Kitchen Adventures || Sweet Apple Skillet

Happy Hump Day and Happy Fall!! (For today…) We still have some hot days in the forecast, but I’m loving this for now.

Due to our event schedule the last few weeks (months really…) I have gotten out of my usual routine of a big prep on Sundays, but I’m restructuring a bit and trying 2 smaller prep days. I spent about an hour and a half in the kitchen this afternoon and made a giant pot of UH-MAZING soup that will give us some meals over the next few days, but the one I’m sharing with you today is actually a breakfast prep.

I’m usually a savory breakfast kind of gal. Veggies, eggs & meats, hot sauce… but, it’s nice to mix it up sometimes! This recipe was so easy. I did it all in one skillet and it was done in about 20 minutes. The hardest part was prepping the sweet potato, but honestly I think you could accomplish a similar outcome if you chopped it up a bit and threw it in a food processor…. Anyhoo, I think this recipe is one I’ll likely play with some more, but here’s take 1!

Sweet Potato Apple Breakfast Skillet

INGREDIENTS
1 Large sweet potato – peeled and grated (I just used a cheese grater)
1 Large apple – peeled, cored, and grated (I used Gala, but pink lady, jazz.. anything on the sweeter side will work)
2-3 TBSP coconut oil
2 large eggs whisked
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds to top!

INSTRUCTIONS

This recipe moves quickly so it’s ideal to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove and add 2 tbsp of coconut oil. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, any oven safe skillet will work. If you don’t have that, do the first part in the skillet and then transfer to a glass baking dish.

Once the skillet is warm, add the shredded sweet potatoes and cook for a few minutes, coating in coconut oil (add another tbsp if needed) until they begin to soften and brown.

Add the apples, salt, and spices next. Mix well and cook for a minute until they become fragrant.

Add the coconut milk, eggs, raisins, and oats and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly in the skillet (or baking dish), top with nuts, and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the eggs are set and the top is slightly browned. Ta-da!

Kitchen Adventures || Vegetable (Beef) Stew

We had a brief glimpse of cool(ish) weather and I went full Fall! We’ve got another day of heat and then this weekend is supposed to be in the 70s! What?! While I do love summer, by far my favorite time of year to cook is the Fall. I love the flavors, spices, and cozy recipes that come out this time of year. It’s also just much easier for me to come up with hot recipes than cold ones so… there’s that 🙂

Anyway, I did this one as simply as possible and while I did add stew beef, you could easily do it without and just make it a great vegetable stew!

On with the show!

Vegetable (Beef) Stew

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs stew beef cut into 1-2 inch chunks (optional – do this without for a vegetarian option!)
1/2 yellow onion – chopped
3 stalks of celery – sliced
1 Bell pepper – diced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
3-4 cloves of garlic – minced
3 cups rainbow fingerling potatoes – cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups of mixed frozen veggies – I bought a bag with mixed corn, peas, carrots, green beans, and lima beans
4-5 cups beef broth (use veggie if making vegetarian)
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning – more to taste
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp Red Chili flake
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS
*If using beef, heat some oil in a large pot over medium high (preferably a deep cast iron pot/dutch oven). Season meat with salt and pepper. In batches, so you don’t crowd the pot, brown the meat for 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat until all the pieces are browned well and then set aside.

If not using meat, skip to this step – Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.

*For beef – Add the beef back to the pot with the seasoning, tomatoes, bay leaf and broth. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for about an hour or until beef is tender.

If not using beef – add seasoning, tomatoes, bay leaf, veggie broth AND everything from next step all at once. No need to simmer for an hour.

Add the potatoes and chickpeas and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Finally add the remaining frozen veggies, stir and cook for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and soup is hot throughout. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

October Athlete of the Month || Bryan Webb!!

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 October Athlete of the Month is Bryan Webb! Bryan joined CFA in June after wrapping up his fundamentals sessions with Coach Gen and has jumped in with both feet! Bryan came to us with some fitness in his background and very clear goals ahead. He’s one of the most diligent people we’ve seen when it comes to practice and putting in the work! Not only is he killing it in classes, Bryan has jumped on with both the Intramural Open AND the Whole Life Challenge this fall and we’re positive he’s going to have some wins! Bryan exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has found a place both in our hearts and in our community. Bryan, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our October 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!

State your Name and/or Nickname please: Bryan Webb
 
Words to live by?
Keep your relationships narrow (don’t try to be everything to everyone), and deep (be real with those close to you)!
 
