Chicken Parmesan

When Beau was returning home from Kuwait, I asked him what he wanted for his first home cooked meal. His response was Chicken Parmesan. (after I made suggestions because he kept saying he didn’t know!!) I’ve tried a couple different “healthier” versions of Chicken Parmesan over the years and I think this one is the winner! I didn’t use as much cheese as the recipe calls for (probably around half of it) and I also mixed the almond flour with a little buckwheat flour. We ate it on top of a serving of spaghetti squash with a sweet potato side. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to make thin
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour (I added this)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian Herbes
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Marinara
  • 6 ounces Prosciutto (optional – I didn’t use)
  • 1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (I didn’t use)
  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese
  • 1 small Spaghetti Squash

Directions:

  • Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
  • In another shallow bowl, mix the flour with the Parmesan cheese and spices.
  • Dip each chicken piece in the eggs, fully coating it and then toss in the flour mixture until covered.
  • In a pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil then pan fry each chicken piece until browned on each side (2-3 minutes per side)
  • Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and place the chicken on top in a single layer.
  • Cover the chicken with the remaining sauce and prosciutto, then sprinkle the Fontina and finish with the Provolone.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Change your oven setting to Broil and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown and bubble.

This recipe was borrowed from againstallgrain.com

Endurance and Stamina

In our last Wednesday Wisdom, we introduced you to the ten general physical skills used to define fitness. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. According to CrossFit, “you are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills.” As promised over the next few weeks, we are going to discuss each of the skills further and explain why they are important in day to day life. 

The focus this week is cardiovascular/respiratory endurance and stamina. These are significant because both can only be improved through training. Training is “activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body” (CrossFit Journal). You can gain these skills, however, they take time and energy to improve. You must put forth the effort and discipline to improve in these areas. 

Let’s begin with endurance. You probably often hear your coach say ‘your endurance will get improve over time’ or ‘man that guy has great endurance!’. We must train our engine to make it stronger! In CrossFit, we define endurance as “the ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.”(CrossFit Journal) To endure means “to undergo especially without giving in” or the ability to keep pushing through something for a long time! Running a marathon is a great example! 26.2 miles on foot is quite a trek and many people do not have the endurance to keep pushing through to the end. Why do we need to improve our endurance? Endurance activities, such as running, swimming, biking, burpees and others, keep our heart and lungs strong and healthy. If you improve your endurance, completing daily tasks such as bringing in the groceries, playing with your kids and walking up the stairs at work become easier. It will improve your quality of life. 

The second skill is stamina. Like endurance, it increases your bodies ability to perform over time. Stamina is defined as “the amount of time that a given muscle or group of muscles can perform at maximum capacity.” (Livestrong.com)  While stamina focuses on performing at max capacity for a given amount of time, endurance focuses on maximizing the time regardless of the capacity. Next time, you’re doing Fran, is it the burn in your limbs that forces you to take a break or is it because you’re gasping for air? The first would mean that you’re lacking in stamina and the latter would refer to your endurance conditioning. You must train your muscles to work at a higher capacity for a longer period of time. Next time your coach tells you to lower the weight so that you can push through more reps, he/she is trying to improve your stamina. Is it better to have a 10 minute Fran time at prescribed weight or reduce the weight by twenty pounds and go unbroken on the thrusters? Incremental increases in weight with larger sets will improve your muscle stamina, ultimately going unbroken. Think about it next time. Maybe we should program Fran soon to test it out??? Hmmmmm….

There you have it…endurance and stamina! Stay tuned next week as we continue with the ten general physical skills for your Wednesday Wisdom! 

Blueberry Madness Smoothie

This recipe is very simply, tasty and very filling. Feel free to put your own spin on it. The flaxseed oil can be substituted with peanut oil or 1 tsp of lemon-flavored fish oil. Any berries can be used, of course. The sweetener can also be substituted with stevia. For a post-workout option, replace the cottage cheese with some greek yogurt and an additional serving of fruit. Enjoy! This recipe is from Precision Nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • Herbal fruit tea
  • 1 cupWater
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 1 ½ cups Blueberries
  • ¼ cup Low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 ½ cups Flaxseed oil
  • 1 tbsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Splenda, to taste

Instructions:

Steep a tea bag in 1 cup of hot water for 3 minutes. Add ice to chill the tea. Combine all ingredients in a countertop blender. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Rancher’s Omelet

I did not do a bang-up job of putting this omelet together however, it was still a mountain of goodness!! This is a hearty, no-nonsense breakfast and is full of lean proteins and vegetables and is a great way to kick-start your morning. This took about 5 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook. The instructions are rather specific however, if you are good at making an omelet, using the list of ingredients is what matters. Simply put it together any way you like, the nutrition content is what matters most.

