Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

 I should put a disclaimer with this post: 

DISCLAIMER:  I am going to curse in this blog. Probably more than usual.  Expect to see things like "shit"  "sure as shit" "friggin",  and don't be surprised if it goes deeper than that.  If cursing offends you (it doesn't offend me) than perhaps you should read a more wholesome blog post.  I think there are at least 3 of my blog posts without curse words.  Those were probably off days for me.

    While thinking of the potential Zombie Apocalypse I think I need to own my imperfections:  I can't run.   Let me clarify that:  I can't run fast.  I in fact, can't run fast for shit.  I have never raced a person in a wheelchair,  but just to be clear IF I DID they would probably wheel right past me.  I run an 11 minute mile.  THERE I SAID IT.   That feels good,  like confessing to wooden Jesus.  I have run a 10:30 second mile before,  which was probably a day my legs didn't say a word to my brain to stop running.  Usually,  my brain says to my legs "What are you doing slow ass?  Quit running.  You'd do good to take a little walk for awhile slowpoke".

    If you have not seen World War Z,  I suggest you watch it.  It's available on Netflix.  If you don't have Netflix,  get it cheapskate.  Not that I have any room to talk.  I got Talia's password and login and have been piggy backing off of hers for over a year.  A broke girls gotta do,  what a broke girls gotta do.  So,  if you have seen it---THOSE ZOMBIES ARE FRIGGIN FAST.  Like, super fast. Probably a 5 minute undead mile.   If the Zombie Apocalypse involves those Zombies,  I'm toast.   I'd have to learn how to outsmart them like Brad Pitt does.   I'd have to use my whit, charm,  good sense of humor, and good looks to be the last woman standing.   Even with that,  I'd be clipped off within  the first 8 minutes of the Zombie Apocalypse.   8 minutes is a very generous estimation on my behalf---more like 4 minutes.  I'd be the person who saw the first Zombie,  and the first person to get eaten.  My family and friends would see me walking around Gibbstown as a hungry Zombie before they even knew the Apocalypse was happening.  They'd just yell out the window "Go home Elyse, your drunk."

    In my twisted skull while comparing Zombies,  I'd like to think I could survive if the Zombies were like the ones from the Walking Dead.  Hence the name,  those Zombies walk.  I can walk like a friggin champ.  I could walk for days.  In fact,  I walked for 3 days in the Susan G Komen Walk for a Cure when my Godmother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Her idea,  obviously not mine.  I walked my little heart out for a cure.  Probably the hardest,  and best decision I ever made.  If anything,  it was for her and people who couldn't walk because they lost the battle.  So,  I walked in and outside of Philadelphia for 3 days.  If I were facing those Zombies I'd at least make it from Gibbstown to somewhere in California before I got eaten.  I can walk,  and I am street smart. I grew up on some pretty residential streets,  but don't let that fool you.   I could survive if I had to without a hair dryer and make up.  That actually sounds like a dream come true--- not having to do my hair or put on make up for anyone because everyone looks booty (recently someone said to me,  "you should do your hair more often."  Um...it's always done..........)

    Now,  if it were a Bear Apocalypse I'd be the last woman standing for sure.  While at the pool down the shore one day I stole a magazine from DD to read.  It happened to be an AARP magazine.   One of the articles outlined ways to survive the unthinkable.  One particular portion of this article outlined what you should do if faced with a bear.  The first words read "Don't run".  Don't run?!?!? Check.  I can do that.  I think for someone who is a good runner the first inclination they would have would be to run.  Mine would be the opposite.   They say there are two stages in fear:  Fight or Flight.  I say there are three.  Fight, Flight, or Do Jack Shit.  I can do jack shit.   A runner would naturally turn on their heels and sprint in the opposite direction of the bear,  and they'd be eaten.  500 pound bears are actually extremely fast.  Bears are noted to be able to run 15 meters a second,  which is faster than any human.  So,  they'd be eaten,  and I'd do jack shit and let it sniff me.  It would undoubtedly smell  that I am not fast and have not yet lifted 500 pounds (but one day I hope to!!),  and that I am of no threat to them.  I feel like Bears can sympathize with slow humans,  and would take pity on me.  It would probably walk right past me,  then start running when it saw someone sprinting away.  And,  following the theme here,  they'd be eaten.