What is your fitness background?
Like everyone, we focus on work and family in our 30s, then start working out a bit more in our 40s. I started running about 10 years ago and did a couple of half marathons (no desire for a full). A few years ago I started weightlifting under the direction of a trainer which changed my focus a bit. I also started swimming about 5 years ago which I still do. CrossFit is a new animal and I’m hooked. The combo of strength and metabolic conditioning is the key for me now!
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
I’m going on about 4 months and I’m hooked. I don’t think I can go back to a ‘regular’ gym.
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
To be honest, I was a little intimidated. Kipping pull-ups, handstand walking, power snatches, etc.. I knew I couldn’t do that stuff, YET! While I was intimidated, I was excited for the challenge!
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Oh, that’s easy. It’s getting up to get to 5:30am class…haha. No really, it’s the community for sure. I was working out at (another large gym) for a number of years and NO ONE ever makes eye contact, smiles or even says hello. At CFA, I feel like others are not only wanting to know who you are but they cheer you on. Like I say, its the community for sure.
 
Current Training Goals/PRs? I’m currently in the Whole Life Challenge with a pretty extensive list of goals which I’m taking very seriously. For this cycle in particular, it’s to be able to do Unassisted Strict Pull-ups. It’s just one of those things I’ve never been able to do. I always missed getting the President’s Challenge in Elementary School because of those dang pull-ups.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t dip your toe in. Just jump into the deep end of the pool. It gets addicting very quickly. One piece of advice, work the weights at your own pace, it’s better to stay healthy and build it up than to overdue it and have to take time off for an injury.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Hmm…nothing in particular but Hut’s Hamburgers is closing this month and I had Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Fried Okra for lunch. If your gonna harden the arteries, you really can’t do any better than a good Chicken Fried Steak.
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
Post-50, if you look around, people either get fit or go down hill. I’m a firm believer that the hard work I put in now (and continue to put in) will pay huge dividends over the next 25 years. The next phase of life is going to be awesome, I wanna be fit and active to enjoy it to the fullest.
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I’ve never been a ‘weightlifter’ and a few years ago I’d been working out consistently with a trainer and I had a PR on Deadlift of 255lbs. At the time, it was a HUGE deal for me because I hadn’t thought I’d really ever hit that. I’m not quite back to that yet (maybe I’ll beat it this cycle) but hitting PRs is pretty dang awesome!
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
Not letting my ego get ahead of my skills. It’s real easy to watch others lifting or pulling more weight (women sometimes) but I have to always remember to not ‘get too far out over my skis’, that’s when you wipe out. I just have to keep working and pushing myself. I’ve heard others at CFA use the term, ‘…You Be You…’. I like that.
 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
How about Thruster Maniac? I’d just want everyone to think I was a beast! What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it? It’s becoming that addiction. If I miss a day, it’s like I feel like I’m gonna fall behind. That and I know for a fact that if I get my workout in early in the morning, I’ll feel better about myself the rest of the day.
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Becoming an Empty Nester a year ago creates alot of extra time. I started playing tennis somewhat competitively (at a low level). Some might say I’m kinda boring. These days I’m pretty focused on a small number of activities, my business, working out, ‘coaching’/just talking to my kids & family and thinking about the next big real estate venture for Central Texas.
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m actually a world famous Opera Singer with 3 albums and 2 Grammy Awards. Ok, well I’m not really an Opera Singer.  But, I can be EXTREMELY claustrophobic.  When I was 16, I crawled through a maze of boulders where you are going through VERY tight spaces with no exit but to get through it.  To this day, I can visualize that day crawling on my back with NO margin of extra room above or below me and it FREAKS ME OUT.
 
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
The Japanese have a saying, ‘When is the best time to plant a tree? The answer is ‘Either 20 years ago or TODAY’. Take that to heart in anything you are trying to do….Fitness, Investing, Learning to Play the Guitar, Loving Your Family, etc… Don’t wait for tomorrow, take action TODAY!

Kitchen Adventures || Creamy Southwest Chicken Bowls

I am trying to summon fall, guys. I am REALLY trying to bring on the cooler weather. 😉 What I mean is, I’m wearing jeans and making “fall” inspired recipes. I know we live in Texas and it’s still 1,000 degrees, but I’m doing my part. What are you doing??

Kidding, but I honestly don’t care how hot it is outside, this is so good! I did a lot of tasting and adjusting with this recipe and I feel like to give a super clear recipe I will probably have to do it again, but this will get you pretty dang close to what I ended up with. I truly believe that recipes should only be a guide and you should adjust to your taste anyway, but… here ya go!

If you don’t have an instant pot yet…. what are you even doing? I am not kidding… that thing has CHANGED MY LIFE, but if you don’t have one, scroll down below the instructions for a version that can be done in a slow cooker.

I would love to know if you make this and if you did anything different that you loved.

**Side note – For the next 6 weeks my recipes will all be Whole Life Compliant (at least for Kickstart and Lifestyle – Performance, I’m happy to talk with you about adjustments).

