Monday, November 25, 2013

Beef Baratheon with Portabello (or How to Cook a Steak)

Recently, I realized I didn't know how to cook a steak. Yes, dear Slayers, your faithful leader who is so full of delicious recipes couldn't even make a simple steak. My thinking is that if I don't know how to do it, there's gotta be someone else out there learning to cook who doesn't know how to do it either. Needless to say, I've picked up a few new skill points in Cooking and I'd like to share them with you.

This is not the kind of fillet mignon and potatoes you'll find in find dining. This is well seasoned meat to go with a bed of sautéed veggies. It should fill and fuel you without any extra fills or non-paleo comforts. I imagine it's the kind of thing Stannis Baratheon has grown accustomed to eating on Dragonstone. So let's get our meat hats on and fry ourselves up something delicious. 

Beef Baratheon with Portabello
Deviant Art

Serves: 2

  • 2 Steaks or 1 large steak to cut in half
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic and Onion Powder
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Small Onion
  • 1 large Portabello
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray

  1. Prep all your veggies. Chop up the onion and the pepper and cut your portabello into slices. 
  2. Mince two cloves of garlic.
  3. Set a frying pan on the stove on medium heat. 
  4. Spray the pan liberally with extra virgin olive oil. and let it heat up for about a minute. 
  5. Then add your minced garlic. Watch it carefully and as soon as it begins to brown (about 15-30 seconds), add your onions, portabello, and pepper. Use a spatula to stir it around and keep the garlic from burning to the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Season veggie pan with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Continually watch these sautéing vegetables during the rest of the cooking process. Every few minutes you'll want to move and flip them around in the pan so they cook evenly and don't burn. 
  7. Set a second pan on medium heat.
  8. Now season the beef by sprinkling a little chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper on each side. Massage it gently so that everything is spread evenly across the meat.
  9. Add your steak to the pan and cook it for about 8 minutes on each side or till the internal temperature is where you want it to be. If you have an internal meat thermometer, the USDA says 125 degrees is rare, 145 is medium rare, 160 is medium and 170+ is well done.  You will want to flip it every 4-5 minutes or so that it doesn't burn or sear the meat on either side. 
  10. When your meat is done, turn off the stove and plate the veggies. 
  11. The plate your beef and voila, you've made yourself a juicy steak with veggies!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Unwanted Superpowers: Enter "Anxiety Girl!"

Hey Slayers, Simone here.

After 2 weeks of fighting off a sinus infection and a separate ear infection, I'm finally starting to feel better -- I can breathe and (almost) hear again! -- but all is still not harmonious in my world. I've been letting the insecure, impatient voice in my head (non-affectionately referred to as "Anxiety Girl") hold a little too much sway lately, and it's been challenging to keep a positive, can-do attitude.

by Natalie Dee

I don't know about my fellow nerds out there, but I spend a lot of time in my head, and I tend to over-analyze things endlessly. I like to fret about the future, set wild expectations, worry about plans, and then wallow in disappointment when they don't happen the way I hoped. My mom is a yoga teacher and I grew up with some great exposure to the concepts of mindfulness and the importance of being in the moment -- but I'm a young-20s Internet addict, and the only time I've been "in the moment" lately is when I get a reply on Imgur.

Usually I'm also very "present" when I'm working out in my garage. I get to let go of all those extraneous thoughts and just be in my body for awhile. Those three nights are typically the highlight of my week. Sure, they're challenging, but I feel so accomplished, strong, and capable when I complete the workout, all sweaty and exhausted and triumphant. Unfortunately, due to my sinus infection I haven't done a full workout in two weeks, and Anxiety Girl has once again put down roots. Instead of focusing on my progress, I think about how weak my lifting is compared to my friends and my own expectations for myself. Instead of celebrating small wins, like my growing tea-collection, I've been extremely guilty about allowing my recent illness to tank my participation in the "November Nutrition" challenge that I personally orchestrated for my fellow garage crossfitters. Instead of being grateful for my new job, I'm stressing on my upcoming student loan bills and how I'll ever travel, afford a dog, or pay off my debts on my still-tight budget.

