Kitchen Adventures || Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is upon us! I think I’d have liked it to creep on a little more slowly, but hey, I guess a 40 degree drop in less than 12 hours is appropriate for “Fall” right? I know, cheesy…

Anyway, as we all know, my recipe choices tend to be influenced by the weather and I LOVE Fall flavors. I actually made this as a weeknight dinner last week because I wanted something “Fall” and I wanted to just make something that was easy to throw together. Tim and I liked it so much that when I asked what he wanted for meal prep this week, his first choice was this stuffed acorn squash. The blend of spicy, savory, and sweet is so satisfying. Not only does it taste amazing, but acorn squash is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can read about all the benefits here and enjoy the fact that something that tastes so good is also doing great things for your body.

On to the recipe! I tried to give accurate measurements on everything here, but I usually just toss it in the pan and adjust by taste so if you want more or less of something, go for it! That’s what’s great about one-pan meals.

INGREDIENTS
2 Large Acorn Squash – Halved
Olive Oil
1 LB Hot Italian Sausage
1/2 cup uncooked tri-colored quinoa
1 small onion – finely diced
2 large stalks of celery – finely diced
1 large apple – diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries (no added sugar)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
3 cups packed kale – torn and stems removed
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Start your squash first. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush a little olive oil on the inside and flat edges, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until fork tender.

Follow the cooking instructions on your quinoa. Usually 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa to 1 cup water, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until fluffy.

While the squash is baking, heat a large pan over med-high heat and brown your Italian sausage. If using links, remove casings. Once meat is browned, remove from pan, pat dry, and set aside. In the same pan, add a little olive oil and saute the onions and celery until they start to soften (appx 3 min). Add the garlic and stir continuously for about 1 minute (don’t let it burn!) Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in your apples and kale next. You may have to pack the kale in a bit. Reduce the heat to med and put a lid on the pan. Allow the kale to steam for 3-4 minutes stirring as needed. Once the kale has softened and turned bright green, add the sausage back in. Add your almonds, cranberries, and quinoa and stir all the ingredients until well combined. Remove from the heat.

If your squash has finished backing, remove it from the oven and flip them over so the cut side is face up. Depending on how large the hole is, you may want to scoop a little squash out so you can fill it with a good amount of the filling. I usually scoop a bit out of each of them and place it in another dish to go with any of the leftover filling I may have.

Fill each squash with a heaping amount of filling (carefully!) Return them back into the over and bake for a another couple of minutes to heat throughout and gently brown the cut side of the squash.

Remove and serve immediately or pack in meal prep containers and enjoy later in the week!

Happy cooking!

-G

Kitchen Adventures || Sweet Chili Chicken Bowl

Howdy! How was everyone’s weekend? We watched some football and some baseball on Saturday. Happy with one game and a little bummed about the other, but life goes on!

Sunday was a full day! We took my niece and nephew to the river for their first time. That was also a situation where some things went well and others not so much. Let’s just say that when the rock got slippery, I was the one that went under and Madelyn lived. You could call me a hero… 😉 All in all, it was a good time.


After the river it was home for meal prep. You’ll see the fruits of that labor below. As you all know, we’re on Whole Life Challenge right now and this recipe was actually a little more difficult to make compliant, but that’s what I love about the challenge. It pushes you to get creative and find alternative options! I’m feeling better overall and less than two weeks in I’m already seeing some visual progress. Just sayin…. you should join us next time.

Post-prep, we set out to do some yard work and I made a new friend, whom I now realize was a black widow spider… Maybe it’s the lack of sugar in my diet right now, but I was like “Hey Tim! Come look at this spider! She looks like a little sixlet!” Y’all remember that candy? She seemed the least aggressive of the “friends” I made on Sunday (SCORPIONS!!) but I guess I should just stick to the raking and the friends I already have.

