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Creamy Cajun Scrambled Egg Breakfast…or lunch or dinner….

28 Apr

I joked with Shannon the other day that she is the female version of me.  She is just real and tell’s it like it is and, oh by the way, she is strong as hell.  If you think our Metabolic Flexibility book for High Intensity Athletes isn’t for people with more fat to lose you are wrong.  We actually do a class on Monday nights specifically for those folks.  Click here for info and to join the Extreme Fat Loss Challenge in the Science Lab.

So yesterday I did my first Bod Pod.  For those of you that have no clue what that is, you sit in an egg shaped contraption in your sports bra and swimsuit bottom, you hear some banging, you emerge to receive your body fat percentage…for some, this ends in tears and meltdowns, for me…it was what I expected.  After several years of eating foods that did nothing for my health and doing little to no exercise, my body fat percentage is at 43%.  I have no shame in sharing this percentage (it’s actually a little less than I thought it would be).  I can still say over half of my body weight is muscle, right?  This number did not put me into a depression or send me to tears….it motivated me.  I have a drive now that I did not have 2 days ago.  I plan to push my body to its limits, lift heavy weights and EAT TO PERFORM!  I cannot wait for my next Bod Pod to see how much muscle I have gained and how much fat I have shed….

However, yesterday was an eating free for all and today I need to start my newly motivated journey…it starts with a power breakfast.  I was at a restaurant the other night and had a delicious concoction of veggies topping my overcooked steak.  Very often, my recipes are created from something I ate at a restaurant.  I try to determine the ingredients and add my own alterations and it usually comes out better than the restaurant’s version.  This recipe is derived from my overcooked steak topping and I think it may top my grassfed steak that will be on the dinner table tonight too (my steak will not be overcooked though).

When I make scrambled eggs, I make them separately from everything else.  I used to cook my eggs, veggies and meat all together, but it often turned into a mess.  Now, I cook my eggs so they are yellow and lovely and cook my country sausage separately.  I combine them when I am ready to eat.  Not only does it look much prettier, but the texture and taste is great!  This also allows me to save some of my cooked sausage to add to eggs another day.  Of course the sausage is optional.  Feel free to leave it out or substitute it for something else – cajun sausage would be a great replacement…

Another favorite of mine is Louisiana Cajun Seasoning.  I use it A LOT!  This recipe is one that it is delicious in.

Cajun Seasoning

Creamy Cajun Scrambled Egg Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ poblano pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • a splash of cream, milk, half and half or white wine
  • 5 eggs, scrambled
  • ½ lb country sausage, cooked and drained (optional)

Over medium high heat, melt 1 tbsp of your butter in a skillet.  Add the onion and peppers.  Saute until softened, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for about one minute.  Add your Cajun seasoning and cook for one minute.  Add the remaining 4 tbsp of butter along with your mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until spinach is wilted.  Add a splash of cream, milk, wine…whatever you have on hand and cook another couple of minutes until thickened.  Serve over your scrambled eggs mixed with your sausage.

Enjoy!

Creamy Cajun Eggs

Pan Seared Scallops and Roasted Kabocha Squash

22 Apr

Soooo, a little more about myself before I share this yummy dinner…

I really began my love of cooking in the past 5 years or so.  I have been married for almost 20 years (20 this June!) and have two boys, ages 19 and 15.  We have never been wealthy by any means (at least not with money – fun, laughter and love we have had plenty) so dinner was very often hamburger helper, meatloaf, spaghetti, etc.  It was whatever we could afford and were able to cook when we got home from work.  Once my boys got a little older, I began having this fascination with recipes.  I found that the Food Network was the channel I watched more often than any other and really began learning more about flavor profiles and how to actually COOK!  This new world of food and cooking opened up my mind about food in general and how delicious foods can be transformed into AMAZING meals.

I will be honest, my family and my husband’s family, is well aware that I DO NOT LIKE VEGETABLES!  What is crazy is how open minded I have become about foods that I would NEVER have tried prior, especially since I began this journey with Paul and Crossfit.  Simply understanding the value certain foods has when it comes to performing has completely turned my world upside down.

I am putting this out there to a lot of people who do not know my past….

