Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Paleo Orange Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

One of our favorite Paleo dishes is my own version of Orange Chicken with Cauliflower rice!

When Dave and I first met, we ate out a lot. Whenever we did cook, it was usually a pre-frozen Trader Joes meal that you just heat up in the skillet - and more often than not we were heating up our favorite: orange chicken. Now we have a healthy alternative to our favorite dish that is just as delicious, but waaaaaaaay better for you.


The original recipe I got the idea from is a crock pot recipe, but one day I was in a pinch for time and had some already-cooked chicken in the fridge and did a stove top version of the recipe and it turned out AMAZING. And, if you have a little help in the kitchen, its an extremely quick and easy meal. Dave usually grates the cauliflower rice for me. Sweety pie.

The Orange Chicken:

About 3 breasts chicken (pre-baked)
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 Cup Coconut Aminos (soy sauce substitute)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic (I love garlic, so I use more garlic than the recipe calls for)
1/3 Cup honey
1 tbsp Sesame oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Sesame Seeds for garnish

Directions: Chop up chicken into bite size pieces, then set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine all sauce ingredients on medium heat until blended. Let cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the chicken and cook until chicken is heated throughout. Reduce heat to lowest setting and prepare the Cauliflower rice.

The Cauliflower Rice:

1 large head cauliflower (about 4 cups)
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cilantro
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions: With a cheese grater, finely grate the cauliflower head into rice-shaped bits into a bowl. In a Large wok or saucepan, add the coconut oil. When melted, add the cauliflower and cook on medium/high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper. Once the "rice" is cooked through, add the coconut milk and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Serve the Orange Chicken over the Cauliflower Rice immediately and garnish with Sesame Seeds.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Hello Monday....

As blue as I am that it is Monday, it is a short week!! Thank you Thanksgiving!! So really, today is more like Wednesday, and for that I am grateful.

This past weekend was pretty uneventful, which is just the way I like it. The older I get the busier I seem to be, and this weekend the only thing on the agenda was Friends-Giving and a lot of football. YES!

Friendsgiving was a great success. It was a unanimous choice to do the event at our house, but it was somewhat of a Potluck Friendsgiving, which made it much less stressful.

I was so busy in the kitchen all day that I managed to completely forget to take pictures the entire night. FAIL. Luckily, my roommate instagrammed the turkey once it was ready! Thanks Chris!!

The spread was delicious. We have turkey, brussel sprouts with Bacon, Roasted cauliflower, sweet potato au gratin, mashed potatoes and stuffing for the non-paleo eaters! HAHA. Afterwards there was also Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie. I must say the chocolate pie was amazing!!

* * * * * * * *

Moving right along, on Sunday I decided to get out a little bit and go dress shopping for my upcoming holiday party at work. It's kind of like our own little prom, everyone gets really dressed up and its kind of a big deal, so I thought it might be a good idea to start looking at dresses ahead of time...
I found some cute ones, but I'm not in love with anything just yet. One thing I AM enjoying very much is that dresses actually zip up all the way on me now, and I'm not even at the largest size!! That was a good feeling. If I needed any motivation to keep going, that was it. By this time next year I'm going to have the body I've always wanted, but until then, I'm going to keep enjoying these little moments of bliss in the dressing room.

* * * * * * * *
And now it's Monday (actually it's already halfway over!)
I'm already done with my cardio boot camp workout -  and boy was it a doozy. Mondays are always hard... my legs always feel twice as heavy on a Monday! Haha

Today's Boot Camp workout:

1/2 mile warm up run

10 squats
10 lunges with a hip flexor stretch

Run 0.5 miles (2 laps around park)

10 deadlifts (each leg)
10 lunges with a hip flexor stretch

Run 0.5 miles (2 laps around park)

10 "good mornings" no weight
10 walking lunges, each leg

Run 0.5 miles (2 laps around park)

10 sumo squats
10 lunges with a hip flexor stretch

Run 0.5 miles (2 laps around park)

1/2 mile cool down run

* * * * * * * * *

Stick a fork in me I'm done!!!! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Foxy Boxing and a new gym!

Last night I took a boxing class with a good friend of mine, and loved it. No it's not called Foxy Boxing... I just called it that because it sounds funny. Haha. This class was at a DIFFERENT gym than the one I go to, and I think I've been converted. I may have to break up with my current gym. 

You see, I had recently gone to a boxing class at my current gym and wasn't all too thrilled with it. The instructor was lethargic and her enthusiasm was extremely forced and I wasn't convinced she even wanted to be there. Needless to say after the class ended, I left unmotivated and not all that sweaty. It felt more like a social hour for her and the other women who weren't there to break a sweat.

