Menu Monday – Sausage Egg Cups

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In these days of go-go-go, sometimes it is hard to get in a good breakfast.  Well have no fear, we have the answer…these healthy and delicious sausage egg cups.  They are a great grab-n-go snack that you can make ahead of time.  These cups are sure to get you ready to face the day!

Ingredients
  • 2-3 chicken sausage, cooked and chopped (I use the Adele’s chicken and apple)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • avocado, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cook sausage until cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, add sausage, red bell pepper, yellow onion, eggs, garlic cloves, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Use a ladle to pour mixture into 8-10 muffin tins. (I used a silicone muffin tray and did not have to grease it. If you are using a regular metal pan, thoroughly grease all of it or use muffin liners.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Garnish with avocado.

We hope you enjoy these egg cups as much as we do!  Get a great start to a great day!

Menu Monday – Sweet Potato Hash

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Today’s recipe was shared last week by Warren on RISE Charlotte’s blog.  This recipe is super simple and very versatile.  It’s a sweet potato hash that doesn’t lack in the flavor department and is good to eat for several days in a row.  It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium to Large Sweet Potatoes (Peeled and cubed)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (Diced)
  • 1 Granny Smith Green Apple (Cubed)
  • 1 Package of Aidell’s Apple Chicken Sausage
  • Optional green and yellow peppers (Diced)

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil on a skillet.
  2. Cook cubed sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes on low to medium heat.
  3. Add in onions, green apple, chicken sausage and continue to cook for 20-25 minutes.
  4. If you wish you can add in green and yellow peppers.
  5. Serve hot & eat up!  (Refrigerate all leftovers for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner the next day!)

View original recipe here.

Menu Monday – Blueberry Scones

Yum, yum, yum!  I can’t say that enough about these scones.  If you are like me, delicious treats like scones and such are a weakness.  Imagine my happiness when my dear friend, Libba, shared this amazing recipe with me.  It was a way for me to enjoy the yumminess of a scone, but without the sugar and junk.  I have made these for breakfast, but also as a dessert.  The recipe calls for blueberries but I have also used peaches!  Both ways will make your belly very happy!  Enjoy!!!!

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Paleo Blueberry Scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Cashews (or 1 1/3 cups ground)
  • ¼ cup Arrowroot powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries (or 1 cup of peaches)…also I use frozen fruits!
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & line a 9 inch metal pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the cashews in a food processor until powdered.
  3. Whisk all the dry ingredients together then stir in the blueberries.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients together then stir into the dry.
  5. Pour into the baking pan and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, slice, and enjoy!

Click here for the original recipe!

Why you should take our Health & Wellness Challenge & How to Survive!

So why Paleo or Zone or Whole 30!?  What’s the point, can’t I just workout hard & still eat what I want!?

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It’s the truth!  So to answer the above question, sure, you can keep working out as hard as you want, but you simply cannot out train a bad diet.  Abs are made in the kitchen & nutrution is key.  With spotty nutrition, you’ll most likely hit a plateau at some point, the gains will slow down, and generally you’re selling yourself short on the level of health & wellness you could achieve.

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So what is Paleo, Zone & Whole 30?  Here is a break down of the 3 in a nutshell…

Paleo

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The Paleo diet is fashioned after the Paleolithic Era, so you basically eat as the cavemen did! The big idea here is to eliminate processed/packaged foods and to eat real, whole, nourishing foods.  The cavemen didn’t have dairy or grains as an option, so these things were not apart of their diet.

Zone

Zone

The Zone Diet is about balancing your macronutrients – protein, fat and carbs – at every meal.  This in turns balances out your hormones as well as many other bodily functions while ensuring you’re getting proper nutrition.  Most typical CrossFitting men need roughly 15 blocks a day and women need somewhere around 12 blocks, but this can be adjusted based on your goals (like fat loss vs performance).

There are several lists (here & here) that outline foods & what serving size equals one block. You’ll notice that the above meals and the lists contain some grains and dairy.  While this is an option on Zone, we’re taking these out for our challenge.  Again, the goal is to eliminate processed/packaged foods and to eat real, whole, nourishing foods.

