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Weekly Fitness Victories - Last Two Weeks Recap

11/14/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

It's been a few weeks since I've written a Weekly Fitness Victories post. Mostly due to lack of time and then I had to take almost 2 weeks off from the gym because the little one was sick. 

When I got back to the gym last week, I thought I was going to experience a set back in my training - but it was actually the opposite. I came back stronger and was able to kick butt in my workouts. I guess my body needed some recovery time! 

Last week, I was only able to go to Crossfit two days but they were good workouts! During Tuesday's workout, I was able to progress to only a black band for pull-ups. I used to need both black AND green to pull myself up. Getting stronger! WOOT! On Wednesday, we did a lovely benchmark workout combination of Grace + Annie + Grace. That was rough, but fun. It was my first time doing Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time) and I completed the first Grace in 4:03 at 55#. I'm looking forward to testing my progress in a few months on that one. Either faster time or heavier weight!

Current week: 11/10 - 11/14


TUESDAY: ARMISTICE - In honor of Veteran's Day. 
This was a tough workout, but I felt very strong and was able to maintain a good pace. 


THURSDAY: All the Squat Cleans! 
We worked on squat cleans from the hang position and I PR'd! The heaviest I've been able to clean off the floor was 85#, but I was able to do 90# from the hang! I bet when we test a full clean, I will be able to do more. I worked a lot on technique and getting under the bar quicker - which totally helps! Sometimes I freak myself out mid-pull and bail, but my coach helped me to just drop under the bar and stand back up. After missing an attempt, I was able to clean the bar without a problem. Funny how that works. Technique is so important.

I finished. That's all that matters! Wittman seemed like it wasn't going to be too bad, but seven rounds of anything is definitely going to test your stamina. I wanted to quit after round 2, and then again after round 5, but thanks to my coach, I was able to push through. After all, it's all about honoring the fallen who gave it all. I just can't quit - they surely didn't. 

Share some of your fitness victories this week, big or small, in the comments below! 

Until next time!



Sausage and Kale Pesto Bowl Recipe

11/13/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

After a great WOD (workout of the day) at the box (Crossfit word for gym), I was hangry (a cross between hungry and angry). I got home at 8am, got the baby down for a nap by 8:45, and had a work conference call to attend at 9. I decided to be adventurous and make breakfast while on the phone - thank God for mute buttons! 

Since I was paying attention to the conference call, I just started pulling stuff out of the fridge and throwing things together. End result was a yummy bowl of chicken sausage, grape tomatoes, kale, and cashew pesto. It's a simple recipe which can easily be adapted to whatever veggies and proteins you have on hand. I ate this whole thing, but it could also easily be a side dish for two alongside some eggs - darn, why didn't I think of that earlier?

Sausage & Kale Pesto Bowl Recipe

Recipe Ingredients
2 Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage (whole30 approved!), diced
15-20 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 big handfuls of organic kale, cut and cleaned
1 heaping TBSP of pesto (recipe below for cashew pesto)
1 TBSP cooking fat of choice
1 capful of apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt

Recipe Directions
1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
2. While your skillet is heating up, chop up chicken sausage and grape tomatoes into bite size pieces.
3. Once the skillet is hot, add enough cooking fat (I used olive oil) to coat the pan and add your chicken sausage and grape tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add your two big handfuls of kale, pinch of salt, and capful of apple cider vinegar.
5. Stir frequently until kale is wilted. Kale is a sturdy green, so it may take a little longer to wilt than let's say spinach. 
6. Once the kale is cooked to your liking, add a heaping tablespoon of already prepared pesto. I had my cashew pesto already in the fridge from earlier in the week. Stir until pesto is warmed up and lightly coated on everything.
7. Serve in a nice big bowl and savor every bite! 

Cashew Pesto Recipe
My cashew pesto recipe is based on Everyday Paleo's Walnut Pesto. Lately, I've been using cashews instead of walnuts and twice the amount of lemon juice and I love the way it turns out. 

Recipe Ingredients (adapted from original recipe)
4 oz fresh basil (or a big bunch)
1 cup cashews halves and pieces
6 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Juice from 1 lemon

Recipe Directions:
1. In a food processor add the cashews, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Process until smooth.
2. Add the basil and lemon juice and process again until smooth.
3. Take a taste and fall in love.



Transformation Tuesday!

11/11/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

The night of my daughter's first birthday party, I was talking wedding dresses with some of the ladies who are excitedly planning their weddings. I then got the crazy idea to try on my wedding dress for them, so we snuck upstairs and I pulled out the beautiful gown from my closet. 

