Author Archives: Steph

Paleo Zucchini Fritters Recipe

Paleo Zucchini Fritters | stupideasypaleo.com

These Paleo Zucchini Fritters are one of my most favorite veggie side dishes I’ve cooked up lately. The recipe’s one I adapted from Smitten Kitchen, a really cool website.

If you have a food processor with a shredding blade, this recipe becomes even faster to make but have no fear: I broke out my trusty box grater to do the job, and it worked like a charm. The key is extracting as much moisture as possible.

Paleo Zucchini Fritters | stupideasypaleo.com

I really recommend squeezing the salted zucchini through a few layers of cheesecloth for best results. They are a bit fragile, so take care when flipping them.

These Paleo Zucchini Fritters because it’s one of the recipes in my ebook, The Paleo Athlete!

Recently I gave this post a makeover. It’s been here on the blog for two years, but I’ve recently updated with brand-new, much more appetizing photography. We eat with our eyes first, right?

Paleo Zucchini Fritters | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re interested, here’s my free series on food photography tips: Part 1Part 2, and Part 3. (Also, check out this ebook where I learned a lot of great food photo stuff!)

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Paleo Zucchini Fritters Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 4
 

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • Coconut oil or ghee for cooking

Instructions
  1. Shred the zucchini using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade. Put the shredded zucchini in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss well. Walk away for 10 minutes.
  2. Now it’s time to squeeze all the moisture out of the zucchini because nobody likes soggy fritters. Note: If you’re really salt sensitive, you may want to rinse the zucchini with water, then squeeze it out. Scoop up a generous handful of the zucchini and squeeze the living daylights out of them into a sink or bowl. You want them dry. Place in a different bowl.
  3. Add the coconut flour, egg and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a large spoonful of ghee or coconut oil in the pan. Pack a ¼ cup measuring cup with the zucchini mixture, pressing it down inside the cup. Turn the cup out onto the pan and flatten the zucchini until you get a patty. You can also use a disher or just eyeball it. I fit about 4 or 5 in a large skillet at one time.
  5. Cook each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Repeat until you‘ve used up all the zucchini mixture. Be sure to add more ghee or coconut oil to the pan each time you start a new batch.
  6. Cool on a cooling rack so they don’t get soggy.

Notes
Add garlic powder or onion powder to the mix.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives or parsley.
Serve with a homemade dipping sauce like Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo.

Paleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.comPaleo Zucchini Fritters - The Paleo Athlete | stupideasypaleo.com

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Paleo Zucchini Fritters | stupideasypaleo.com

Have you ever made zucchini fritters? What’d you think?

CrossFit Open 15.5 Nutrition Strategy

CrossFit Open 15.5 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re participating in the Open, I’ve written a CrossFit Open 15.5 nutrition strategy for you!

15.5 is going to challenge even the most elite competitors. This couplet of rowing and thrusters is going to burn through some major glycogen and leave you gassed.

Eating well in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Open is the biggest way to set up a strong foundation for your best performance, but there are certainly some things to think about for 15.5.

If you’re doing The Open, the workout for the fifth (and last) week is:

15.5

27-21-15-9 reps for time of:

Row (calories)
Thrusters

Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.

Going hard enough to get a good score while keeping yourself from red-lining and blowing up is going to be critical!

I competed in The Open three times and went to Regionals in 2013, so I know exactly how this one is going to feel: painful. This is the last WOD so give it your best effort!

Click here for full detailed nutrition strategy for the CrossFit Open 15.5

If you need some inspiration for meals, check out my award-winning, newly released The Performance Paleo Cookbook or read up on the science behind it in my best-selling ebook The Paleo Athlete!

Pin this for later!

CrossFit Open 15.5 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lime & Crispy Shallots Recipe

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Recipe | stupideasypaleo.comSteph’s note: This Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lime & Crispy Shallots Recipe comes to you courtesy of my very good friend Rach from Meatified. She wrote the most ah-may-zing new cookbook (release date: March 24, 2015!) called Nourish: The Paleo Healing Cookbook, and this is one of its recipes.

Nourish has 120 AIP-friendly (90% of which are Whole30-friendly) recipes designed to help you through the elimination phase of AIP and saves you from eating the same boring, repetitive foods. The recipes are all free from eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades and seed spices. Many are coconut-free or have coconut alternatives. (See the full index here.) She’s got tons of creative flavor combinations, plus ultra-healing foods such as bone broth and gelatin included for good measure. Click here to order it right now! Take it away, Rach!

Mr. Meatified still says he hates Brussels sprouts. But he loves them when they’re cooked like this. Slicing the Brussels sprouts super finely makes them caramelize all over instead of just on the outside and the lime juice creates a tangy glaze.

Topping them off with crispy shallots makes these “mini cabbages” crispy-crunchy and downright addictive! Brussels are packed with vitamin K and vitamin C, to boot, making them a badass vegetable when it comes to potent anti-inflammatory benefits!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

 

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lime & Crispy Shallots
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 4
 

Ingredients
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) coconut or avocado oil, divided
  • 1 lb (454 g) brussels sprouts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Instructions
  1. CRISP: Peel the shallots and cut each in half. Slice the shallots finely. In a large skillet over low-medium heat, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil. When the oil is hot and beginning to shimmer, add the shallots and toss them in the oil to coat, then spread them out in a single layer. Cook until golden, stirring frequently to avoid burning, about 5 – 8 minutes. Once the shallots are golden-brown and crispy, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Watch them carefully as the shallots will burn easily – it’s better to take them out when then still look a little underdone, especially if you’re cooking them in a black skillet!
  2. CARAMELIZE: Cut the stems from the bottom of each sprout and discard. Pull off any loose leaves and slice the rest of the sprouts finely. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the loose leaves and the sliced brussels sprouts to the pan, along with the salt. Cook until the brussels sprouts begin to caramelize at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the lime juice and toss to coat. Continue to cool until caramelized and just tender, about 8 minutes. Top with the reserved crispy shallots and either serve immediately as a side, or let cool slightly and use as a salad base.

 

Click here to order Nourish!

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

CrossFit Open 15.4 Nutrition Strategy

CrossFit Open 15.4 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re participating in the Open, I’ve written a CrossFit Open 15.4 nutrition strategy for you!

So far, the workouts have been pretty true to CrossFit’s roots, and 15.4 is no different: an AMRAP ascending ladder of handstand push-ups and cleans.

Eating well in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Open is the biggest way to set up a strong foundation for your best performance, but there are certainly some things to think about for 15.4.

If you’re doing The Open, the workout for the fourth week is:

15.4

8-minute AMRAP:

3 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
6 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
9 handstand push-ups
3 cleans
12 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
15 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
18 handstand push-ups
6 cleans
21 handstand push-ups
9 cleans
Etc., following same pattern

M 185 lb.  F 125 lb.

