Kitchen Adventures || Zucchini Lasagna & Chris Bergen!

 

What’s up, guys!? Hope everyone is having an excellent week so far! Tim was out of town last weekend and I did a MASSIVE meal prep day on Sunday. I cooked for hours, but it was nice to get so much done and not have to think about what we’re eating for a while. The recipe I’m sharing today is a take on a zucchini lasagna that turned out pretty great, but first, I want to tell you about this week’s feature!

Chris Bergen, if you haven’t met him, is a member here at CFA and he’s just an excellent human being. He’s super kind, works his tail off, and just has a certain drive in him that makes YOU want to work harder too. Over the last year, Chris has been working on writing a book. It’s inspired by his amazing little pup, Superstar Wonder Dog, but tackles all kinds of life stuff. It’s out on apple books and kindle (Check it out HERE)

He’s actually doing a sneak peak in a live reading on FB tonight if you want to give him some love and hear a bit of the book! He’s going live on his FB page at 7pm (central). I’m super excited for Chris and can’t wait to check out the book.

“Being a superstar isn’t always about getting the most points in a game or throwing the longest pass. It’s not always about running the fastest or jumping the highest. It’s not about being the most popular. Sometimes, it’s about learning what is on the inside and being the superstar you’ve always wanted to be.”

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 TBSP coconut oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms sliced
1 medium onion – rough chopped
2 medium tomatoes – diced
3 cloves of garlic – minced
2 cups tomato sauce
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
*Optional – red pepper flakes – only if you want more heat than the hot Italian Sausage adds
1 large zucchini thinly sliced – I used a mandolin
1 bag fresh spinach
2 TBSP fresh basil – julienned
1.5 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 large egg
2-3 cupa Shredded Mozzerella Cheese – depends on how much you like
1/3 grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400. Combine Ricotta & egg in a bowl, season with S&P, Italian Seasoning, and red chili if using, and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the Italian sausage, crumbling into medium sized chunks as you cook. Once it’s close to cooked, add coconut oil if there isn’t enough fat from the sausage (about a tablespoon). Add the onions, tomatoes, & mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they soften. Then add the garlic, spinach, and basil and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Finally, add the tomato sauce and adjust seasoning to your liking.

In a glass baking dish (a deeper dish is better, like a loaf pan…) grease the dish and then layer, zucchini, meat & veggies sauce, ricotta mixture, cheese (both of them), over and over until you reach the top. I used 2 smaller dishes, but as long as you can get 2-3 layers you’re good. Finish with the mozzarella on top.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until warm throughout and the cheese on top starts to brown.

Kitchen Adventures || Ultimate Breakfast Muffins & Remington Pet Ranch!

Hi friends! So, I was not originally going to post this as a recipe because it’s not really a “recipe,” but more of a random thought I had at the grocery store and it turned out really well. After telling a few people about it, they’ve convinced me that I need to spread the good news 😉 Anyway, let’s get to this week’s spotlight and then you can scroll down and check out what you’re having for breakfast this week!

Just a little context, this year has been such a mess and small businesses, artists, musicians, etc… really took a hit. I figured that if I’m posting weekly anyway, maybe I could try and help out, even just a little bit, by sharing the things my friends are doing in the world! Maybe it will be a good resource for you if you’re looking for a particular service and maybe it will help them in a time when business is slower! Anyway, I also just like to celebrate my friends because I know some pretty amazing people putting good things out into the world….

That said, this week’s spotlight goes to Remington Pet Ranch! Linzi Newth has been a long time member and friend at the gym. We’ve watched her grow and do some really incredible things over the years. She also runs a non-profit called GingerCare that matches elderly people with pets that need homes. There’s a lot more to that, but you can check out more info on that HERE.

Today, I’m specifically talking about Remington. Linzi has been a veterinarian for years and she and her awesome fiance’, Meg (who is also killin’ it in the gym) run this amazing place. Remington is a 35 acre ranch where your pets very well might have a better vacay than you do while you’re gone! It’s beautiful out there! They offer pet boarding, as well as special medical boarding for pets with extra needs. They have doggy day care (and a hilarious insta account to watch your pups play all day), and are also offering pet grooming now.

Not only is this an amazing place to take your pets, but Linzi and Meg (and the whole team) are just truly amazing people. We feel very lucky to have them in our lives and our community so if you want to take your pets to someone you can trust, this is the place. Check them out & give their socials a like or follow!

 

Alright, on to the “recipe.” The reason I don’t take credit for this as a recipe is because all I did was combine two things, but apparently there is a little finessing to do so here we go!

