December Athlete of the Month || Jesse Nunez!

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 December Athlete of the Month is Jesse Nunez! Jesse started as part of Tim’s late night training crew, but moved into group classes and has been a part of the family for about 3 years now! He walks into the gym with a smile on his face and a friendly hello to everyone! He’s always been an advocate for the Thirsty Thursday crew and helped to build the community atmosphere in the evenings. Jesse also uses his fitness outside of the gym! He is always getting outdoors for new adventures. Jesse 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. Jesse, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our December 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:
Jesse Nunez
 
Words to live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated
Don’t waste your hate, rather gather and create
 
What is your fitness background?
I really don’t have a fitness background! In middle school I was in athletics and played football. That’s about it for me besides being active outdoors.
 
How long have you been CrossFitting?
At the end of December it will be 3 years for me at CFA.
 
Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. I started out really light and with progressions for most of the movements. Compared to day I have a much better understanding of the movements and my own body. I enjoy seeing how far I have come!
What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I enjoy the camaraderie. You get to meet new people and build new friendships! Can’t forget about Thirsty Thursdays either!
 
Current Training Goals/PRs?
I would really like to improve my snatch and clean. I have also been working on getting my handstand walk/hold/push ups, and DU’s.
Gaining some weight for my skinny ass would be nice too!

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
No matter how hard it seems and how much it hurts keep going. The hard work is worth the results you can achieve both physically and mentally. Remember to do you too!

What is your cheat meal go to?
Uhhhhh anything fried or some cheesecake/pie! I do eat all of that quite often though so is it still considered a cheat meal? 😀
 
How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
All of the strength and conditioning has really helped me out in all aspects of what I do outside of the gym. Whether it be playing disc golf, fishing, biking, swimming, and or hiking.
 
Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
This year was my first time to participate in The Intramural Open. I felt proud of myself for actually finishing a timed workout which happened to be the last one. All of those workouts were tough! It was rewarding to stick to my game plan and just keep moving to end up finishing with time left on the clock 🙂
 
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
My biggest challenge has been staying consistent. Going the days that I don’t feel like going or just not being there mentally. Eating healthier and more has also been a challenge for me.
 
If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Honestly I have no idea. Hmmm… Smooth Sailing – 400M run, 10 burpees, 200M run, 20burpees, 100M run, 40 burpees for time

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
I look back to my upbringing and I look at my left arm. Music helps too.
 
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I enjoy being outside. Disc golf, fishing, swimming, hiking, and biking, Music is great too and even better live. Good food and good beer!
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I sing my heart out in the car or sometimes in the shower if I’m home alone.
  
Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
Stay thirsty my friends

Kitchen Adventures || Welcome Force of Nature!

If you haven’t seen the new set up in the front office yet, we are now a PROUD supplier of Force of Nature Meats! One of our very own, Kristy (Marsillo) Sansom, helped us get the hook up to bring you fresh, sustainably and ethically sourced meats raised by regenerative farming methods.

Her new hubby, Robert Sansom is the Co-Founder and CEO of this new venture and we’re so excited to support what they are doing! Regenerative farming not only provides an incredibly clean product, but is actually better for the environment! If you remember back in February when Tim went out to Roam Ranch for the bison harvest, we mentioned these practices in that post. Well, Force Of Nature is paired with Roam Ranch to bring the products straight to the community.

Here’s a snippet from a great article you should check out if you want to learn more, “The ranch is farmed using regenerative agriculture, a conservationist approach to food and farming systems that focuses on regenerative topsoil, increasing biodiversity of species and improving the water supply in order to reduce the ongoing effects of climate change while rehabilitating land that may have been damaged over time.”

We currently have Ancestral Beef, Ground Bison, Ground Elk, Ground Venison, Ground Wild Boar, and Bison+Bacon patties available in the freezer in the front office. Grab a coach if you have any questions or need assistance and you can purchase right through the kiosk!