Now, in preparation of my wedding on January 28, 2012, I had lost 25 lbs following the Weight Watchers program and I felt GREAT on my wedding day. It wasn't until the summer of 2012 that I found out about the Paleo lifestyle and subsequently, the Whole30. 

Who would have thought that almost 3 years later and just 1 year after having a baby, I would not only fit into my wedding dress, but it would actually be a bit too big?! 

Although we eat Whole30/paleo most of the time, and I've now become a Crossfitter, it's easy to get down on yourself when the number on the scale doesn't budge as much as you think it should. But dancing around in my wedding dress this past weekend made me so proud of myself. I've definitely come a long way and I can't wait to see where we go from here. 



Need Organic Groceries? Vine Market to the Rescue!

11/06/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

Ever since I discovered the Paleo lifestyle, I've been on the search for organic, clean, real food products that I feel comfortable feeding my body. It's not always easy to find a store that carries items like coconut butter, cashew butter, avocado oil, etc, but I have spent a lot of energy (and gas!) looking for them. We now find most of our organic products at Wegmans, which is about a 30 minute drive, but some times I have to travel to multiple stores, just to find what I'm looking for.

Now with a one year old, I care even more about what we are bringing into the house and the types of food I am letting her explore. As my husband says, "Only the best for our girl!" On the flip side, finding the time to go grocery shopping can be difficult with a little one. I don't always have the opportunity to drive 30 minutes to Wegmans, let alone make multiple stops along the way looking for specific products.

And then God answered my prayers!

Enter Vine Market.

How cool is this?!?!
Not only are the prices comparable to in store prices, but shipping is free at $49! And when I think about the time, energy, and gas I will be saving by ordering some of our staples online - I'm beyond thrilled.

I'm going to be putting in my first order this week, and if you'd like to order too, I have a special coupon code! Use coupon code: HELLOVM for 20% off your first order! Sweet!

Here's some of the items I'm ordering:
Vine Market
    And they don't just sell food - they have tons of products you can order. At everything is green. They make sure their products are either organic, natural, energy- or water-efficient; run on their own renewable energy; are made from sustainable materials; or contribute to a healthier home.

    Looks like I've found my new favorite website :)


    *Note: Product links are affiliate links. It doesn't cost you a thing and helps maintain the free information on my blog! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family or don't already use and love. Thank you!


    Adobo Lime Roasted Chicken Recipe

    11/06/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

    My go-to roasted chicken recipe is "Sara's Chicken" but sometimes, like tonight, I only have 5 minutes to throw something in the oven. 

    This recipe, which I've named Adobo Lime Chicken, is basically a simplified version of Sara's Chicken, but with a little zesty twist - fresh lime juice! In a nut shell, I just seasoned the chicken with olive oil, fresh garlic, a bunch of my homemade adobo and sazon, squeezed a fresh lime over it all, and stuffed the lime in the bird. It always surprises me when something quick and easy comes out SO GOOD. Give this a try and let me know what you think! Sorry that there's no exact measurements, but that's how I cook 90% of the time!

    Adobo Lime Roasted Chicken Recipe
    Recipe Ingredients
    Whole chicken
    Homemade Adobo seasoning
    Homemade Sazon seasoning
    4-5 garlic cloves
    1 fresh lime 
    1/4 cup olive oil 
    1/2 cup water

    Recipe Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

    2. Put chicken in a large roasting pan and coat with olive oil.

    3. Season liberally with the homemade adobo and sazon seasonings, add chopped garlic, and put the  chicken "Breast-side down". 

    4. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime all over the chicken and place the lime halves inside of the chicken cavity. 

    5. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan, cover with roasting pan lid, and roast for about 1.5 hours or until done.

    6. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. 




    Plantain Egg Nest Recipe

    11/05/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

    This is a super quick, delicious, and filling breakfast. I like to make this after a hard morning workout - but let's face it - eggs can be eaten any time of day! 

    Plantain Egg Nest Recipe
    Recipe Ingredients: 
    1 plantain, small dice 
    2 eggs
    Cooking fat of choice 
    Salt, pepper, ground cumin, to taste 
    1/2 avocado, diced 
    Fresh cilantro

    Recipe Directions: 
    1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and turn the oven broiler on. 

    2. Dice up a green plantain into fairly small pieces. 

    3. Fry up the plantain pieces in the cooking fat of your choice. I used coconut oil. 

    4. Once the plantains are browned on all sides, make a well to fry your eggs. 

    5. Season everything with salt, pepper, and ground cumin and carefully place the whole pan into the oven. 

    6. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Keep a close eye! 

    7. Carefully remove from oven and top with diced avocado and fresh cilantro. 

    I eat this right out of the pan, being careful not to touch the very hot pan!