Our favorite sweet potatoes 

I generally don’t get much into meal prep for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m more likely to make better decisions about my food if I get to eat something I’m “in the mood” for, and another is that I really don’t have time, space, motivation to pack a bunch of little containers to carry around with me. 

I do have my own form of meal prep that I do on a weekly basis however. I will gather up a few produce items and roast them and clean and marinate some proteins so they are easy to cook when I get home late from the gym. This is especially great during grilling season (yay summer!) where you can pretty much count on any piece of meat with oil salt and pepper being pretty tasty. 

Another item I make during my “Sunday cookin'”(say this with a nice thick philly brogue) is roasted sweet potatoes. Easy peasy post training carb without a lot of fuss. They last a full week in the fridge and they are super easy to heat up either on the grill in foil or in a pan on the stove. The other nice thing about this is I only have to have my oven on once for the whole week during the summer heat.  You could certainly go the plain route and wrap them in foil and roast them whole,  but this is a super tasty option that we like best. 

It’s not so much a recipe as a “to taste” kinda thing:

2 Japanese sweet potatoes (sub regular as well) 

Skin on, sliced into 1/2″ rounds 

Avocado oil (spray is easiest!) 

Turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon, sea salt

Foil lined baking sheet 

  • Spray the baking sheet with oil and lay sweet potato slices into one flat layer. Don’t crowd them so they have room to get crispy all around.
  • Spray the tops of the potato slices with avocado oil, as sprinkle generously with all your spices. You could also do ginger, allspice, dried herbs, etc.) 
  • Roast at 375° F for around 12 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Flip at this point to crispy the other side of the potatoes and roast until golden brown and slightly crisp on both sides. 
  • Pro tip: if you let them get really crispy you are actually eating sweet potato fries haha

Before cooking


Afta afta


Secret healthy fries

sorry been slackin

Hey guys! haven’t posted in a loooonnng time… Since getting the the all clear to head back to work and training, I’ve been pretty busy. But Im making it a goal of mine to keep this blog active!

Training is going well, and I’m happy to report my brown belt blues are finally over.  Did anyone else experience that mourning period when you were just a good purple belt, and then suddenly a new (crappy???) brown belt!?  It took bit for me to adjust especially coming back from an injury, but I’m starting to have more good days than bad.

In that same vein, I definitely spent the better part of the holidays over- indulging in not so good for me foods and have since put on a few extra pounds… and like all good New Years Resolutions, mine lasted about 2 days haha. Still trying to combat some of my all or nothing behavior by shooting for that 80/20 goal and I have been eating much better and watching my calorie intake to get back into better shape before the summer.

No real set goals yet, but I hope to compete in both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu this coming year, so long as the shoulder holds out!

ok enough about me, here is a yummy grain free granola recipe i made for breakfast:

Ingredients

3/4C raw almond (whole)
1/2C pumpkin seeds
1/2C walnut pieces
1/2Cpecans
1C coconut chips (the thick flakes)
1 C hemp hearts
2 Tbl flax seed
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
⅓ cup coconut oil
1/4 erythritol sweetener (you can order this on amazon)
¼ cup maple syrup

add the nuts to the bowl of a flood processor and pulse until mealy but not too fine

combine all the dry ingredients with nut into a large bowl and stir

melt the coconut oil, add sweeteners to liquid oil

pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to coat

spread the granola mixture out onto a sheet tray and bake at 350F until golden brown

note: this is not super crunchy like “normal” granola, but it does have some good texture

note 2: this is for sure a recipe where you can toss in what you have!  dried fruit, different nuts, anything will work really.  you just need enough fat and “sugar”(maple syrup, honey etc.)  to hold it together I recommend a ratio of 5 C dry ingredients to 1 C fats and sweeteners

store at room temp in an airtight container image

Pumpkin Pie 

I usually don’t try out too many “clean eating” dessert recipes. I’m more of the school of thought that if you are going to have a treat, have a piece and move on. Of course, I rarely have just ONE piece when it comes to pumpkin pie. 

The other thing about creating dessert recipes is that you usually don’t find out if it’s any good until after about 45 minutes of trying not to peek into the oven. No matter how much you may understand the principles of baking, there is so much trial and error that goes into manipulating ingredients that the task seems daunting, even to a professional. 