To kick us off, I wanted to give you guys a recipe using one of these options. I chose bison because I’ve worked with it before and I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with it. I am super proud of this one guys and it was actually pretty simple to make! The chutney was killer, but the bison was truly the star here. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS
For the Meatballs
1 package Force of Nature Ground Bison
1 egg
1/4 cup riced cauliflower (raw)
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp milk of choice
2 cloves of garlic – minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP fresh thyme

For the Chutney
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup dried figs, chopped and stems removed
1 TBSP honey (more to taste)
1/2 cup shallots – thinly sliced
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP fresh thyme

To top
Fresh Pomegranate seeds
Fresh Goat Cheese
Fresh Thyme

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I served these with roasted brussels sprouts and roasted carrots so if you’d like to do the same, you can get those roasting while you start the rest.

In a large bowl, mix the bison and all the remaining ingredients for the meatballs until well combined. Try not to over mix. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease the foil or, if you have a baking/cooling rack, place it on top of the baking sheet so that the fat from the meatballs can drip down into the baking sheet.

Roll your meatballs about 1.5 inch in diameter. I was able to get 12 equal sized meatballs from this recipe. Place them on your baking, evenly spaced without touching each other. Place them in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.

Then, bake for 16-20 minutes or until cooked throughout. The tops should be a nice brown color, but be careful not to overcook and dry them out!

While the meatballs are chilling you can start your sauce. In a sauce pan, bring the pomegranate juice to a low boil. Add the figs, remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. You’ll then drain the figs, but reserve the pomegranate juice to be used in making the sauce.

In a hot pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Saute the shallots for 4-5 minutes or until they start to soften. Then, stir in the drained figs and honey along with a splash of the pomegranate juice. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are golden brown and the sauce thickens. If it becomes too thick, you can continue to add a little pomegranate juice as needed. If you prefer a little sweeter or more caramelized flavor, add another teaspoon of honey.

Once the meatballs are done, top with the sauce, add dollops of goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and a little fresh thyme. Serve with your favorite roasted veggies and enjoy!

Kitchen Adventures || Get Well/Stay Well Soup

Tis the season! Cold and Flu season! We’ve already had a couple of coaches out sick and if you haven’t heard me screaming from the whiteboard to wipe down your equipment, I’m surprised. It can be difficult to determine whether or not you should come to the gym when you’ve got the sniffles. Sometimes a good sweat session can help knock out what you have going on and sometimes you’re just exposing all your friends and gassing out what little energy you have left.

Number one rule – if you have or have had a fever in the last 24 hours, keep your booty home. 

Not only do you really need to rest, but guaranteed you’re going to pass on whatever you’re fighting. No matter what though, make sure you’re washing your hands at the gym, wiping down every piece of equipment and space (floor, boxes, etc..) you’re touching, and do what you can to keep yourself well. If you have been sick, don’t rush it when you do come back. Scaled appropriately and understand that while you may be feeling better, your body needs some time to get back to beast mode. Ease in so you don’t crash.

Boost the vitamins, eat well, hydrate mucho, add some extra good stuff… That’s where this recipe comes in. This soup is tasty, but it’s full of all the goodies your body needs to get well or stay well during the cold and flu season. It does have a little kick to it, but that spice is part of what helps you fight off the cooties.

Stay well friends!

INGREDIENTS
1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (this is optional, but it does make it a little heartier)
Olive or Coconut oil for cooking
1 large yellow onion – diced
3 stalks of celery – sliced
1 large sweet potato – cubed (skin optional)
1 medium head cauliflower – cut into florets
3-4 large cloves of garlic – minced
3 big handfuls of kale – stems removed and torn into pieces
1 TBSP fresh parsley – minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne (more to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
Juice from half a lemon
8 cups chicken broth – bone brother preferable (sub vegetable broth if doing vegan option)
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

If using chicken breast, cook using your preferred method. I used the instant pot, but you can bake, pan sear, etc… just make sure it’s cooked through and then either shred or cube it to go into the soup in a bit.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery until it begins to soften and become translucent. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, garlic, broth, and all the seasonings and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes on low.

Add the kale, lemon juice, and chicken if you’re using it. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the kale has wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste and then serve!

November Athlete of the Month || Adelle Santos!!

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 November Athlete of the Month is Adelle Santos! Adelle has been kicking it with CrossFit Austin since 2013 and more recently has migrated back into the weightlifting center with Austin Weightlifting! Her positive attitude and upbeat energy are infectious and we love it when she says “AwesomeSauce!” Adelle 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. Adelle, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our November 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:
Adelle Agnes D. Santos // Adelle   

Words to live by?
We are a speck of dust in the universe.  If we understand the context of our existence, then we will naturally be silent.