     It's no secret I love cheesy scary movies.  My friend Christie once told me "No wonder you can't sleep!".  It's true.  I love scary movies.  All scary movies---Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2,   A Haunting in Connecticut, Carrie, A Haunting in Connecticut 2, The Haunting of Emily Whatsherface, ect ect ect  .  When I watch the cheesiest of cheesy ones I always yell at the tv  while the pretty girl stops running from the killer in the woods, leans against a tree to catch her breathe "WHAT ARE YOU DOING DUMBASS, RUN!!!"  Um...If I were cast for this movie,  I'd be that girl.  Panting on the side of the tree giving the killer every inclination of where I am.   They probably wouldn't even have to look long.  My movie would be run for 5 minutes,  keel over in pain not even hidden and die on the 6th minute.  If I could however pick up and throw the killer in some way,  I may have a fighting chance.  Especially if they weighed approximately 275 pounds,  slipped for some reason,  and I could dead-lift and throw them.

     Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I've learned that you need to own your weaknesses.  Everyone knows I'm strong.  Duh.  Everyone also knows I'm slow. Duh.  I just never was willing to admit how slow I actually am.  Ashamed?  Embarrassed? Uncomfortable?  Yeah, yeah, and yeah.  It just clicked for me.  Every time we run at Crossfit Solstice I already know in my head it's going to be a struggle for me.  I already know I come in last.  That's how the story goes: Elyse takes the longest.

    During the downhill part of the trail other people are already on my opposite side coming uphill.  Almost every single person who passes me while I trudge along says "Good job, Elyse"  "Keep going"  "Your almost there girl".   They are actually cheering me on!  Not because I'm slow,  but because at least I'm doing it.  At least I'm trying (I just shed a tear while writing that last part about my gym).  I don't know why this is making me emotional.  I feel like a hormonal teenage girl.    I think I'm emotional because that's what I love about Crossfit Solstice.  It's what people don't understand about Crossfit.  Some people say cult,  it's more like a family.  We support each other,  we give each other tips,  and we sure as shit encourage the underdog.  When it comes to running,  I am the underdog.  I am the 11 minute underdog.

I once heard that once you own your weaknesses no one can use them against you.  Except the Zombies.  They could use it against you.  I adlibbed that part of the quote.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spicy Garlic Shrimp "Fried" Rice

It would be hard for me to look back on my childhood and name one dish that didn't have garlic in it.  Everything had garlic. Every meal also had a refined carbohydrate--like ditalitini, bowties,  Rice-a-Roni (the new jersey treat), etc.     It was amazing.  Except my dad really loved making hot dogs and beans,  and I think he began experimenting and adding garlic and red wine.  No.  Not good.  Stay in your lane dad.

My dad is an amazing cook.  I get my passion for cooking from him.  My mom can bake well.  My sister inherited that from her. I do not bake.  I hate baking.  I despise baking.  Too many ingredients, directions, and measuring.  I cannot physically measure correctly.  When I give you measurements on here I give my best estimate (unless it's oil, I always measure that because it has a lot of calories).

 One time I made cookie bars,  and they were so hard I had to let them soak in water for two days in the sink just to get them out of my favorite glass friggan pan.  I still have that pan.  I use it to cook whole chickens.  Not cookie bars.  Not cakes.  Not cookies.  Not anything with jimmies.  I will leave the baking up to you my friends.  I am however,  really good at those no bake recipes.  Like--snickers pie,  which has snickers,  chocolate pudding, and cool whip.  I can make that like one non baking fool. 

 If you are not a garlic lover then: 1.  I'm sorry,  your wrong. 2. Just omit it and have Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice.   If you don't like it spicy,  then don't even read this recipe and order Plain Fried Rice from your local Chinese Cookery.  And order some wonton soup.  And drop it off at my house. NOW

I am so about the " " these days.  When I say "Fried" Rice,  I mean..it ain't fried.  It's just brown rice.  The rest is fried,  I guess.  I cannot get down with frying in heavy oil.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp "Fried" Rice
 Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 (1/2 cup rice,   3 ounce shrimp,  1 cup of vegetables) servings

Content Breakdown By Serving:
Calories: 394
Fat 9.5
Carbs: 22 (I omitted the carbs from the vegetables,  since they are not dense vegetables)
Protein: 26

2 cups brown rice
1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
1 bag frozen vegetables of choice (I used birds eye red peppers, diced carrots, onions, asapragus and carrots)
Note: If your a show off with unlimited time,  use all fresh vegetables
3 large Green Squash
8 cloves of garlic
1/2 white onion
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp fresh or ground ginger (your preference)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Green onions for serving