Luckily for you I’ve already done the hard part and you get to reap the benefits! Just don’t get used to too many “diety” dessert recipes from me, I’ve got training to do. 😉

In this recipe I use coconut palm sugar, but you could substitute equal ratios of Splenda baking  blend, erythritol and sugar, or white sugar if you aren’t concerned with those things. Also this filling would work well in a while wheat or white pre made crust. 

Pumpkin Pie (gluten free, refined sugar free, paleo, low carb) 

Spray a 10″ pie pan with nonstick spray 

In the bowl of a food processor combine: 

1 Cup pecans, halves

1 Cup walnuts, halves 

1/2 Cup almond flour

1/4 C flax seeds 

3 Tbl coconut oil, melted

4 Tbl coconut palm sugar 
Process all ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Press but mixture into pie pan (wet your fingers to help keep it from sticking to your hands), bringing mixture evenly up the sides and bottom. Freeze crust for 1 hour before filling. 

Preheat oven to 325°F 

For filling: 

2 Cups pumpkin purée (I used fresh, but a 15oz can is fine) 

1/2 C full fat coconut milk

3 large eggs

4 Tbl coconut palm sugar 

3 Tbl maple syrup 

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp ginger ground 

1/2 tsp all spice 

1/2 tsp nutmeg 
Whisk together all ingredients together until smooth, and pour into prepared crust (which is now frozen). 

Place pie into the oven and bake at 325°F for approximately (ovens vary) 40 minutes until pumpkin filling goes from shiny to opaque. The outter rim of the pumpkin towards the crust will start to look slightly stretched, but not “puffy”. 

Allow to cool completely before serving. 

Copy Cat Braggs

Here is a quick recipe to save you a few bucks on your favorite Apple Cider Vinegar Drink.  My version has a few more calories and grams of carbs, but I also like the addition of the apple juice to cover some of the aftertaste you may experience from the stevia.

i paid $3.19 for this at Whole Foods Callowhill

Apple Cinnamon ACV Drink  (Makes 4 servings, half gallon)

1/2 C Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar ($6.99/quart… or .89¢ per recipe)

1C Apple and Eve no sugar added Apple Juice ($4.99 quart… or $1.25 per recipe)

6 1/2 C Filtered Water (free-ish)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (lets call it .25 cents)

10 packets stevia (or other sweetener to your taste) ($1.99/40 packs or .50 per recipe)

 

Whisk all your ingredients into a half gallon container.  If you really want to get fancy I recommend using a hand blender (immersion) blender to really evenly distribute the cinnamon.

i made one batch with less cinnamon

Side note: cinnamon gets gummy when its held in liquid for a few days, I wouldn’t suggest storing this for more than 4-5 days in the fridge.

Total cost for 4-8 oz. servings is $2.89!  I paid just over $3 for 16 oz. so that’s more than 50% savings! 

 

 Per 8 oz. serving: 

Calories 29

Fat 0 

Net carb 6 

Protein 0 
 

PSH Pumpkin Spice Hummus 


I love fall. And much to my embarrassment am the first one in line for pumpkin spice anything as soon as September 1st rolls around. Even during the 90° weather I’ve been known to turn the AC up higher so I can turn on the fire place and pull out the plaid throw blanket. 

I also love middle eastern food.  It’s most definitely my favorite food to eat and lately some of my favorite things to cook. I recently bought a Tagine so I’ve been playing around with that and those flavors more and more. 

Isnt she gorgeous?

The other day when we had friends over for dinner I got to combine my love of fall and middle eastern flavors by coming up with this Pumpkin Hummus. Ironically one of the guests hates all things Pumpkin related, but didn’t have anything bad to say about this. (Which if you know James is saying a lot) but I digress. 

Pumpkin Spice Hummus 

1 can chick peas, drained but not dry 

1/4 C pumpkin purée (you count definitely use fresh roasted pumpkin of you have time)

2 cloves garlic 

1 1/2 Tbl tahini paste 

1/2 lemon juice 

2 tsp kosher salt 

2 tsp cumin powder 

1tsp tumeric (ground dry)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (ground) 

1/2 tsp ground pepper 

Purée all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Let the hummus blend for several minutes to ensure a smooth finished quality. Season to your taste and serve with pita, pita chips or fresh veggies for dipping. In the picture I garnished with pumpkin seeds and white and black sesame seeds and a bit of cinnamon.  Drizzled with olive oil to finish. 