Yesterday I got an invite by my good friend Hayley to join her in a boxing class at HER gym. Life changing I tell you! It was intense!!! The instructor almost raps the moves to you to an amazing music mix that is motivating and sweat-inducing. Every inch of my body was drenched in sweat and my muscles were burning. I loved it.

Not only did I love the class itself, but the rest of the gym was exactly what I'd been looking for. I've only been at my current gym for a month, but haven't yet felt comfortable there and even though it's a very large gym, it is always PACKED, and the classes are only so-so. I haven't felt happy there, and when I saw this awesome gym it was love at first sight:
(I only got one photo, but it shows enough to get my point across.... haha)
See what I mean? There is ROOM to do things!!! AND all of the equipment here is stuff I recognize and use.... It's open for you to make your own free-weight workouts, not filled with unnecessary machines. I will have a boxing buddy because my friend goes here. I won't have to fight off giant gorilla meatheads for the weights or mirrors. Plus, because this is a gym owned by a single person, rather than a giant corporation, that also makes me extremely happy. I'm supporting someone's business, rather than being just another one of thousands feeding a corporate bank account. 

I'm gonna do it. 

I'm going to break up with my gym and start going to this one!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Every year my office throws a Thanksgiving Potluck. And every year it is filled with delicious, yet unhealthy options. So this year I had an idea, I will bring a healthy pumpkin pie option to the party! Because honestly, who doesn't love a guilt-free dessert?? I found this recipe here, and I must tell you it is one that is going in the recipe box for good. I even had a health-skeptic friend come over and try it. (she doesn't really understand my obsession with the whole "paleo" thing.... like a lot of my friends. They'll get converted eventually - haha)

Anyways she tried it and literally the words that came out of her mouth were, "If you hadn't told me this was healthy, I wouldn't have known the difference. This is REALLY good!!"


I am so excited to make this for the Thanksgiving potluck, and so excited to share this recipe with everyone that is looking for healthy alternatives to Thanksgiving desserts.


2 cups Almond Flour
1 egg
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tablespoon coconut oil (I melted mine so that it blended easier with a spatula)

Combine ingredients with a spatula (I didn't have a food processor, so I did it by hand. Its not difficult at all) Press crust into pie pan with your hands until the crust is even all around. Do not bake until filling has been poured in.

Pie Filling:

1 15 oz can of Organic Pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk (use the canned full-fat stuff!!)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine Pumpkin and eggs in a bowl with a spatula or whisk. Whisk in coconut milk, honey, and spices. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes. Allow to cool and then refrigerate for about 2 hours to set.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Mermaid 10K: San Francisco

So last weekend I ran my first 10K. I've been running 5Ks and 5K mudruns for a year now, but never 6.2 consecutive miles. I finally decided to take the plunge with my good friend Amy. It was her birthday and she wanted to run this run in San Francisco, especially since she had never been to this city (she's from New Jersey). 

On Friday night we got to the city, had some dinner and just wandered around admiring all of the city's glory. Then on Saturday we tried to pack in all of the sites we could possibly see in one day, since we would be mostly at the race and driving home the following day. 
Coffees in hand.... we ventured out into the city on Saturday.
We went to Pier 39 to see the Sea Lions!!! They were adorable... I could watch them all day.
Dave was there too - and our friend Mark, who is taking the picture! HAHA

Then we headed a few blocks over to pick up our packets and running bibs... 
how cool are these shirts? I love them!!!
We jumped on the trolley after hitting up Lombard Street
and taking some gratuitous tourist photos!
We hit up the nike store in Union Square (I died a little in there.... so much great stuff)
I actually purchased my new Nike trainers, which I am officially obsessed with.
And then it was Sunday.... and we RAN! Please disregard our tired eyes in this photo.... it was about 7:30am in this photo and we had been up since 6:00.... haha
 We were VERY excited to be almost done!! :)
 WE DID IT!!!! we were ecstatic. Officially hooked. I want to run it again already!!!! haha
 Goodbye San Fran..... until we meet again.

This run was our first 10K and were both pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. I'm already looking for other runs in the area... maybe even a further distance? I am definitely working towards a half marathon. I know I could do it.... I just need to put my mind to it.

Anyways, it was an amazing trip with some amazing company. What a perfect way to celebrate a birthday in a healthy way. I'm keeping this in mind for my birthday next year! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thai-Day Friday: Paleo Thai PAd See Ew

So Last night I made an amazingly delish, and amazingly easy thai dinner: Thai Pad See Ew with carrot noodles instead of regular noodles.

