A CrossFit Competition

After last week’s excitement of getting e-mail and Twitter up and running, I have been MIA.  For a good reason, though: I was preparing for my first CrossFit competition that took place this past weekend.  My normal workout routine is WOD Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings and work out with Trainer J one-on-one on Saturdays.  Leading up to the competition I did the WODs on Monday (lighter weight, more reps) and Wednesday (don’t go heavy, no need to PR a 1 RM).  I went for a 90-minute massage Thursday night and dragged an amazing friend to dinner Friday night to make sure I ate something.

The competition itself was a disaster (space too small for the number of people, so-called “organizers” who did not know a thing about organization, no stretching/warm-up area, etc.); but, I learned a lot in the process:

  • There’s no such thing as being over-prepared.  Bring the extra water bottle.  Bring too much food.  And make sure you bring your own roll of toilet paper.
  • Rest days?  A MUST.  As are massages more frequent than once every six months.
  • Shorts with a 2-inch inseam are not made for burpees; yet, they will help you PR your power clean (115 lbs.  Yeah baby!).
  • You can do things you once thought you would never do.  (Me?  Lift a barbell??  Are you crazy????)
  • Your parents may surprise you by coming out and supporting you without a negative word when they you used to tell you that your muscles and heavy lifting were the reason you were single.
  • You learn who your true friends are when you injure yourself: Trainer J. for letting me cry on his stomach in pain; my fellow CrossFitter J for running to me as soon as he saw me go down and helping me return to our group; and my fellow CrossFitter D for taking care of me while I was icing my nose and for insisting on then following me home.
  • The CrossFit community is truly inspiring.  We applaud and scream louder for the last person to finish than for the first.  We go silent when a competitor falls flat on her face and fist bump her after she finishes.  We root for every competitor even though they are competing against us and us against them.

Thank you for your patience as my swollen and slightly black and blue nose heals.  I will post the next recipe tomorrow.

People You Don’t Want To See and a Butternut Squash Soufflé

Yesterday morning I had breakfast with my friend M. again.  On my way to meet her, I saw my mother.  You probably remember the relationship I have with her, or rather the one I don’t.  I didn’t recognize her until she started to smile.  I averted my eyes and kept on walking.  Tell me in the comments below: how do you react when you see someone you don’t want to see?  You may teach me a thing or two.

Let’s keep going.  Next recipe is the butternut squash soufflé, adapted from Tasty Yummies. 

Butternut Squash Soufflé

 Ingredients

  • 2 lbs peeled, diced butternut squash (I bought the pre-chopped 2-lb container from Costco)
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (I forgot to read this step and used water)
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion (I didn’t measure this and it was slightly too onion-y)
  • ¼ cup melted and cooled coconut oil
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (this was too much nutmeg; I’ll use a ¼ teaspoon next time)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 3 eggs

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease a glass/Pyrex casserole dish with coconut oil (I placed a spoonful of coconut oil in the casserole dish then used a paper towel to grease the rest).
  • Place squash and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  (I used water.  Make sure the squash is fully covered in liquid.)  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is very soft.  Drain squash.
  • Puree the squash.  The recipe says to transfer to a food processor; I moved it to a glass mixing bowl and used an immersion blender.  (I first talked about my immersion blender here https://honkytonkfit.com/post/63330719248/frustrations.  Best.  Investment.  Ever.).
  • Add the onion (make sure you measure it), coconut oil, almond milk, and maple syrup.  Process (again, I used an immersion blender) until smooth. 
  • Blend in cinnamon and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  • Blend in coconut flour and eggs.  (I continued to use the immersion blender for all of the mixing.)
  • Pour the mixture into the greased dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, until puffed and set.  Serve hot.

Happy eating!

Snail Mail and Almond Flour-Breaded Asaparagus

Between social media, evites, e-mail, and text messaging, my snail mail is lacking in the personal department.  I come home from work and my mail consists of magazines, bills, and junk.  There is nothing handwritten – no cards or letters from friends or family (with the exception of my birthday and Chanukah, but these are the rare oddity).  I wish I received more personalized mail.  As a result, I always send snail mail invitations to my holiday shindigs.  I usually go to Target as they have decent prices and a large selection of cards to choose from.  I used these cards for this year’s invitations:

           

What is difficult to see in the picture is the glitter in the front of the card.  Since the insides are blank, I pick a colored pen that matches the card and fill in all of the information:

You Are Invited To S.’s* Annual Holiday Shindig

Saturday, December 28, 2013

8 P.M.

My House**

Please RSVP by December 21, 2013

 *I spell out my name

**I give my address and my cell number for the RSVP

To continue working our way through the recipes from my 2013 shindig, I present to you: Almond-Flour Breaded Asparagus.  I initially stumbled on this recipe on Newsday’s website during Passover.  I e-mailed the recipe to my stepmom with the message “If you make it, I’ll eat it.  :-)”  Needless to say, she did make it and I did eat it and it was delicious.  This dish has become a staple in my kitchen.  I’ll make it and bring it to bbqs and I serve it anytime I have friends over for dinner or throw a dinner party.

Enjoy!