What is your fitness background?
I used to play tennis and karate until my late 20’s. 

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I joined CFA in 2013 but I am one who “loves” to stop and “smell the roses”.  

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I had this extreme positive attitude that I can do whatever the other athletes were doing e.g. PullUps, Handstand, BoxJumps, Run, DoubleUnders and Lunges…LOL.  (no judgement please hehehe), and Squat with great confidence. To this day, I am still wrapped with that same attitude. 

Right now, I can follow majority of the WOD’s and OLY workouts.  I find the workouts less intimidating. I am still a work in progress.  

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
It may sound cliché – but I love the feeling of “home” and community. 

I have the highest respect to the coaches. I am drawn to Olympic Lifting and Dylan’s enthusiasm towards my daily achievement/s is contagious. 

Current Training Goals/PRs?  Goals:
I would love to be part of the 2020 OLY Competition hosted by CFA.  And be able to use those “real” big plates when I lift. 

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
This is your journey, not anybody else’s.  Be the better you Today compared to Yesterday. 

What is your cheat meal go to?
Oh goodness!!! It’s not a meal but a food item: Bread!   NomNomNom…

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
The energy level trickles extensively at work.  I guess the scientific findings is true; exercise produces a positive chemical effect on our brain which reduces stress and improves our mood – 20 minutes of exercise can boost someone’s mood up to 12 hours. 

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
Days when I felt soooo lazy to come and left victorious, not because I PR’d but because I remained “in the moment” during the workout – giving my All.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
My work/travel schedule. 

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
WOD: AwesomeSauce Adelle
Power Snatch
Snatch RDL
Clean and Jerk
Bench Press

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
My Goal/s. My Fitness Journey 

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love photography and traveling

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I am so scared of heights to the point that I do not like taking the escalators.  This being said; I feel that it is time for me to conquer this fear – “I plan to skydive.” Just don’t ask me when…lol.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words.
Success happen when we are able to use ourselves to our full potential.  I find it really important to ask ourselves, what we really want out of life…. Then, let that serve as the direction we take.  

 

Kitchen Adventures || Fall Casserole

This recipe makes an insane amount of food….I filled 2 glass casserole dishes – a 9×13 dish and a 7×11 dish! I ended up giving an entire casserole to my mom. That said, you’ll eat insane amounts of this in one sitting so maybe it’s a good thing?

Anyway, there are a few steps to this, but it’s packed with good (and good for you) stuff. All the fall veggies and the warm and hearty spices make this feel like you’re indulging. I’d call this cozy comfort food for sure. For this one, I just happened to have some sausage in the freezer and thought it would go well (I was right) but if you’re not up for that you can stick with just the chicken, or lose the meat altogether and make this a vegetarian dish!

I’m including a spice blend recipe that’s needed for this recipe. You will have some extra, but it’s a fantastic blend that is really good in soups too so hang on to it!

INGREDIENTS
1.5 Lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 lb smoked sausage (I had some from Salt Lick!)
1/2 Yellow onion – rough chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 celery stocks – chopped
1 large sweet potato – diced
Appx 2 cups  diced butternut squash – I buy pre-diced because cutting a butternut squash is a nightmare
1 lb brussels sprouts – quartered
1 large apple – diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 cups cooked wild rice (about 2 cups dry)
1/2 cup broth
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp spice blend (more to taste)

Spice blend –
1 tbsp celery salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch dry mustard
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch clove
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch allspice

Whisk together

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the rice according to the instructions. While the rice is working, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook until golden and fully cooked through. Set aside and let cool. When you can handle it, cut into 1″ pieces. Cut sausage (*note – if you aren’t using already cooked/smoked sausage, cook it first) into pieces and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of oil and lower heat to medium. Add the onion, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, celery, garlic, thyme, 1 tbsp of seasoning mix and salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add 1/4 cup of broth to the mixture and simmer covered for about 5 minutes.

Grease a large casserole dish (you’ll likely need 2). Add chicken, sausage, rice, and vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add the diced apple and raisins and mix until well combined. If you prefer more of the seasoning mix, add and combine here.