Ingredients:

  • Turkey sausage – 3 oz
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Red pepper (small diced) – ¼ cup
  • Onion (small diced) – ¼ cup
  • Tomato (small diced – ¼ cup
  • Garlic (minced) – 1 tspE
  • gg whites (6 large) – 1 cup
  • Whole eggs – 2
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Pepper pinch
  • Light Havarti cheese (sliced, 28g) – 1 oz
  • Salsa – ¼ cup

Instructions:

Cook turkey sausage and then dice it. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Lightly coat with spray. Add red pepper and onion. Saute’ until onionsare lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add cooked sausage, tomato and garlic and saute’ for one minute more. Remove from pan and set aside. Whisk egg whites, eggs, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. Re-spray pan if needed and pour egg mixture into the pan. Cook until the top of the mixture begins to bubble and thebottom is golden brown. Flip the omelet and cook until the other side is golden brown. Transfer omelet to a plate. Place Havarti cheese onto one half of the omelet and the vegetable and sausage mixture on top of the cheese. Fold the omelet over to cover contents. Garnish with salsa and serve.

Satsuma Salmon

It’s satsuma season here in Louisiana! This recipe is the perfect way to add some Vitamin C and Omega-3’s to your diet. All you need is a hand full of ingredients, and the prettiest satsumas on your tree. I usually pair this with some roasted veggies while prepping my salmon. Easy peasy satsuma squeezy!

Marinade Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1 large satsuma (or any type of orange)
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. thyme

Dry Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. grated satsuma/orange peel
  • Cajun seasoning or black pepper to taste

Glaze Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1 large satsuma or orange

Directions:

Whisk together marinade ingredients, and marinate salmon for a minimum of 30 minutes. While salmon is marinating, combine all dry ingredients in small bowl. Turn on broiler to high heat for later. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in oven safe pan to medium-high heat. Coat salmon with dry seasoning on all sides. Place salmon top side down on hot oven safe pan. Sear on top side for 3-4 minutes or to medium rare. Flip salmon drizzle glaze juice on top and put under broiler for 1-2 minutes. Broiler will thicken the juice to create a glaze. CAUTION-it will easily burn under broiler so watch closely. Plate, spoon glaze on top, devour, thank me later!

Nat’s Green Beans

This one is for you Laura Giesemann! There’s nothing really special about my green beans, but I’ll explain it in detail anyways. I grew up in the country. My grandfather was a farmer and everything we ate as a kid was fresh vegetables from his garden. My mom always cooked green beans and I’ve always been a fan. It’s rare that you’ll see me buying a can of green beans (unless it’s for Reveille cause she’s on a diet these days). I buy my green beans fresh. Unfortunately, store fresh isn’t quite the same as garden fresh but it will have to do. I didn’t inherit my grandfather’s green thumb. I tried. It didn’t work. ha! Sorry I don’t have a fancy picture this time but here it is…my secret (not so secret) recipe:

  1. I start with a little olive oil and a diced onion.
  2. I season the onion with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
  3. As the onion cooks, I chop the ends off of the beans.
  4. Once the onion is translucent and starting to stick, I toss in the green beans and add low-sodium chicken broth.
  5. If the chicken broth isn’t enough to cover the green beans entirely, I’ll add extra water.
  6. From this point, you bring the beans to a boil and you just let them cook.
  7. I often add a couple pieces of sausage for flavor (or sometimes instead of using olive oil, I pan fry a couple pieces of bacon, use the grease and then crumble the bacon back in) But I don’t add this until the water is mostly boiled out.
  8. You can simply leave the beans cooking, until all of the water is gone and the beans start to stick to the bottom. I like to “brown” the beans to finish them off. Once the bottom of your pot starts to turn brown and sticky, they are done!