The lynch-pin is going to be the handstand push-ups for most people. The reps quickly escalate and if you’re not careful to stay just under your limit, it’s easy to fatigue to the point of failure. In such a short workout it’ll be hard to recover if you burn your shoulders and arms out.

I competed in The Open three times and went to Regionals in 2013, so I know exactly how this one is going to feel. It’s going to fly by!

Click here for full detailed nutrition strategy for the CrossFit Open 15.4

If you need some inspiration for meals, check out my award-winning, newly released The Performance Paleo Cookbook or read up on the science behind it in my best-selling ebook The Paleo Athlete!

Pin this for later!

CrossFit Open 15.4 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.comCrossFit Open 15.4 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Food Photography Tips: Part 4

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Welcome to Part 4 of my series Food Photography Tips! (Click here to read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.)

I’m on a mission to help beginners make their food photos look better, so we’re going to jump right in with some info about basic editing techniques.

I’ll be covering the basics of editing in this post, plus showing you a complete editing workflow example from start to finish.

Food Photography Tips: Editing

A lot can be done to improve your photos with the right editing tweaks. On the other hand, it’s also easy to really overdo it and make food look pretty unnatural. With that in mind, I’m going to share editing basics with you so you can start to enhance your food photography.

Editing Software

Let’s start with editing software. There are tons of programs, sites and software you can use to edit your photos. Keep in mind that free versions are usually more restricted in what you can do, whether it’s with adjustments, export options, file organization and more.

(I use a Mac so all my recommendations are specific to Mac-friendly programs. Sorry, PC dudes and dudettes.)

At the most basic, you can use a program like Preview to view and make some simple edits like exposure, contrast and saturation on your photos. You can also use iPhoto to do similar.

For web-based programs, options like PicMonkey.com give you quite a bit of functionality.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

For folks who are more serious about taking things to the next level, you have options.

Aperture (for Mac) was my go-to program until a few months ago because its library system, dashboard, and controls were very similar to iPhoto.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

It was a natural transition for that reason, but unfortunately, Apple is no longer supporting Aperture via new updates. I decided it was time to jump ship to a new program for that reason.

Many folks I know use Photoshop for the bulk of their food photography editing, and it can do amazing things. I tend to find Adobe products not quite as intuitive so it took a while to get used to it, and I’m only barely scratching the surface of its potential.

https://wFood Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.comww.apple.com/aperture/

The main downfall of Photoshop is its lack of filing or library system to organize your pictures. I use Photoshop for certain tasks, though more for designing graphics.

I made the switch to Lightroom a couple months back after a few failed attempts at converting. My main struggle was in understanding the library system that Lightroom utilizes—because it’s so different from Aperture—so I actually did a couple online tutorials from Lynda.com. to learn more about it.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Turns out, after a short adjustment period, I really love Lightroom!

Basic Editing Adjustments

Let’s talk adjustments. While there are dozens you can make to your photos, I’m highlighting some of the most basic here. We can break it down simply into a few main categories: adjustments related to light and dark, color, and other interesting features like sharpness. Again, these are just some of the most fundamental.

Light and Dark

How can you adjust the lightness or darkness of an image? First is exposure, the overall amount of light in the photo. Cranking the exposure up will eventually make it too bright or “blown out.” Dialing it down makes it really dark. While higher or lower than normal exposure can lead to dramatic effects in photography, with food it generally looks bad; either the food is too shiny or you can’t see it.

Next, you can adjust highlights and shadows. Highlights take the brightest parts of your image, say, the reflection of a window on an apple and make it even brighter or conversely, dull those lightest parts down.

Shadows deal with the darkest parts of a picture. By adjusting the shadows up or down, you can make them more or less intense. I find that most of my photos need a bit of shadow lifted off simply because of how I shoot and prefer the light to hit my subjects (from the side). Sometimes, minor adjustments in highlights and shadows are all that’s needed to make the photo pop.

Lastly, trying playing around with contrast. It’s going to accentuate the difference between darks and lights in your photo—and also intensify or dull the colors—and make it more dramatic. Sometimes I’ll adjust the contrast once I’m happy with the exposure, highlights, shadows and white balance. It’s personal preference, but I like a bit more contrast in my photos because it adds visual interest without making the photo look unnatural.

Color

Perhaps the single fastest way to correct a photo—or to make it look weird—is by adjusting the white balance. Essentially white balance is composed of two color ranges: blue to yellow (warmth), and green to pink (tint). The goal with most food photos should be an image that looks like it was shot in white light—not too yellow or blue and with a normal amount of tint. Remember to keep lamps and other light sources (unless it’s a dedicated photography light) off while you’re shooting since the tendency is for those to throw a yellow cast on to your food.

Even the most well-intentioned photographer can end up with photos that need white balancing because, for example, darker or cloudy mornings (particularly in the winter) can lead to blue casts on the food. Sometimes weather or outdoor conditions need to be accounted for.

It can be tricky to adjust white balance, but most advanced programs have pretty good auto balance features or pickers / samplers that let you pick a neutral point in your photo to set the white balance from. Think of them like a frame of reference where you tell the computer, “This is supposed to be neutral white or grey,” and it adjusts the warmth and tint for you. I like to sneak in something white or grey into my photos for that reason. Even something as simple as a basic white sack cloth can help you balance the color later.

Once you’ve adjusted the white balance, consider other color adjustments like saturation and vibrance. Caution: These are very potent features! A little goes a long way. Saturation is how concentrated the colors in a photo are. Turn it up all the way and you’ll see how garish the colors gets. If you turn it down all the way, you’ll end up with a black and white photo.

Since it’s easy to overdo saturation, I prefer to avoid it in most cases and use vibrance instead. It take just the weakest colors of a photo and bumps them up. Again, use caution because it’s still easy to overdo it and end up with something that looks like abstract art and not realistic-looking food.

Other Interesting Edits

Fixing blemishes in your photo is possible in most advanced editing programs such as Photoshop (PS) and Lightroom (LR). This is one place where I think PS excels over LR and has better functionality and spot matching.

I really try to make my photos as clean as possible before editing because, while these blemish tools can do amazing things, when you start trying to fix large areas of the photo, things can get weird fast.

With that in mind, get into the habit of wiping plate / bowl rims, dusting off your table or backdrops, looking for pet hair, etc. There’s a difference between adding crumbs to a photo on purpose or spilling some salt artfully on the table and having poorly plated food. A little neatness goes a long way later on.

Other helpful basic adjustments are things like sharpness or clarity. Again, treat these tools gingerly. Too much sharpness can make food look piece-y or artificial against its background. Sometimes too much luminance (an adjustment in LR) makes food look too soft.