1.  Cook the rice according to the package directions.
2. While the rice is cooking,  heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a deep skillet.
3.  Cut the green squash into 1/2 inch thick slices and begin sauteing.  Season with salt and pepper.
4.  Dice the onion and all of the garlic and set aside.
5.  Flip the green squash occasionally,  cooking until slightly softened,  7-10 minutes.
6.  Add the onions and continue to saute until translucent. 
7.  If you bought steam fresh vegetables,  steam them half of the time the bag recommends in the microwave.  Then open bag and pour into skillet with all other vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
8.  Allow to cook until all of the water is removed.  Once the water is cooked out,  add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes--making sure the garlic doesn't burn.
9.   While garlic is cooking in a bowl mix soy sauce,  1 tbsp sesame oil,  2 tbsp rice wine vinegar,  and ginger.  Mix well with a whisk.
10.  Pour half of the mixture over the vegetables and remove the vegetables from pan, setting aside.
11.  Add shrimp to the same pan you used for the vegetables with remaining sesame oil.
12.  Once the sesame oil has cooked out,  add the remaining sauce mixture.  Cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp appears pink and cooked through.
13.  Plate with 1/2 cup brown rice,  1 cup vegetables,  and 3-4 ounce of shrimp.  Garnish with green onions.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Pasta" Figioli

I should preface this recipe with: I could eat soup in the middle of the desert without water.  That is how much I love soup.  I could eat soup 3x times a day for a week and still want more--and I have.  I love all kinds of soup,  except cold soups--which, in my opinion, are really just cold drinks in a bowl.  If you don't feel the same way about soup that I do and could never imagine eating soup in the summer---bookmark this for October 1st.

This soup is "Pasta" Figioli,  because it doesn't use pasta.  My soup has Quinoa as a nice substitution for Pasta.  Why?  Because I made 8 servings and for me,  it would be nuts to eat pasta 8 times in one week.  Pasta has a very low nutritional value--and although good every once and awhile,  not good 8 times a week.  You could easily use the traditional Ditalitini in this soup instead of quinoa,  and follow the rest of the recipe. 

Pasta Figioli
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooks: 2-3 hours
Serves: 8

1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil (whichever is your preference)
1 pound sweet ground Italian Sausage
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 white onion, diced
3 carrots,  peeled and diced
1 bag fresh spinach 
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 14 ounce cans of pureed tomato (Muir Glen makes a good organic canned tomato)
1 32 ounce can of Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)
2 cans Cannelloni beans,  drained and rinsed 
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Parmesean Cheese,  for serving
4 bay leaves
1 cup of quinoa

1.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2.  While quinoa is cooking heat 1 tsp of olive oil or coconut oil over medium high heat in a deep pot (like a sauce or soup pot).
3. Once the pot is heated through place 1 lb of ground sausage in pot to brown.  Allow to cook through, about 6 minutes.
4.  While your sausage is browning dice up all of your vegetables.  Mix in with your cooked sausage.
5. Allow vegetable to cook about 5 minutes, adding water as needed to keep the mixture from sticking.
6.  Season well with salt and pepper.
7.  Once beans are rinsed and drained put them in with the cooking mixture.
8.  Season with italian seasoning and diced parsley--I like to use at least one fresh spice in my recipes--but dried parsley would work just as well (1-2 tbsp).
9.  Mix all ingredients well in pot,  then pour in both cans of tomatoes and the chicken stock.
10.  Put all bay leaves in,  making sure you know how many you put in so you remove them before serving---they are not edible.
11.  Place lid cracked on top,  reduce heat to simmer, and cook 2-3 hours.
12.  To serve first remove bay leaves, then  place 1/2 cup of quinoa (or pasta if your a rebel) in the bottom of a bowl,  top with 1-2 cups of soup,  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese,  and more parsley if desired. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Deconstructed California Roll

I was first introduced to Sushi when I was a freshmen in College.  I think that's when it really became popular amongst my generation,  2005.  I didn't love it at first,  but soon I became a sushi monster.  I love all sushi,  except eel--something about the texture.  I can't dig that texture.    I love sushi so much,  that I overeat it.  I can't just order one roll,  I need more than one.  That's a lot of damn rice.  

