CrossFit Level 1 Certification and Spring Lamb Stew

If you know me in real life, you know that if you start talking to me about fitness or eating well, Ill probably get on my CrossFit soap box and talk endlessly about CrossFit and paleo. Ok, so about paleo. I’m not 100% paleo. I like to cheat here and there, but I won’t binge cheat! I cheat enough where it doesn’t make my gut feel all nasty inside, and I cheat here and there, not full days…

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity of taking the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course at LaLanne Fitness in San Francisco. I had the pleasure of taking it with my cousin and a couple fellow CrossFitters from my box, so I wasn’t completely alone! Our seminar was led by Miranda Oldroyd (coach at NorCal CrossFit, finished 7th at the 2013 CrossFit Games NorCal Regional), Wes Piatt (coach at CrossFit Inferno, finished 3rd at the 2013 CFG SoCal Regionals and is going to the CF Games!), Sarah Hopping (co-owner and coach at Arena Ready CrossFit, finished 4th at the CFG NorCal Regional), Hollis Molloy (owner and coach at CrossFit Santa Cruz), Kelly and John. The last two trainers I don’t have any information on, unfortunately. :(

It was a great experience! Although steep in price, I learned so much from these top athletes–everything that I could bring to my own box in order to improve my skills as well as coach others to help improve theirs as well. Oh, did I mention I started coaching?! Yay! I love coaching! Makes me happy when clients at the box come up to me and tell me that what I told them really helped their squat, snatch, kip, etc. I’m glad that I can pass along that knowledge to others in order to better their overall fitness!

The seminar was conducted over two days where the trainers went over philosophy, movements, faults, and nutrition. We also did a couple workouts–one of them being Fran! I totally sandbagged that workout. Even though we went in heats with a bunch of other people, I still felt the pressure and I was so nervous! Plus there was a 10 minute cutoff, so instead of 65#, I did thrusters at 55#. I know, so lame of me! I re-tested with Fran earlier this month and got sub 9 minutes Rx. :) Progress, folks!

If you’d like to know more about my experience during my CFL1 seminar, feel free to leave me a comment! I’ll most definitely answer any questions you may have.

On to the recipe… :)

Spring Lamb Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee (or fat of choice)
  • 2 pounds of lamb loin
  • 4 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 bag of haricot verts (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat your fat over medium-high heat
  • Brown the lamb, garlic, and onion
  • Add the bay leaf, thyme, and carrots
  • Fill pot with water, enough to just cover the meat
  • Cover and simmer for 2 hours
  • 10 minutes before serving, add the haricot verts
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

My First Muscle-Ups!

A lot has happened since I last blogged! I know, I am such a deadbeat! I know it…

I need to be inspired, but I also need to start jotting my thoughts down for future blog posts. So, I will most definitely try to do that from now on so I have some draft posts to work off of…

Just to recap…

  • In April, I attended a CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. Awesome experience! That’ll be for another post
  • I attended the NorCal Regionals, where I met amazing coaches and athletes!
  • I started coaching this month at my affiliate, CrossFit 580! Come see me ;)
  • Got my first strict muscle-ups!

And that’s what I’ll talk about. I set a goal to get my first ring muscle-up by the end of the summer. After attending my CF-L1 seminar, I also slapped on strict! I knew I had my pull-ups down, ring dips down, even weighted on both, it was just a matter of piecing in that transition phase.

One day during our WOD, we could choose whatever skill we wanted to work on, and I obviously chose to do muscle-ups. I stood there, stared at the rings, and told myself that I could do it. I just had to head-butt as fast and as hard as I can! I grabbed the rings with a false grip, pulled myself as high as possible and head-butted as fast as I could. There I was, in the lowest ring dip position I had ever been. I struggled a bit, flailing like a fish out of water, until I could push myself up into a full lockout. I screamed like CRAZY! And everyone just stared at me in awe!

I successfully performed another strict muscle-up, but alas, nobody was there to capture my achievement! All I had were the fellow CFers there during the WOD and my own memory.

Today, during my one hour break between coaching, I decided to try it again, and luckily I had someone there to document my third MU for me! I was so happy to finally have visual proof that I could successfully do a muscle-up! Granted, it’s not the smoothest MU you’ll ever watch, but from here on out, I’ll be cleaning it up as well as practicing my kipping muscle-up! Goal achieved and summer hasn’t even started, yet!

Now on to the food part of my blog…

I’m just going to talk about what I buy and where!