I grew up VERY athletic.  With an older brother (who is the one who turned me on to Crossfit) who played football, basketball and baseball, I was constantly trying to keep up with him.  I played soccer, basketball and softball and excelled at all of them.  Honestly, I probably could have gotten an athletic scholarship of some kind if I had any kind of drive or knowledge about how athletic I was.  Unfortunately, I grew up around very well off families, most of whom were a size 6 or smaller.  With legs like tree trunks and probably having less body fat than most of the boys in my class, let alone the girls, I thought I was fat.  I had little self confidence and I believe that helped lead me in the path of self destruction.

After a rough breakup with my first love, I moved from Massachusetts to Illinois to live with my parents at age 19.  I decided this was a great time to change myself, both inside and out.  The first step was to lose weight….ugh…thinking back, I can’t believe how stupid I was.   I was probably eating less than 1000 calories a day… a yogurt for breakfast and 2 lean cuisine meals a day…biking several miles to the gym to do the stair climber for 45-60 minutes a day and then bike several miles back home.  In my spare time, I would run with my beloved dog, Rusty, to get him some exercise….I looked DAMN good….

I cannot even fathom the trauma I had done to my metabolism in this time alone….one good thing came of this time however…I met my husband.  From that one night I decided to talk to him (despite his lack of an ass) I knew I would marry him…

There is so much more that I will share as we go, but I want everyone to know that I am a real person who has struggled with weight and food her entire life.  There is far more to read about my journey, but I don’t want to give it all in one blog….(this is how we keep you reading these blogs…you have to know what happens next, right?)

With the help of my past failures and successes, Paul(Eat to Perform) and Crossfit, I think I might have it figured out…we’ll see I guess…

Anyways…when my pantry and refrigerator are scarce in supplies, I find I am at my most creative…

Today, while looking in my freezer, I found some large scallops, begging to be defrosted.  While I prefer fresh seafood, here in Minnesota, that is quite impossible…so frozen will have to do…

Kabocha squash…honestly, never tried it…  Another milestone to check of my “eating vegetables” list.  (Last night I ate FOUR pieces of broccoli!  That’s a pretty big deal for me!)  I got this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo since I had no clue what to do with it.  I am not sure if these two items really “GO” together, but they both tasted great!  Enjoy!

scallops

Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients

  • 8 large sea scallops
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • A splash of citrus vodka

Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Melt butter in the pan and add scallops to the heated pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (do NOT overcook scallops or they will be rubbery!) Remove the scallops from the pan and add the maple syrup and vodka to deglaze the pan, stirring constantly.  Cook the sauce for about 1 minute and pour over the scallops.  OH!  These are heavenly!

Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash Breakfast

21 Apr

So I wake up this morning and am quickly reminded of the 120 weighted lunges that were part of the WOD yesterday at Crossfit.  Sitting is not an option this morning so I guess I will just keep moving…Typically on Sunday I am busy cooking all day for the upcoming week, but my pantry is desolate and my motivation to go to the grocery store is just not happening.  I look around my kitchen and find that I do have some red garnet sweet potatoes, a red onion, some eggs and of course, we always have bacon.  I can whip something up with that right?  I see some sweet potato hash in my future!

Sweet potato hash breakfast

Luckily, my sweet potatoes are red garnet sweet potatoes.  I typically use this type of sweet potato as it is very moist and has great flavor.  It tends to cook a little faster than a typical sweet potato as well, so it’s perfect for a hash.  I also have a supply of bacon fat on hand at all times.  If you want to save your bacon fat, I have found a great way to remove all of the residue from the fat is to pour it into a coffee filter placed in a bowl.  I use some masking tape to tape the filter to the side of the bowl so the fat can work its way through.  It’s a slow process, but it really removes all of the unwanted stuff from your cooked bacon fat.

grapefruit

While gathering my ingredients, I discover some ruby red grapefruit in my refrigerator too!  This will be a perfect pairing with my creation!  Whether you are a fan of grapefruit or not, you need to try this!  The easiest way to section a grapefruit is to first cut the ends off of your grapefruit.  Using a paring knife, cut the skin off of the grapefruit following the curve of your fruit.  Try to cut all of the bitter white pith off without sacrificing too much of the fruit.  Once all of the pith is gone, remove the grapefruit sections by cutting from the outside to the center inside the membrane of each section.  Once you have removed all of the sections, place in a bowl and top with some pure maple syrup.  Yup, you heard me right…maple syrup!  The maple syrup is delicious on a grapefruit and believe me, when the fruit is gone from your bowl, you will be drinking up the remaining juice straight from the bowl…..MMMMMMMMMM!