Fancy Fish aka Tilapia en Papillote 

So I meant to write this post yesterday, but honestly the training bug bit me and I just couldn’t resist it. You guys get it. 

Full disclosure My husband and I don’t really like fish. I eat it because it’s healthy, and because you’re hard pressed to find a lower calorie lower fat and higher protein well… Protein. 

We are trying to expand our seafood horizons by trying new varieties but I usually stick to tilapia and try to season it to make it as unfishy as possible. 

Also there is plenty of controversy surrounding Tilapia and how it’s raised.  All I can offer is it is up to you to research these things and if you are in any way unformfortable eating it, feel free to substitute a different fish. 

This recipe may seem a little daunting at first since it sounds so fancy.  Keep in mind that translated from French it means “in a paper bag”, and the method, though a little tedious, is actually quite simple. It’s also very easy to substitute these ingredients based on what you have on hand. You do however need parchment paper which I find most non bakers don’t keep around. It is readily available at the supermarket. 

Tilapia en Papillote aka Fancy Fish

Recipe Yield: 4 packets (this could feed 4 people with another side dish for sure) but on its own I’d say two servings) 

4 Tilapia Filets around 3-4 oz each 

1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned 

1 shallot, sliced thin 

1 lemon, zest and juice 

Kosher salt 

Black pepper 

  • Mix beans with sliced shallot, zest and juice and seaon with salt and pepper 

Garnish:

1 fresh tomato, diced 

1/2 C kalamata olives, halves 

4 tsp drained capers 

4 tsp basil, chopped 

4 lemon halves 
For sauce: 

4Tbl balsamic vinegar 

2tsp whole grain mustard 

2 Tbl olive oil 

1Tbl honey 

2tsp parsley minced (I have totally used dried parsley as well)

  • Whisk all the sauce ingredients together until combined 

in the pic you see two lemons halved. i threw thise on the grill while cooking the fish

Preheat Oven to 400°F or Fire up the gril on medium high heat. 

To assemble

  • Cut sheets of Parchment paper  into circles around 4 times the size of your fish filet  it should be large enough that once your fish and veggies are placed in the center to can cover over it with any side 
  • Spray the parchment paper with non stick spray or brush with olive oil. 
  • Place green bean mix in the center of 4 payments circles 
  • Top with tilapia, and seaon the fish with salt and pepper 
  • Top fish with tomatoes, capers, olives and sprinkle with basil 
  • Top each stack with 1/4 of the sauce 

  • The hardest part is wrapping the fish in the paper, so I made a video instead of trying to explain it via text


To Cook: This method essentially steams the packet.  The heat creates steam which fills up the bag, and cooks the fish and veg delicatley. 

For the Oven:

Bake at 400°F  on a baking sheet about 12-15 minutes. The paper will be brown and crispy so don’t worry! 

For the grill:

  • wrap the paper pouches in foil the same way you wrapped the fish in paper 
  • Preheat the grill to medium high and place fish on the grill 
  • Cook 12-15 minutes (maybe longer based on your grill) 

Allow the packets to rest a few minutes before cutting open.  If you’re having carbs on the side this would be awesome with roasted potatoes which you could have in the oven at the same time. 

Improving your training through injury. 

 
About 12 weeks ago I had major shoulder surgery. A full and two partial tears of the rotator cuff, a dislocated AC joint, a Mumford procedure (shaving down of the collar bone to alleviate arthritis),and  a small tear in the bicep and labrum.  

I was pretty devastated when I found out that I had to have surgery, especially when they told me the recovery time was likely 6 months.  Six months without training? I almost didn’t do it. 

One of my concerns of course was losing my trajectory of improvement.  Without regular training I feared, like a lot of people I’m sure, that I would “forget all my moves”, which in my dramatic mind basically put me back at white belt after months without rolling and sparring.

But of course I had to have it fixed.   And now, three months later,  and half way through my recovery, I’m happy to say I have found many ways to improve my training in both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu and would like to share those tips with you. 

Disclaimer: I am by no means medically trained. Please listen to your doctors/body and use what works for you. 