While it wouldn't hurt to relax and de-stress, I suspect I'm right where I should be for a recent college grad. (In fact, I realize that I'm awfully lucky for a recent college grad.) But I spend a lot of time daydreaming. There are places I want to travel, projects I want to do around the house/yard, four-legged canine friends I want to add to the family (or domesticated foxes, if you know where I can find one of those). . . . And the majority of my friends are 5-10 years older than me: they're all married to each other, they have houses, they take vacations, they've figured out how to stick to their budgets and pay their bills on time. I have entirely zero of those things, but it all looks very appealing. And as an impatient person who would like to create a career, turn our rented house into a home, travel, and not stress about affording silly things like food, it's tough not to compare my "just figuring it out" situation to their "established" one.

Ultimately, it will all work out. I'll get back on track with my diet. I'll gradually add some weight to my front squats. I'll figure out how to pay back my student loans and organize my budget. But the main thing I think I need to learn -- besides the ever-challenging "live in the moment" -- is that I can't expect myself to tackle everything at once. Just because I got to cross "graduation" and "stable job" off my list doesn't mean all my problems are solved. I can't expect myself to be a 100% paleo, frugal pro-weightlifter who regularly meditates, goes running, and joyfully puts the laundry away as soon as it's done. Patience, padawan.

I want to be helpful and encouraging, but I really don't have any solutions yet or advice to offer on getting through these ruts. All I know is that you do. 

Do you notice yourself feeling a bit run-down during the holidays? When you get overwhelmed or anxious, how do you handle it? 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Become Galadriel: Creating Charisma through Self Empowerment

Last week I became fascinated by an article posted by The Art of Manliness about establishing a sense of power in relationship to people around you in order to make oneself more charismatic. The article is the second in a series that will break down charisma into three elements. This one basically states that one way of establishing charisma is to make yourself seem like the most powerful person in the room. It takes the stance that even if you aren't naturally powerful or charismatic, there are active steps you can take in order to fake it till you make it.

Why am I on about charisma and power? Part of being a Slayer is creating the ideal future for yourself through the betterment of your health as a means to help you achieve the goals you set in the rest of your life. Getting to the gym and consistently making healthy choices sure is hard, but at the end of the day it won't be the only thing that helps you achieve the life you want. It's just one subset of creating inner confidence and projecting pride and care for yourself outward. Here, nearer to the end of my initial weight loss journey, I can tell you for sure that simply losing the weight is only one part of my journey. It's not going to make my costumes, get me auditions, or monetize any of my creative pursuits so that I can spend my life doing the things that make me happy. It sure did help with all of those things, but it isn't the whole picture. That's why I want to take some time to talk about what can make us powerful and help us get one more set closer to being the Hero in our own action movie called Life. 

Firstly, the article on The Art of Manliness has a heavy slant towards things men can do to achieve empowerment. There is some cross-over, but ultimately being a "big gorilla" and draping yourself over all sorts of furniture isn't really something I'd recommend a woman do in the workplace. All that talk about inflating your chest and getting people to step aside for you just doesn't seem like something a woman would do to establish power. I'm a firm believer in equality for women and men, but I think our body language is a bit different based on our sex. Therefor, instead of trying to get all my Lady Slayers to embrace their inner gorilla, I'm going ask you to find your inner Galadriel. 

There are lots of wonderful female characters in sci-fi and fantasy out there that I could choose from, but honestly Galadriel seems to be the best overall example of how to establish power in a professional environment. I'm thinking of course of scenes like welcoming the Fellowship to Lothlorien and her dealings with Gandalf and Elrond in Rivendell in The Hobbit. Aside from magic and a very special ring, what makes Galadriel so powerful and what draws people to her?
Grooming: The Lady of Light is described as the "mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle Earth." It's time to get "fair" up in this blog! 

How you put yourself together has a lot to do with people's impressions of you. This doesn't mean you need to wear suit, but it means you need to dress the best you possibly can for the kind of job you want to have. That will be different if you're an actor, an art dealer, a lawyer, or a marketing executive. Every line of work has it's own dress code and you need to do the research so you can look the part. 

The other aspect is that you need to make sure you're wearing clothes that fit you. Maybe you don't have an art department and an army of seamstresses designing clothes specifically for you and dressing you, but make sure that as you're losing weight and reshaping your body, you have a few professional ensembles that make you look and feel like a million bucks. When you feel like you look good, your confidence sky rockets. When others think you look good, you'll be the center of attention. 

