe I look at things differently, but life happens whether we are ready for it or not. It is how you embrace the craziness that truly defines you as a person.

Apparently there is some new life coach guru out there, Tony Robbins. To this I laugh, very hard. But…but, but he is a life coach and will make you feel wonderful about yourself (said with an amazing amount of sarcasm). Because everyone should be able to pay $599-$2595 to be told, “You can do it!” If you really need someone to tell you that you are able to do something and do it successful – just watch this video over and over. It’s free and funny!

Here is my question to people who pay a life coach for a weekend seminar -
Once the money is paid and the weekend is over, what is the plan? When another one of life’s obstacles arrives, and it will, what is the next step? Do you suddenly have this amazing view on life after one weekend? Similar to how everyone is suddenly a professional exercise coach after one weekend? Or an Olympic lifting coach after a weekend certification?
Typically life doesn’t work that way. You go through life and either learn to live and love big, even through all the suck, or you decide to bury your head in a hole and pretend like the problems will just go away – even though they won’t/don’t.

I guess my point of this is, go through life and enjoy the ride. Accept the not so awesome things. Right now, this time of year, for the last couple of years, my husband is about 75% checked out. The other night we were talking about it, and he apologized. But I do not want an apology. For a couple of reasons, first and foremost – he is doing something he loves. If I cannot support him doing something he loves, then I suck at being a wife! Plain and simple. Plus – when we are 65 sitting in rocking chairs overlooking the ocean (yes, that shit is going to happen, Aaron Evans!) – we will be sitting back reminiscing on how crazy CrossFit was, how we got to experience things some people will never understand or be a part of. And while it was/is hard sometimes, they are amazing memories. I could not imagine being a part of anything else right now, we have a group of amazing athletes and I get to be married to my best friend and the number one programmer ;-)

Because these, my friends, are typical situations, in these typical times and we have too many choices. Make a conscious decision to choose positive and you will begin to see a lot of other positives begin to accumulate!

Sending out good vibrations and sweet sensations.
~M
#BlackList

02/20 Baked Spaghetti

I got this idea based off Paleomg’s popular pizza spaghetti pie. Everyone and their mom was talking about how awesome it was so I decided to make it. Except that while walking around the grocery, I could not find any pizza sauce I could bring myself to actually purchase. They all had crazy crap in them. So I decided I’d go home and make something somewhat similar but use my traditional meat sauce recipe in place of the pizza sauce.

* side note, this has cheese – mainly goat cheese – but if you are strict paleo you can omit it. But I will say, the goat cheese makes the sauce so creamy and delicious – like crazy good!

PG Paleo, Baked Spaghetti.

The ‘Spaghetti’
- 2 large spaghetti squash – cut in half, drizzle with olive oil and bake @350 for 25 minutes. (You can make your meat sauce while this cooks.)
Scoop out the seeds before or after, your preference. After they come out of the oven let cool and using a dinner fork pull the insides until just the shell of the spaghetti squash is left.

Meat Sauce.
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3-5 cloves of garlic. I really love garlic and it’s good for your immune system so I load up on all 5 cloves – minced.
- 2 lbs of meat. For this particular recipe I use 2 lbs of Italian sausage. You can mix ground beef and Italian sausage, veal, ground turkey or chicken.
- 28 oz tomato sauce
- 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp basil
- 2 tsp parsley
- 12 oz of fresh baby spinach, chopped (Optional)
- 8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, chopped (Optional)
- 3 oz goat cheese (Optional)
meat sauce with goat cheese

Directions.
1) In a large stock pot, and I’m talking a big one – like you boil lobsters in….add a touch of bacon fat/drippings and chopped onions. Cook until the onions become close to translucent.
2) Add the garlic, spinach, and mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the 2 lbs of meat.
3) Cook the meat through and then drain in a colander.
4) Add the meat, veggie mixture back to the stock pot and pour in the tomatoes (sauce, diced, paste).
5) Followed by the parsley, basil, oregano and goat cheese if desired.
6) Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring often. The longer this cooks the better it will taste.
7) Now it’s time to add all that spaghetti squash you pulled out. Yep, add all of it to the stock pot and stir as best you can to incorporate all the spaghetti squash and meat sauce.
8) Pour into a large baking dish, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

* I added a little parmesan to the top of mine :-)
Finished baked spaghetti
TAAAADAAAAA – We, a family of three, can eat off this for a couple of days! It makes the week so much easier.

Happy Thursday.
~M
#BlackList

02/14 Live-r – Laugh – Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! And Happy Birthday to me and two other PG/BlackList team members, Naomi and Chris D.

I just renewed my domain for another year. I was actually contemplating whether or not I wanted to…..life has been really busy lately and going back to school is taking up more time than I anticipated but it will be oh so sweet when I’m done!!!!

I’ve posted here before about my wacky hormones, what I didn’t post was the fact that I started taking a couple of cycles of DHEA in order to try to help regulate the craziness.
When you cannot sleep for 3-4 nights in a row, have work to go to, a family to keep up with, and workouts to do…..you do NOT have time for sleepless nights. Not to mention that epilepsy and lack of sleep do not exactly go well together. Believe me, I made that mistake in my youth, too much partying and staying up late = a grand mal seizure and giving yourself two black eyes and biting your tongue is the opposite of awesome.

After doing a couple of cycles of the DHEA I noticed a change in my hormones and everything seemed a little better. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night sweating my behind off, I was able to sleep, and I felt good overall.