Pour the casserole mixture into your baking dish(es) and add the remaining broth. Top the dish(es) with almonds and bake until it’s heated throughout and the almonds are toasted. 15-18 minutes should do it.

Then, either serve immediately or divide into meal prep containers for the week!

This warming dish will really make you feel like it’s fall. Even if we get another Texas heat wave mid-November 😉

Coach Spotlight || Dylan Wall

 

You could say fitness or at least working out and “the gym” is in my blood. My grandfather owned and operated 6 or 7 Texas gyms throughout the 70’s and 80’s while competing in bodybuilding and powerlifting. At four years old, I remember my dad teaching me how to do pushups, sit-ups, and curls. But, I’d say my coaching journey began back in the summer of 2003.

I decided not to play football in the fall and had started taking drum lessons. That’s what I was going to do. I was going to become a badass drummer. My parents supported that fully but still wanted some way for me to be active. Not to say that drummers in bands aren’t active. You actually have to be in damn good shape to play the drums for a whole set.

My father read an article in our local newspaper about a girl who recently got runner-up in the school-age nationals for weightlifting. He saw this and immediately took me out to my coach’s house. A “fluffy,” as the ladies in my age group called me back then, kid showed up to the doorstep of my coach’s house on Wednesday, July 23rd of 2003. The rest is history. This was huge for me back then because both of my brothers were playing football that fall and at the time, were way better at it than me. I finally had something over them! I am an Olympic weightlifter and at the time, they were not.

Of course, after football season ended they hopped on the train as well and weightlifting became a family ordeal. We all got better and got to where we were lifting at the national level. After lifting at a few national championships, my coach encouraged us to get our USAW level 1 coaching certification. The course was right down the road from my neighborhood and I achieved my Level 1 certification at 13 years old. Little did I know, that certification would lead to some awesome opportunities in the future.

Eventually, seventh grade came around and the “want” to play football came back into my life. The “kind of still fluffy” kid was now making the A-team and confident about being a pretty decent o-lineman. I continued to played football each fall and competed in weightlifting the rest of the time. Eventually, I earned school-age nationals runner-up and 1st team all-district in football. It was no longer about comparing myself to my brothers at that point. Rather, “This is me and this is what I do!”

Through those years, I was very interested in how my coach did things. He was always assertive, knowledgeable, and passionate. He had a way of relating weightlifting to other sports and fitness in a way that would make anyone buy in. I did! I got to where I could observe certain movement patterns and give cues to help those movement patterns. I am not my coach, but you could tell I was learning from him. I started helping him coach in the garage and got to where I could help in meets by counting attempts and sometimes handling lifters on my own.

Because of my coach and having that USAW level 1 certification, I eventually got an opportunity for the paid head intern position at Texas State University. There, I gained experience in how all-around sport strength and conditioning ran while also being able to apply what had already been instilled in me through weightlifting. This led to me getting the job as the weightlifting coach at CrossFit Austin where I was given complete control over our weightlifting program here.Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and text

Out of that collaboration, Austin Weightlifting emerged and we now have a good youth and adult crew going in the weightlifting center. I also regularly coach our CrossFit group classes now. No matter what avenues I am coaching, I love seeing people succeed. That is why I coach. Knowing that I had a hand in someone getting better and working toward accomplishing their goals is one of the best feelings in the world.

The sum of my experiences have made me the coach I am today. That being said, I need and want to learn more! I take pride in how we can continue learn together and get better. This is a nonstop process and I am constantly reminding myself and my athletes of this. I am damn proud to be a coach and will continue to influence people in the best way that I can. If you want to hop on this journey with me, (CLICK HERE) to send us your information (put my name in the referral to work specifically with me) or email me at dylan@crossfitaustin.com and we will do our best to help you achieve your fitness goals.

-Coach Dylan

Kitchen Adventures || Chipotle Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ah, the time of year when we gain a massive collection of clothing items that people leave after a workout. It’s cool enough that you show up in a hoodie, but as soon as you start moving in the warm up you’ve got to start losing layers and by the end of the workout, you forgot you were ever cold to begin with so the hoodie (pants, shirt, etc…) remains tossed aside on the gym floor….

This weather has been wild though. One day it’s 85, the next it’s 50…. Whatever, I’m keeping my kitchen in cold weather mode. I’ve been making everything hearty and hot. I use sweet potatoes in a lot of recipes, but until it gets cool out I tend to forget about doing stuffed sweet potatoes. I’ve posted a stuffed sweet potato recipe before, but this one is a bit different and works some greens in there too.