 

 

 

Anyhoo, on to the recipe.  I LOVE Asian flavors. Sweet Chili sauce is one of my favorite things on the planet, but most recipes for it include sugar or at best, honey which are both no-nos on WLC. The recipe below is a WLC compliant version, but if you aren’t on WLC and you want to use honey, I personally think the flavors would blend better than with the dates, but it’s up to you! We’ve knocked out all 4 bowls of this already (that’s how good it is!) and it’s definitely one that will stay in the rotation. There are a few “parts” to this recipe, but I promise it’s easier than it looks and the whole thing can be done in about 30 minutes! Let me know how you guys like it!

Sweet Chili Chicken Bowls

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water

Begin the coconut rice first. Add the jasmine rice, garlic, salt, coconut milk, and water to a sauce pot, and stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. As soon as it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed, with the lid in place, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice, and set it aside until ready to serve. If using for meal prep, divide it into 4 containers and set aside for the other ingredients to be added.

For the Sauce:


Ingredients: I DOUBLED THIS** I used half to cook with, but I love sauces so I doubled and use the rest to drizzle when I reheat 🙂

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Date Syrup (you can also buy this in the store) or Honey (more/less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (found in the international food aisle near the sriracha)
  • 1/2 Tbsp tapioca starch + 1 Tbsp water

Instructions

Add the rice vinegar, honey, water, and sambal oelek to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the mixture over medium heat until the ingredients are well combined

Stir the tapioca starch into 1 Tbsp water until dissolved, then pour it into the sauce pot with the sweet chili sauce. Continue stirring and heating until the mixture comes up to a simmer, at which time the tapioca starch will thicken the sauce and go from appearing cloudy to clear.

Use the sauce immediately, or refrigerate and use within one week.

 

For the Rest:

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce (more to drizzle later!) 
  • 8-10 oz of fresh pineapple, cut into “tidbits”
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets (I buy crowns from the produce section and portion into florets)
  • 1 package snow peas

While the rice is cooking, prepare the steamed broccoli and snow peas. Cut the broccoli crown into florets. Add one inch of water to a large pot, place a steaming basket (or colander) in the pot, then place the broccoli crowns and snow peas in the basket. Place a lid on the pot, then place it over medium-high heat. Allow the water to come up to a boil, and steam the broccoli and snow peas until it is bright green and tender (about 5 minutes). Remove the veggies from the heat and set aside until ready to serve or portion into your four meal prep bowls

While the rice and veggies are cooking, prepare the chicken stir fry. Dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Season with a pinch of salt. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and stir and cook until the chicken is cooked through and slightly browned on the outside.

If not pre-cut, chop your pineapple into small pieces and add the pineapple to the skillet along with the sweet chili sauce. Stir and heat the sauce and pineapple through (about 2 minutes).

Once the chicken is finished, portion it with your rice and veggies and drizzle sauce from the pan on each bowl.

Hands down, one of my favorite recipes now. We’ve devoured it! Enjoy!

-G

October Athlete of the Month || Jillian Jaffe

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 Jillian Jaffe! Jillian has been a part of the CFA family for about a year and a half! You’ll mostly find her in the early AM classes, but she tends to hop around, always making fitness a priority in her schedule no matter what else is going on. From day one, she has had an intense drive to grow and reach new goals. She’s been putting in the extra work lately and it shows with all the PRs she’s had! Jillian exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown some awesome progress in her time here. Jillian, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our October Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. 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:

Jillian Jaffe

Words to live by?

Basically anything my mama tells me:) But if I had to choose a favorite quote it would be Winston Churchill’s “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

What is your fitness background?

I danced ballet for 23 years before a really bad injury where I broke one side of my entire rib cage.  Then, I didn’t do anything for a long time.  Picked up weight lifting about 8 years back before I came to CrossFit Austin

How long have you been CrossFitting?

It will be two years this coming April

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

I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the workout and in such admiration of all the strong beautiful athletes in the gym:) and that feeling didn’t go away for months. Hahaha!  Now I just show up, look at the board and plan my attack

What is your favorite part of CFA?