First, you could really do this with any pancake mix, but I LOVE Kodiak Cakes mix. It is a little cleaner than your typical pancake mix, but has the added bonus of 14g protein per serving and you can boost that up by using milk and eggs (if you do dairy)! There are several flavors available, but my favorite is the cinnamon oat, which is what I used for this breakfast prep.

 

BACON PANCAKE MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

Bacon (About 1/2 pound for 12 muffins)

Kodiak cakes (+ 1 egg and milk if you want to boost the protein)

**If using muffin papers, make sure you get the parchment paper ones or at the very least, spray what you’re using with baking spray. My first batch, I used regular cupcake liners and they stuck SO BAD

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 and line or grease your muffin tin.

For the Kodiak Cakes, I doubled the normal amount for pancakes on the side of the box and it got me 12 muffins in a normal sized muffin pan + a little bit extra. So 2 cups mix, 1.5 cups milk, 1 egg… 

Chop the bacon into small pieces and pan fry until just under what you normally like it. Drain the grease and let it cool enough to touch. Once you can handle it, use about half of it and put in each cup, but save some to put on TOP of each muffin. Pour your pancake mix to about 3/4 full in each cup and top each muffin with bacon.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup!

I stored these in a gallon size ziploc and just pop a couple in the microwave for about :45 seconds when I’m ready to eat them.

 

 

Welcome || Coach Eric Jones!

We are very excited to introduce you to a good, long time friend of mine, Eric Jones! I met Eric back when I first started CrossFit in2011. Actually, Eric is the one who taught me how to do kettlebell swings (among other things I’m sure)! We later coached together for a while, but between his military career and my…. well…. life… we’ve come and gone in each others lives over the years. We have always stayed in touch and kept up online, but any chance we got to connect, we basically annoyed everyone else by talking about the fitness industry. 🤷‍♀️

 

Anyway, Eric is making his transition out of the Air Force through a really cool program called SkillBridge. Basically, as a part of his transition out of the military, he’ll be doing an internship/residency with us as he transitions back into civilian life. We are really excited to have him come hang out with us for a couple of months and to be a stepping stone for him with this program.

 

Some of you may have already met him at some point. He’s popped in a few times over the years, but in an effort to give you guys a chance to get to know him a bit before he gets here, I asked him to write a bio.

 

Eric Jones || Trainer

About Eric:  Eric is returning to fitness full time after a twelve year career in the Air Force. Prior to his time on active duty he was afull time personal trainer for the Sports and Rec department of The Ohio State University and fitness coach for CrossFit Columbus. That affiliate would be one of the first 100 in the world and would later be known by the more well known name Rogue Fitness. Eric would go on to compete for the Rogue team in the 2008 CrossFit Games in Aromas, California.  He then left Ohio to fly the C-130J Hercules aircraft in Arkansas and three deployments to Afghanistan. Since then, he’s been living in Texas teaching undergraduate and instructor candidates in the T-1A Jayhawk and T-6A/B Texan II trainers. All this time Eric has kept his fitness instructor proficiency by training with the nearest functional fitness gym to include acting as head coach for CrossFit Del Rio. Eric will be separating from active duty in November and will be training at CFA under a transitional internship program known as Skillbridge.  

BS in Exercise Science – The Ohio State University
CrossFit Level 2
USAW Level 1 Sports Performance 

 

Seminars:

CrossFit Barbell
CrossFit Endurance
American Kettlebell Club Coach

 

 

A message from Eric:  I played many sports through my youth and high school and somehow always knew I had a different approach to practice.  I was better at the training than the actual sport! That and an interest in training for “military” fitness without having to run led me to CrossFit in the early days of 2006. I’ve seen many fitness trends come and go in that time but I’ve also seen how the basics don’t change. They have yet to fail me even as I have gotten older. I am really looking forward to helping clients of all kinds meet their goals and exceed their expectations.     

Lift hard, eat well, and have fun!  

-EJ

 

 

Kitchen Adventures || Sheet Pan Breakfast Hash & DJ Kay Cali

Hello Friends!

I hope everyone is well. Anymore, when folks ask me how things are going I feel like the most honest response I can give is “Eh, it’s just another day in 2020!” Something new pops up for us just about every day and I’m definitely still struggling to find balance in meal prepping, but we are healthy, we are fed, and I’m grateful for that.

This week for my spotlight, I want to share an AMAZING woman with you! Kay has been in our lives for many years now through the gym. She is an incredible DJ (check her out HERE)! She has DJ’d several events over the years for us and we are just humbled to have her in our community. Her talent is just one of her awesome qualities. This woman is a force with a heart of gold! If you ever get the chance to talk with her, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Go check out her insta and some of the other cool things she does (Groove Theory, Remedy Brunch, and most recently Feel Good Fridays, etc…) Give her a follow & fill your cup with some of the goodness that is DJ Kay Cali!