The other aspect of grooming yourself as a woman is that you want to have clothes that emphasize the shape of your body, but do not reveal too much. It's a delicate balance. You'll notice that Galadriel wears form fitting clothing that emphasizes how tall and slender she is, but never shows any cleavage or leg. She is amazingly beautiful but she stands aloof from those who need to flash flesh for attention. In this case, flashing flesh would only diminish her power and create a scenario where more people would tend to objectify her. 

One thing you can do is create your own color palette. The major color in Galadriel's wardrobe is white. It gives her a constant luminescent quality only equalled by Gandalf when he returns in The Two Towers. It gives her a lightness and an attention grabbing power when compared to those who are perhaps well groomed, but in darker apparel or those who are travelers covered in grime while she remains impeccably clean. You can create a "character design" for yourself by choosing a favorite color and working it into most of your ensembles. Whether they actively realize it or not, people will come to expect it from you. It establishes a weird sense of reliability. When a person is stable and reliable, it is an empowering thing. However, you can also break this rule if you want to dress for a specific. When Galadriel reveals her blue ensemble during the Rivendell section of The Hobbit, it seems like she knows darkness is about to descend over Middle Earth. It's almost jarring. You can use that kind of "costume design" to your advantage when it comes to your own fashion sense in the real world. 

People who dress well automatically garner more respect from people around them simply because it seems like they have their lives in order enough to spend time and effort putting themselves together in the morning. It's simple, sort of silly, but no less true.

Places of Power: Be tall. I'm five feet tall, so I'm naturally more hobbit sized myself, but Galadriel is taller than almost everyone else around her either by fact or design. Some of us win the genetic lottery on this point and others, like myself, don't. If you're shorter, you can wear heels in the workplace, but only if you can maintain grace while doing so. I, sadly, cannot so I have to figure out ways to physically move myself into places of power. 

You'll notice that Galadriel will find any way to stand above the people she's talking to without being insulting. When the Fellowship arrives at Lothorien, she greats them on a stepped dais. When negotiating with Elrond and Gandalf in Rivendell, she takes the higher ground again. 

When dealing with people closer to her status she will tend to stand apart from them, while when dealing with those who are naturally below her, such as hobbits or dwarves, she will step in closer and incline her head downward. It seems like she is creating greater height, but increasing the intimacy of the interaction to let them know that what they have to say or do is welcome. In either case, she is in control of how close anyone gets to her. If you're standing and giving a presentation to a group of people seated around a table, you can let them know you're inviting their input by leaning forward with your hands on the table when you're done speaking and asking confidently for their opinion. It keeps you looking down at them, while also giving the impression that you're interested and prepared to hear what they have to say now that you're done speaking.

In The Hobbit, Galadriel lets all the men gather around the center table to discuss the rise of Sauron whiles she slowly an methodically circles the room in thought. She places herself apart from them and therefor gives herself a different status. 

You'll notice she touches Gandalf at one point in The Hobbit. No one ever dares to initiate touch with her which is an aura you can create by embracing the technique of standing in places of power. If you're at a meeting and everyone is seated around the table. Sit up straight when you're speaking or if you really need to impress a point or make a presentation, get up and stand while everyone else is sitting. If you're speaking in front of a group of people, stand apart from them and make them come to you if they want to ask follow up questions. Remain in control of the physical flow of conversation.

Posture of Power: Seriously, stand up straight. Don't apologize for your presence by slouching. The's not just something Galadriel does. That's pretty standard for most elves. Even at her weakest point, when Frodo offers her the ring and she Super Saiyan freaks out, she's standing up straight as a board. Her limbs and her face are the only things that become wild. 

Note, that posture of power is straight and not sensual for women. Do not push out your bum and your boobs and expect to be taken seriously. You will garner attention for sure, but it probably won't be for the reasons you want in the work place. 

Speak When You Have Something Important to Say: If you are a woman who remains mostly silent, it's hard to be taken seriously. However, if you're a women who is a non stop blabber you won't be taken seriously either. You can increase your charisma score by waiting to speak or make a joke till the opportune moment which is to say, be sure of what you're saying and make sure it's relevant to what came just before. Do not let yourself be passed over because what you have to say might not be popular and do not cover up your opinions with senseless babble and overly diplomatic terms. State how you feel and/or what you want as clearly and concisely as possible. That way, when you talk people will listen. Otherwise, you're just crying wolf.

Galadriel always knows what to say and how best to help because, well, she is practically immortal. She's been around a long time and seen a lot of things. Plus she's got that whole "Mirror of Galadriel" thing going for her which can educate her on the past, the present, and the future. 