Trader Joe’s – Who doesn’t love TJ’s?! I love shopping here because of the high turnover in produce. They have a great selection of organic produce, meats, and paleo snacks. My suggestion is to read the ingredients list carefully! Sometimes they taint perfectly good products with bad ingredients (soybean oil, canola oil, corn, etc). Here are my favorites: jeju mandarin oranges, grass-fed ground beef, grass-fed rib eye, spices, Kerrygold butter, bacon,  chicken, eggs (last resort), and kale chips. I also like to get blanched slivered almonds for when I make homemade almond flour.

New Leaf – I am fortunate enough to live across the street from a community market. They source their products and produce locally, which is great! They also have tons of paleo options, 99%+ of the products are organic, and it’s super paleo-friendly! I love going for: meats (albeit, expensive, but sustainable), Califia almond milk (can also be purchased at Target for a great price!), kombucha/probiotic drinks, Chameleon Cold-Brew coffee, coconut water (I prefer Harmless Harvest, C2O, and Zico), Coconut Bliss ice cream, pastured eggs (Vital Farms–pricey!), kelp noodles, grain-free dog food, cod fish liver oil, nut butters, kraut, kimchi…ok, I can go on and on!

Costo – I think I lucked out with my location. The demographic in my area seems to attract “healthy” products. I was able to come out with some great stuff: coconut sugar, ghee (clarified butter), almond flour, and coconut water.

That was kind of a useless post…haha. Just wanted to give you guys an idea of what I buy and where. I am so lucky to live across the street from New Leaf. When I need something, I just mosey on over. So convenient!

Alright, ya’ll. That’s all for me tonight! I’m out!

My Experience During The Open

I registered for The CrossFit Games Open knowing that it would be like running a marathon, but not crossing the finish line in first place! My goal is just to see where I stand, where I can improve, and to just finish!

13.1 was difficult for me just because my IRM on snatches is only 55#, still I made it through 100 reps: 40 burpees, 30 snatches, 30 burpees. The rest of the time was dedicated to trying to do at least one snatch, but it was pretty tough. Going for a 20# PR on my snatch was a difficult feat, but I used up the entire 17 minutes to try! Snatches are difficult for me and I was told by one of my coaches that using lifting shoes would provide more stability. I heeded her advice and ordered the CrossFit Lifters! They should be coming in anytime now.

I was excited about 13.2, only because I am fully capable of doing all those movements. I know that I can achieve some kind of shoulder to overhead at 75#, but going for multiple reps would be a feat for me. The deadlifts would also be no problem for me since my 1IRM is near 150# and the box jumps fine as well. I was able to complete 4 rounds + 17 reps for a score of 137. Not bad and I felt as if I could’ve done more, but I was starting to jerk the weight overhead as opposed to push pressing, which is what I started off doing. I got a few no reps towards the end and I knew I was almost out of gas. I wish I could have done the workout over because I found that stepping down after the box jumps helped tons of people save on gas! I may try this one again just for S&Gs after the open is over just to see what I get a second time around.

13.3 Is a tough one. 12 min AMRAP of: Karen (150 wall balls at 20# to 10′/14# to 9′), 90 double unders, and 30 muscle ups. The last time I did Karen, it took me damn near 17 minutes to complete! On top of that, I started off with 14# then had to drop to 12# after only 20 wall ball shots. I couldn’t believe it, but then I knew that wall ball shots are one of the things I don’t practice/do enough of, so I can’t really expect too much. I did, however, complete 93 wall balls in the allotted 12 minutes. Not the best score, but I’ll take it! Did the entire set Rx, of course, and boy was it tough! Then I watched Sam Briggs’ video of 13.3 and thought, “What the hell?! I could’ve used a 6kg ball, which comes out to 13.2#, and a smaller one at that?! I’m sure I would’ve broken 100 if I knew about that minimum standard! OH WELL!

13.4 Proved to be the TOUGHEST open workout for me. My 1RM for a squat clean was only 90# up until that point (not too far off from the Rx weight of 95#) and my jerk was up to 95#, however, I hadn’t attempted a C&J with that weight…EVER! I was sooo scared! I even debated not going for it, but I did while on vacation in San Diego. I hit up CrossFit Elysium when Coach Paul judged me and my brother-in-law cheered me on for moral support! Sadly, I was unable to achieve a score of 1 in the 7 minutes. However, I did PR on my squat clean, but was unable to clean and jerk the 95#. I was a bit disappointed in myself and upset that I couldn’t even submit a score of “0.” I showed up, put in the effort, and have nothing to show for it. HQ should really have that fixed. It’s what distinguishes people who tried from those who said, “F that! Not even gonna attempt it…”

13.5 Was amazing! Well, first off, the last open workout was held in Santa Cruz, so a bunch of CrossFitters from my box headed down there to watch the epic throwdowns! What’s crazy is that when Camille was supposed to be in Brooklyn for 13.2, I thought, “There goes my chance of seeing her in Santa Cruz!” Then, she couldn’t make it because of visa problems and BOOM! HQ pulled through with my birthday wish and brought her to Santa Cruz! lol. Anyway, it was a great birthday! I’ll have to post another entry dedicated to that day alone!