Seriously, this dish was so simple. The hardest part was peeling the carrots into noodle form, which wasn't hard at all... in fact it only took 15 minutes with a basic peeler. Just cooked the chicken in a wok (I actually was in a pinch and used a roasted chicken from whole foods) then add the veggies and simmer in garlic and 1/3 cup coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute) for 5-10 minutes. Then after that you just throw in 2 eggs and scramble them into the dish and shazaam! Done.
How good does this look?? Even my little Olive wanted in on the goodness. Just look at that stare. HAHA

***SIDE NOTE: I added about 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger to this in the wok with the veggies and it made such a difference. If you like fresh ginger you should definitely try that!!

Click here for recipe.

Anyways, I'm loving my new book, and I do realize I need to take better photos of my food. I'll work on that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Story...

I wanted to share where I came from before I found a fitness and eating lifestyle that worked for me. I never thought I would find myself here today, but I couldn't be more thankful that I am.

* * * * *

My journey to fitness was no cake walk. I had a lot of medical issues as a child that shaped the way I ate early on, and it effected my entire life... until March 2013. When I was very young (about 4 years old) I was diagnosed with a skin condition called eczema - which was a condition that caused itchy rashes all over my skin - similar to poison oak. This condition was triggered by "food allergies" according to my doctors. I had a laundry list of foods that I absolutely had to avoid: peanuts, whole wheat, coconut, tomatoes, berries, cheese, eggs, spices, peppers, chocolate, shellfish, citrus..... and so on. My food choices were so limited that I basically lived off of some sort of processed meat and bread, or pasta with butter. Back then there were no concerns about gluten intolerance and "Paleo" wasn't even a topic of discussion yet. I had food allergies and there was no cure other than to avoid the foods that gave me these miserable rashes that made me incredibly self-conscious.

On top of my food allergies I was also diagnosed with sinus allergies and asthma. A kid who (according to my doctors) was allergic to most fruits, veggies, nuts and eggs, couldn't exercise for fear of dying from an asthma attack, and sinus allergies to boot - it was no wonder I became "the chubby kid" in school. I was made fun of in PE class for not participating, and all of the kids would see my rashes and yell out, "don't touch her, she has a disease!!!" My weight was a constant struggle all through my childhood and well into high school. In the 5th grade a couple of kids from school showed up on my doorstep calling me a fatty and telling me that I need to go for a run. In high school, my PE teacher literally told me my asthma was "Just an excuse for me being fat and lazy."
(Notice the miserable rashes on my face in the above photo. This was my life, and I hated it. I wanted nothing more than to have normal skin.)

 My weight fluctuated all through junior high, and on occasion I would find a crash diet that brought temporary success in weight loss, but it would slowly find its way back. By my junior year of high school I was pushing almost 200 lbs, on a 5'2" frame, but by the beginning of my freshmen year of college I had lost almost 45 lbs of that and felt pretty damn good about it. I even kept it off for about a year, but not in the healthiest of ways. I was borderline bulimic. Trying to throw up anything that I deemed "unhealthy", which was basically anything over 100 calories. Because I had no idea what healthy eating was and lost the weight the "wrong way" by essentially starving my body and working it to death in the gym on cardio machines, I slowly gained ALL of my weight back.

By the time I was 22 years old I weighed 187 lbs, and I was devastated. I remained that weight for nearly 5 years, fluctuating about 10 lbs here and there, but always finding my way back to the mid 180's. I always put on a good face, but behind the smiles I was still miserable.
I had nearly accepted the idea that this was the way I was genetically supposed to be. I was not a thin girl, and never would be. I would cover myself up with sweaters and actually convince people that I was cold.

And then, in March 2013, I was finally fed up with my eczema, my allergies and my weight. I found this book: The Clean Program, by Dr. Alejandro Junger and it changed everything.

His philosophy on processed foods and the way we are programmed to think about food in this day and age really resonated with me. He also mentioned food allergies and food sensitivity many times in his book, which was something that really struck my interest. So I gave his 3 week detox program a try, and lost 11 lbs in 3 weeks. Not only did I lose 11 lbs, which was something I hadn't done since I was about 19, I also managed to ween myself from my allergy medicine I had been taking daily since I was a child. My sinus allergies were gone and my skin started clearing up, not to mention I couldn't remember the last time I had an asthma attack. This was a serious awakening. Food was curing all of my problems, when all of my life I was being told that food was my biggest enemy.

