1/2 c. chopped pecans (or more, if needed)
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place a few tablespoons of coconut flour on a plate or in a shallow dish. (Almond flour won’t work here because you need something very fine that simulates regular wheat flour.) Place beaten eggs in another shallow dish, and place chopped pecans in a third shallow dish. Add salt and pepper to the coconut flour and mix well.
Dredge chicken in coconut flour until coated completely. Place chicken in egg dish and coat well. The flour mixed with the egg creates a sort of “glue” for the pecans. Next dredge the chicken in the pecans until well coated.
Place chicken in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or drizzled with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until done.
So you overindulged for a few days for Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t??? And how can you not??? If you’re like me, you’ll do the same at Christmas no matter how much you tell yourself you won’t. With all the parties and celebrations for the holidays, it’s tough to stick to a strict paleo, zone or any type of Firebreather-accepted diet. So for the next month, our goal needs to be to maintain, not gain. Several FF members have started a new nutrition challenge. No, it’s not another challenge with teams, prizes, winners, etc. Actually, it’s a non-challenge challenge, as Coach Amber describes it. The challenge is to maintain during the most healthy-eating-damaging time of the year. Choose whichever diet/nutrition plan works best for you and weigh in today and again on December 23. Keep a journal of your daily meals and join the FB group for support, advice, recipes, etc. from others doing the same.
I started the Whole30 on Saturday. If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30, check it out here. The Whole30 is super strict, but the best part is, it’s over in 30 days! If you don’t feel like you can commit to a program that strict, you can try the Zone diet. Jimmie Jordan prefers the Zone. Coach Amber prefers to count calories/carbs/fat/protein. Others may follow a version of the paleo diet. The object is to find the diet plan that’s right for you and to stick with it! We can do this!
The mix of pecans, bacon, Dijon mustard dressing and brussels sprouts comes together to please your taste buds. Coach Lis begged (or was that forced) me to give it a try … and Wow am I ever glad I did!
The origin of this recipe is unknown, meaning we cannot remember where we found it. So if some famous paleo/primal blogger sees this and says, “Hey that’s my recipe!” I apologize for not giving you credit! I actually think Coach Lis discovered it on epicurious.com.
- 1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (most containers in the store weigh a lb so just adjust the recipe)
- 1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted (sometimes I break them apart so they are even smaller)
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pecans on small baking sheet and bake until toasted about 5-10 minutes. Cook bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and save the extra bacon fat for future use.
Whisk mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk in oil. Season with pepper.
Using processor fitted with slicing blade, slice brussels sprouts.
Reheat large skilled over medium heat, and add in 1-2 T of the bacon fat. Add in Brussels sprouts and saute’ until softened and slightly browned. Pour the olive oil/mustard mixture over the sprouts. Mix in 1/2 the pecans and bacon. Place slaw in serving bowl and top with remaining pecans.
Visible. Dramatic. Impossible to overlook. Those are the words that describe the transformation that Caroline Elkins Sword has achieved. Today, we see the fit, confident version of Caroline, a strong young woman who competed in the CrossFit Games Open 2012. But she wasn’t always this way. In fact, Caroline who is a professional physical therapist began doing CrossFit to help recover from an injury.
CrossFit (the program) receives a large measure of criticism for causing injuries. By contrast, Caroline’s story illustrates not only what is possible in terms of fitness but also the power of CrossFit to aid in healing and recuperation.
Two years ago, prior to joining the tribe at Firebreather Fitness, Caroline had fallen out of shape, following a back injury. She explains, “I had been actively involved in athletics and physical fitness for my entire life, however in January 2008, I hurt my back. That injury effectively put a stop to all my exercise for more than six months. It didn’t take long until I gained weight.”
Caroline’s husband (boyfriend at the time), Phil Sword, had been doing CrossFit for a considerable period of time. He provided an extra measure of positive pressure. Eventually, she came to Firebreather Fitness to give CrossFit a try.
“By the time I joined Firebreather, I had lost a substantial amount of weight but had not yet reached my goal,” Caroline recalled. “It didn’t take long to realize that the daily WODs would help me to quickly reach my weight loss goals and increase my strength. In the two years since I began CrossFit my strength abilities have gone through the roof. With a solid background in organized sports, Caroline took to the programming rather quickly. “Through the years I’ve involved in softball, basketball, tennis, soccer and dancing (clogging). You name it, I’ve probably played it at some point.”
It didn’t take long for her to be hooked on CrossFit. Caroline recalls, “Probably the most important part of my early CrossFit experience was the Saturday morning Fundamentals class with Coach Shirley. I was really able to focus on form and learning new movements. I don’t recall a specific time or WOD where I became hooked, but I know that the Fundamentals classes played a very important role for me.”