I would say the community. We are all so supportive, yet push each other in a competitive way. Oh, and my forever teammate Billie <3

Current Training Goals/PRs?

String more double unders together and get a bar muscle up before the open

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

Just keep showing up and using the wonderful coaches that we have a resource.  Without the help of our coaches, I would have never made as far as I have today.

What is your cheat meal go to?

Pizza, tacos and then pizza.  I mean if you’re going to cheat, get that shit done.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

I think a better question is how don’t I use my fitness outside the gym.  The strength I have gained from CFA applies to all areas of my life.

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

The very first open workout this year where I was able to RX the whole thing and not die.  I was like, hell yeah lady, you got that!

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

Daily Grind: 5 RFT
400 m Run
20 pull ups
20 squats @85lbs
20 box jumps
20 RKBS at 52lbs

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

I love to do anything outside, travel constantly and I’m learning Spanish so I can prepare myself for my impending move

Tell us something we don’t know about you…

I used to be a large scale art conceptualizer and installer for events like Burning Man, Coachella and Bonaroo

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

CrossFit Austin, you are my family.  You have given me so much and asked for nothing in return.  I love you all and keep pushing!

Barbells for Boobs || Team CrossFit Austin

We are excited to announce that CrossFit Austin will be holding a fundraising event to help raise money for Barbells for Boobs! Join us on Saturday, October 27th where we will complete a version of “Grace,” the official Barbells for Boobs workout!

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 7% of those women will be under the age of 40. We are proud to dedicate our fundraising efforts to these too often underserved and overlooked faces of breast cancer.

Saturday, October 27th || Starting at 9:00 am at CrossFit Austin

“Rowing Grace”

For time:
10 Clean & Jerks @ 135/95/65
500 m row
10 Clean & Jerks @ 135/95/65
500 m row
10 Clean & Jerks @ 135/95/65
500 m row
*15:00 cap

As entry to participate in this event, we are asking each athlete to donate a minimum of $20. This will serve as your registration, however, 100% of the proceeds will be going to Barbells for Boobs. 

We will begin heats at 9:05 am sharp, but you may come in as early as 8:30 am to begin warming up and getting ready! Heats are capped at 8 athletes. 

REGISTER FOR A HEAT HERE

Non-participants may donate to our team page with the link provided below. Spectators are welcome!

AND since it’s Halloween weekend, let’s make it a party! Show up in your Halloween best OR help us #paintitpink by wearing whatever pinks you’ve got!

We have created a CrossFit Austin Fundraising team where you can make a donation or join our team and help us fund raise to meet our goal!

Donate to or Join Team CrossFit Austin HERE.

Why are we fundraising for Barbells for Boobs?
So that together we can take action, raise funds and help detect potentially life-threatening breast cancer occurrences. Barbells for Boobs is dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women and men under the age of 40.

Where does my donation go?
All fundraising efforts support much needed detection services in local communities across the country. Remember that the funds raised to support Barbells for Boobs mission are vital to those who may not have the means or access to critical detection services.

Here’s how you can help:
Make a donation of any amount on our fundraising team page or an individual team members page. For every $120 raised, ONE more person will know if they are living with breast cancer. If you want to be a real rockstar, you can create your own page, join Team CrossFit Austin, and join our efforts to meet our goal!

*It’s easy to create a fundraising page! Learn how, here.

Additionally, you can spread the word and help us reach our goal by sharing this page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or even better, send an email to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to our page.

Together, with one unified voice we can make a difference.

Together we can help. Because… Everyone Has a RIGHT to Know.

Kitchen Adventures || Snacks!