So,  I came up with this salad after exploring some recipes online.  This is a simple,  fresh and clean take on sushi that eliminates the over exposure to white rice.    This is also easy to make at home!  I made this as a four person serving,  so I could individually Tupperware it up for the week.  I prep my meals on Sunday, that's how I roll--ja feel?  You could however make it for four and serve it immediately.

If you are strict Paleo,  eliminate the brown rice.  If your like me who eats carbs as a normal part of every meal,   then keep it.  Simple as that.  

Deconstructed California Roll
 Prep- 10 minutes
Cook: 38 minutes
Serves: 4

1 lb shrimp,  cleaned and devined
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 Hearts of Romaine,  cleaned and diced
2 avocados,  cut in half and cut lengthwise
1 tbsp sesame seeds, divided into fourths
1 cup of  dry brown rice plus 2 cups water for cooking (or steam fresh frozen brown rice)
Salt and pepper, for seasoning

1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1.   Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to the package directions.  When done,  (about 30 minutes unless you are using the steam fresh frozen kind--which is super convenient)   allow to cool so 1/2 cup can be put on each salad (freeze the rest or use in another recipe).
2. Wash, cut,  and run your romaine through your salad spinner (or dry it by hand if your stuck in 1998).
3.  Peel and slice your cucumber.
4.  Arrange your lettuce in one large bowl,  or in 4 individual servings.
5.  Layer cucumber on top.
6. Top each salad with 1/2 cup cold brown rice.
7.  If you are serving right away,  cut both avocados in half.  If you are saving some for the week,  only cut one avocado for what you plan to eat immediately and cut the rest as needed for each salad.
8.  After removing the Avocado pit,  make long slices the length of the avocado.  Scoop on top of romaine and cucumber with a spoon.  Arrange so it's pretty like in my picture.
9.  Spray a medium saucepan with coconut or olive oil and heat for 1-2 minutes over medium high heat.
10.   Throw in shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Cook shrimp on each side for about 2-3 minutes.  Make sure you do not over cook,  otherwise the shrimp will be like shoe leather.
11.  While shrimp is cooking,  mix your dressing together and whisk in a bowl.
12.  Top each serving of salad (if your doing it my way) with 3 ounces of shrimp.
13.  Pour dressing over top.
14.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Spicy Blackened Salmon Salad with Sesame Seeds

I love Salmon,  and I especially love it on a salad.  Something about Salmon, cheese, and vinegar that just excites me.   I know I know,  cheese and fish?  It's weird, but on a salad its MAGICAL.  Unless you melt your cheese, then it's like weird lettuce nachos.  That,  I will admit,  has happened to me before.  I ate it anyway.   I love the cold salad with the warm seared fish.  I am rambling now.......

Spicy Salmon Salad with Sesame Seeds
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Serves: 1

You could easily double trouble this recipe,  if you aren't a single cat lady like me (with no cats)

      Spice Mixture:  1 tsp each of the following:
Chili Powder 
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder 
Cayenne Pepper
Salad Ingredients:
2 cups Romaine Lettuce, washed, dried and cut into chunks
1/4 cup Shredded Swiss Cheese and Montary Jack Cheese (I opened two bags and did a half handful of each to make 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup red onion
3 tbsp green onion, diced
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp diced garlic, or one small garlic clove diced
2 pinches salt, 2 pinches pepper
Spray olive oil or coconut oil


1. Spray olive oil or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes.
2. While your pan is heating dry your fish by blotting or patting it with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides with a pinch of salt and pepper.
3.  Mix the spices together on a plate, like shown above.
4.  Place the fish into the spice mixture rolling it around and patting the spices evenly into both sides. ( Note: You do not need all of the mixture,  so it would be best beforehand to put some aside in a little baggy to be used for some other delicious fish or chicken)
5.  Set your fish aside until cast iron skillet is to temperature (to check,  drop a water droplet in the pan.  It should scatter and sizzle--this is perfect to get a good crunchy crust on your fish). If the water scatters,  place the fish into the pan. Do not move the fish (or it won't be crusty).  Let it cook on each side for 3 minutes (4-6 if you have a thick piece of fish).
6.  Dice lettuce, onions, and green onions.  Plate for serving.
7. Sprinkle cheese on top of lettuce mixture. (You want the warm fish to rest on the cheese)
10.  With a whisk in a shallow bowl mix olive oil,  red wine vinegar,  garlic, and salt and pepper pinches together.
9.  Once the fish is cooked through place on top of lettuce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
11.  Drizzle with dressing and serve :)