Tuna Flakes

I have this snack that I tend to make ALL of the time! Why? Because it’s so quick and simple, plus it doesn’t need to be heated up. In fact, I make it so often that Coach Kim has named it “Tuna Flakes”. She claims it looks like a bowl of cereal, minus the milk of course. There’s minimal ingredients and it hits all of my macronutrients for the snack. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • ½ can of Tuna (put the rest in a container and save for tomorrow)
  • 1 tbsp Primal Kitchen Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • ½ Diced Cucumber
  • 1 oz bag of Plantain Chips (Wickedly Prime is my go to brand from Amazon)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

First, drain the tuna and split the portion in half. Add tuna, salt, pepper and mayo to a bowl and stir until mixed well. Open the bag of plantain chips then roll the end closed without any air and crush the chips. Mix into the bowl. I also add my diced cucumber into the bowl, however, you can also eat this on the side. Enjoy!

Plantains for Breakfast!

Have you ever tried a plantain? They are similar in looks to a banana, but a little less on the sweet side. I often eat plantains with my breakfast. Carbs are important to have at breakfast to kick start your metabolism for the day! So these are a perfect solution! When picking out a plantain at the store, search for the ones that are turning brown. Basically the color that you wouldn’t pick for a banana is the color you want for your plantain. I simply heat up some coconut oil on the stove and pan fry them in slices. I like to slice them about a 1/4-1/2 inch thick. If you want them crispy then I would slice them a little thinner. I cook an entire plantain at once, but use it as two meals. Pair it with protein and a vegetable for a well balance meal!

CrossFit and Fitness

You show up, hustle, sweat, rip, gasp for air and push through the toughest WODs everyday, but do you even know what “CrossFit” and “Fitness” means? Why do we push ourselves this way? What is the end goal? Many of you don’t know that it’s way more than you think. Let’s explain…

In the simplest of forms CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements.” We are constantly changing the stimulus of our training to broaden the adaptations that it produces. Why do we train at every variance? Simply, because we need to be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable, if we don’t then what are we really training for? Often times, we see a marathon runner that only trains for marathons and a powerlifter who only lifts. Would either of these athletes be a good gymnast? No, but on the other hand, could a gymnast that only trains gymnastics back squat 300 lbs? Negative. They have a specialty. In CrossFit, our specialization is not specializing. We are preparing ourselves for the unknown. The moment we need to lift something heavy at home or run along the sidelines as our kid scores a goal or chase our 2 year old around the house or god-forbid run away from a threat. We do this to be healthy, to be prepared, to be fit. CrossFit is the method by which we become “fit”. But what does it mean to be “fit”?

Webster’s dictionary defines “fit” as:

(1): adapted to an end or designsuitable by nature or by art

(2): adapted to the environment so as to be capable of surviving

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fitness

“Capable of surviving!” Don’t you want to be capable of surviving? What if the Zombie Apocalypse really happens? Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. Be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable in life.

In CrossFit, there are three different standards to evaluate and measure a person’s level of fitness. One is based on the human body’s performance of athletic tasks, the second is based on the human body’s energy systems and the last is based on the ten general physical skills. Ten General Physical Skills…what are those you ask? They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. The more competent you are in each of these ten skills, the more “fit”.

Over the next few weeks, we will be focusing our “Wednesday Wisdom” on explaining these ten physical skills and how we train for them on a daily basis. Surprisingly, there is a method behind the madness that is called our program each day. It’s not random. But for now, we will leave you with an explanation of CrossFit’s World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean and jerks and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull ups, dips, rope climbs, push ups, sit ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

CrossFit Journal: What is Fitness?

Bison Chili with Butternut Squash

This recipe ya’ll! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! It’s the perfect fall recipe. A couple years ago, we did the Lurong Nutrition Challenge and this was one of the recipes. I’ve cooked it a few times since then, but recently cooked it again and STILL LOVE IT! Do yourself a favor and add it to next week’s meal prep. It’s red meat, so only eat it maybe twice in the week, but freeze the rest for another week! It freezes well. You can also eat it with sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 16 oz ground Bison (or ground beef)
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 diced jalapenos
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 14 ounce canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix the chopped butternut squash with 1 tbsp coconut oil in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender
  • Cook the 4 strips of bacon in a pan over medium heat and cook until crispy, then set aside to cool
  • Add 16 oz of bison to the pan and cook through
  • Stir in onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook until onions are translucent
  • Add seasonings then cook while stirring for about a minute
  • Crumble bacon and add it to the mixture along with the diced tomatoes and apple cider vinegar.
  • Simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve on top of the butternut squash