If you’ve noticed some grumpier than usual people around the gym the last few days, it’s because there are about 23 of us that are 5 days in to the Whole Life Challenge. Don’t worry, we’ll all even out soon, but maybe for the next couple of days don’t hold us accountable for the things we say in our severely lacking state 😉

All kidding aside, this amazing group of folks that chose to join us on this journey has made some big changes this week. You’ve seen me post enough info on WLC so I won’t go too deep into, but we’ve chosen 1 of 3 nutrition levels, set sleep, exercise, and water goals for ourselves, among other things like a daily reflection and really just turning our attention to our own lives and habits.

Each nutrition level has a list of non-compliant foods. Kickstart level is for those who are really JUST starting to make some changes. It definitely cleans up the diet, but allows for more flexibility than the other two. Remember, change comes in stages.

Lifestyle is more restrictive. Things like dairy, grains and flours, alcohol, and additives are on the “non-compliant” side making you have to really choose the cleanest options when going through the grocery store.

Performance is for the hardcore folks. It’s very restrictive. ZERO additives are allowed. No grains, dairy, alcohol, or any of that stuff either. If you really want to get clean with your diet, this is the way to go, but it is not for the weak-hearted.

The one thing that all 3 levels have in common is cutting out the extra sugars. Kickstart does make allowances for things like honey & agave nectar, but for Lifestyle and Performance, no added sugars, no honey, no sweeteners (aside from monkfruit, dates, or stevia).

You guys would not believe how many grocery items have added sugar. Don’t believe me? Take a look! Canned vegetables, chicken broth, frozen fruit…. not all brands, but you’d really be surprised at how many ingredients lists have sugar.

So, if you see some of us acting a little cranky, it’s because we have cut out some of the things we enjoy regularly (um.. queso???) and our brains and bodies are in the process of balancing all of that out.

Long intro, there to this weeks Kitchen Adventure, but I wanted to give a shout out to my WLC crew. They’ve already become a real team, working together and encouraging each other and we’re not even a week in! Watch out y’all because in about 5 more weeks we’re all going to be lean, strong, healthy, and ready to take on the Holidays!

Ok, on to the recipe. I actually have a few things here. Any time I do WLC, one of the FIRST things that gets me is snack options. When you’re cutting out all the “filler foods” and crap that we stick in our mouths throughout the day, you tend to go through a period of being hungrier. These are all WLC compliant, but for anyone looking to find some healthy snack options, here we go!

***One thing to note – dates are high in natural sugars. Almond flour is just ground up almonds which are higher in fat. Don’t go crazy with your portions on these things, guys. Everything in moderation. 

Carrot Cake Energy Balls
No automatic alt text available.

All raw, All vegan, All delicious

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of shredded carrots (I just buy the matchstick carrots in a bag because it’s easy and ain’t nobody got time fo’ that)
1/2 cup of walnuts
3/4 cup of pecan halves (honestly, you can use any nuts you like. I’ve done hazelnuts and almonds before too)
5-6 large pitted dates
1/2 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
shredded coconut for coating

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend carrots in a blender or food processor until finely chopped, then add the dates and continue to blend until well combined *It’s extremely helpful to slice the dates before blending. Throwing the whole thing in makes it very difficult*

Once the dates and carrots are well mixed, add the nuts and spices and blend to combine. You can make the ingredients as fine or as chunky as you like. You should end up with a consistency that allows you to roll them into balls.

Use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out equally sized amounts and roll them into balls. Roll them in shaved coconut for an optional coating.

Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before eating.

Store them in a sealed container in the fridge! You won’t need to store them long because you’ll probably eat them all in a couple of days.

***The last time I made these, I also added about 2 TBSP of chia seeds to the mix. Chia seeds are FULL of antioxidants, minerals, Omega-3s, and are good for so many different things. Definitely one of my favorite little super foods! You can check out some of the health benefits here.

Ok, sweet tooth is covered! Now let’s get something for those savory folks

Almond Flour Crackers


You can season/spice these with any combo you like. Just use the basic outline and go nuts! Some others I love, sea salt & lime, rosemary & Himalayan pink salt, Italian season, salt & vinegar, the list goes on and on….