One more thing to keep in mind: Most editing programs have auto functions and while I’ve found they can be quite good, sometimes the software doesn’t get it right. Be sure to always check your auto-edited photos before you post them, and remember to turn off screen darkening programs—like f.lux—and adjust the brightness of your display before you begin editing.

How I Edit My Photos: A Sample Workflow

Here’s a basic workflow I use on much of my photography. Individual photos may vary, but I try to keep things as simple as possible by using good light to begin with.

(Note: Click on the screenshots of my LR dashboard to enlarge them. I normally don’t set my blog photos up this way, but I want you to be able to see the details.)

Once I import my photos to LR, I quickly scan through and flag which ones I want to edit. (Hint: Hit the P key to flag your top picks).

Here’s a shoot I did recently for my Cabbage with Apple & Onion recipe. The original was really, really bad. (Like, really.) Taken at night with my old Canon Elph point & shoot, too close with yellow lighting and obviously, the styling was seriously lacking.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 4.59.11 PM

I cooked it up again and styled it simply, but in a much more pleasing way. I took advantage of bright early afternoon, indirect light and added some burlap and my favorite kitchen towel (click here to see where I get props) for texture.

I kept the plating basic—just using the skillet I cooked it in—and put it all on top of my Erickson Woodworks reclaimed barn wood background for a rustic feel. Lastly, I blocked some light from the left to add a bit of shadowing using my trusty black foam board.

I’m using a Nikon D610 DSLR camera body. My lens choice here was the Nikkor 50mm f / 1.4 that I just picked up on sale. It’s way more pricey than my budget 50mm f / 1.8 (I used that for my whole cookbook), but it was time to upgrade.

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

Okay, so after importing to LR, this is what I’m seeing in the Develop pane. It’s already shaping up to be much better, but this photo could use some tweaks.

First, I notice that the tint is a bit pink which I’d like to change. I also want to straighten the photo to make those barn wood planks vertical. Looks like it could use a bit of adjustment with exposure and contrast. And, I’d like to correct a couple blemishes.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Today I decided to straighten this photo first. To do that I click on the Crop & Straighten tool. It looks like a box with dotted lines. From there, I slide the Angle adjustment until the planks look vertical.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

That should do it. Then, I click done.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Next, I’m going to tackle the white balance.

Shooting in RAW gives me far more options for adjusting white balance than shooting in JPEG. If you’re a novice, JPEG can work just fine, but I recommend getting comfy with RAW by practicing. (Note: RAW files are much larger than JPEGs so you’ll need an external or cloud-based storage system if you do a lot of photography in RAW.)

I’m in the Basic editing pane now, right at the top. Note the range of options LR gives me for editing the white balance because I shot this in RAW.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Sometimes, the Auto white balance looks just fine. Other times, it looks off.

You can help things along by using a white or grey object in your photo, then using the dropper / picker tool to click on a target neutral to set the white balance.

Note the Temp (blue to yellow) and Tint (green to pink) of the original. It’s a bit cool (blue) and pink for my liking.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

When I try to that in this photo, I’m having a hard time finding RGB values that are very close to each other. So, I resorted to Auto, and it looks good to me. Slightly warmer and less pink.

Note the Temp value warmed up to 4050K and the Tint dropped down from +26 to +18 (less pink). I’m happy with how this looks, so I move on to adjusting other Tone settings.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re new to editing, the Auto function under Tone can do a pretty good job. I find it tends to overexpose photos, so if I’m in a rush, I sometimes hit Auto, then drop the exposure back down a bit.

Here’s what happens when I hit Auto Tone. Looks pretty good. Note how the adjustments changed, including highlights, shadows, whites and blacks.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

If I’m in less of a rush, I tend to adjust Tone manually, starting with exposure, then changing things like contrast and lifting shadows. Use these tools conservatively or you’ll end up with photos that look pretty freaky.

Compare the values I adjusted to what Auto did. Notice how mine are a bit more conservative.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

I’m happy with my adjustments so I’m moving on to spot correction.

Now, this is a bit picky, but there are a couple spots I want to correct out of preference. When I’m editing for a cookbook, I’m way more detail-oriented than when I’m editing for the blog.

See where the arrow is pointing? I want to get rid of that bit of cabbage.

So, I click on the Brush tool (round circle with an arrow), and click on Heal. I adjust the size of the circle until it matches the size of that cabbage crumb.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Then, I hover over the blemish and click. LR picks an area of the photo to heal. I can move that around to get a perfect match.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

I lift a couple other spots off the skillet handle, then click done.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

This is almost ready to export, but I want to check all my changes. There are a few options here.

Use the shortcut by pressing \ on your keyboard, and it’ll toggle between a full-screen view of before and after.

Or, you can toggle between a few different split screen views of the before / after by clicking down at the bottom of the pane next to the full screen image icon.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

My last step is to Export the image. I select the photo I want to export, then right click to bring up the options. (Or, use Export in the nav bar.) I use some different pre-sets most of the time, such as export file type and size, especially if I’m batch exporting for use on my blog and the photos can be the same.

Food Photography Tips: Part 4 | stupideasypaleo.com

Then, I add a watermark (using Photobulk or Photoshop) or text overlay (using Photoshop or for a free option, PicMonkey), and I’m done.

Here’s the finished image as it appears on the blog.

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

I know it sounds like a lot of steps, but once you develop a workflow that works for you (and you practice enough), you’ll get really efficient.

To sum it up, most food photos are best when the it still looks natural. Personal style and artistic touches are certainly part of food photography so experiment to see what you like, but keep in mind that some basics still apply.

Click below for the other parts of this series.

Food Photography Tips—Part 1 | stupideasypaleo.com
Food Photography Tips—Part 2
Food Photography Tips: Part 3 | stupideasypaleo.com

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Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

This Cabbage with Apple & Onion side dish is perfect for whipping together on a busy night, and it easily doubles to feed a larger crowd.

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

This one comes together in less than 10 minutes and is a good way to use up cabbage that’s sort of wilted or apples that have gotten a bit soft. It was the perfect accompaniment to some delicious pan-fried pork chops.

Cabbage with Apple & Onion isn’t a new recipe—it’s been here on the blog for two years—but it’s one that I’ve recently updated with brand-new, much more appetizing photography. We eat with our eyes first, right?

If you’re interested, here’s my free series on food photography tips: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (Also, check out this ebook where I learned a lot of great food photo stuff!)

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

Cabbage with Apple and Onion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 2
 

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • ½ small cabbage, sliced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, optional
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the ghee.
  2. Add the onion and apple, cooking and stirring until the onions are translucent and the apple softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage and cook about 3 minutes more.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and cook for another few minutes until the vinegar has reduced a bit and everything is cooked through.
  5. Season with caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste.

 

Pin this for later!