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced (I use red garnet sweet potatoes)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat (or any fat of your choice)
  • 10 slices of cooked bacon cut into ½ to 1 inch pieces
  • Eggs

Put your bacon fat into a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the skillet is good and hot, add your diced onions, garlic and sweet potatoes.  Cook the onion and potato mixture for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.  You will want a nice golden brown color on the onions and potatoes.  Add the bacon to the potatoes and continue cooking until the bacon is heated through (about 5-10 minutes).  While the bacon is heating through, in a separate pan, cook your eggs.  I suggest cooking your eggs over easy so the yolks are still runny and can ooze all over your hash when you dig in!  Scoop up some hash, place your egg on top and enjoy with some ruby red grapefruit topped with real maple syrup and some coffee!

hash and egg

 

 

Cilantro Lime Shrimp “Tacos”

15 Apr

I just returned from a weekend in Kansas City where it was 65 degrees and sunny.  The grass was green and the tulips were up.  I even got a bit of a sunburn during my son’s last soccer game…and now I am back to 30 degrees with a chance of snow again in Minnesota.  Seriously????  Well, I refuse to go back to winter!  I am done making the stews, soups and comfort foods that go hand in hand with snowy days and will be focusing more on grilling, fresh fruits and veggies.  You’ll be amazed at what you can do on your grill.  My goal is to not turn my oven on for the next several months…

This recipe is one of my favorites, especially during the summer because it tastes so fresh!  If you don’t like shrimp, you can replace it with any protein – chicken, beef, fish…even tofu!

shrimp tacos

Cilantro Lime Shrimp “Tacos”

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw shrimp (deveined, tails removed)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Wooden or metal skewers (optional – it makes it much easier to flip your shrimp)
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce
  • Shannon’s Fruit Salsa
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Lime wedges

Preheat your grill to a medium to medium/high heat.

In a small bowl, combine the juice of one lime, garlic, olive oil and cilantro.  Place the shrimp in a ziplock bag and add the marinade to the shrimp.  Squeeze as much air out of the bag and seal so the shrimp can marinate.  While the shrimp is absorbing all that citrusy goodness, prepare your bibb lettuce leaves (taco shells).  Carefully remove the leaves from the head and rinse.  I usually discard the first couple outer leaves as they can be a little floppy.  You’ll see the crisp leaves are the perfect vessels for your fillings!

Only let the shrimp marinate 10-15 minutes, otherwise they will become ceviche and that is a whole different recipe!  Remove the shrimp from the marinade and place them on skewers being sure to stick the skewer both through the tail and body of the shrimp so they don’t’ fall off.  Grill for 1-2 minutes per side or until the shrimp are nice and pinkish/white with some delicious looking grill marks.

Slide the shrimp off your skewer directly into your lettuce shells, top with fruit salsa, an avocado slice and a squeeze of lime and enjoy!   A margarita pairs perfectly with this meal!

Meat and Potatoes Reinvented – Horseradish Crusted Roast Beef with German Sweet Potato & Carmelized Onion Salad

7 Apr

meat & potatoes

Grassfed beef….all I can say is WOW!  We got our first bundle of grassfed beef just recently and I was very curious to see if I noticed a difference from our supermarket bought beef.  I am not gonna lie – I didn’t expect a big difference, but I was so wrong!  Not only is the flavor leaps and bounds better than our hormone filled supermarket beef, but the texture is what really got me.  If you haven’t tried grassfed beef, you MUST!  In our bundle, we got a beef roast…a beautiful, deep red, juicy grassfed beef roast.  I had to do this beautiful hunk of beef justice. No crock pot for this baby – we are making a gorgeous roast beef with this one!  Not just any roast beef either – we’re going hardcore…horseradish crusted roast beef is the only recipe that could do this piece of meat justice!  Now…what to make with this glorious main dish….