Make sure you're knowledgeable about what you're saying. Educate yourself and get passionate about your hobbies. Know everything there is to know about them so that when the opportunity comes for your input, you're ready. If you have a wealth and well versed breadth of knowledge and people discover that about you, you'll be the point person they come to for answers whether that's how to get into crossfit or how to code the HTML for the company's new website. 

Don't Let People Get Away With Lying to You: At work, it's hard to call someone out on something they've done that undermined, hurt, or otherwise left you undeservedly in the dark. Galadriel has the magical bonus of being able to telepathically let Frodo know that she knows he has The One Ring and has seen The Eye of Sauron.

She could easily have called him out on this in front of the rest of the Fellowship and revealed that every time he uses the ring, he's practically inviting Sauron right to him, but she doesn't. She approaches him privately (albeit in his head) and speaks with him in detail later on. This allows him to keep his secrets from whomever else he chooses, leaving him some sense of power and control over his affairs, but also forces him to be vulnerable specifically to her. All of this is to say, if you have an issue with someone at work, try to sort it out on your own before inviting anyone else into the mix. You'll assert your worth to the person you feel has wronged you without tarnishing their image to others. Usually, they will respect you more and be thankful for the grace you've shown them. Hopefully this will make them a future ally rather than a very public and unpredictable enemy.

Don't be an Ice Queen: All of this talk about being aloof and separate does tend to make for more of a White Witch of Narnia aesthetic than one that's approachable. At the end of the day you want to be in control of who you "let in" and make yourself vulnerable to. Galadriel is not without a sense of humor. You don't want to be the wise cracker who no one takes seriously, but an important part of Charisma is being able to laugh and make the best of every situation. You can use your power to lighten the mood when something serious is going on. You can share personal jokes with those around you, raising yourself in their esteem as long as when it's time to get serious, you're able to return to decorum. 

Are there any other sci fi and fantasy heroines out there that you think make great models for establishing charisma and power in the workplace? I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Paleo Ghibli Feast

Seriously! Is there anything more appetizing than food in a Ghibli film? The answer is no. Between Calcifer's bacon and Spirited Away's smorgasbord of savory delicacies, I just want to float into my television and stuff my face full of delicious food every time one of these movies plays. 

Sometimes a person just needs to look at an appetizing sumptuous plate of food to feel a sense of comfort wash over them. At least, that's my belief. That doesn't always happen when you're cooking healthy and on a budget. I get so focused on just getting something made that suits my nutritional needs that I forget to take joy in the process of cooking and I certainly don't do anything that takes a longer amount of time. Sometimes it's important to treat yourself to something over the top. However, with the Holidays coming up, it's easy to fall prey to all sorts of sugary, over-sauced vittles, each one teaming with more calories than the last. It's not always easy to treat yourself well during this season when your instincts are tell you to pig out!

Well fear not! This recipe is sure to catch your eye in the same sumptuous way as all those bad choices will and fill you with all fuel you need to attack your workouts and get through the day. It's roast hen with sweet and savory root vegetables like onions, carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Be advised, this is not the kind of dish that you whip up quickly for dinner. It takes a bit of time and attention, but on the plus side, the effort is worth the juicy, tender reward.

Paleo Ghibli Feast


Cook time
30 minutes prep. ~100 minutes cook time.

  • 2 Cornish game hens (each 1 - 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4  medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 4  medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2  small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2  sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 3  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1  clove garlic, minced
  • 2  teaspoons  crushed dried rosemary
  • 2  teaspoons  crushed dried oregano
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel and chop vegetables into 1.5 inch cubes.
  3. Mix oil, balsamic, rosemary, oregano, salt and minced garlic into a small bowl.
  4. Place hens in the center of the ba
  5. king dish and surround them with carrots, parsnips, turnips, and onions.
  6. Take your small bowl containing the mixture of the oil and seasonings. Use a brush or a spoon to dress the hens and the vegetables.
  7. Place the dish in the oven for 80 minutes. Every 20 minutes, toss, the vegetables in the dish and return it to the oven.
  8. When the 80 minutes are up, remove the dish to check on the hens. They are done with they're no longer pink and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. If you have a food thermometer, the internal temperature should be 180 degrees Farenheit. 
  9. When the hens are done, move them to a serving platter and turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Cover the hens and keep them warm till the vegetables are done cooking. 
  10. Stir vegetables and cover the baking dish. Return them to the oven and continue roasting them for 20 minutes. They are done when they are tender. 
  11. Place hens on plates and surround them with the vegetables. 
  12. Serve and devour. Don't worry, you won't turn into pigs!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Air Nomad Pumpkin Naan