Cabbage with Apple & Onion Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s your favorite way to prepare cabbage as a side dish?

CrossFit Open 15.3 Nutrition Strategy

CrossFit Open 15.3 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re participating in the Open, I’ve got a CrossFit Open 15.3 nutrition strategy that I wrote just for you!

So far, we’ve seen a classic couplet plus a separately scored max lift in 15.1, then a repeat of last year’s 14.2 ascending ladder. Now, 15.3 is a challenging triplet AMRAP (as many rounds / reps as possible) of muscle ups, wall balls, and double-unders.

It’s safe to say that eating well in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Open is the biggest way to set up a strong foundation for your best performance, but there are definitely some key pieces to think about based on the challenges in 15.3.

If you’re doing The Open, the workout for the third week is:

15.3

14-minute AMRAP:

7 muscle-ups
50 wall balls
100 double-unders

M 20-lb. ball to 10’
F 14-lb. ball to 9’

There is a scaled division workout if you don’t have a muscle up or double-unders yet, and it’s:

14-minute AMRAP:

50 wall balls
200 single-unders

M 20-lb. ball to 9’
F 10-lb. ball to 9’

AMRAPs are all about how much you can push through the urge to stop! If you’re skilled at muscle ups, those will be a fatiguing component right off the start.

The wall balls are a grinder no matter what division you’re competing in, so remember to rest only briefly; it’s easy to stand around trying to catch your breath. As for double- or single-unders, try to maintain a stacked body position and keep your movements relaxed yet controlled.

I competed in The Open three times and went to Regionals in 2013, so you could say I’m pretty familiar with how to eat for these types of workouts.

Click here for full detailed nutrition strategy for the CrossFit Open 15.3

There’s still time to get in on my free meal plans for The Open, too! Click here to get yours.

And, if you need some inspiration for meals, check out my award-winning, newly released The Performance Paleo Cookbook or read up on the science behind it in my ebook The Paleo Athlete!

Pin this for later!

CrossFit Open 15.3 Nutrition Strategy | stupideasypaleo.com

Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Meet the ManBearPig

Lift Weights Faster 2 by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Today’s post is from my strength sister, Jen Sinkler. Jen’s an absolute dynamo, a super strong woman, and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to strength and conditioning. A regular contributor to Shape, Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines, you could say she knows a thing or two about making fitness approachable. You know that I’m a huge fan of getting strong, and I invited her to the blog to show you one of her favorite time-saving workouts. Take it away, Jen!

Why Lift Weights Faster?

I’m a big fan of simple, super-fast, super-intense workouts. Big fan. Huge. (And if you didn’t catch that “Pretty Woman” reference, I don’t even know what to say you.)

Don’t get me wrong, you’d be hard-pressed to find a workout I wouldn’t enjoy. Oftentimes a conditioning circuit that assembles a variety of equipment and different movements is just right for building well-rounded strength in every plane of motion. And then there’s times when it’s just you and the barbell, and it’s showtime.

This is one of those times. (Well, plus a pull-up bar, too, for a little extra spark.)

This particular circuit is close to a combo, or you could call it a combo-plus, due to the pull-up finale. (Speaking of pull-ups, if you haven’t caught it yet, check out my video from my Lift Weights Faster e-course on “How To Incorporate Pull-Ups in Your Conditioning, Even If You Can’t Do Pull-ups.” I’ve got two bandless variations for you that could work well in this circuit.)

Combos are a little bit nasty-good because reps flow right into one another without a break. Factor that in with the total body-strength required for each movement and remember: Rest is your friend. Take enough of it that your reps stay squeaky-clean and when you’re working you’re really werkin’.

With just one rep per movement, choose a challenging-yet-doable weight and select it based on what your limiting lift is (the one you can use the least weight). Keep your reps clean and crisp, and make good use of your rest time at the bottom of each round. Next time, squeeze in an extra rep or two, if possible. Can you catch The ManBearPig, in the name of progress?

The Workout

Name: The ManBearPig

Suggested Equipment: Just your bod, a weighted barbell, a pull-up bar and a desire to move pounds.

Instructions: This circuit is nearly a combo. Complete one repetition of the first three movements without putting the bar down. In other words, you’ll complete one deadlift, then one hang power snatch, then one overhead squat before hitting the pull-up bar. Perform this circuit as many times as possible in 10 minutes, resting as needed between rounds.

Suggested Time: 10 Minutes

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Barbell Snatch-Grip Deadlift

  • First, find the right grip width for your body by lifting an unloaded bar to your hips. Move your hands far enough apart so that the barbell can settle into your hip crease when you bend over at the hips. Your hands will be much wider than your conventional deadlift grip, and the barbell will likely hit your body at the hipbones. This is your snatch grip position.
  • Assuming a shoulder-width stance, feet pointing straight forward or slightly outward, step up to the bar so that your shins are touching the bar. From this point on, the bar should remain in contact with your body. Your shins should be vertical.
  • Hinge at the hips and push your butt back as far as you easily can. You will have to bend at the knees more than you would during a conventional deadlift to able to grasp the bar with a wider grip-width.
  • With your wide-hand position you found earlier, grip the bar with a double-overhand grip (both palms facing toward you).
  • Take a breath.
  • Get your chest up — someone across the room should be able to read what the front of your
    shirt says.
  • Push the floor away, and stand up with the weight. Stand tall with your shoulders back and your chest up at lockout.
  • Note: Your hips should not shoot up before the bar leaves the floor. If the hips move, the bar should move.

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Barbell Hang Power Snatch

  • First, find the right grip width for your body by lifting an unloaded bar to your hips. Move your hands far enough apart so that the barbell can settle into your hip crease when you bend over at the hips. Your hands will be much wider than your conventional deadlift grip, and the barbell will likely hit your body at the hipbones. This is your snatch grip position.
  • Next, bend down, taking a hook grip on the barbell (meaning you hold onto your thumbs as part of the bar), then deadlift it into position.
  • Keeping your chest up, break at the knees and let the bar slide down your legs anywhere from just an inch or two to all the way down to just below your knees. All qualify as a “hang” position, and can be used for different purposes in training.
  • Explosively extend your hips, simultaneously shrugging your shoulders.
  • At the bar’s highest and “lightest” point — when it feels almost weightless in the air — pull your body under it by quickly dropping your hips low and shifting your feet into a squat stance.
  • Simultaneously punch the bar above you and catch it overhead, with arms locked out in a “V” shape, hips in a partial squat (parallel or higher).
  • Stand up with the barbell, then return the weight to the floor. (If you don’t have bumper plates, bring the bar first to your hip crease, and then to the floor.) Repeat, taking care to reset your body position with each rep.