Image may contain: food INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond flour
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add the egg white and mix until you’ve formed a dough.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, as thinly as possible. Thicker dough will require more bake time and result in thicker crackers. Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Cut the dough into desired shapes. I usually just use a pizza roller and cut them into triangles.

Move the dough, with the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown. Depending on your oven you may need a little longer to achieve a crunchy chip. Just be careful not to over cook! Let them cool for about 5 minute before removing them from the sheet so they “set”

Remove and enjoy! These are fantastic with guacamole. (see below for my recipe)

Clean & Easy Guacamole

INGREDIENTSImage result for guacamole

3 Large avocados
1 large tomato
1/2 an onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 large jalapeno
*OR if you want to go super easy like I do, just buy THESE  😉 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder
Pinch of cumin, to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 small limes

DIRECTIONS

Halve and pit the avocados. (reserve 1 pit) While still in the skin, use a knife to slice into cubes, then use a large spoon to scoop the chunks into a mixing bowl.

Finely chop your pico ingredients (or open your pre-purchase pico 😉 ) and add to the bowl. Mix the avocado and pico until combined.

In a small bowl, mix your dry seasonings, then add to the large bowl along with the juice from one lime. Mix until well combined. I like my guac chunky and with lots of lime (lime juice also helps to preserve it), but you can smash away if you like it smoother. Add more lime (I usually use 2) if you prefer!

I don’t know if this really works or not, but if you store your guac with the pit it supposedly helps to keep it from browning. Make sure you cover it tightly to prevent air exposure and store it in the fridge. We usually go through guac so fast that we don’t have to worry about it though.

That’s it for this week, folks. Enjoy the rest of your week and happy snacking!

 

-G

Kitchen Adventures || Football + Wings = <3

It’s football season! There is a long menu of football friendly foods, but when I think football, I think wings. I’m here to tell you though, you can make a healthier version and even have the ranch! All of this is whole life compliant (for performance level too if you find a clean one or make your own mayo!)

This is definitely more work than ordering from your favorite wing place, but it’s so worth it if you’re trying to stay clean. You can chow guilt free knowing what’s exactly what’s on your plate while you’re watching your favorite team. I can’t help you with the beer… you’re on your own there 😉  (although, topo and lime is a great substitute if you just want something cold and fizzy)

 

BUFFALO WINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup compliant hot sauce (I use Louisiana)
  • 2-4 TBSP Organic butter (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

I use an air fryer for mine (which I totally recommend buying one if you don’t have one!) but you can also just bake these in the oven. I’ve included directions for crispy oven wings below.

  1. In a gallon sized zipper bag place the chicken wings, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and lemon juice. Toss to combine making sure to massage the marinade into the wings well.
  2. Marinade for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your air fryer to 360°F. (SEE BELOW FOR OVEN INSTRUCTIONS)
  4. Place the chicken wings in a single layer in the fry basket and insert into the air fryer.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket.
  6. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken wings.
  7. *Optional -While wings are cooking- To tone down the spice of your buffalo sauce, melt 2 TBSP of butter in a sauce pan and combine with 1/4 cup of hot sauce. Simmer on low for 3-4 minutes. Add more butter to bring down the spice.
  8. In a bowl place the fried chicken wings and hot sauce and toss to coat.
  9. Serve immediately.

Oven Directions –

Pat wings dry with paper towels after marinading; Bake at 250F for 30 minutes, then at 425F for 40 – 50 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

 

RANCH DRESSING

There will be a couple of steps to this. First we’ll make the seasoning mix. You’ll need 3/4 – 1 1/4 TBSP of seasoning mix, but this recipe with make enough that you’ll have some to store! Once we’ve made the mix, we’ll talk about combining it with different ingredients to your liking.

Seasoning Mix –

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill weed
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried chives 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toss all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Use your fingers to gently massage the spices together until mix well.
  3. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.