 

Creamy Southwest Chicken Bowls

INGREDIENTS
1.5 lb boneless chicken breast (or thighs if you prefer)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (check for added sugar) – drained
1 7 oz can diced green chiles – drained
2 large bell peppers (any color) – cut into wide strips
1/2 a medium yellow onion – cut into wide slices
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2  cup full fat unsweetened coconut milk (the canned kind)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pink sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp arrowroot starch (possibly more for thicker sauce)
1 tbsp cold water
2 cups brown rice (uncooked)

To top – optional
Cilantro
Avocado
Green Onions

INSTRUCTIONS

Instant Pot – 

Unless you want to make your rice in the instant pot, go ahead and start cooking it according to the package on the stove so it will be ready when your chicken is!

In a small bowl, mix the spices well. Use them to season both sides of the chicken, but hang on to anything that is left.

Heat the saute function on high and wait for it to get hot. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom and add the chicken. Cook for about a minute on each side and then cancel the saute function.

Add the broth, lime juice, bell peppers, onion, and remaining spices to the pot. Close the steam vent on the lid and select the manual high pressure setting and make sure the “keep warm” function is on. Cook for 7:00 and then release the quick release valve until all the steam has been let out.

Remove the lid and add the tomatoes, chiles, and coconut milk. Mix 1 TBSP of arrowroot powder with 1 TBSP of cold water until it’s completely dissolved and stir it into the pot. This is meant to thicken the sauce. You can continue to add a TBSP (mixed with water) at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Serve by laying over a bed of rice and spooning as much sauce as you like! I was able to divvy this up into 4 meal prep bowls with a little extra sauce (which I kept because it’s delicious!) I topped this with cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and some avocado. Yum!

Slow Cooker – 
 
Follow the same steps regarding the rice and seasoning the chicken. Then, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Put a shot of olive oil in the pan and saute the chicken on each side for about a minute per side.

Add the chicken, broth, lime juice, remaining seasoning, peppers, and onions to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is good and tender. Then, add the tomatoes and chiles, coconut milk, and arrowroot mixture (add more for thicker texture).

Cook on low for another 15-20 minutes and serve or divvy up for tomorrow’s lunch!

Kitchen Adventures || Bunless Black Bean Bison Burger Bowls

That’s a lot of Bs…. Really the title didn’t need all that, but you might as well right? 🙂 In my quest to make something different each week I was thinking “What can I do that does not involve chicken?” Not that there is anything wrong with chicken… I also did a salsa verde chicken chili (I’ll post that when it gets a bit cooler)… But sometimes you just want to mix it up. I’ve seen folks do hamburger salads and burger bowls in the past, but I can’t tell you the last time I made burgers and we can’t grill at the moment. I also generally stay away from burgers as meal prep because they tend to dry out.

In an attempt to make this more interesting and loaded with flavor, I decided to do a blend of ingredients for the patties. I kept the bowls themselves to only things we’d reheat, but threw in a kale salad on the side for some more veggies and I’m pretty dang pleased with this recipe.

I’d love to do these patties again and grill them at some point, because nothings beats a great grilled burger. For now though, these are a winning recipe and will definitely end up in the rotation!

 

Black Bean Bison Burgers

INGREDIENTS
**You need 2 lbs of meat. If you want to use all bison, great! You can also do 1 lb bison and 1 lb ground beef (which is what I used) or if bison is not available to you, go with ground beef, but all meat should be a 90/10 lean to fat ration.

2 lbs 90/10 ground meat
1/4 medium red onion – finely diced
1 cup cooked black beans – drained, rinsed and lightly smashed (not completely mushed)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
pink sea salt & cracked black pepper
olive oil for cooking

For Topping
Lettuce
Tomato
Avocado
Bacon
Ketchup/mustard
Pickle
Onions…. Whatever you want!

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl combine meat, onions, and beans & mix. In a small bowl mix the paprika, onion powder & garlic powder well and then mix with the meat mixture. Portion meat into 5-6 patties, cover and put them in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Do not skip this step… They will crumble if you don’t chill them!

When you’re ready to cook, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 2:00. Season the outside of your patties with salt and cracked pepper. Add some olive oil to your pan and let it heat for 20-30 seconds and then add a patty or two to the pan. Don’t over crowd it. Use your thumb to push a little divot in the middle of the patty so it doesn’t plump up.

Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side without moving it so that it forms a good crust! Flip and cook to desired doneness. 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of your patty) will leave them about medium rare. I usually like to cook mine a little under if I’m going to package them for prep so that when I reheat in the microwave they won’t dry out.

When they are done you can put them in your bowls alongside whatever you like! I did some simple oven baked sweet potato fries (cut sweet potatoes, coat in olive oil, bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes – flipping every 15) When you pack your bowls, only put the stuff you want to reheat in them! Save your toppings to be added after heating.

Serve these up with whatever you’d put on a burger!