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Overhead Squat

  • Grip the bar in a snatch grip, then snatch the bar overhead. Or, if you’re using a rack, position your body under the bar as you would a back squat, back out of the rack, and then position your hands in a snatch grip position. Next, power jerk the bar overhead from that position.
  • Keeping your arms fully locked out overhead, initiate the squat by dropping your butt back slightly and down, bending your knees.
  • Keeping your torso upright and your knees tracking in line with your feet, lower yourself as far as you are comfortably able. (If it’s not very far, adjust your foot position and try turning your toes slightly outward, but don’t force anything.)
  • While lowering your body, keep the bar directly over your arches your feet; your arms may track behind your ears.
  • Again keeping the bar locked out overhead and your knees tracking with the direction of your feet, return to standing. Repeat.

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Chin-Up

  • Grip a pull-up bar with palms facing you.
  • Pulling your elbows down and back, pull yourself as high as you can.
  • When your chin clears the bar or — even better — your chest touches, lower yourself with control. (Really, these should be called chest-ups.)

Want to make your conditioning stupid-easy (to organize)?

If you’re looking to amp up your conditioning in creative and productive ways, I’ve put together a mammoth 180-workout pick-and-choose library called Lift Weights Faster 2.

Lift Weights Faster 2 by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of nearly 270 exercises (from classic moves to more unusual ones — the Jefferson deadlift, anyone?), a video library that includes coaching on 30 of the more technical lifts, 10 challenge-workout videos, plus a dynamic warm-up routine, I’ve combined my training and athletic experience with my long background in magazine publishing to create a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that you’ll want to turn to all the time.

Every workout is organized by the equipment you have available and how much time you’ve got, with options that last anywhere from five up to 30 minutes.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I teamed up with my husband, David Dellanave, to create a strength program companion resource called Get Stronger Faster 2 to help you take your strength level to the next level. This completes the total workout package and helps you get results, faster.

For more info, click HERE.   

ManBearPig Workout: Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.com

Lift Weights Faster 2 by Jen Sinkler | stupideasypaleo.comJen Sinkler, RKC II, PCC, PM, USAW, is a longtime fitness writer for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis. Jen talks fitness, food, happy life and general health topics at her website, www.jensinkler.com.

Paleo Breakfast Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Breakfast Stuffed Peppers are a great way to change up your morning meal routine!

These require a bit of prep time, so I usually make them on weekends when I’m not super busy. If you want to bump up the protein content, mix in some grass-fed ground meat with the spinach or layer it between the spinach and egg.

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers | stupideasypaleo.com

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 red bell peppers (any color bell pepper works)
  • 16 oz bag frozen, chopped spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking dish with foil.
  2. Cut off the top of each pepper, and remove the seeds.
  3. Place peppers into the dish, and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, defrost the spinach. Squeeze the moisture out of the spinach.
  5. Remove peppers from oven and stuff the bottoms evenly with the defrosted spinach.
  6. Crack an egg into the top ½ of each pepper.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the egg whites are set and not transparent.

 

You may recognize this (or maybe not) as a recipe that’s had a facelift. Here’s the difference in the photos.

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers | stupideasypaleo.com

If you want to know more about how I’ve improved my food photography, see my free blog series on Food Photography Tips. Here’s how I set up the shot:

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers | stupideasypaleo.com

Click for Part 1Part 2, and Part 3. This ebook also helped me learn a lot of basics about photography.

Pin this for later!

stuffed peppers pinterest

Would you eat stuffed peppers for breakfast?

CrossFit Open 15.2 Nutrition Strategy

CrossFit Open 15.2 Nutrition Strategy

If you’re participating in the Open, I’ve written a CrossFit Open 15.2 nutrition strategy for you!

15.1 threw a curveball at the field with a separately scored, two-part workout of a classic AMRAP triplet plus a time-capped max clean and jerk. And now, 15.2 has been announced as the encore to last year’s 14.2! If you did The Open last year, this is a great one to test your progress and see how much fitter you are.

It’s safe to say that eating well in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Open is the biggest way to set up a strong foundation for your best performance, but there are definitely some key pieces to think about based on what 15.2 is throwing your way.

If you’re doing The Open, the workout for the second week is:

15.2

For as long as possible:

From 0:00-3:00
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
10 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
2 rounds of:
12 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
12 chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
2 rounds of:
14 overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.)
14 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern

This one’s all about how much you’re willing to suffer and tough it out, pushing yourself into to the next rounds for ever-increasing reps of overhead squats and chest to bar pull-ups.

I competed in The Open three times and went to Regionals in 2013, so you could say I’m pretty familiar with how to eat for these types of workouts.

Click here for full detailed nutrition strategy for the CrossFit Open 15.2.

There’s still time to get in on my free meal plans for The Open, too! Click here to get yours.

And, if you need some inspiration for meals, check out my award-winning, newly released The Performance Paleo Cookbook or read up on the science behind it in my ebook The Paleo Athlete!

Pin this for later!

CrossFit Open 15.2 Nutrition Strategy

Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Hard boiled eggs are part of my weekly food prep, but they can be such a pain to peel.

If the eggs are really fresh, the white is still very voluminous which can make the membrane stick to the shell. The result is often a million pieces of broken shell that pull bits of white off until it looks more cratered than the dark side of the moon. Not only is it annoying, it’s wasteful.

Now, I know everyone has their tried-and-true method for hard boiled eggs. If you have something that works for you, that’s awesome. Keep doing it!

From personal experience, I thought I had my method on lockdown. I used to boil the eggs, then plunge into icy cold water. And while it worked (most of the time), it wasn’t foolproof. I’d sometimes get batches where the white would stick to the shell and end up frustrated.

After seeing steamed eggs mentioned on The Kitchn, I knew I had to try this method, but I was skeptical. I mean, my boiling method worked most of the time. Reluctantly, I dragged out my steamer basket. (It was shoved into the back of a kitchen drawer, long forgotten as a relic of my low-fat cooking days when every vegetable was meticulously steamed.)

The results blew me away. Even fresh “hard boiled” eggs peeled with ease. Their shelly coats slipped right off, making peeling a breeze.

Click below to watch the video or keep scrolling down for a photo tutorial:

Plus, I didn’t need to add salt or oil or vinegar to the water. I didn’t have to poke holes in the bottom or leave them in my fridge for a week. I didn’t need to add one at a time to a Mason jar and shake the shell off. I didn’t have to do some incantation over the pot and hope for the best.

So, here’s the easiest way to make hard boiled eggs with shells that come off every single time: You steam them.

First, fill a medium pot with about an inch of water. Make sure your steamer basket fits before you do this. Bring the water to a boil. (Usually, I add the water and basket, then bring the water to a boil, but I wanted show you there was water in the bottom.)

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Carefully add the steamer basket. Don’t burn yourself!