MAKING YOUR DRESSING

To make Dairy-Free, Paleo, WLC compliant Ranch Dressing mix together –

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise – you can make your own compliant mayo with this recipe
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (regular not lite in a can, not the kind you drink – check for sweeteners!)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 tablespoon ranch seasoning mix
  • Mix all the ingredients together until combined. Start with using 3/4 tablespoon dried seasoning mix. Add more if desired.

Alternate option to mayo – I really like this with 1/3 cup of plain Greek Yogurt instead. That would be lifestyle compliant, but kicks it our of performance so choose accordingly!

Ok, guys! Like I said, it’s more work than ordering in, but so worth it! I hope your teams wins this weekend. Unless they are playing one of mine. Then I hope they lose 😉 Enjoy your wings!

Kitchen Adventures || Green Machine

 

The sun is shining again! I couldn’t believe it Monday when we went ALL DAY with no rain! I knew I had to go get in the river though, so I took my workout outside. I ran from home to the river, did some rounds of Cindy on a playground, and then jumped in that cold clear water and forgot about everything else for a bit!

I made it down there before everyone was getting out of school and work so I had the place nearly to myself. Being down there, surrounded by green life, being submerged in a life source… Man, it’s one of my favorite things.

Speaking of green life… ya like that smooth transition? 😉 Anyway, this week’s recipe is full of all kinds of good green stuff. This recipe is a variation of a simple concept that has endless possibilities. Very basically, this is a grain bowl. A grain bowl is layered with some sort of grain of your choice, a protein, and any combo of your favorite veggies! I’ve done many versions in the past, but I really love how this one turned out so here we go! I don’t go by a particular recipe when I make these so take these measurements with a grain of salt.. (or more to taste 😉 )

 

Green Machine Grain Bowl 

Ingredients:

1.5 lb Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast
2 cups (cooked) grains of your choice – I used a mix of brown rice, freekah, quinoa, and bulgar to complete 2 cups cooked
1 15 oz can of chickpeas
3 cups raw spinach
3 cups raw arugula
2 pears – pre-sliced OR slice upon serving
4 stalks of celery – chopped
1 bunch green onions – chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 TBSP Lemon Pepper Seasoning – if you struggle with finding one that does not have added sugar, make your own! 
Olive oil and lemon juice to drizzle (or you can use a lemon vinaigrette dressing if you prefer!)

Directions:

Coat your chicken breast in olive oil and season generously on both sides with lemon pepper seasoning. Cook it up however you like! Sometimes I’ll bake mine in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes (or until cooked through) but this time, I cooked in in a skillet on the stove. Either way… season those puppies up and make them not raw..

You should have about 2 cups of cooked grains. If you measure out two cups dry you’ll end up with way too much. Check the packaging of whatever you choose to use and it will give you proper measurements.

Rinse and drain your chickpeas. *Optional* You can saute these in a skillet to give them a bit of a toasty flavor.

The rest is easy! This amount made 4 bowls for us. Divide your grains (about 1/2 a cup per bowl), chickpeas, and chicken into 4 bowls. This will be the “hot” ingredients.

I just used zip locks for the “cold” ingredients. Divide your spinach, arugula, celery, and green onions into 4 separate containers. As for the pears, I’d suggest you leave them whole until you’re ready to eat, but you CAN pre-slice and put them in a separate container.

Serving:

HOT STUFF                                         COLD STUFF                                 ASSEMBLED

 

Heat your bowl with the “hot” stuff. Then you can assemble right in the bowl if it’s large enough. Mine aren’t so I transfer it to a plate, dump the bag of “cold” stuff on it. Add the pears, sliced avocado, and walnuts and then drizzle either with your lemon vinaigrette or just a little olive oil and lemon juice and chow down!

Like I said, the beauty of a grain bowl is that there are endless combinations. It’s easy to cook, easy to assemble, and easy to clean up. I was so happy with the way this one turned out. I know I’ll be making it again soon.