There certainly are a lot of Paleo "sandwich" recipes out there that call for lettuce wraps. Honestly, I love lettuce, but since it's crunchy and breaks easily, it makes for one messy wrap in my opinion. For that reason, I've been on the hunt for another type of wrap that both fits the Paleo guidelines and does it's job. I feel like that can't be too much to ask. 

These pumpkin wraps have a very neutral taste so they're good for doing any sort of wrap from burgers with a fried egg to dressed sautéed vegetables. I even enjoy them for breakfast wraps or with a light spread of cashew butter. They're light and flexible and frankly they remind me of something an Air Nomad would eat with their vegetarian diet. I could totally imagine Tenzin and his family munching on these between his training sessions with Korra. Now you can munch on them too!

Air Nomad Pumpkin Naan



  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups tapioca flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 8 oz pumpkin puree
  • .5 tsp of sea salt

  1. Heat 1/2 tbs of the coconut oil in a pan on medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. While the oil is heating, add all the other ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.
  3. Pour 1/5 of the batter into the pan and spread across the bottom evenly. It should be as thin as the pan will allow.
  4. Let it cook until the bottom is slightly browned. When you feel you can safely flip it, then do so. Keep flipping from side to side to keep the bread from burning. It should take about 3-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Repeat till you're out of batter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Train Like a Pokemon

Some people are Charmanders. They naturally evolve through their health journey as they go. The gravitate towards eating right from a young age. They get into sports early and continue to live actively. Genetics favors them with fast metabolisms and high dexterity scores. It's not to say they don't have to train in order to stay fit and eat well to keep weight off, but their evolution is a natural result of moving through life's experiences. I'm definitely not one of these people. 

Other Pokemon are harder to evolve, just like people. It takes a special combination of elements before we can morph and strengthen into the best version of ourselves.

For instance, when evolving Inkay, the players has to hold the controller upside down when he levels. This makes me think of my own journey. Simply being healthier wasn't enough motivation for me to commit to an overhaul of my eating and activity habits. For me, I had to work from the inside out. I found motivation in how mentally damaging allowing myself to continue living life on the sidelines was becoming. I found inspiration within the characters I love and my ability to portray them at fan conventions. I found Paleo and discovered a love of running and bodyweight circuits. All of the benefits I've created for myself came from a change in mentality more than a simple physical overhaul. 

Then there are those, for whom one evolution is never enough. Take Evee, for example. In her base evolution, she's pretty simple (AND ADORABLE!), but she's a jack of all trades when it comes to evolution. She could grow up to be a fairy, flame, electric, brass, water, ice, psychic or dark type Pokemon depending on how she trains. Some people are lucky to be blessed with this kind of body- one that gives them a lot of different options as far as physical activities and hobbies. They're injury free and naturally take on any physical challenge from rock climbing to marathons. Switching between methods of training is as easy for them as changing the channel. However, we can all take one lesson from Evee. Don't settle for just one routine workout. It's self limiting! You could have tons of other strengths hidden inside you. Even if you find that all these evolutions aren't your favorite, you'll never get bored. Keep trying new things. Run a Tough Mudder, try a dance class, or ask a person trainer at your gym to get you set up in the weight section. Don't settle for one evolution. You might find out you have a lot more potential! 

It's important to remember that while women and men seem to evolve differently, it's purely cosmetic. Similarly, there's no difference between a male and female Pyroar aside from how they look. Sure, male and female metabolisms are different and how our bodies are put together creates separate challenges for us, but on the whole we can work on any physical task that the opposite sex can perform. Women lift heavy just like men. Men let their hair down and take Zumba classes. We might look different, but we can use the same skills and we can take up the same challenges. Sure, each gender has it's own set of physical boons and limitations, but generally, we are all capable of the same challenges. Just because the crossfit gym is full of dudes, don't let that keep you from signing up for a free class ladies. And gentleman, if that ballroom dancing studio you pass by on your way home from work seems like fun, just go for it!

