20.6.13

out of my comfort zone: esac

This past Saturday, I competed in my first ever CrossFit competition. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy and then laughed in your face. I started my on-ramp (beginners) class last August so I have only been doing CrossFit for about ten months and I am surprised with myself that I even signed up. It really isn't in my nature to sign up for any competition where something physical in involved.

I competed in the fifth Eastern Shore Affiliate Challenge that was started by two of the coaches at my box (gym) about a year and a half ago. What is nice about it is that there is an Rx (or "as prescribed") division and then a scaled division for people like me who are beginners or haven't quite built up to the Rx weights or movements. 

That morning, I got up and made sure I had a little bit to eat. Then I drove to CrossFit Seaford, the box that was hosting this time. I sat with another newbie from our box, exchanging anxiety driven looks and comments. There was a lot of "what am I doing here?"

I was in the first heat for the first WOD (workout.) Of course during my first competition this would happen. The first workout involved burpees over the bar. If you were in the Rx division, you had to do a burpee and then climb over a six-foot wall. I am glad I didn't have to do that. I tried climbing the wall later and couldn't even get myself over it. 

The second WOD was a seven minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of five thrusters, ten push-ups, and 15 box jumps (or step-ups in my case because of my knee.) After that, we had a minute of rest before we started snatches for four minutes. The first five were at 45 pounds, the second five were at 65 pounds, and you went up from there if you had time. I actually am pretty proud of this part. On Thursday, I got 45 pounds over my head for the first time ever. On Friday, I got 65 pounds over my head for the first time ever. On Saturday, during the competition and after a seven minute AMRAP, I got all five 45s over my head and three 65s over my head. 

During the afternoon, there were the team WODs for those that finished highest in the men's and women's Rx division. The first WOD was swimming. The teams that finished in the top had back squats and then the top two teams (of which our box was one) had to do sit-ups, push heavy stuff on a sled, get said heavy stuff over a wall, and then do A LOT of rope climbs. Our box, CrossFit Salisbury, ended up winning and we got to keep the cup. 

I am so glad that I did it and I am excited for the competition in September. Was it intimidating at first? Yes. But so was CrossFit in general when I first started last year. It was a great bonding experience with the other people in my box and it was really a lot of fun.

Have you done anything this year that was out of your comfort zone?

18.6.13

grilled flank steak with chimichurri

I am really into sauces . . . and dips . . . and dressings - especially when they aren't bad for you. This was my first time making chimichurri and I don't know why I ever waited so long. This was wonderful drizzled on warm steak. The garlic and parsley become fragrant and the flavors melt in your mouth. It is heaven.

Once the steak was all gone from our fridge, I found myself putting the chimichurri on everything else. I usually reserve Friday nights for indulging in non-paleo things such as pizza or maki sushi rolls. However, on one particular Friday, a few nights after I had made this sauce, I found myself making some jasmine rice and topping it with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled chicken, and the chimuchurri. It wasn't paleo but it certainly wasn't terrible for me. This stuff is seriously like crack.
Also, about the steak: I like my steak medium but we undercooked this a bit eating the edges that night for dinner so the rest of the steak could be reheated later on without becoming overcooked and chewy. Trust me, you are going to want leftovers so buy extra steak. And your coworkers are going to be so jealous when you are eating this for lunch.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI

flank steak
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 c. parsley leaves, loosely packed
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. light olive oil

Season flank steak liberally with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through as desired. 

While steak is grilling, add parsley, garlic, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Process until garlic is minced. Add olive oil and process until just combined. (You don't want to end up making mayonnaise!)

Drizzled chimichurri over steak.

Enjoy!

13.6.13

what are you watching?

Now that the majority of the regular season television shows I watch have come to an end, I need a show or two to get me through the summer. I rarely watch a show when it actually airs, even during the regular season, but I like having a few shows in my queue for lazy Friday nights or rainy weekends.

I was actually realizing the other day, that there are actually a decent amount of shows I am looking forward to this summer. 

The Newsroom
I started watching this last summer and I am so glad they brought it back for a second season. I can't wait to see what news stories they cover and how the tangled love lives of Will, Mackenzie, Jim, Maggie, and Don play out. Plus, I love me some Sloan who makes Economics look so sexy (which all of us Econ majors already knew.) Plus, I gotta stick with the show's creator, Aaron Sorkin (The American President and West Wing, anyone?)

Ray Donovan
This is a new series on Showtime which follows Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer who is cool, calm, and collected when it comes to his professional life while his personal life is anything but. Basically, Ray Donovan is the male version of Scandal's Olivia Pope. Except in L.A. instead of D.C. And with flashy celebrities instead of politicians. I am really excited about this one.

Mistresses
This has already aired so I need to catch up but I am thinking this is going to be my guilty pleasure. I am curious to see how a show based on a group of friends' extramarital affairs plays out. This almost seems a little too Lifetime-y for me and I have a feeling it could bomb but, then again, some of my favorite American shows that were based on British shows (The Office, Shameless) have done well. I will let you know how it goes.

Game of Thrones
Yes, I know the season finale was last week - everyone on my Facebook feed let me know about it. Apparently, the Hubs and I decided, we should be watching this. We are thinking the summer would be a good time to catch up. This is not my usual cup of tea but I am willing to give it a chance. (Besides, I have found myself recently sucked into Da Vinci's Demons which is not what I would gravitate towards either.) 

West Wing
Anyone want to buy me the whole series on DVD? I want to re-watch.

What shows are you looking forward to this summer?

11.6.13

grilled asian-inspired pork loin

This recipe is paleo-ish. I didn't use paleo ketchup. I was too lazy to make some and we had this really yummy all-natural ketchup in our fridge. I also ran out of coconut aminos (and my local health food stopped carrying it) so I used Braggs liquid aminos instead. I didn't die afterwards...

If you aren't worried about being strict paleo, you can use soy sauce instead of liquid aminos. I also used raw honey but you could definitely use regular honey as far as taste is concerned.

Grilling time is going to be different for everyone. Depending on your grill and the shape of your pork loin will depend on how long you actually grill for. We just got a new grill so we are still learning and our pork loin was long and thin instead of short and fat but it took us a little less than an hour. We decided that next time we would probably take it off at 45 minutes and let it rest with enough time to let it finish cooking.

And if you don't have a grill or you are doing this during the colder months, you can always bake it in the oven. I would just recommend searing your pork first.

GRILLED ASIAN-INSPIRED PORK LOIN
serves 4

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1/3 c. ketchup
1/3 c. honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
2 lb. pork loin

Heat grill. 

Combine all ingredients, except pork loin, in a medium bowl and whisk together. 

Season pork loin with salt and pepper. Place pork on enough aluminum to wrap around pork. Brush pork with a third of the sauce. Finish wrapping pork with aluminum foil, making sure there aren't any holes. Place on grill and cook until cooked through, for about 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put remaining sauce in saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. 

Remove pork from grill and let sit for about ten minutes. Slice into one-inch thick pieces and serve with sauce. 

Enjoy!