 

Happy chewing!

September Athlete of The Month || Marco Ramos!

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 September Athlete of the Month is Marco Ramos! Marco has been a part of the CrossFit Austin Community for about a year and a half! From day one, he’s been a happy and welcoming guy in class. He gets in here and works hard in every single class. Marco is a perfect example of using his fitness outside of the gym with all the awesome activities he does too! He’s and outdoors man of many sorts and the training he does here, helps him enjoy that even more. Marco exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown some awesome progress in his time here. Marco, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our September Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!

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State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Marco Ramos


Words to live by?
Slow but steady wins the race.  

What is your fitness background?
My background is fairly new. I started my fitness journey 10 years ago. I began as a runner and completed 3 full marathons. I have done my share of workout videos such as P90X and Shaun T’s Insanity. I joined my first CrossFit gym in 2014.


How long have you been CrossFitting?
4 years 

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I was lost in my first class.  The coach spoke in a short hand and now makes sense.  This shorthand were words to describe the work or the movements.  It was the first time I saw AMRAP, EMOM, cleans, and thrusters.What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?

My favorite part is the Community. Everyone is supportive and wants to you succeed. 

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I am happy with slow growth.  I am trying my hardest not to get injured.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor 

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
I would suggest to commit for one year and attend consistently.  Don’t eat before class. 

What is your cheat meal go to?
I don’t have a go to cheat meal. If I am going to cheat, it’s going to have plenty of calories and have no nutritional value. 

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I use my fitness in hiking, maneuvering in a tight space when I go caving, running town lake, around the house, or opening a jar.  

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
My proudest moment in CrossFit was my first RX WOD.   

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t know where to begin.
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What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I like to explore and travel. I can dance East Coast Swing, Lindy hop, and Blues. I am learning how to cook.  

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have a level 1 sommelier, but I drink beer and spirits. I searching for the perfect Negroni recipe. I enjoy festivals such as Okterberfest. My favorite holiday is Halloween. 

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
“Make it so, Number One. ” -Jean-Luc Picard

Kitchen Adventures || Gimme dat soup (Whole Life Compliant!)

Hey friends! How’s everyone doing? You guys making it through all this rain? I don’t know about you, but this rainy, cloudy weather has definitely impacted my menu. I very quickly turned from cold salads and embraced the fall recipes with all the warm feelings in my heart. Y’all….. I love soups. I love stews, crockpot meals, all the cozy stuff that gives you the warm fuzzies and a full belly. I know we’re probably not really there yet and it’ll go back to just being HOT once the rain clears, but for now, I’m in it 100%.

If you haven’t heard me blabbing or seen me posting about it for weeks, 1) Pull your head out of the sand because I don’t know how you could miss my incessant reminders, and 2)…Whole Life Challenge is starting in a couple of weeks! 🙂

I’ll save you the full explanation and let you read my info post HERE, but I do want to tell you about a couple of fun additions that we will have for this challenge!

First off, we are honored to welcome Coach Dylan’s lovely girlfriend, Erika to our WLC crew. She will be graduating in the spring with her degree in nutrition and has graciously agreed to join our team as a resource to answer questions and give some informational presentations on basic nutrition (more in depth for those interested) to help us get the most out of the nutrition portion of the challenge! She’ll be at our Kick Off Info meeting// Q&A this Saturday (Sept. 15 @ 10:15 am) so if you have any questions she’d love to answer them. She’s going to be planning her talks on the things you guys want to know most, so come help us out!

Secondly, we are SO excited to test out a new service for those folks on our Whole Life Challenge team. Tim’s bother Jon, if you don’t know, is a chef. He’s currently testing out some recipes and putting together menus to offer PREPARED MEALS as an option to WLC team members! Meal prep is something we all struggle with. Even if it’s part of your weekly routine, you can still find yourself needing a little help from time to time. This beta-test will be for Whole Life Challenge members only so if you want in on the fun (and the eats), join the team!