On to the WOD…When I walked into my box to attempt 13.5, someone told me, “Diana! This is your workout!” I didn’t realize that chest-to-bar pull-ups were that difficult for people to master, but I knew I had them down. I was able to complete 40 reps! Doesn’t sound like much, but I have to compare myself to a couple people. My cousin has been doing CF for 2+ years and achieved a score of 40! One girl at my box that KILLS at WODs with any barbell movement achieved a score of 20! I couldn’t believe it…! It was definitely a boost of confidence! Also that day, I practiced my bar muscle ups. I’m using the resistance bands to get me up and over the bar, but I’m down to the black band (2nd least resistant)! Progress! Yea!

I know this was a lengthy post, without a recipe at that! But I wanted to share my experience from the past few weeks. The Open is definitely a humbling experience and it just makes me want to train that much harder for next year’s open! I’m so excited to see how much I will progress over the next year and where I will stack up to the thousands of other athletes during the 2014 CrossFit Open.

This was almost the length of a college essay…it will be in a hot second.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my posts! Lookout for more “springtime” recipes to come!

Cappello’s Pasta with my Fettuccine and Meatballs

I’m always on Instagram. Just ask my husband. It’s probably the first thing I look at in the morning when I wake up–even before I brush my teeth! Hah. A few weeks ago, my girl over at livinpaleo posted about paleo pasta–YES, pasta, on her blog and I was so intrigued! The company is Cappello’s, based out of Colorado. I just had to try it! Ordered a sampler pack for myself, but I had to wait just a bit because they only ship on Mondays and I placed my order on a Wednesday or something! TORTURE!

I finally got my box of goodies, yesterday, and here’s what it contained:

Ok, you’ll be in for a bit of sticker shock, but oh my does it taste like the real thing!

First, I weighed out 3 oz of the fettuccine pasta. It does say serves 2, but I decided I’m making my packages serve 3, quite possible 4 (I am now babysitting my pasta…I think 3 oz is way too much for me! lol.)

All the while, I was getting my pot of water boiling on the stove. Once it was boiling, I dumped my pasta in and set my timer for 45 seconds. Got my strainer ready and once the timer went off, I strained my pasta and served my meatballs with Rao’s Homemade marinara sauce.

And voila! Here it is!

Cappello’s Grain-Free and Gluten-Free Fettuccine and Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of Rao’s Homemade marinara sauce 
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp dried basil (double if using fresh)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (double if using fresh)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Coconut oil/ghee/olive oil for browning

Directions

  • Dump the jar of marinara sauce in a pot and warm over low heat
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl until combined
  • Form the mixture into balls, I form 1.5″ sized meatballs
  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat
  • Melt your fat of choice (I like to use ghee! They come in 3.5 pound buckets at Costco!)
  • Brown your meatballs on all sides, don’t overcrowd you pan
  • Once all of your meatballs are browned, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked throughout
  • Add the meatballs to your warmed marinara sauce and serve over Cappello’s pasta!

I’m not quite sure how well the pasta reheats after they’ve been cooked, so I suggest portioning out the uncooked pasta and using what you’re going to eat. For me, I like to use my handy dandy food scale! The fettuccine contained 9 oz of pasta, so I measured out 3 oz for myself, which was a bit too much for me, unfortunately. But at least I didn’t boil the whole dang package all at once! lol. Sometimes I’m impulsive like that…

ENJOY!

Paleo Lavender Latte

It’s been a while. Ok, a long while! Sorry, folks! My last post was in October, when my stress level for the wedding picked-up!

Since then, I got married on the beautiful island of Maui! Our wedding was amazing. I loved every minute of it.

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See how happy I was?!

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This is one of my favorite pics…I love how my sash is billowing in the wind.

Our honeymoon in Bora Bora was absolutely amazing. We had a wonderful time and it was nothing short of amazing.

Enough of that!

I know you’re just here for the recipe, so here it is!