 

 

Ok, so next to her, this breakfast recipe is going to seem so boring lol! But, I promise you, it’s super tasty and so insanely easy. I went way overboard and this made like 8 meal prep containers worth so if you’re the only one eating it, you may want to half the recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS

2lb Brussels Sprouts – cut into halves or quarters
2 10 oz bags diced butternut squash (or 1 large squash if you’re cutting it yourself)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 oz mushrooms of your choice – sliced
2 bell peppers (any color) – sliced into strips
1 red onion – rough chopped
Minced garlic – I used the “cheater garlic” (pre-minced in a jar) and ended up with about 2 tbsp between both pans
1 lb bacon – cut into 1-2 inch pieces
8-12 eggs – up to you and how much you make!
Oil – I used avocado oil
Salt & pepper to taste
****EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING – do not skip this. THIS is the one I found at HEB.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Ok, you ready for how easy this is? Preheat the oven to 425. Line a sheet pan (or two) with foil. Evenly spread all your veggies (with the exception of the garlic) across both pans. Drizzle with oil and mix lightly. Roast for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, stir gently, and add the bacon and garlic. Roast another 10 minutes (or until bacon is cooked).

Carefully (don’t burn yourself!) hollow out a few spots for your eggs. You’ll crack the eggs directly on top of the veggies. Be careful not to break the yolk, but it’s find if that happens. Sprinkle the bagel seasoning and some salt & pepper over everything. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes (or until eggs are done to your liking)

Ta-Da! That’s it! Let it cool and divide it into your containers (or chow down). We topped this (like we do basically everything) with Cholula and Avocado. SO. GOOD. Enjoy guys!

July Athlete of the Month || Melissa Blue!

Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.

Our July Athlete of the Month is Melissa Blue! Melissa joined the CFA Family back in November of last year! She is bright and bubbly in all the best ways! One of the first things we usually see from Melissa is a big smile! She’s not one to shy away from a challenge and is very likely the one to challenge you (to be better of course!) As soon as we were able to get back to moving in the gym, Melissa was there and her consistency and drive is awesome. Melissa, we are honored to have you as our July Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations! (Oh, and congrats on the engagement!!!)

 

Words to live by?

“Songs always end, so enjoy the music while it last”  Most of my life I have found myself worrying about when the next things are going to end instead of embracing the bliss in the moment. So ever since I heard this quote in an episode of One Tree Hill, long ago, and I catch myself doing it I try to remind myself to just stop and enjoy what I have right in front of my at that moment no matter what it may be.

What is your fitness background?

I have always been fairly active, I played softball since I was 3 years old through high school and some college. But I never really had flair for “fitness” I was significantly overweight until I decided life needed to change in 2015. For about 3.5 years I did strict dieting and pure cardio and lost about 130lbs. In November of 2018, a close friend and boss of mine convinced me to try out his conditioning class which consisted of weightlifting, boxing, and cardio training. I’ve been hooked on that style of training ever since then.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

CFA is my first official “CrossFit” gym. I started here November 2019. So officially almost 9 months. 1 year and 9 months doing CrossFit style workouts.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?

My first day at CFA… I felt super nervous that I wasn’t ready to be at a real “CrossFit” gym despite knowing that my coach at my other said I’d be fine and to go for it. I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew I needed to go into CFA with the idea that no matter what happens I’m just going to try my hardest and do what I can do. After meeting with Tim and getting to know a few people a few people right away my nerves settled and CFA quickly became a safe haven for me and my mind. The workouts healed my mind, body and soul at a point in my life when I needed it most. Don’t get me wrong they still do but when I first joined CFA I think all the coaches and probably the people in classes saw the tension leave me as finished a WoD.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

My favorite part of CFA is the heart that is in this place and love and encouragement that I have received from so many….Group fitness was never something I ever wanted to be a part of. Until the last few years. When I started my conditioning class I found out it was the only way I would push myself to put in the work and get the result I wanted and craved. So joining CFA and becoming part of this group/family was a wonderful feeling.

Current Training Goals/PRs?

Current goals: unassisted pull ups and to be able to lift my body weight overhead (currently at 95lbs need to get to 145lbs, ugh)

My most recent PR: 215lbs deadlift, woot woot!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?

It’s definitely one of the hardest things you’ll do daily and I’m always in a constant state of soreness but it’s worth it. It makes you feel alive. The hero WoDs have meaning and make you feel good about doing them and give you something to push towards. It’s intense but if it were easy it wouldn’t be as much fun.