Kitchen Adventures || Guilt Free Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone is having a great week! With the Whole Life Challenge coming up I’m already starting to adjust my ingredients a bit based on what I know is on the compliance lists. Luckily, I have a pretty good arsenal of recipes that keep things interesting and we don’t end up eating like robots (although Tim would be fine with that…) I get bored eating the same thing over and over and I need some variety!

I’m also a big fan of recipes where everything can go in one dish and come out as a whole meal. This recipe ticks so many boxes for me and I’m thrilled with how it came out! Whether you’re doing the Whole Life Challenge (which I highly recommend!!) or just looking for a clean, simple, TASTY option this is a great recipe for you!

Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Casserole

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Head of Cauliflower – chopped or you can pulse in a food processor, but don’t make it too fine. You want a few chunks 🙂
1/3 Cup yellow or white onion – diced
1 bell pepper (I used red) – diced
2 cloves garlic – minced (optional – sub 1 tsp garlic powder)
6 large eggs
1-1.25 lb shredded chicken  (see notes for cooking below)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 – 3/4 cup buffalo sauce (we like Louisiana, but you can use Frank’s, or whatever you prefer!)
*Optional – rather than TOPPING your casserole with carrots and celery – dice it up and throw it in for some extra veggies baked right in!

For Topping –
Bacon (cooked and chopped)
Diced red onions
Sliced green onions
Matchstick carrots
Diced Tomatoes
Avocado
Celery
Diced Jalapeños
Ranch (see below for my greek yogurt ranch)
More Buffalo sauce!
Tim and I even talked about putting this IN a lettuce wrap!

INSTRUCTIONS 

Season, pre-cook, and shred your chicken. I used some salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cooked mine in the instant pot, but you can poach or bake your chicken as well. Just make sure you don’t over cook and leave it dry as it’s going back into the oven with the casserole! **Quick tip – a rotisserie chicken would be a great shortcut for this recipe if you don’t want to mess with cooking the chicken yourself!

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dice the onion and bell pepper and chop (or pulse in food processor) the cauliflower. Mince the garlic. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower and all 6 eggs (yolks too!) until mixed well. Stir in the remaining casserole ingredients and seasonings (you’ll prepare your toppings while it cooks). Make sure the chicken is mixed well with all the veggies.

Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. I used a 9×13 glass dish. Bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on the depth of your dish). I loosely covered my baking dish with foil until the last 15 minutes, but this is optional. Just make sure your rack is not set too close to the top if you’re baking uncovered.

While it’s baking – chop/dice/mix whatever you plan to top it with so you’re ready to go when it comes out of the oven!

For the Greek yogurt ranch
Seasoning 
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion granules
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
Combine well in a jar until ready for use.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons of water and add seasoning until you are satisfied with the flavor. I usually use 2-3 TBSP. You can adjust consistency with water and flavor by adding more seasoning or yogurt.

Once it comes out of the oven, top it with whatever you like and enjoy! This dish would be very easy to portion into individual bowls for your lunches as well.

Kitchen Adventures || Veggie Packed Breakfast Bowls

We’re baaaaack! So, if you haven’t already heard the news, we went on a cruise for vacation last week and came back ENGAGED!

WOO! Yes, I was 100% surprised and of course I said YES! Obviously, that was the highlight of the trip, but we also had a great time on the ship and while we were in Mexico. We were totally off the grid. No phone, no internet, but lots and lots of food and drinks.

It was great to step away for a bit and be able to unplug, relax, and not worry about a thing. Now that we are home though, it’s time to get back on track with everything. I knew we needed to get some extra veggies in this week so that’s where this breakfast recipe comes from. Honestly, we kept our food choices pretty clean while we were gone, but we definitely ate MORE and there were sauces and things we don’t usually have on the reg. It was nice to come home and get back to some simple, clean choices though.

Ok, on with the recipe! Enjoy!

 

Veggie Packed Breakfast Bowls

INGREDIENTS (For 4 bowls)
2 large sweet potatoes
1lb brussels sprouts
1 package chicken, apple, gouda sausage (or chicken sausage of your choice)
4 eggs
olive oil
coconut oil
Garlic Pepper
Salt & Black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Dice sweet potatoes and chop brussels sprouts into quarters. Cut sausages into bite size pieces. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Coat sweet potatoes in coconut oil and spread on one baking sheet. Coat brussels sprouts in olive oil and spread on the other. Season with garlic pepper and mix sausage with brussels sprouts.

Place both baking sheets in the oven at 400 degrees and roast sweet potatoes for appx. 35 minutes or until fork tender. Sprouts and sausage will be a little quicker (25-30 min).

Divide all the roasted ingredients into your meal prep bowls. Cook the eggs to your liking and season with salt and pepper to taste. I fried mine, but you can boil, poach, scramble… whatever you like! That’s all there is to it, guys. Simple, tasty, and a great way to get some extra veggies in for the day!

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