  • Keep coming to the gym/dojo. One of the main values of training martial arts is community. We spend a lot of time with our training partners and they become family, don’t lost sight of the value of being around like minded people. Also there is a lot of learning to be done on the side of the mats. Takes notes, watch people roll/spar and ask yourself what you might do in various situations. Draw mind maps. 
  • Find a moderator. If you’re anything like me, the draw of the mat may be too much for you to resist. Pick some trusted friends to let you know you are being stupid. Luckily for me my husband Josh, best friend Yin and coach Andy, are around to let me know I am getting out of hand and doing too much, (and literally put me in the corner.) Even if it annoys me sometimes I know they have my best interest in mind and are essentially saving me from myself. You may be more wise than me. 
  • Trusted training partners are key.  As you are able to do more and more you will rely on your team mates to accommodate you.  Don’t be afraid to ask to go light. More importantly don’t be afraid to ask them to STAY light, as sometimes rolling naturally escalates.  Let your partner know that you will take responsibility for protecting your injury to help ease the nervousness of being the one to reinjure you.  This goes for both drilling ,and if you’re able, especially sparring. 
  • Listen to your body, but push it out of its comfort zone without re-injuring yourself. You will need to trust the affected area again. Lightly trying new things during the stages of your healing will allow you to test the waters. Any pain don’t do it. But you may have options available to you and won’t know unless you try. 
  • Visualize while you’re doing other exercise.  I was able to only walk initially and would use that time to imagine matches. Once I was approved for harder cardio I would use my bike sprint time to imagine doin hard body kicks repeatedly. Keeping those times we push ourselves physically in training will help you keep that intensity and push you to do your best when you may not otherwise. 

Having done all these things since a few weeks after surgery I have been fortunate to be able to work on games (albeit limited) that I would not normally play and see definite improvement in those areas even though I am still only able to roll and spar lightly. My A game is certainly not as sharp due to my specific injury (bottom half guard and right cross I miss you dearly) but I am starting to connect how my new skills will play a part in my game. 

Below I list some specific drills that I have found generally safe and fun for both myself  and my partners.  These are based on loss of dominate arm function.  Again these drills were done with care and technique in mind. 

Weeks 2-6 

Muay Thai 

  • Basic foot work. Movement back and forth side to side. 
  • Front and rear foot jab.
  • Leg kicks (light!) body kicks were out since I couldn’t use my arm for counter balance 

For BJJ:

  • Standing passing drills, windshield wipering the legs (this is pretty much all I could do weeks 2-4) 
  • Leg drags, xpass on unaffected side 
  • Popping out DLR hooks, setting up cut pass 

Weeks 6-10

Muay Thai  

  • Left kicks
  • Front and rear foot jab
  • Left body kick
  • Jab, just footwork and extension no impact 
  • Slipping punches 

BJJ 

  • Open guard!  finally allowed to lay on my back. 
  • Single leg x to x guard static drill they push the foot out the hip you transition to x
  • Single leg x sweep to foot lock (my good side yay!) 
  • Attacking the back with one hand partner defends but can’t escape over bad side 

Weeks 10-current

Muay Thai 

  • Kick sparring light 
  • Defending punches with slipping (still no parry for against orthodox) 
  • All partner drills that don’t involve getting dumped 
  • Body kicks

BJJ 

  • start to roll very lightly with partners tucking my arm in my belt mostly to remind me and them. Most positions are possible with the exception of bottom half guard and being mounted. 

I hope this helps those of you who may be dealing with an injury.  I’d love to know what kinds of drills you were able to figure out to work around your specific ailments or surgerys. 

Birthday Wings 

Nothing makes this wife happier than my hubby requesting that I cook his birthday meal. I get bored really easily eating the same things all the time but there are a few dishes that get rotated in often.  One of those things is chicken wings.  

But chicken wings can’t be part of healthy diet right? Well, the way I see it, it’s all in the preparation, and the moderation.  Maybe don’t eat these every week. But if you’ve gone total beast mode in training and have a few calories in the bank, treat yo’self. 

These are not difficult recipes. Nor are the culinary genius… But they are friggin delicious. 

Garlic Wings 

Pre heat the oven to 400° F 

3 lbs wing parts, dried with paper towel (I do this by laying paper towel on the cutting board and laying them out, then patting them dry with another paper towel.) 