What sets her apart as a CrossFitter? Coach Cameron Cline believes it’s her toughness. “Her ability to keep herself in that uncomfortable pace and keep pushing through ‘the suck’ during her workouts is up there with the best of them,” Coach Cam explained. “I’m looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the future and am proud to coach her at FF.” Caroline’s story and her results are proof of what a sustained commitment to CrossFit will do in terms of transforming a person’s health and fitness.
In the Kitchen
When it comes to nutrition, Caroline quickly admits that she still has room for improvement. “I have far from a perfect diet,” she confesses. “I don’t do Paleo and I am not primal. I try to keep a well-balanced diet based on moderation.” And like most of us, Caroline has weaknesses or trigger foods: “I eat sweets, and if something tastes like peanut butter, I will probably eat it.” She feels her biggest nutritional shortcoming lies in planning and preparation. “I love to bake and try out new recipes. I love cooking with my crock pot. I do occasionally plan out what meals I’m going to prepare throughout the week, but most of the time that doesn’t work out too well.”
Taking It to the Next Level
Within the last year, Caroline got serious about CrossFit and stepped up her game. She reflects on her decision to take things to the next level, “After competing in the in-house competition (Fall 2011), registering to compete in the Open seemed like the next logical step. I like competition and feel that I do better if I have a competitive atmosphere. Competing in the Open helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses and also helped me to keep strong focus on my diet during the weeks of the competition.”
Coach Jeremy Mullins put Caroline’s accomplishment in perspective, “With Caroline it was like a light switch was turned on. She went from recreational crossfitter to games competitor. She always has put forth the effort. I just think a lot of things fell into place for her. That’s a lesson for everyone: be consistent, be diligent and your efforts will pay off.” Coach J also recalled an emotional moment with Caroline, “During the Open when she finished her last set of double-unders, she did one extra just for good measure. We shared a hug and maybe even a tear that day.”
The Future and New Challenges
So what’s next for Caroline? It seems Phil has a history of challenging his wife and coaxing her to stare down new challenges. This time it’s the 2012 Charleston Distance Run, a 15 mile run. Though she’s never run farther than 10 miles, Caroline is up for the challenge.
“Caroline is currently training for the Charleston distance run, and you can find her knocking out a few hill sprints at the end of her WODs at FF,” explains Coach Cam. “She is running 5 miles at least once a week with Phil in preparation for the distance run. Even though she has never run a race of this distance, I know she will check this next goal off of her bucket list with a smile on her face.”
Q&A with Caroline
FF: How are you different today than when you first walked through the door at Firebreather Fitness?
CES: Faster, stronger, leaner to put it in a nutshell. I definitely have more energy, more confidence, and better posture. CrossFit has played a major role in helping me lose 50 lbs, 3 pants sizes, and 2 shirt sizes. That will give anyone a confidence boost
FF: What are your strengths? Has CrossFit helped you get stronger?
CES: My strengths are form and endurance. I still need much improvement on upper body strength. When I started CrossFit, I couldn’t do pull ups or push-ups. Now, I can do multiple pull ups and push-ups fairly well in WODs, but there is no question that I need to generally improve my upper body strength.
CES: Being a physical therapist, I see people all the time with preventable injuries. This perspective is with me all the time and helps me to be keenly aware of my form. Also, because I have an ongoing back injury, proper form is important for me to prevent an aggravation of the injury. Having had a painful back injury and being a person who treats people with injuries on a daily basis, I know that it is better to take my time and do a movement right than to be sloppy and risk hurting myself.
FF: What’s your favorite WOD… and your least favorite?
CES: My favorite WOD would be any chipper or endurance workout. Least favorite WOD would have to be any workout with thrusters or wall balls.
FF: What advice would you share with newcomers or those considering giving CrossFit a try?
CES: My advice to newcomers would be to remember that everything is scalable. Don’t be intimidated by what’s on the board. Continue to challenge yourself and work on the things you can’t do. You will get out of CrossFit what you put in to it.
~contributed by Skip “Tin Man” Lineberg
This great new publication is useful and well-designed. The monthly magazine is chock-full of great content, written by many of the authors we all know and love. In any given issue you might find articles from the following contributors:
- Diane Sanfilippo – “BalancedBites.com”
- Tyler Miles – “Average Joe Paleo”
- Adam Farrah – “Practical Paleolithic.com”
- Sarah Fragoso – “EverydayPaleo.com”
A recent issue featured a wonderful interview with Robb Wolf, author of “The Paleo Solution.” You’ll also find some great recipes in the magazine and on their website.