My husband, Andy, is 100% German and has a great Mom who cooks some AMAZING delicious and very unhealthy dishes.  I always told her how much we love going to her house for Thanksgiving because everything was so traditional and yummy.  During one visit in the summertime, she made her German potato salad and I fell in LOVE!  It was a warm potato salad with a tang from vinegar and saltiness from bacon and bacon fat.  I have had this idea to make my own version of this salad for a while now, and finally today, I found the perfect pairing…meat and potatoes!  This is a perfect Sunday meal as it does take some time to prepare and cook, but SO worth it!

beef

Horseradish Crusted Roast Beef

Ingredients

  • 5-6 pound beef roast (preferably grass fed)
  • 1/3 cup prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons course ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (I use the unground sea salt granules)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Horseradish yogurt sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the beef on a rack inside of a deep roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients into a thick paste and rub all over the top and sides of the beef roast.  Place the roasting pan into the bottom half of the oven and roast until the middle of the roast reads 125 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute (this is a MUST if you want juicy beef!)  Slice thinly against the grain and transfer to a serving platter.  This is delicious by itself or served with horseradish yogurt sauce.

Horseradish Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion

Combine the ingredients and enjoy!

German Sweet Potato Salad

German Sweet Potato Salad with Carmelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced into thin slices
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water and cook for 8 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and let cool.  While the potatoes are cooling, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until carmelized (about 30 minutes) stirring frequently.  The onions will be a rich brown and tender when complete.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining bacon fat, vinegar and mustard and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  In a casserole dish, arrange the sweet potato rounds in a single layer, overlapping them slightly.  Evenly pour the onion mixture over the top of the sweet potato layer and sprinkle the diced bacon on top.  Cook uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Turn your oven broiler onto high heat and broil the potatoes for a couple minutes just to crisp up the top a bit.

And here we go…………

7 Apr

Well I am glad to see that Paul has given into his whole “recipe” aversion and welcomed me to share my love for cooking and food.

Shannon

Let me begin by telling you that I am not a chef, just a Mom who loves to cook and experiment with different foods and flavors.  Sometimes these experiments turn out great and sometimes they are epic fails.  Luckily, the more I try, the more successes I have.  I encourage everyone to do the same (not only in the kitchen, but life in general).  You should also know that until just recently, the majority of my recipes and meals were far from health conscious.  I LOVE comfort foods!  Sundays would be my day of making some sort of stew, soup, casserole that would end up being lunch for the week as well.  I didn’t pay much attention to the health value of my ingredients or what those ingredients could do or not do for my body…until I found Paul Nobles Jr. and Crossfit…

My 15 year old son Dalton (who you may have seen pictures of on this site) began Crossfitting in October of 2012.  My brother had been doing Crossfit for over a year and had incredible results.  We knew that Crossfit would help Dalton’s soccer game (he’s a keeper) and finally convinced him to do CF (he was hooked after one class).  At his first class, I met Paul and his wife Vicki.  I knew nothing about Paul or what he did, but he was happy to share vast amounts of information with me immediately.  I wasn’t sure who this guy was or why he felt the need to keep talking to me, but I was somewhat entertained by him.  Almost every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I would get to hear more and more of the food and nutrition facts that filled his head and began to believe he knew what he was talking about.  Three months later, my husband and I began drinking the Crossfit kool-aid and all of the information that Paul had been sharing with us finally mattered!

We gradually began trying to incorporate more clean eating into our diets and cooking.  The cleaner we ate, the better our performances would be.  After years and years of dieting and counting calories, my world had been turned upside down by the fact that I have been doing it all WRONG!  Three months later, I am 15 pounds lighter, eating more than I ever have and feeling strong.  Gone are the comfort food recipes that had little to no benefit to my body…now I have what I like to call power recipes.  I am happy to be able to share them with you.

Fruit Salsa

This is a new staple in my house – fruit salsa.  It is good on ANYTHING – chicken, fish, pork or just to eat by the spoonful!  When you have a supply of this on hand, meals are easy!  Cook up your protein and pile this on top!  It will be in many of my recipes to come…

FRUIT SALSA

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl.

1/3 fresh pineapple, diced

1 mango, diced

1/2 English cucumber, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (I keep the seeds to add a little spice!)

1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

4 tbsp honey

Salt to taste

 

This is delicious right after combining, but gets better and better as the flavors meld together.