Almond-Flour Breaded Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches asparagus, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

Steps:

  • Pre-heat the oven (roast) to 450 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re frothy.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
  • Working in bunches, toss the asparagus in the egg whites until the spears are fully coated.  Take these spears and roll them in the almond flour mixture until evenly coated (you may need to use your hands to press the almond mixture onto the asparagus).  Lay them on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all of the spears are “breaded”.
  • When all of the spears are on the baking sheet, spritz them with cooking spray.
  • Roast for 20 minutes or until crispy/lightly browned and serve

Tell me, how do you invite people to your parties?  What’s your favorite way of preparing asparagus?

My Annual Holiday Shindig and a Boozy Strawberry Lemonade

In November 2010 I permanently moved out of my parents’ house and into a one-bedroom co-op I rented from the owner.  It was the perfect apartment with a separate kitchen, tons of closet space, a cozy but spacious living room, and a bedroom big enough for a queen-sized bed with plenty of room to spare.  The kitchen had been redone by the co-op owner with stainless steel appliances, a dream for someone who enjoys cooking but requires counters in order to spread out.  A month after I moved in, I broke up with my ex (see my post on Reflections).  In February 2011 I threw an apartment warming party and learned just how much I enjoy cooking for other people and how much I like hosting.  In December 2011, I had my first holiday shindig.  The next month, I closed on my house and moved in two months later.  December 2012 was a combination holiday shindig and house-warming party.  December 2013 saw another holiday shindig.

In years past, I typically served finger foods.  In the apartment, the gathering was small enough that making finger foods was not that big of a deal.  In 2012, I had 20 people come to my house-warming party and I made finger food for everyone.  Seeing how much work finger food was, I decided for 2013 I would make big dishes.  For the 12 people that came, it was perfect.  People took leftovers leaving me with minimal options for lunch that week.

I am a casual hostess.  I serve all of my food on my living room coffee table and let people eat where they choose.

image

Working your way from back to front and left to right (kind of in columns):

  1. Strawberry Lemonade with tequila and Grand Marnier
  2. Turkey, Sweet potato, and Apple Hash
  3. Almond Flour Breaded Asparagus
  4. Butternut Squash Soufflé
  5. Shiitake Quinoa Risotto
  6. My version of Trader Joe’s Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa, and Wheatberry Salad
  7. “Spaghetti” and Meatballs
  8. Spaghetti Squash with Avocado-Based Pesto
  9. Dijon Braised Brussels Sprouts

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the dessert: a cashew “cheese”cake and a paleo apple pie.

Over the next several posts, I’ll give you the recipes for everything I made.  Some of the recipes I have posted before and are linked to above.

Since tipsy cooking is always fun but never safe, here’s the recipe for the Strawberry Lemonade first.  The strawberries need to be prepared the day before in order to turn into a syrup.

Strawberry Lemonade (as adapted from the Kitchy Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of fresh strawberries
  • 1 jar of strawberry jelly (I use Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves)
  • 15 lemons
  • ½ cup Grand Marnier
  • 1 bottle of tequila (I’m partial to Patron for shots but you don’t need to spend that kind of money on a tequila that’s being mixed.  At the liquor store, I ask for a tequila that’s smooth like Patron but not as expensive.  I also ask for a tequila that does not have the icky aftertaste that cheap tequila has.)

Process

  1. Rinse the strawberries, cut off the leaves, and slice them in half.
  2. Place the strawberries in a glass bowl with the jelly and juice of one lemon.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The day you need your drink, pour the strawberry mixture into a blender or food processor (or leave in the bowl and use a handheld immersion blender) and turn the syrup into a puree.
  4. Pour the puree into a pitcher.
  5. Juice the remaining 14 lemons and pour the juice into the same pitcher.  Stir.
  6. Pour the whole bottle of tequila (less if you choose) into the pitcher along with the Grand Marnier.  Stir again.
  7. Leave in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve so the drink is cool.

 Cheers!

Things to note – I made this cocktail for my housewarming in December 2012 and followed the original recipe.  The only change I made was to double the Grand Marnier and use the whole bottle of tequila.  The drink was too sweet and I had the worst hangover the next day.  This year, I eliminated all of the sugar and the drink was still sweet while not being overly sweet.

Resolutions

I don’t believe in them and I don’t make them.  People set them, keep them for a month, then drop them.  Yes, I believe the new year with all of its symbolism is a good time to make changes that better oneself and to set goals, but not make resolutions.

I met my friend M. for brunch on Christmas Day.  As we walked to the subway afterwards, she asked what my goals are for 2014.  I told her I want to find love; I’m ready to find love.  When I questioned her why a goal and not a resolution, she said resolutions don’t stick, goals do.

In response to my last post on Reflections, M. e-mailed me: “U are really out with the old and in with the new.“  To continue in that vein, remember my holiday wish list post where I talked about time with a personal shopper?  On Monday night, I brought five garbage bags of clothing and a suitcase filled with shoes to her house.  I came home with two garbage bags and three fewer pairs of shoes.  The new year is the perfect time for change and one of the biggest changes I am making is improving my wardrobe.

So, dear readers, I wish you only the best in 2014.  May you achieve your goals and better yourselves.  Tell me, what are your goals and what changes do you wish to make this year?