Things look a little different right now, how are you staying focused in your training and in your life during this time?

Honestly, my training and physical activity is playing a huge part in keeping me grounded during this craziness. The first month or so when I didn’t set aside as much time to my fitness needs I almost lost it. I gained weight I got lost in my thoughts way too often and found myself getting slightly discouraged. Luckily, with some help from my now fiancé I was able to pull myself together and get into a routine focus back on proper eating and a healthy amount of exercise and attempt to get a good work life balance back in order. The coaches have played an integral part in keeping a smile on my face during the workouts for me especially since I’ve been have to go at 5:30am a lot more.

What is your cheat meal go to?

Ice Cream…yes. Ice cream for dinner! Moo Bars!! Thank you Blue Bell for making something so delicious

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

I recently started learning to mountain bike. I’ve never been one for extreme sports but this has been really fun and exciting. I’m looking forward to learning how to do more things now that I feel capable and strong enough to do them. Next on the list is rock climbing since my fiancé has decided that is on our next trip itinerary.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.

When I first started doing CrossFit I completely understood that I was going to struggle for a very long time. But the hero workouts always had a special meaning to me and I wanted to be able to do them regardless of what they were and no matter how much I had to push myself. Honestly, doing MURPH this year was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I have a pretty bad elbow injury at the moment but I don’t think anyone could have stopped me from trying unless my body just gave out on me. Which is pretty much what happened anyways but I did what I set out to do and it made me smile and feel fulfilled.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?

I tend to push myself until I have nothing left and I’ve recently become aware of my line that is is just too much and I leave myself in a state that makes it easy for me to get physically hurt. Finding that happy balance between weight training, cardio and rest for me is difficult because fitness is my therapy. And not becoming too obsessed with training while also not let myself get too lazy is very important. Also, box jumps…

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?

I’m a huge fan of leg days!

Breathe when it’s Over

5 Rounds

10 Back Squats

10 Box Jumps

10 Front Squats

10 Wall Balls

10 OH Squats

10 Lunges

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?

Music

Sweet Wine

My Kids (Dopey & TinkerBell)

The Love of my Life, Ken

And if I can have all of these after a good hard WoD even better. Let’s just hope whoever the coach was for that class isn’t fed up with my attitude before or during the class. But after I’m usually a more pleasant person.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?

I really enjoy crafting although I don’t find much time to do it right now. I love cooking and trying new foods or new ways of making healthy delicious foods. I’m a live music junkie but that too is a little difficult these days. Before COVID, almost every weekend you would find me somewhere with live music. Traveling is a passion of mine. I absolutely love road trips. My dogs travel really well which makes it even better.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I absolutely love themed parties. I’m all about vintage clothes and eclectic jewelry. I love dressing up and making a splash. Who doesn’t love a great 80s party!?

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

Hey y’all! Things are super crazy right now. Just want to say thank you everyone for doing their part in staying as safe as possible and cleaning up after ourselves. I hope we can get through this with a little exposure in our safe haven, CFA. From your friendly neighborhood molecular biologist, Wash Your Hands! Thanks guys! Oh yeah and keep up the hard work it’s great seeing y’all back at the gym!!

Kitchen Adventures || Sweet Potato Salad & ShipmateSewing

Hi hi! I hope you are all staying healthy and well. Things are getting pretty crazy here in Texas with Covid numbers spiking, but we’re healthy (thank God *knock on wood*) and glad we can still be helping others to keep themselves healthy as well. It’s wild that masks have become a part of our daily ensembles, but here we are!

This week, I’m sharing my sweet sister in law’s Etsy shop as my feature! She started making masks right at the start of all of this for the family and for her elderly neighbors. Now, she’s expanded her production to include all kinds of prints and patterns and she has different sizes for adults and kiddos. I’ve always seen April as a superhero. She’s an excellent mommy to my niece and nephew, great wife to my brother, Navy veteran, talented in many many ways and mask making is now one of her superpowers!

She’s local in the Austin area so if you need masks, hit her up. For those at the gym, I’d even be happy to pick up from her and you can grab them at the gym if you like. Just communicate that in your etsy order and I’ll make it happen.

 

 

Ok, this week’s recipe is a tasty alternative to the summer favorite, potato salad. I had some help from my sous chef (aka Tim) on this one! He’s been jumping in and working on things with me the last few weeks and it’s be awesome. He’s always up to chop things for me, but our kitchen is so small we can really only have one of us in the kitchen at a time. We’ve been finding more of a groove though and it’s really fun to be able to cook WITH him. Anyhoo, he put this one together for us and did an excellent job.