1 Tbl melted coconut oil 

3 Tbl Montreal chicken seasoning 

1Tbl garlic powder 

1 tsp kosher salt 

1 tsp ground black pepper 

  • Toss the dried wings with oil and dry ingredients, combine to coat the wings completely 
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick spray (don’t skip this step!) 
  • Lay wings on sheet tray leaving a little space in between to ensure they are crispy 
  • Bake at 400°F for about 40 minutes, when the skin is crispy and golden brown 

Teriyaki Wings 

(These are slightly more complicated but the outcome is worth it) 

3 lbs chicken wing parts, dried as explained above 

1Tbl coconut oil 

1tsp kosher salt 

1 tsp pepper 

For Sauce 

3Tbl hoisin sauce 

2Tbl soy sauce 

1Tbl fresh garlic, minced 

1Tbl fresh ginger, minced 

2Tbl scallion, minced 

  • Toss dried wings with coconut oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400° (in the same method described above)  about 30 minutes until skin starts to crisp, but they are not completely finished 
  • While wings are baking, combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate wings 
  • Remove wings from baking sheet using tongs and toss wings to coat in sauce.
  • Return wings to baking sheet and bake an additional 10 minutes until sauce reduces slightly and wings are crispy (because of the suace they will be slightly less crisp than the Garlic variety) 

You may not need to bake 3lbs of wings at a time, but that is the average pack size I’ve come across, and keep in mind the poundage does include bones. No judgment here on how many wings you put away. 

Also I highly recommend Bell and Evans chicken wings.  They are super tender and crispy up nicely.  They aren’t paying me to say this, but I wish they were. 

I didn’t get a great pic, but I couldn’t make the man wait on his birthday… You guys know what wings look like anyhow.

Cauliflower Kale and Asiago Soup (GF, LC) 

 

 

Cauliflower is the new coconut. For those of you who stay on top of healthy eating trends you may remember after the paleo craze hit, coconut became the star of the kitchen. Coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut milk… We were all nuts for coconut.
Flash forward to 2015-16, the year of the Cauliflower. From Pizza crust to Alfredo sauce the Internet is filled with different ways to use it beyond the steamed with butter that we are all accustomed to.

From a health perspective, it’s loaded with vitamins, very low in carbs, and has all the benefits of cruciferous veggies (see http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=13 )  without the usual deep flavor that comes along with them. That can make it a pretty agreeable ingredient when you are substituting or modifying recipes to lower calories or limit certain macros. What it does in this recipe is add a lot of body and creaminess without a tons of extra fat added like the traditional heavy cream or roux.
And let’s not forget about it’s just as popular cousin Kale.  Kale is notably one of the best greens in terms of antioxidants, and a great source of fiber! Cooked or raw it packs a pretty big nutrient punch. And now I’ve brought this post full circle by relating it to Muay Thai 😉

I include a recipe for the crab topping, but you could eat/serve this as is!

This recipe is relatively low in calories and carbs so if you’re having this on a training day, definitely supplement during training with your favorite intra-workout nutrition. I use BPI sports “best aminos” and 1 Tbl honey per hour.

Cauliflower Kale and Asiago Soup                 

Yield 4 servings

For the Soup

2 oz. Bacon, chopped

2 cup, Cauliflower Florets

6 clove, Garlic,whole

1/2 white Onion, chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cup 1″ pieces, loosely packed, Kale, raw

2 oz. Asiago, shredded

1/2 medium, Avocado diced

3 1/2 Cup, Chicken Stock or water

  1. Sauté the bacon pieces until crispy then remove from heat. Strain the fat and reserve. Leave the bacon off to the side.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets and garlic cloves with half the reserved bacon fat. (Discard all but 1 Tbl for later
  3. Roast cauliflower in the over at 350 F until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. ( you can skip this step if short on time, but it does add some nice flavor and richness to the soup… If you do skip it move ahead to the next step)
  4. Add reserved Tbl of bacon fat back to soup pot. Add chopped onion and sauté until brown. Then add red pepper flakes and stir.
  5. Add cauli, garlic, and kale to onion and stir until kale begins to wilt.
  6. Add chicken stock (or water) to cover ingredients and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn of heat and add avocado, bacon and Asiago cheese.
  8. At this point you can either use a blender to purée soup to a smooth consistency or a stick blender right into the pot.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to your satisfaction!

Lemony Crab Salad 

1 pound lump crab meat

1/4 red onion, small dice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbl lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Stir all ingredients together taking care not to break up crab meat

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 8.15.00 AM.png img_0842

All/macros calculated using myfitnesspal.com, nutritional info does not include crab topping 

Recipe legend GF- green faces LC-low carb HP-high protein PT-post training