DSC_3812

Add the eggs straight from the fridge if you can. (The temperature difference from cold to steam is what helps loosen the shell from the egg’s inner membrane.) Cover.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Set a timer for 10 minutes for medium-well yolks. They will be just a bit tender in the middle instead of fully yellow and dry. That’s my preference. For well-done yolks that are light yellow all the way through, steam for 11 minutes. (Note: If you live at high altitude, you’ll have to adjust for longer time.)

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Meanwhile, set up a bowl with ice water. It needs to have ice so there is a big temperature difference again. Cold water without ice won’t work as well.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Move the eggs from the pot to the ice bath. Chill the eggs for 10-15 minutes.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

To peel, I tap the more rounded end of the egg on the counter to get it started.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Then, I peel straight down and as I go around, the shell comes off in big sections.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

Store in the refrigerator for later or eat right away.

Easy, right? That’s all there is to it. It’s quick and easy to make these hard boiled eggs, and no special equipment like a rice steamer or pressure cooker is required.

Give it a try and let me know how it went in the comments below!

Pin this for later!

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs | stupideasypaleo.com

 

CrossFit Open 15.1 Nutrition Strategy

CrossFit Open 15.1 Nutrition Strategy

If you’re participating in the Open, I’ve written a CrossFit Open 15.1 nutrition strategy for you!

It’s safe to say that eating well in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Open is the biggest way to set up a strong foundation for your best performance, but there are definitely some key pieces to think about based on what 15.1 is throwing your way.

If you’re doing The Open, the workout for the first week is:

15.1

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 9 minutes of:

15 toes-to-bars
10 deadlifts (115 / 75 lb.)
5 snatches (115 / 75 lb.)

15.1a

1-rep-max clean and jerk
6-minute time cap

This classic metcon rolls straight into a max-effort clean and jerk which presents some unique challenges for fueling.

I competed in The Open three times and made it to Regionals in 2013, so you could say I’m pretty familiar with how to eat for these types of workouts.

Click here for full detailed nutrition strategy for the CrossFit Open 15.1.

There’s still time to get in on my free meal plans for The Open, too! Click here to get yours.

And, if you need some inspiration for meals, check out my award-winning, newly released The Performance Paleo Cookbook or read up on the science behind it in my ebook The Paleo Athlete!

Pin this for later!

CrossFit Open 15.1 Nutrition Strategy

 

Are you doing the Open this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Stupid-Easy Beekeeping: Part 1

Steph’s Note: Today’s post is from the lovely Diana Rodgers, author of the soon-to-be-released gorgeous book, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook: Over 100 Delicious, Gluten-Free, Farm-to-Table Recipes, and a Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Healthy Food. Diana pitched me the idea of raising bees, and my answer was a resounding yes. I’m a nature-lover at heart and this fits within the confines of not having enough space to keep any other typical backyard critters. I’ll be updating you on my adventures as I go along! I’ve already purchased my hive components, ordered my bees, and taken some classes from local experts. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com

I love finding out that my Paleo friends are into homesteading-type hobbies, like that one time Steph mentioned on my Instagram feed that she really wanted to keep bees. You just never know who loves to get their hands dirty!

So when I included a chapter on beekeeping in my new book, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook, which is all about connecting with our food, I thought about Steph and wondered if she’d be interested in getting her very own colony and then telling me about her experiences.

I sent her a text and got an immediate and excited reply that yes, she was very, very interested. I sent her a digital copy of the book so she could read the chapter on beekeeping (the book lands at stores in March) and suggested she check out the San Diego Beekeepers Association, which has some great links to local beekeeping resources, including a beekeeping supply store right in San Diegolocal place to get a new colony of bees, and lots of online tutorials. How cool is that?!

I’m getting Steph all set up with a hive, bees, and all the gear so that she can have her very own backyard beehive. Not only is honey a delicious and healthy sweetener, but because of pesticides and mosquito spraying, bee populations across the country are in danger, and we need more beekeepers!

If you’d like to join Steph in becoming a backyard beekeeper, read on for an excerpt from The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. Before you buy any bees or equipment, make sure you have any licenses your town requires, and chat with your neighbors first to tell them about your plans to keep bees. Check out the book for more on beekeeping, such as how to harvest honey and common issues beekeepers face.

Bees FAQs

How far do bees fly? Bees forage in a two- to three-mile radius from the hive.

How many hives should I get? Start with two. There will be losses every year, and having two increases the chance of at least one hive making it through the winter. Also, if one hive is low on honey, the second can help make up the deficiency.

How much honey will I get? You can get up to about 100 pounds of honey from one hive, not including what you need to leave for the bees, but in the first year it’s likely to be less.

How often do beekeepers get stung? Every hive has its own personality; some are more passive or aggressive than others. The hive’s aggressiveness also depends on the weather and the state of the hive. If a hive is healthy, it’s a sunny day, and the bees are busy foraging, then the beekeeper may not need any protection from stings at all.

Do bees really die after stinging someone? Yes, if a worker bee stings you, it will die shortly after. A queen bee may survive after stinging, but it’s extremely uncommon to be stung by a queen.

Ordering the Bees

There are several types of bees, all with different characteristics. If you’re new to beekeeping, I suggest starting with Italian, Carolina, or Russian bees. They are all gentle, productive, and hearty.

Just like chicks, bees arrive in the mail. (Steph’s note: I ordered some that I’m picking up locally.) Place your order in January so that you’ll have them by the time you’re ready to start the hive in the spring.

Your initial order of bees will be about 3 pounds, or 15,000 bees, which is just right for a new hive, and will come in a package that’s about the size of a large shoe box. Be sure to order a marked queen—the dot on her back will help you easily identify her when you check on your hive.

There are many online bee suppliers, but I’ve found that the best way to find one is to ask at your local bee club, which probably has a “new beekeeper” program. Let your post office know that you’re expecting a package of bees about a week before they’re due to arrive, and give them your phone number so that they can call you to pick them up. Make sure you have your hive fully put together before you get the call from the post office.

Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com

The Equipment

The most important piece of equipment, of course, is the hive. I suggest you start with the most common beehive, the ten-frame Langstroth, which sort of looks like a chest of drawers. You can put it together yourself or buy it preassembled. Look for the higher-quality wood versions instead of the ones made from plastic or other materials; they’re built better and will last longer.

Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com

A hive is made of the following parts:

  • Screened bottom board: The bottom board is the floor of the beehive. A screened bottom board, rather than a standard one, helps control mites: When the mites fall off the bees, they can’t crawl back up into the hive.
  • Deep hive bodies: Each contains ten frames of honeycomb. The lower deep is the nursery and the upper deep, which is added later, is the food chamber, where the bees store honey and pollen. Inside the hive bodies sit frames.
  • Frames: The bees build their comb onto the frames, which usually come with a sheet of beeswax foundation to help the bees build uniform honeycomb. Despite the name, beeswax foundation is also available in plastic. Bees are slow to accept a plastic foundation, though, so if you really want uniform comb, use natural beeswax instead. But bees will also create their own beautiful honeycomb without foundation, and the process supports a healthier, stronger hive, so consider buying frames without it.
  • Honey super: This looks like a shallower version of the deep hive bodies and is where the bees store surplus honey. You won’t need it at first; add it to the hive around the end of the second month. You can purchase medium or shallow supers, but keep their weight in mind: when full of honey, a medium super weighs about 50 pounds and a shallow super weighs about 40 pounds. As the bees produce more and more honey, you can add more and more supers to the hive, stacking them on top like Legos.
  • Inner cover: This cover sits directly on top of the super and has a ventilation notch on the front. It’s optional, but it can help insulate the hive.
  • Outer cover: This sits on the inner cover. It is often reinforced with galvanized steel, which protects it from the elements.

You’ll also need to have some other equipment on hand before your bees arrive:

  • Entrance reducer: This is placed between the bottom board and the lower hive body to limit movement in and out of the hive and control hive temperature and ventilation. It can also help bees defend against yellow jackets and robbing bees, since it reduces the size of the entrance. Use the entrance reducer in a new hive and during cold months, to keep the hive warm while allowing bees to come and go. Once the hive is established and when the weather is warm, you can remove it.
  • Queen excluder: Used only during the honey season, this keeps the queen from laying eggs in the honey super.
  • Hive-top feeder: This small box sits directly on top of the upper hive body, under the outer cover—no inner cover is used with a hive-top feeder. Adding sugar syrup to the feeder is an easy way to keep your bees fed.Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com
  • Smoker: Produces cool smoke that helps calm the bees, so it’s easier for you to inspect the hive.
  • Bee brush: It’s optional, but this can help you gently brush bees off the hive in order to access the frames.Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com
  • Hive tool: Use this tool to scrape beeswax off the hive and loosen the parts of the hive, so they’re easier to pry apart.Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com
  • Protective gear: At the minimum, you’ll need a veil and protective gloves. You won’t need the gloves early in the season, though; they’re primarily for honey harvesting, and without them it’s easier to be gentle with the bees. Coveralls are optional and range in price and thickness. If you opt not to wear coveralls, make sure you wear light-colored clothing and tuck it in, so bees don’t crawl inside.

After you purchase your hive and equipment, you’ll need to know how to introduce the bees to their hive, how to check on the hive and what to look for, and how to feed the bees before they are producing their own honey—it’s all covered in The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook.

Even if you’re not in a position to raise your own bees right now, learning about them is fascinating. I’m so excited that Steph is on the path to becoming a beekeeper, and I can’t wait to hear about her experiences.

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

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Stupid-Easy Beekeeping | stupideasypaleo.com

 

Photographs courtesy of Diana Rodgers.

 

Paleo Meal Plans

Fuel For The Open: Free Meal Plans | stupideasypaleo.com

If there’s one thing that readers have consistently asked me for, it’s paleo meal plans!

And for so long, I resisted writing them. It sort of freaks me out to tell someone exactly what to eat, when. My philosophy is to teach you how to do something so you don’t need me. (That’s why I wrote about how to write a meal plan in this post.)

As time’s gone on, the requests for paleo meal plans have continued to pour in. So, a few weeks ago, I set out to write some. I’ll be honest: It wasn’t easy. I fretted a lot over things like, “Is there too much chicken?!” and “What if this is too much food (or not enough)?”

In the end, though, I’m pretty proud of what I put together, and I think it’ll be a great kickstart for you if you’re looking for a bit more guidance and organization around meal planning.

Get your paleo meal plan by clicking here!

Paleo Meal Plan for The Open

This first meal plan is five weeks long, and I designed it to coincide with the CrossFit Open, the first round of competitions to eventually whittle down the best of the best athletes. From now until the end of The Open, you can snag this meal plan for free!

How is it specific to CrossFit? On the calendar I’ve inserted important dates—like when each new workout starts and when to submit your scores—as well as given you ideas for pre- and post-workout snacks and included carbs on a daily basis.

If you know anything about my nutrition philosophy, it’s that active people need carbohydrates, and veggies, starchy veggies and fruit are the most nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory sources. If you’re looking for a keto meal plan, this ain’t it.

If you’re not a CrossFitter, you can still use this plan. It’s balanced with protein, carbs, and fat. Also, it’s got a cool weekly structure of meal prepping on the weekend, followed by rolling your leftovers forward. That’s a must for anyone who’s just busy and wants to eat well.

The recipes in this first meal plan are a mixture from my extensive Recipe Index (complete with hyperlinks) and from my new cookbook, The Performance Paleo CookbookSo while there’s no charge for the plan itself, you’ll need a copy of the book to follow the meal plan as written.

(Just in case you need a bit of an arm twist, the cookbook is endorsed by multiple NYT best-selling authors, won a Paleo Magazine Best of 2014 Award for most anticipated new cookbook, and has been praised by everyone from active families to Beach Body followers to CrossFit competitors.)

I know it can be hard to wrap your brain around doing this healthier eating thing, so these meal plans are my nod to you. In the future, I’ll be adding more paleo meal plans so keep your eyes peeled!

Here’s a peek…

Fuel For The Open: Free Meal Plans | stupideasypaleo.com Fuel For The Open: Free Meal Plans | stupideasypaleo.com

Get your paleo meal plan by clicking here!

Some FAQ About The Paleo Meal Plan for The Open

Are they free?

As a way to roll these out and make tweaks based on feedback (that’s called beta), this first meal plan for The Open is free until March 29, 2015. After that, meal plans will be available for a small fee. If you like free stuff, snag this one today!

Is it a PDF? How will I get my meal plan?

Each week for five weeks, a new weekly plan is sent right to your inbox and click to come here to the site where the PDF is hosted. From there you can save it. Why am I not giving them all at once? To prevent overwhelm. You can only prep one week at a time anyway!

I want to share these paleo meal plans with my {coach, gym, family, friends, training partner}, so can I just forward them? 

I’m asking for your honest help in having everyone sign up for his / her own. That way, I can track how many folks sign up and get their feedback. If people like them, that’s awesome! Just give them this link and ask them to sign up for their own here (http://stupideasypaleo.com/fuel-open-5-weeks-free-meal-plans/) so I have a good head count. Gracias!

What’s in each plan?

Sunday starts out with a big weekly cook-up. For best results I recommend shopping on Saturday and planning to cook Sunday. You’ll need anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, on average, to prep the food on Sunday. This will net you meals to eat throughout the beginning of the week. Then, there’s a smaller mini cook-up midway through the week to top you up until the weekend.