I wanted to keep similar textures and flavors with this potato salad, but amp it up a bit and I think it turned out quite well! You could boil your potatoes if you want, but I roasted them as a way to mix it up a bit.

 

SWEET POTATO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato salad:
3 large sweet potatoes – peeled and diced into chunks (size is up to your preference)
4-5 sliced of thick cut bacon – cooked crips and chopped into chunks
4 Stalks of celery – sliced thin (If possible, use the center stalks as they are a bit more tender)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
*optional – thinly sliced red cabbage – I didn’t do it in mine, but thinking about it now, I think it would taste awesome, add some great color, and give a little more texture

For the dressing:
1
jalapeno – seeded & minced
2 TBSP whole-grain brown mustard
3 garlic cloves – minced
3 TBSP rice vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
*Optional a dash of smoked paprika

 

DIRECTIONS

So simple… if boiling, boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. If roasting, coat in oil and roast at 400 until fork tender.

Cook your bacon… I like mine baked in the oven, but your choice.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked potatoes, bacon, celery, green onions, and cabbage if using.

In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and adjust to your liking. Then pour it over the potatoes and toss until everything is well coated.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge! Enjoy!

 

Kitchen Adventures || Rainbow Wraps & Operation Turkey

Hi hi friends!

I feel a little like I blinked and now it’s Wednesday again! It’s been another full week, but this past Sunday I actually got back on my meal prep game a little bit and we’ve had a lot more control of our meals which has been great.

As I mentioned last week, I really want to elevate my friends and the good things they are doing in the world, so in addition to my recipe each week, I’m going to share the businesses, art, charities, projects, etc… that my friends are involved in. If you’re doing or making something, let me know so I can spread the word!

This week, I want to share Operation Turkey San Marcos!

Our friend Jesse Ruiz has run Operation Turkey San Marcos for several years now! This is a volunteer based organization that packages and delivers thousands of Thanksgiving meals to those in need every year! It’s really incredible how everyone comes together and gets the work done! Jesse has actually coached at CFA in the past and many of you probably already know him, but this is just an extra special thing he leads every year. They are always looking for help and there are several ways to do so. While we may not know what Thanksgiving is going to look like this year with everything going on, you can still make giving a priority. Check out the site and if it’s something you’d like to help with in November, shoot Jesse a message and put it on your calendar!

 

Okedoke, for this week’s recipe – I’ve been craving some color! I’m sure you’ve heard that you should eat a variety of colors on your plate. Well, this recipe crams a bunch of them all together in a delicious roll! These are so simple to put together and are such a great summer lunch option when it’s super hot out and you just want something cool and light.

As always, you can customize to your liking, but I love this combo of color and texture. DO NOT SKIP THE SAUCE. It is simple and so delicious. It really pulls it all together.

RAINBOW WRAPS

INGREDIENTS

For the dressing:

1/4 cup creamy nut or seed butter (I used Sunbutter, but go with peanut, almond, or whatever you like)
2 tsp coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1.5 -2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp honey
2-3 tablespoons warm water, to thin as needed

Optional, but HIGHLY recommended: A dash of Sriracha or red chili sauce

For the wraps: These are appx. amounts. It fully depends on how big you want to make these! You should be able to get 4-6 wraps from this.

Full sized spinach tortillas
1 cup matchstick carrots (or shredded carrots)
1/2 cup sliced radishes
Julienned red, orange, or yellow bell pepper – 1-2 depending on size (I used strips of all 3 colors!)
1 cup rough chopped red cabbage
2 cups baby spinach
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup diced green onion
2 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
1.5 lb cooked chicken breast – sliced or shredded – I seasoned mine lightly with garlic powder, salt & pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook your chicken – grill, bake, instant pot, whatever you prefer and either cut into slices or shred.

While that’s working, make your sauce. In a small bowl mix together nut/seed butter, aminos, rice wine vinegar, ginger, honey and warm water until well combined and the consistency of your choice. If you want it to be a little spicy, add in the hot sauce. Taste and adjust as needed. Set this aside for serving.

Assembly! This is the fun part. It’s best to go ahead and have all your ingredients out and available to you so you can just toss them in the tortilla and roll it up. It’s easiest to try and get everything sort of lying in the same direction so it’s easy to roll, but it’s your masterpiece 😉 Before rolling, drizzle a little of the sauce on it.

Roll them up tight and store. I just wrapped mine in foil and put them in the fridge for a quick grab. Serve with some extra sauce or sriracha if you like it spicy!

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