What I did not like was the fact that DHEA is a synthetic hormone. I do not take birth control because I don’t like the thought of synthetic hormones in my body so why would I continue taking this.

After a little more research and seeing a friends post on Instagram (shout out to Anna) I discovered — Raw Liver Pills.

Yep – you read that right! Raw, as in not cooked. Liver, as in grass-fed from a cow. And pills, as in chopped up into small pieces (think the size of a fish oil pill).

Every morning I wake up, make my bulletproof coffee and pop the goodness of these magic pills.

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The pic above is what it looks like when I brought it home from the store. I bought my liver from Whole Foods. Ask the butcher there, and he will either get some for you, as they don’t usually keep it in the regular meat case. Or he will point you in the right direction. Our WF in Marietta keeps it in the freezer section right near the butcher.
Which actually worked out great because by the time I got it home, it thawed just enough to be able to cut it, lay it on a cookie sheet, flash freeze it and then store it in a container.

Now I know what you are thinking…I don’t eat cooked liver, why the heck would I eat it raw.
But here’s the thing, you don’t taste it. You don’t burp it up like you do some fish oils. It’s exactly like swallowing a fish oil pill. If you do taste anything, because you don’t get it down the first time all the way. The only taste is a metallic-y taste  like if you bite your tongue.

I’ve been taking these pills since right before Thanksgiving, and wanted to have it in my system consistently before posting on my results.
But now I can tell you without a doubt, they helped my monthly hormone fluctuations IMMENSELY. As in no more cramps, no more night sweats, no more insomnia and I feel awesome. Even with 85 million things going on right now in my life, I feel great.

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These raw liver pills are not only for women either. Many men, body builders and endurance athletes to be specific, use raw liver pills or put it in their shakes because it has an anti-fatigue factor.
Don’t take my word for it – read for yourself:

http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/liver-files

Try it, I usually take 2 pills per day. I personally noticed that if I take more than 2 liver pills per day, I have so much energy at night I have a hard time going to sleep and feel more like, “hey it’s 10pm, let’s go run a marathon.”

Have a Love-ly Day <3
~M

1/26 Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

This is not actually a casserole, but it reminds me of tuna casserole….so that’s what I’m calling it :-)

If you need something fast and easy, make this. It makes 5 large servings for the week, or 10 small servings.

I ate mine everyday this week for lunch and it was a large serving and kept me full for hours.

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole.

Ingredients.
- 1 rotisserie chicken
- 2 packages of organic broccoli slaw
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 broccoli crown, chopped
- 1 1/4 c of paleo mayo
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
- 3 tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds

Directions.
1) pull all the chicken off your rotisserie and set the bones aside (you can use it for bone broth later)
2) in a large bowl, empty the bags of broccoli slaw, add the pulled chicken, cranberries, and chopped broccoli.

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Make the paleo mayo.
You can do this by hand or in a blender/food processor.
1) separate 3 egg yolks, toss the whites in a container and eat at breakfast the next day.
2) let the yolks come to room temperature. Once at room temp. start to vigorously whisk, or if using a blender, pulse 3-4 times.
3) once you’ve mixed the yolks, begin adding some extra virgin olive oil. A little at a time until it begins to thicken just slightly.
4) continue mixing and adding olive oil until it reaches a thick consistency (it will turn lighter in color as you add more olive oil).
5) once the desired thickness is reached, add a little vinegar (approx. 1 tbsp). I personally love rice vinegar or red wine vinegar.
6) stir in the vinegar, then add the honey, poppy seeds, and a touch of S&P.
7) quickly incorporate and pour the mayo over the broccoli slaw/chicken mixture.

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1) mix all of the ingredients together well, and portion into containers.
2) top with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and you have quick meals for the week.

Enjoy.
~ M
#BlackList

1/24 Orange-Ginger Chicken

We’ve been on a stir-fry kick at our house lately. It’s quick and easy to make during the week, and it’s great the next day for lunch as well.

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On Sundays I usually try and cook enough food to get through Wednesday at dinner. Thursdays we make do with leftovers and Fridays is usually date night for myself and Aaron.

Wednesday is our off day from working out so I usually have an extra hour or two to cook up some extra vittles if we need them, or are just bored with what is in the fridge currently.

This Wednesday I had chicken and decided to try and recreate an orange chicken similar to what you get at the Chinese food restaurant.
It turned out great, did not use a ton of crazy ingredients, and is a good way to get some extra vegetables in your diet.

Orange-Ginger Chicken.

Ingredients.
1-2 lb organic chicken thighs, cut up into bite size pieces. (I used 2 lbs for so we had leftovers)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sesame oil (this is optional)
3 cups of chopped baby spinach
2-4 cups of bell peppers or any other veggies you want to add
2-3 mandarin oranges, cut in half
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp dried ginger
3 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp honey

One head of cauliflower, riced
Or cook one cup of rice following directions on the package.

Directions.
1) In a wok, add the coconut oil and sesame oil. Heat the oil on medium for 2-3 minutes.
2) Add the chicken to the oil, carefully. It may pop a little.
3) Continue cooking until chicken is cooked thoroughly and 95% of the liquid has cooked out of the pan.
4) Add the vegetables, garlic, coconut aminos, ginger, and squeeze/juice the oranges over the chicken. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
5) Finally, add the honey and cook another 5 minutes until it thickens. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let stand while you heat cauliflower rice or regular rice.
6) Heat the rice and serve topped with orange-ginger chicken.

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Enjoy.
~M
#BlackList