Lis and I subscribed. I highly recommend this magazine for any serious CrossFitter with cravings … cravings for more knowledge and information about how to manage good nutrition.
~Article contributed by Skip Lineberg
I just got my “doors blown off” on a WOD. That’s not too unusual, but the person who did it is someone nicknamed “Crash.” More about the nickname later. This is the story of Michele Rippe’s CrossFit journey, a story that clearly shows anyone can do CrossFit and benefit from it.
I’ve known Crash for about two years. When she first came to Firebreather Fitness, she was perhaps a little timid. She explains, “I reluctantly agreed to work out at FF with a co-worker who had been there a couple of times. When she first asked, I remember telling her, ‘No way…that place looks CRAZY.’ She continued to talk to me about it, and I finally agreed to check it out with her just so she would quit bothering me.”
Over the years, I’ve seen her grow and flourish, gaining strength, agility and confidence. In fact, Crash recently entered and competed in the 2012 CrossFit Games Open. Through dedication, diligent effort and application of the tips and principles taught by the coaches at Firebreather, Crash has come a long way.
Coach Wally provides some insight about Crash’s transformation: “Crash is very consistent, and is usually at the box 4 – 5 days a week. She always focuses on form and technique, and she knows what weight to use to push herself to her limits.”
So how did she earn her unique CrossFit nickname? During her first couple months, Michele was working on mastering kipping pull-ups. Perched atop a plyo box, she was practicing the kipping motion, while holding onto the pull-up bar, utlizing a jumping motion. She became so engrossed in the lesson and the movement that she forgot to keep holding onto the bar. A nasty landing ensued, one that left her with some pretty magnificent scrapes and bruises on her lower extremities. This type of incident did not happen just once…but several times! Another fall from the bars, combined with few other episodes of “clumsiness” and Michele was dubbed “Crash.” The nickname stuck, and she now wears it like a badge of honor!
FF: What sort of change or result were you seeking when you began FF?
Crash: I began to realize that I was getting more sedentary in my life, and it was starting to show in the way my clothes were fitting. I wasn’t necessarily looking to lose weight, although I knew I was carrying a few extra pounds, but I definitely wanted to get into shape and tone up.
FF: Please tell us a bit about your background in sports or fitness.
Crash: I wasn’t an athlete in school, but I had always been active. However, I had gotten to the point that there was very little activity anymore. I had thought about joining a gym a time or two over the past years, prior to FF, but knew I would be wasting my money. I had already purchased a few workout programs for home and only committed to using them for a few months before I stopped. (That elliptical machine is a great place to hang clothes!) I would always find a reason not to workout when I would get home from work.
FF: When did you know CrossFit was a fit for you?
Crash: After working out for just a few weeks, I was addicted. I felt better and met a lot of great people. All of the coaches took their time to make sure everyone utilized proper form to prevent injury. Where else are you going to get that kind of one-on-one attention and feel like you are part of a family?
Crash: There are so many things that I have achieved since joining FF. I can do pull-ups without a band, although I wasn’t so sure about that when I first started…that’s how I got the nickname “Crash.” Let’s just say, I always remember to keep hold of the bar now, no matter what. I just ran my first 5k, and ran the whole way. I never thought I would want to or be able to do that.
FF: How are you different today, compared to when you first walked through the doors of Firebreather Fitness?
Crash: I have definitely transformed my body. I try to educate others who ask how I have done it. You have to be willing to make changes to your life, but they are for the better.
FF: Let’s talk about your nutrition. How do you plan for good nutrition?
Crash: Breakfast is easy, usually a protein drink of some sort, 3 strips of bacon, and some fruit of some kind, usually blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Sometimes I’ll fix scrambled egg whites and wild mushrooms with a little shredded cheese. Lunch usually consists of a salad and either tuna (I hate tuna, but try to eat it at least twice per week…so those days are a challenge) or some cheese or some other kind of meat. Dinner usually consists of a post-wod protein drink (Progenex) and a piece of fruit when I get home. It’s usually about 8PM by the time I get home for the day, and I don’t feel like eating a full meal, just something quick.
FF: Do you struggle with your diet? Are there any “trigger foods” you just can’t resist?
Crash: Weekends are the hardest. Spending time with my family sometimes makes it challenging, but we try to fix a healthy meal. There are just some things that I normally wouldn’t eat (like potatoes) that they won’t give up. My trigger foods are popcorn and potato chips. I can pass up sweets all day long, but if I smell popcorn, I’m done. I crave the salt. I’ve tried to replace that with various things like salted almonds, but sometimes it’s hard.
FF: Do you like to cook? How do you shop and do you plan meals ahead for the week?