There are also folks who are just waiting for the right person to come into their life to inspire or motivate them. I was lucky enough to have a few friends whose journeys made my challenge seem possible and that really helped me kick in the door when it came to simply getting started. However, it can also be useful to surround yourself with other people who are continually focused on their own self improvement. For example, Karrablast and Shelmet need each other to evolve. They have to be traded between Pokemon trainers and as they are, they gain attributes from the other so that they can strengthen and change. Karrablast, an uninspired bug gains Shelmet's armor and becomes a tanky knight called Escavalier while the snail part of Shellmet gains the freedom of losing his armor and becomes a dextrous and speedy ninja named Accelgor. The fact is that sometimes we aren't enough on our own. We need inspiration to feed our will to persevere through challenges. That's why I always encourage the Slayers to find their fellowship and take their health journey together. If you partner up, someone will always be there to motivate you when you stumble or to cheer you on when you need to commemorate your achievements. It's dangerous to go alone! 

Train like a Pokemon. If you're not evolving, then maybe it's time to try another method. Try something new at the gym, find a friend, or look inside yourself to discover what will truly motivate you to change what's outside. Get out there and evolve in your own unique, special way!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prestidigitation Paleo French Fries

I love french fries. It's terrible. Why are they so good and yet so horrendous for you? I also love sweet potato fries EVEN MORE, and yet they're only mildly better for you than the latter. Of course, neither is Paleo unless cooked in the right oil. It's a vicious cycle where I want them, but everything I defend the choice with is really just an excuse to eat something I shouldn't be eating anyways. 

On the other hand, I love vegetables, but I'm getting really bored of salads and steaming. Don't get me wrong, broccoli will always be delicious and filling, but sometimes you want something with a little more pizazz. Salads serve a purpose, but they don't fill me with comfort or satisfy my need for something warm and a little sweet.

Lately, these conflicting feelings have left me with the incredible urge to make things taste or feel like other more delicious and unhealthy things. Call it culinary prestidigitation if you will. I'm a huge fan of D&D and I play a gnome bard who is constantly using prestidigitation to transform things into other things. She wants blue hair today? Great! She decides to turn a screaming blue jay into a songbird so she can enjoy natures melody? Go! She decides to make a piece of quartz look like an astral diamond to pay for new equipment? What an idea! So after all that fun around the gaming table, I've been thinking about the things a gnome bard would do in the kitchen if she had to eat right, but wanted to enjoy all of her unhealthier cravings at the same time. Just like slaying mindflayers on your way to the Underdark, cooking is a necessity, but it's always better when it's fun! Thusly, I had an idea to create a recipe for vegetables that tricked me into thinking I was eating fries. Since I like sweet potato fries, I decided to go for carrots because of their natural sweetness. Anyone care to gather round the fire pit at the Project Reroll tavern to see a magic trick? 

Prestidigitation Paleo French Fries

  • 8 carrots sliced into 3/4 inch thick "fries" or sticks. Use your best judgement as far as length.
  • 4 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread your carrots evenly across it. 
  3. Add your extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the garlic powder over all the fries.
  5. Roll your carrots back and forth across the parchment until everything is evenly coated in the seasoning and oil. 
  6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and flip your fries.
  8. Replace the sheet in the oven for 10 more minutes. 
  9. Remove from the oven and enjoy the mouth watering results of your magic trick!

Do you have any culinary magic you perform to stay healthy but eat yummy? By all means, share in the comments so all of our Slayers can enjoy your creative ideas! 

Tomorrow is the due date for the our first Mini Slayer Halloween Challenge! I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stitch's All Purpose Paleo Mango Salsa

I love fruit, especially when I'm trying to come down off of eating too many sweets (ahem... the Halloween Call of Cthulu and Hocus Pocus viewing party I attended with amazing pumpkin crumb cake, pumpkin juice, and candy... WOOPS). Idealy, if you're eating Paleo, you don't want to go overboard with the sweets, but if I'm feeling really sugar addicted, I'll have 3 or 4 servings for a few days and then gradually drop that down to one or two throughout the course of the week. 

Picking up a piece of fruit is easy but it's not always interesting. Sometimes, just picking up an apple or banana and easting it isn't appealing. My favorite fruit of all time happens to be mango so I decided to devise a mango salsa either for eating straight, Paleo style, or for eating with chips, chicken, talapia, salmon or anything else other people want to pair it with. It's an easy way to get in some more fruit, a few veggies, and of course to spice up an otherwise simple meal! 