Ok, on to the recipe! This one is compliant for all 3 nutrition levels as long as you use an adobo sauce without sugar. If you can’t find one in

your grocery store, here is an easy compliant recipe to make your own! 

*Pro-tip! If you plan ahead, Thrive Market has a ton of amazing, compliant products that don’t include a lot of the ingredients you find in regular grocery stores. Stock up before the challenge on things you use regularly like broths, sauces, etc…. it will make life so much easier!

Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock (check for added sugar!)
  • 1 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk (unsweetened – no guar gum for Performance)
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 16 oz. bag of fresh spinach
  • 3 TBSP chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – more or less to taste (sauce only)
  • 2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, lime wedges, fresh jalapeno slices, green onions….

Instructions

  • Turn slow cooker to low heat setting and add chicken breasts, tomatoes, onion, chicken stock, chipotle sauce, cumin, smoked paprika and sea salt. Cover and cook 5-6 hours.
  • Remove chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks. Add chicken back to slow cooker and stir in coconut milk. Cook an additional 20 minutes, uncovered, to reduce slightly.
  • Add the spinach and allow to wilt (appx 5 minutes) before serving.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toppings of your choice and light one of those wood wick candles so you can pretend you’re sitting cozy by a fireplace 😉

We absolutely love Siete Foods tortillas and chips (found at Whole Foods, HEB, and also on Thrive Market in addition to their own site) so I served this up with some lime tortilla chips.

Kitchen Adventures || Keepin’ it easy – One pan veggies & sausage

Happy Hump Day! I hope you guys had an awesome Labor Day weekend! We spent most of the day traveling home from Arkansas (in the rain), but we got to enjoy some relaxing time at my grandmother’s ranch, fishing, doing some yard work, and chatting with her. She is going to be 98 years old next month! She still lives on her own and does a great job taking care of herself. I’m 100% certain that she’s doing so well at her age because for most of her life, she’s eaten from her own (or her neighbor’s) garden/farm and she STILL gets up every morning and moves her body. She stretches and “takes exercises” and keeps herself active physically and mentally every day. Her movements have adapted over the years, but she listens to her body and makes it a priority. She’s walking proof that longevity is achievable!

Y’all she’d kill me if she knew I was posting a picture of her in her robe, but I had to share!

 

 

Anyway, on to the recipe. This is one that’s so easy and FULL of good veggies. Because we were driving, I didn’t have my normal meal prep day, but this takes like 30 minutes to throw together and it tastes great. Even better if you can pull from your own veggie garden 😉 Enjoy!

***FOR THOSE OF YOU DOING WHOLE LIFE CHALLENGE – This is one that is SO easy to make compliant for all nutrition levels – just check the ingredients on your sausage or substitute chicken (or steak, shrimp, etc!!) if you can’t find compliant sausage.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Smoked Turkey or Chicken Sausage (You can also pre-cook raw sausage of your choice to add to this)
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes diced into 1/2” cubes
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups fresh green beans (ends trimmed)
  • 1 cup bell pepper chopped (any colors you like)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or your favorite spice blend!)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

(Other options for veggies that I’ve tried – asparagus, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions, carrots…. you can really choose anything you like!)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the smoked sausage into 1” rounds. Dice the sweet potatoes into small 1/2” cubes. Chop/prep the rest of your veggies to your liking/as needed.
  3. Add the sausage, veggies and minced garlic to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the Italian spices or your favorite spice blend. Seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss veggies with your hands until they are fully combined and coated with olive oil and spices.
  4. Bake for appx. 20 minutes, flipping halfway. You can portion this out on it’s own or if you want to serve it over brown rice, or quinoa, even on top of a salad, it’s extremely versatile!

And…. just because I still can’t stop watching it – Here’s the friend we made this weekend  😆

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