Paleo Lavender Latte

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping teaspoon of culinary lavender
  • 1 cup of brewed coffee
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk (I like my milk creamy)
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar

Directions

  • Dump your coconut milk in a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat
  • Using the back of a spoon, or a mortar and pestle, crush the lavender
  • Dump the lavender in the pot and let steep for 5-10 minutes
  • In the meanwhile, brew a cup of coffee. I use Starbucks VIA or K-Cups since I don’t brew coffee for anyone but myself (hubby doesn’t drink coffee)
  • Take a cheese cloth and hold it over your coffee mug with a rubber band
  • Pour the coconut milk through the cheese cloth so it catches the lavender
  • Add coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice) to your desired taste

I had my cup of lavender latte with 2 slices of bacon and 2 scrambled pastured eggs topped with chives and served with homemade paleo ketchup!

Enjoy!

Paleo Filipino Beef Steak

Filipino Beef Steak is one of my most favorite Filipino dishes, so I was happy to be able to make it with coconut aminos! I don’t miss the soy sauce at all…

Filipino Beef Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of grass-fed beef (I used top sirloin)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut aminos (depending on how much sauce you want to yield)
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Coconut oil (or other type of oil) for cooking

Directions

  • If the beef is thawed, stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes
  • cut the beef into thin slices, about 1/4″
  • Put the beef, coconut aminos, and lemon juice in a large ziplock bag (or spill-proof container)
  • Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or overnight (I like overnight)
  • Before cooking up the beef, slice the onions into strips or rounds
  • Heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat
  • Brown the meat, save the marinade for later
  • Once the meat is browned, take it out of the pan and set aside
  • Add the garlic and onions to the pan and cook until soft
  • Return the beef to the pan with the remaining marinade and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes
  • Enjoy with cauliflower rice or with your veggie of choice! I prefer spinach since rice is out of the question…!

Pumpkins All Around!

I’m so glad that we’re at the brink of the holidays. Why? Because that’s when Trader Joe’s comes out with all of their holiday/season products! I bought almost a dozen cans of their organic pumpkin. Ok, mainly because I was planning on make four pies for Barbells for Boobs, which was hosted at our box today. Good thing, too, because it was all gone!

My fiancé and I partnered up to complete “Helen Meets Grace,” which consists of 3 rounds for time of: 400 meter run, 21 kettle bell swings, 12 kipping pull ups, followed by 30 clean and jerks. We use a 30# KB and a 58# bar for the clean and jerks. It was a bit intimidating because there were a few other boxes that participated and I was in awe by the strong girls from the other boxes! So awesome! We finished with a time of 13:36.

So I’m going to post three recipes today just because I have been MIA for a while and because I am on a pumpkin binge right now! First up…paleo pumpkin spice latte…

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (I use Starbucks VIA only because I don’t have a coffee brewer and drink coffee only maybe 3 days a week…when I work my night shifts)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (your choice of full-fat or light. In this recipe I used the full-fat version because I wanted it creamier)
  • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons of honey (optional)
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  • In a small pot over low-med heat, whisk together the coconut milk, pumpkin, honey, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.
  • With your coffee in a mug, pour your coconut milk mixture with you coffee.
  • Add more honey (if desired) and top with the whipped cream (optional) and nutmeg.

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes (Practical Paleo Recipe, page 242)

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut flour (optional–To keep the consistency a bit thicker/firmer if you used boxed, or freshly cooked and strained pumpkin, you may need the coconut flour. If you use it, I recommend sifting it into the wet ingredients slowly to combine it well)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I left this out and just poured some over my pancakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or…
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon allspice/nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • My variation: 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand mini chips [dairy, nut, and soy free])

Directions

  • Whisk the eggs, canned pumpkin, pure vanilla extract, and pure maple syrup together. Sift the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda into the wet ingredients.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, mix the butter into the batter.
  • Grease the skillet and spoon the batter into the skillet to make pancakes of your desire size. When a few bubbles appear, flip the pancakes once to finish cooking.
  • Serve with grass-fed butter and cinnamon or slice bananas.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Crust Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together
  • In a small bowl, whisk the liquid ingredients together
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients to form a ball of dough
  • Create a pie crust within a 9 inch pie pan and poke the dough on the bottom of the pan with a fork (to prevent the crust from puffing up while baking)
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

Filling Directions:

  • Whisk all of the pie ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Once the crust has bake for 10 minutes, pour the filling into the pie pan.
  • Crimp foil on the edge of the pie pan to prevent the crust from burning.
  • Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes (mine usually finishes around 55 minutes in a 350F oven).
  • Top with whipped cream (optional).