Stitch's All Purpose Paleo Mango Salsa
  • 2.5 cups of peeled and diced mangos
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted, skinned, and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I don't like things super spicy, so you may want to adjust this factor based on what you like. I start with a pinch and do taste tests while mixing to find the right balance)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  1. Chop, dice, and dump all your ingredients into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Mix thoroughly. It's important because you don't want the salt or the spicy bits to get stuck in one particular clump or place
  3. Serve and eat it! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Falling Off the Wagon

Hey all, Simone here again! First of all, I just need to say that I absolutely loved Anne's post yesterday. She is spot on about the journey and the "regeneration" that comes along with making life changes. I've been having a bit of a bumpy ride lately, but I've been rallying slowly this week, and her post was an extra reminder why we keep going. So, onward!

I don't know about you guys, but Oregon Trail was one of my favorite games as a child. Exploring the Wild West? Battling the elements? Great folk songs? That game had it all. (As a proud nerd, one of my favorite parts was watching my trail marker move across the map at the bottom of the screen and anxiously checking my progress against the calendar.)

However, the adventurous course was fraught with danger, too. Weather, snakes, sickness, bandits, and river crossings could all spell disaster for your party. Sometimes it was an unavoidable accident; sometimes you choose poorly, trying to ford the river when it was much too deep, or setting a pace too strenuous to maintain.

Well, that's kind of how my October has gone.

Did anyone else get one disease, and then die of another?
Alright, so I haven't caught typhoid, cholera, or dysentery, but I have had a lot on my plate and I've been feeling fairly run down. The excitement of getting my first "adult" job came with some side effects: on top of a busy few weeks, I'm in the process of attempting to straighten out my benefit options (#firstworldproblems, I know, but reading about insurance is less than thrilling) and needing to adapt my budget, as student loan bills are incoming. However, the siren song of a slight raise and stable employment led to a bit of an online shopping spree, as my professional wardrobe is rather limited (damn you, Target and ModCloth lapse in self control).

I find that often, when you start to stray from one goal (in my case, budget adherence) your willpower also starts to waver on the rest. With a full work schedule, three nights of CrossFit a week, and usually both a night and weekend shift at my second job, things like "cooking healthy dinners" and "cleaning up the house" started to slip. And who has time to go running or pack healthy meals for work? I'll just have a Clif bar in the car.

"But it's only while the seasonal flavors are out!" you tell yourself virtuously. (Just me? Oh.)
Though I've managed to keep CrossFit a priority, as it's my favorite "me" time of the week, my diet has ultimately suffered, and the stress of mismanaged finances isn't doing me any good, either. But it's a new month, and I've got a new plan of attack!

I've put the brakes on my wardrobe overhaul (sadly, Firefly tees and jeans aren't going to cut it); I'll just have to expand it slowly over time instead of the "seasonal spree" method. I'm re-evaluating my budget and muddling through the information on selecting a health care provider and whether or not I should consolidate my federal student loans. It's not fun, but it needs to be done. Ultimately, my goal is to have a stable budget, complete with higher debt payments and a savings contribution, by January. By next fall, I'd like to have a modestly comfortable amount built up in the bank so I'm not watching my balance drop to $4 by the end of each month. (Sadly, that exaggeration isn't quite as large as I wish it was.)

Here's the fun part: with a few new crossfitters joining the crew in my garage, I've been getting some more nutrition questions, and I decided to host a "November Nutrition" challenge for everyone. So, starting today, we are all working on one nutritional goal through December 1st. Each successful day = 1 point for a total of 31 points; I'm working on prizes for everyone who gets at least 28! A number of people are going to give Whole30 a try, so for moral support (and to really "reset" my struggles lately), I will be doing my second Whole30 as well. Several other participants are focusing on reducing the amount of grain-related meals, cutting out fast food, and more. Nutrition is really the foundation of fitness and health, and I'm excited to get back on track with the best group of friends I could ever ask for!

The CrossFit pyramid: roughly 80% of your results come from your diet!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! Our group traditionally has a "Triple Holiday" party sometime in November/December, complete with Halloween costumes, a Thanksgiving potluck dinner, and a Secret Santa exchange. This year it's going to be in mid-November, so I'm still working on my Lara costume!

How did you celebrate Halloween this year? What are you focusing on in November?