I continued to eat CLEAN, and eventually, at 15 lbs lost, I hit a plateau. I was a little frustrated with this. after knowing I was eating properly and working out harder than I ever had before. What was I doing wrong? What was my body trying to tell me? After doing some research I found the Paleo lifestyle. The main difference between what I was doing and this way of eating was grains. I was still eating brown rice, and generous portions too. So, I embarked on a Paleo adventure and lost another 10lbs in 6 weeks without ever detoxing or feeling deprived. In fact, during that time period of going "full paleo" I ate some of the best meals I've ever had. I loved this new lifestyle. I was hooked.

After eating clean and being paleo for about 8 months now, I am 32 lbs down and only 10 lbs away from my goal. I am also allergy free, medicine free and my skin hasn't been this clear in my entire life. For 28 years my body was trying to tell me something was wrong, and because I finally listened to it and gave it what it so desperately needed I am healthier than I have ever been.
Now I am able to run a 10K without walking in under 10 minute miles. I am able to work out 5-6 times a week and want more. I've even completed a Spartan Super 8 mile obstacle race!
I don't have to wear sweaters to cover up my body. I have learned to love myself. I don't want bread, crackers, chips, or any junk food. I love REAL food. I will forever believe that food is medicine, working out is the best therapy, strong is the new skinny and fitness is the key to a happy life.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Workouts: Spartan Training

I've decided that every Wednesday I am going to post workouts that I LOVE. This will be a great way for me to keep track of workouts that were effective, and share them with anyone who is interested in trying them.

Here is my new favorite: The SPARTAN Training Workout
(I did this on Monday as training for a Spartan Race Mud Run I am doing in January)

Warm up:
10 minute jog

Main Set:

10 pushups
10 body weight squats
10 burpees
10 full sit-ups
30 seconds high knees
30 seconds plank

Repeat 3 times

* * * * * * *

Let me tell you that this sounds a lot easier than it really is. Try to limit your resting periods in between exercises to 15 seconds... that way your heart rate will stay up.

If 15 seconds isn't enough time, a great motto for exercises like this is:

"Work until you can't, rest until you can"

Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I will beat her.... {the old me}

I've just returned from yet another birthday celebration weekend - my good friend's birthday in San Francisco. Though I was extremely active (we ran a 10K on Sunday and walked all day saturday) I still managed to cheat quite a bit. It's difficult when you're surrounded by good friends and some AMAZING places to eat in the city.

So today I am back on the wagon 100%.


Extreme training. 


I'm ready.

Some Monday motivation for me:
I thought this was very fitting for the weekend I just had. (I'll post pictures soon)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 1 UPDATE: Six lbs in six weeks challenge

I didn't quite realize when I embarked on this 6 lbs challenge, Halloween and my birthday were right around the corner. Talk about some challenges! I did ok though. I made it thru halloween with only a few moments of weakness - and my birthday? Well, there was a sushi dinner, which is not the worst thing you could do, but it definitely wasn't paleo.

Did you ever realize how much weight you can gain from water weight after having sushi and a drink or two? I don't advise ANYONE to do this, but I weighed myself the next day and HOLY MOLY. 3 whole pounds gained from water weight. (You must realize this is water weight, and not freak out!! It takes 3500 calories to make a pound - so for three pounds I would have had to eat 10,500 calories and I KNOW that didn't happen!!)

Anyways, back on topic... so after all of the celebrating and over-indulging I weighed 3 lbs more.... but I've been drinking water like it's my job (about 100 oz a day) and I've flushed those 3 lbs away, and am back to my original weight since I started the challenge. Yes, a setback, but I am staying positive. I had a lot going on last week.... and a lot going on this weekend (Another friend's birthday!) but when its not your birthday its easier to say no. At least thats how I see it.

I have not wavered from my fitness routine. I have been training for a 10K I am running on Sunday, and have included my weight training in that time too. I am still working my muscles and burning calories... I just need to be better about what I eat, which after this weekend I should be able to do. I have reached the 6 mile marker with my running, which was a huge accomplishment. Also, when I took my post-running selfie, my guns were looking pretty good too!

I'm not self absorbed, I'm just proud of how far I have come. I had a very hard time accepting my body my whole life, and lately I have been really starting to love it. I love what it will become, and what it has already been able to do. When you start to love your body again, and appreciate all it can do, you just kind of become obsessed with documenting its changes. :)

Anywho.... to sum it all up, I haven't lost weight, but I've survived Halloween and my birthday relatively unscathed. So with 5 weeks to go, I am more focused and ready for the challenge!!