Friday, August 5, 2011

Crossing my limits

It's been a long hot summer here in Texas, so hot I've barely been doing much cooking....and when I do get around to cooking there isn't much blog-worthy. We're approaching a record number of 100+ degree days, yipee! Seriously, who gets excited about breaking a record like that?? So what do I choose to do in this scorching oven known as my home-state? I joined a group of fitness crazed folks and have started going to CrossFit. I'm not sure if you know what that is or if you do know if it elicits images of crazy people doing boot camp-esque workouts but it doesn't matter, I love it. I blame my sister and her boyfriend for getting me involved in this, as you can see, Jackie is just as involved as I am (or obsessed).

What is CrossFit you say? Well according to the CrossFit website it's a strength and conditioning program built under the principle that you shouldn't specialize in any one thing but that you should excel at many. Everything is scaled to suit your own fitness level so an elite military or law enforcement officer can do the same main workout that say an out of shape food-blogger can do...we might do different amounts of weights or a variation on the same exercise but it is the same workout regardless. Why CrossFit? Because it's addictive, the competition it fosters (you vs. you), the shared goals among your classmates and team environment as well as the sense of accomplishment you get after pushing through a workout that you thought you would never be able to complete. That coupled with the fact that it's helped me get into much better shape (miles to go still but in the short few months I've done it I've seen immense changes) makes me a devoted follower these days.

Enough preaching about CrossFit....I shared this because while working out I have also started to adopt the eating habits that are prevalent among CrossFitters...which is a combination of the 'paleo diet' (basically lots of fruit and veggies, gluten free and good proteins) and a zone diet (again, lost of fruits and veggies, limited grains, if any, and quality lean protein). Being food-obsessed this was a bit tough for me at first, I have no gluten sensitivity and frankly love to try new things so the thought of limiting myself to these confines really bothered me at first. Slowly though I have adapted, partly because our CrossFit gym (much love to Milestone Crossfit!!) set up a 6-week challenge which I eagerly joined and partly because I have seen what the combo of this diet and CrossFit does for people. In four weeks my 'cravings' for grains and super-sweet candy, etc. have dwindled (not going to lie here, I would still kill for hot-buttered fresh baked french bread!) and I feel great. So again, why am I sharing all this? Because it will color a lot of what I will be posting in the near term, most of my coming posts will be recipes that have been made since the beginning of my 6-week challenge and will be reflective of ingredients that are 'zone-paleo' friendly. So be wary those of you who aren't so excited about 'healthy' food, these things will all be slightly better for you than most that I have posted in the past but none of them will taste like 'health' food, I refuse to give up good food for just healthy food.

To that end, the first recipe I want to share is a re-vamped version of something I have posted before, Mustard Green Pesto with Chicken Meatballs, only this time instead of pasta it is served over Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti Squash with Mustard Green Pesto & Chicken Meatballs

1 lb Mild Turkey Breakfast Sausage or Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey
1 lb Chicken-Apple Sausage*
3 Tbsp Almond Meal
1 1/2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Cup Apple Cider, reduced down to 1/4 cup to create a syrup
2 Lg Bunches Baby Mustard Greens
5 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Pecan Pieces, Toasted
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts, Toasted
1 Red Bell Pepper

‎1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and rub 1 Tsp olive oil around the inside, sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 F until fork tender.

2. Fold bulk sausages together wtih 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, rubbed sage and reduced cider. Do not over work the mixture, shape into balls and place in a greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Can be baked concurrently with spaghetti squash, squash will be ok at 400 F.

3. Remove squash from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and use a fork to scrape out the flesh of the squash with a fork. Place in a large bowl/dish.

2. While the meatballs are baking, blend the mustard greens, garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, 1 tsp salt, pine nuts and pecans.

3. Slice bell peppers, leave raw. Toss meatballs, pesto and bell peppers together and serve on top of cooled squash flesh.


Angie's Recipes said...

Good for you! I am fascinated by the "paleo diet"...full of veggies/fruit and proteins (plant or meat protein?)
Spaghetti with meatballs and pesto..that sounds and looks just marvelous!

Angie's Recipes said...

Again, I think 'balance' is the key to any diet.

Jackie said...

You go sister!

Chef Fresco said...

Yum I love spaghetti squash! Congrats on all your work-out success! It truly is addicting.

p.s. hope you are finally getting cooler weather like we are here in NC