Crash: I love to cook; I just don’t like to clean up the kitchen afterward. So, I try to plan for the week and fix things that I can take for lunch a few days each week. I tend to eat a lot of salads for lunch. I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater, so it wasn’t a big change for me…just more minor changes to the food choices.
FF: What is your favorite WOD (workout of the day)? Do you have a least favorite?
Crash: I think favorite is a strong word, but I would have to say I don’t grimace when I see Annie, Nancy, or Cindy. My least favorite is anything with thrusters and burpees…especially when they are together.
FF: What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Crash: My biggest advice is to have an open mind. Also, always remember that every movement is scalable.
Reading her words, you can’t miss Crash’s positive, receptive attitude. It’s a huge factor in what has transformed Crash not only into a better CrossFit athlete but a stronger, more agile woman with more endurance. Coach Cameron Cline sums it up: “What an amazing transformation Crash has made! She has progressed from Crash-ing off the pull-up bars to doing big sets of kipping pull-ups with ease. Crash never quits. She always pushes herself no matter what she’s doing at the box, and she does it all with a smile on her face.”
Back to that recent WOD where I got my doors blown off: the WOD was Annie, and I was having one of my best days. In fact, I had a PR on Annie that day. Yet, despite all that plus the fact that I have about two years’ more experience and tranining under my belt, Crash beat me by a full 30 seconds! Congratulations, Crash – on all that you’ve achieved.
~Contributed by Skip “Tin Man” Lineberg
As always, we encourage you to post your meals or nutrition questions to “Comments” below. While you’re at it, be sure to leave a little message for Crash.
These scrumptious delights are a cross between a hash brown and a pancake. Now before you get scared that you might be ingesting too many carbs when you eat these, calm down. One large sweet potato will yield approximately 9 “cakes” so you should be well within your carbohydrate range for a meal.
This recipe is simple and easy. I serve them at breakfast with some farm fresh eggs and meat on the side.
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups shredded sweet potato ( I usually just use one large). Use the shredder attachment on your food processor.
- Coconut oil for frying
Beat the eggs with the coconut flour and spices. Mix in the shredded sweet potatoes until well combined. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat (approximately 1/8′ high for shallow pan frying).
Spoon mixture into pan in desired size “cakes”. If you heap the mixture they will not get done in the middle. Try to keep them relatively flat. Cook on each side until browned. Add more coconut oil as needed.
Ok – on to the recipe. Yesterday I hardboiled some eggs to have on hand ( I usually keep a half dozen in the fridge to grab and go). I also had some sausage on hand from Little Brown Cow Dairy in Monroe County. If you are using prepared sausage instead of buying ground pork and adding the spices, make sure it is free of MSG. In that case, you only need 2 ingredients – sausage and eggs. I used a little less than a pound of sausage and 6 peeled, hard boiled eggs.
We’ve had a lot of requests to repost this amazing recipe which Tin Man affectionately refers to as
“Sausage and Squash Oh My Gosh!”
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 pound bulk sage sausage
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 red onion, sliced in half moons
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or free range chicken broth
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a large deep saute pan over medium-high heat, add the almonds. Toast, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the almonds from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the sausage. Cook, while breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and let the butter brown for 1 minute. Add the garlic and onion and cook until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes, then add the squash. Cook until the squash begins to color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and continue cooking until the squash is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the spinach, cranberries, parsley, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Return the sausage and the almonds to the pan. Toss well and heat through. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and serve.
- eating the proper amounts of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates
- how to keep your blood sugar under control
- eating to reduce inflammation
- inding healthy and filling “convenience” foods
- stocking your pantry with the right staples
Jimmie Jordan looking serious at the Holiday Cooking Class!
Choose from 2 dates: Sunday, March 11 or Tuesday, March 20. Classes are held at Fergusons kitchen and bath showroom from 6-9pm. Price is $65, Firebreathers can attend for $55. Email me at email@example.com to reserve a spot.
- 3-4 cups brussels sprouts
- 2 cups red grapes
- 2 T fresh sage, chopped
- olive oil
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off brussels sprouts stems, remove any dirty/outer leaves then quarter. Toss all ingredients together. Cover sheet pan with foil. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and carmelized, stirring halfway through.
Cooking Class February 12
“Get the Most Bang for your Nutrition Buck”
We will be cooking again at Fergusons Kitchen showroom, Sunday February 12 from 6-9pm. This is the same class that was held last week so Lane, Rosie and Jason can give you the scoop on it! The dishes we prepare will be devoid of grains, refined sugar,and processed ingredients, and they will be loaded wtih protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat. Cost for the class is $65 but Firebreathers only pay $55. To register or get more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.