You’ll see recipes from the Recipe Index here on the blog. Those are hyperlinked right to the recipe! If you’d like, there’s a Print feature on each recipe. Just be sure to hover over and delete anything you don’t want to print, like pictures or comments.

Other recipes come from the cookbook. Those pages are listed for easy navigation. In the future, meal plans may only have recipes from my site, so if you don’t want the cookbook (I’ll try to not be too hurt ;)), hold out for one of those.

Are there shopping lists?

No shopping lists. I know some of you buy in bulk or buy meat from a cow / pig-share or the farmer’s market. You’ll need to sit down and do your shopping lists. At the same time, you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the week.

What if I’m allergic to certain ingredients or I friggin’ hate broccoli?

Food tolerances and preferences are sooooooo diverse. There’s no way possible for me to write a meal plan for everyone that will please everyone. (If I could do that, I’d be sitting on a tropical island sipping frozen drinks long into old age!) If there’s a food you can’t or won’t eat, sub it out. If you’re really stuck and have no clue what to do, send me a little note via the contact form, and I’ll help you.

What if I have really really super duper extra special specific nutritional needs? 

You’ll probably need to hire someone to write meal plans that are specifically tailored to you. These are general paleo meal plans that will work for a broad range of active people, but they’re not personally tailored. That stuff usually costs $100 to $300 a month.

Get your paleo meal plan by clicking here!

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Fuel For The Open: Free Meal Plans | stupideasypaleo.com

Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

This Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo recipe is super-satisfying and easy side dish that will compliment any protein.

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Recently, my pals at Pure Indian Foods sent me some of their new spices to try, and the bottle of Organic Vindaloo Curry Seasoning really stood out in my mind. I’ve also got a few plans for the Organic Tandoori Masala Seasoning coming up soon!

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

I rummaged around the fridge—as one often does when trying to make dinner—and found a head of cauliflower, an onion and some leftover roasted sweet potato to put together. Diced tomatoes, chicken broth and full-fat coconut milk rounded out the pantry goods. (I always have those on hand so recipes like this can happen in a flash.)

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

The result was tender cauliflower perfectly seasoned with the warm spices from the curry, a touch of sweet from the potato, a little acid from the tomatoes, and creaminess from the coconut.

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

This dish feeds four as a side (or as a main for vegetarian friends if you use veggie stock instead of chicken), but if you toss in some cooked diced chicken or canned wild salmon, you’ve got a hearty and satisfying meal that takes one pot from start to finish.

5.0 from 3 reviews

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 4
 

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee
  • 2 to 3 tsp curry vindaloo seasoning*
  • ½ medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4-5 cups)
  • ½ cup(118 mL) canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup (118 mL) chicken broth
  • ¼ cup (59 mL) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 medium sweet potato, roasted, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Handful cilantro for garnish, optional

Instructions
  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds to release the oils in the spices. Stir.
  2. Add onion and garlic, cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  3. Now add the cauliflower. Turn up the heat to medium-high, cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
  4. Toss in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on and cook the veggies for another 10 to 12 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
  5. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk and roasted sweet potato until everything is warmed through.
  6. Adjust the seasoning levels with sea salt and more curry powder if desired. Garnish with cilantro.

Notes
*Start with 2 teaspoon seasoning. Check flavor at the end. If it’s not spicy enough, add 1 more teaspoon, to taste.

 

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Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Vindaloo Recipe: Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com

Today I’m sharing with you the easiest tips for how to clean a cast iron skillet.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love my cast iron cookware. It’s versatile, cleans up easily, and goes from stovetop to oven seamlessly. There’s something magical about the delectably brown, seared crust you can get on a steak from a cast iron skillet. I don’t use it to cook everything, but it’s in regular rotation in my kitchen.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com

Cast iron isn’t perfect though (for example, it tends to heat very unevenly), and figuring out how to clean a cast iron skillet can make even the most brave kitchen warriors a little uneasy. There’s definitely a list of dos and don’ts, but luckily you’ll master the basics quickly.

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet will act almost like a non-stick surface. It’s not going to be slippy-slidey like Teflon, but food should stick minimally and the pan should clean up with some warm water and a little scrub from the rough side of a sponge.

The more you use your cast iron and the more you pay attention to some very basic maintenance, the better it’ll do. If you skillet loses its seasoning because you’ve cleaned it with soap, it’s rusty, or food is just sticking a lot more than usual, it’s probably time to re-season it.

Lodge, known for its cast iron which is made the in the USA, has instructions for how to re-season cast iron on its site. I like to season my cast iron in the oven using Lodge’s instructions when I first get it home anyway.

If you’re looking to get started, I really love this 5-piece Lodge set and you can often find it on sale on Amazon, or check your local Target or Ace Hardware.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com

[Note: Lately when I’ve shared photos of Lodge cast iron, I’ve gotten pushback because the company does use GMO soybean oil to season its skillets in-factory. Here’s how I look at it: Am I stoked they use it? Not terribly. But if I suggest buying from a company that doesn’t use soybean oil but the cookware is made overseas, I am scolded for not supporting Made in USA products. If I suggest Made in USA cookware, I’m scolded because of the soybean oil issue. My solution: If you buy Lodge and the soybean issue bothers you that much or there’s a soy allergy involved, remove the seasoning and re-do it with your oil of choice. Directions for that can be found on The Google. Even if you buy vintage cast iron from an antique or thrift shop, you don’t know what kind of oil was used in it before you, so you may want to re-season. Of course, you could always buy foreign-made if the soybean oil issue is that bothersome, but do you really know what oil was used by those manufacturers anyway? My opinion on it: Buy domestic, season it again when you get it home, and move on with your life. Don’t over-analyze to the point it makes you crazy.]

But what if you’re just wondering how to clean a cast iron skillet from normal use? Don’t be intimidated! Follow these steps.

1) Wipe out any excess fat.

2) Use warm / hot water and a dish brush or the rough side of a sponge to loosen any stuck on bits. Alternatively, you can deglaze your skillet if you’ve used it to cook meat that’s left brown bits (called fond) in the bottom and either use that liquid as the base of a sauce or just toss it out.

3) If you have really stubborn, stuck on bits, add a bit of kosher salt as a mild abrasive. You can use a mild soap, too, but be sure to follow step 4. If you use harsh soap, abrasives or the dishwasher, you’ll strip the pan of its seasoning.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com

4) Immediately wipe your pan dry to prevent rusting, and add a small amount of oil to preserve the seasoning. The more saturated the fat—think coconut oil or lard—the less likely it’ll be to oxidize. It’ll be ready to go for the next time you want to use it.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com

Click below to watch my video about how to clean a cast iron skillet!

That’s it! Now you know how to clean a cast iron skillet!

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How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet | stupideasypaleo.com