When following Paleo or Whole 30, it can be helpful to keep blocks in mind. 3 Almonds is considered 1 block of fat, so when you’re grabbing a handful of almonds for a snack, you may be getting more fat than you realized.  3 cups of cooked broccoli is only 1 block of carbs. While the good news is no one ever got fat eating broccoli, you probably don’t want to eat 9 cups of broccoli to get your 3 blocks of carbs with dinner!  You either need to eat more broccoli or eat some other nutrient dense carbs 🙂

Whole 30

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Sounds familiar huh?  Whole 30 is very similar to Paleo, although a little more strict.  No natural sweeteners, like honey or molasses, no recreated Paleo “goodies” and a few other restrictions mentioned here.  The point of Whole 30 is to eliminate certain foods groups (sugar, grains, dairy, legumes) that cause inflammation, hormone and gut disruption, and unhealthy psychological responses to see how your body feels without them!  Again, the idea is to eliminate processed/packaged foods and to eat real, whole, nourishing foods.

Are you noticing a common theme!?

I’m convinced that once people know better, they do better.  But sadly, most people are plain UNINFORMED about the food they eat.  I’d advise you to read around the following pages, whether now or in the near future: Whole 30 Program, Nutrition 101How to Follow Zone & Paleo, and Paleo Basics.

For now, here are some highlights & staggering information:

  • Foods like sugar, grains, dairy & legumes have unwanted side effects that people don’t even realize they’re experiencing – ie aches & pains, digestive issues, skin/dermatological issues, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, allergies, high blood pressure, etc.
  • The foods mentioned above also create a psychological response – we like to reward ourselves with food, satisfy needs/cravings with food, turn to food for comfort, among other things.  But the reality is we are not animals doing tricks to earn treats, we are humans fueling our bodies for activities, health & wellness.
  • Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance’s are real and becoming more common due to the fact that most wheat is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).  In fact, Asian countries, like Japan, will no longer import wheat & other crops from the US because they are GMO and infested with pesticides.
  • Other commonly GMO crops in the US include: corn (88%), soy (93%), cottenseed (94%), alfalfa, papaya, canola, and sugar beets.
  • Corn is a grain & is not Paleo or Whole 30 approved!
  • Eggs are not dairy & are Paleo, Zone & Whole 30 approved!

Have you learned anything yet!?  Are you still reading!?!

So now what, how do you survive the 6 weeks of the challenge and beyond?  Here are my tips & a little tough love!

  • Plan ahead!!!  Go ahead & plan out your meals for the day/week.  If you know what you’re going to eat & actually make it, you should have a fool proof plan!  If you are stuck hungry with zero approved food available, you’re setting yourself up to fail!
  • Clean out your pantry & fridge!  You cannot have cheese & bread staring you in the face every time you open the door.  It’s time to purge people!
  • If you’re hungry, eat!  Just make sure it’s within the guidelines.  This is not meant to starve you, you should be eating!!
  • Read labels, read labels, read labels!  If there is added sugar, soy, or other ingredients that sound questionable, they’re out.  (As in salsas, marinades, dressings, etc) Just put it back on the shelf & keep looking.  Or make your own!
  • The internet is a wealth of knowledge!  Do your own research, look up new recipes, try new foods.  It will be a trial & error process, learn to love it.
  • This doesn’t have to be expensive!!  Know what to buy organic & what to skip.  Costco has great deals on organic meats, almond butter, coconut oil, nuts, etc.  Earthfare often has their grassfed beef and antibiotic/hormone free chicken on sale, so stock your freezer!
  • Be STRONG!  This is not hard.  Hero WODs are hard.  Cancer, child birth, loss…those things are hard!  No cheese for 6 weeks is not hard!  Black coffee for 6 weeks is not hard!  Mind over matter my friends.  You are a grown up & no one can force you to eat that piece of birthday cake or bowl of ice cream!  No one says you have to eat steamed brussel sprouts and fish for 42 days straight.  Make a commitment to yourself & really do this!

That pep talk was as much for me as it was for you 😉  So now let’s get down to the recipes! Here’s some of the staples in my diet, many favorite go to recipes, websites I frequent & some new recipes I hope to try…

Foods I eat on repeat:

  • Eggs – scrambled, fried, omelets, breakfast casserole, etc
  • Sweet Potatoes – in the morning with fried eggs, at lunch, with dinner, baked fries, hash, in breakfast casseroles, stuffed with thai chicken (recipe below) or spaghetti meat sauce (fav sauce)
  • Bananas, Apples & Berries – go great with just about any meal.  If you’re having a sweet craving, drizzle a little honey on top of some berries!
  • Carrots – provide some good crunch when you need it!
  • Frozen Organic Broccoli – easy & quick to make, sprinkle with some garlic salt, voila!