Give it a go!

INGREDIENTS

4 Medium sized sweet potatoes
1.5 Lbs chicken breast
1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 medium onion – diced
3 large handfuls of kale – stems removed – torn or chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
Coconut oil

Chipotle Sauce:
1/2 cup light oil – I used grapeseed (avocado would work too)
3 TBSP Lime juice
1-2 tsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers in adobo) – This depends on your spice preference. I actually chopped up and added an entire chipotle pepper in addition to this.
1 TBSP chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp salt

Optional toppings to serve
Cilantro
Ranch dressing (see THIS post for a greek yogurt ranch recipe)
Avocado
Fresh jalapeno… etc…

 

INSTRUCTIONS

If you want to TRULY bake your potatoes, wash them well, poke holes with a fork to vent, coat in coconut oil and salt and bake at 425 for 50 – 60 minutes or until fork tender. You can also poke, wrap them in wax paper and microwave for 9-14 minutes (or until fork tender). Or insta pot… or whatever you prefer. I liked baking them for this recipe so the skins were dried and crispy.

While they are baking, the chicken also needs to be precooked. Instapot, bake (coat with olive oil, season with s&p, bake on separate sheet in oven with potatoes for appx 20 min). Cook in a skillet.. however you want to cook it, but then shred it.

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Once melted, cook the onion until it begins to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, continuously stirring, until fragrant. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and saute until kale is slightly wilted and turning dark green. Once the kale is cooked to your preference, remove the skillet from the heat.

For the sauce – I like using mason jars for sauces and dressings so all I have to do is shake the ingredients together. If you don’t have one, whisk the spices together with the lime juice, and then add the oil and a small amount of adobo sauce. Combine well and then taste it to see if the “heat” is to your liking. If you like spicier, add more adobo! If doing this in a mason jar, put it all in there, put on the lid, and shake it up!

Once your chicken is done and shredded, add it, the black beans and the sauce to the skillet. Return the skillet to low heat. Combine it all well and make sure it’s heated throughout.

Once the potatoes are done, let them cool until you can handle them. Cut them open and mash up the middle. Top with your chicken mixture and garnish with whatever other toppings you like!

These are filling, delicious, and packed with good for you stuff. I did this as a meal prep recipe and they reheat really well too. Hope you guys enjoy!

 

Kitchen Adventures || Hidden Veggie Meatballs

I am usually pretty good about getting my veggies in, but I know plenty of folks who need a little more coaxing. Even if you do love vegetables, sometimes it’s nice to just have another option to get a little more in. What’s great about this recipe is not only do you get the extra veggies in, they actually replace some of the stuff that we should be eating less of.

I was craving spaghetti and meatballs so this week I decided to do a version with as many veggies as possible. I’ll share my red sauce recipe another time, but I made my red sauce, subbed spaghetti squash for the pasta, and then whipped up a big batch of these meatballs.

By subbing the riced cauliflower in place of bread crumbs, these turkey meatballs stay very moist and the cauliflower adds a little extra pop of flavor! The carrots also add a nice little speckle of color throughout.

These also freeze well so if you don’t think you’ll go through the whole batch, portion some out into airtight freezer bags and then you’ll have individual portions that you can grab and reheat whenever you like!

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 carrots grated VERY fine (or use a food processor to chop them up pretty fine)
1 – 1.5 cup(s) cauliflower – riced (use a food processor to chop finely)
2 eggs
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper to your liking

DIRECTIONS 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the spices and mix well. If you haven’t yet, peel and grate the carrots with a very fine grater and toss the cauliflower in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

(Start with a cup of riced cauliflower – add more if needed) *

In a large bowl, combine the meat, carrots and cauliflower and mix lightly until combined. Try not to over mix because that tends to lead to tougher meatballs (same for meatloaf).

Add in the seasoning mixture and eggs and finish combining making gentle folds until everything is incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray or coat lightly with olive oil. If you want to keep your sizing consistent you can use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to scoop out and form your meatballs. I usually end up with about 20 golf ball sized meat balls.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown. Then, serve them up however you like!

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!

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