Meals I eat on repeat:

Other Delish Recipes:

  • Harvest Roast
  • Kale Salad (minus the cheese!)
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Meatloaf
  • Nitrate Free Deli Turkey Roll Ups (rolled with zucchini & avocado)
  • Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
  • Roasted Asparagus, brushed with evoo & salt/garlic salt, 425*
  • Roasted Broccoli – cooked same as above
  • Roasted Carrots fries drizzled with honey – cooked same as above

Websites I frequent:

Approved Meal Substitutes (to be used in moderation!):

  • Protein powders
  • Quest Bars
  • Perfect Bars
  • Lara Bars
  • FitAids

I so hope this helps you over the next 6 weeks and gives you a jumping off point!  I definitely do not have all the answers, I don’t know everything about nutrition, and I certainly don’t know all the best recipes out there.  If you have questions, just ask!  If you need help, just ask! And if you find an awesome recipe, share it on our social media sites with the hashtag #cfpfallintofitness.  Share your progress pictures, your inspiration pictures, share it all!! We’re in this together!

Here we go 🙂

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Foodie Friday – Paleo Breakfast Casserole

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Breakfast Casseroles are great for chilly weekend mornings or made ahead of time for a quick & hearty on the go breakfast!  A friend of mine recently shared this recipe with me & I’m excited to try it out this weekend!

Paleo Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 lb breakfast sausage (you could sub ground beef or ground turkey)
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 large sweet potato, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced (or 1 tbsp onion powder)
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional ingredients – peppers, spinach, kale, cheese (if primal), mushrooms, etc

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook sausage in skillet until done.  Cook bacon (in skillet or microwave) and cut into pieces.  Dice onion (as well as any optional ingredients) & shred sweet potato (a food processor is very helpful!).  Add meat, onion, sweet potato & all other ingredients to egg mixture & stir well.  Pour egg mixture into greased 8×8 or 9×9 glass dish.  Cook for 25-30 minutes (or longer depending on size of pan) until top is browned & casserole is “springy”.  Cool & enjoy!!

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Foodie Friday – Paleo Breakfast Smoothies

Happy Friday athletes!!  We’ve survived snowpocalypse 2014!!!  Woohoo!

Did your Paleo diet survive snowpocalypse 2014 as well!?

Today I have few of my favorite breakfast smoothie recipes for you!  Smoothies are a great breakfast option, especially if you’re on the go (aren’t we all!?)!  They’re quick, easy & a great way to get in some greens 🙂

Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 3/4 c almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3-5 ice cubes

Put all ingredients into blender of magic bullet & blend until smooth.

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Tropical Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1-2 raw eggs
  • 1 c spinach
  • 1 c frozen pineapple
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes (optional)
  • a few ice cubes

Put all ingredients into blender & blend until smooth.  (Most people are probably afraid of a little raw egg, but you have about 1 in 100,000 chance in getting sick from it!  It has a lot of protein & you can’t even taste it!  Don’t knock it before you try it!)

Here are some other great smoothie recipes:

Let me know which ones you try!!  Enjoy!

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Foodie Friday – Paleo Pumpkin Granola

Good news athletes – you made it to another Friday!!  Today’s Foodie Friday comes to you from another bloggy friend of mine (blog friends are good to have!), Nina from Peace, Love & Good Food. Her Paleo Pumpkin Granola is SO good!!

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I made it for the first time this past Sunday & Brandon & I are addicted!  It was my first attempt at homemade granola & it was definitely a success!! Our first batch is already gone….I’ll be making a new batch very soon.  So run (run!) yourself to the store to stock up on these ingredients!

Paleo Pumpkin Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 c raw almonds
  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1 c raw pecans
  • 1 c raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c Grade A Dark Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

Place nuts in a large bowl & cover with water.  Soak for about 8 hours, rinsing and changing the water about halfway through.  Drain nuts, rinse & pour onto paper towels to soak up some moisture.  Pat dry.

Place nuts in food processor and pulse until the texture resembles oats.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you could coarsely chop the nuts with a knife.  Since they are moist, they should be soft and easy to chop.)

Add in syrup, coconut oil, pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice & salt.  Pulse until combined.  Fold in shredded coconut & cranberries.

Lay granola out on 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for about 6 hours, or until golden brown & crispy, at 170 degrees.  Store in an air tight container.

 

This recipe made my cereal lovin’ heart so happy!!  I try to steer clear of sugar and gluten laden cereals, not the best for you.  So to eat some of this granola as a bowl of cereal with my almond milk was like a dream!  I can’t wait to share this with my family at Thanksgiving in Christmas!

Seriously, run to the store!  Happy granola making 🙂

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