Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chocolate Cake, because.............chocolate cake

I turned 31 on July 1st (gross, I don't wanna talk about it, I'm old as fuuuuuuuuu), and I had a craving for my mom's Wacky Cake recipe.  What is Wacky Cake, you ask?  Only the best thing you'll ever shove in your cake hole.  My mom discovered the recipe back when she was a nutritionist working with obese children on Duke's Rankin ward.  The recipe contains 0 eggs, 0 milk, and 0 butter.  But where was taste, you ask?  The secret is in a few of the wet ingredients, which you'll see below.  My mom used to make this for me EVERY year on my birthday and it is such an indulgence.  The taste immediately returns me to my childhood and reminds me of home.

The problem with this cake is that it's SO good that I've eaten about 2-3 pieces in 1 sitting.  I cannot be stopped.  So I decided to make it fit my healthier lifestyle a little by adding in some protein powder, subbing out vegetable oil for less processed coconut oil, subbing a sugar baking blend for the real thing, and switching regular white flour for almond meal.  The result?  The EXACT same flavor with a lot less guilt.   From my mama's kitchen to yours - enjoy!

2 scoops Ultra Peptide 2.0 chocolate protein powder
1 c almond meal
2/3 c stevia baking blend (use a blend, not just all stevia)
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until all the lumps have been smoothed.  I like to use a fork here and smash all the lumps.  Ain't nobody got time for lumpy cake batter.

1 t vanilla
1 T white vinegar (yes, vinegar)
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1 c cold water

Take your mixed together dry ingredients and make 3 indentations in it.  1 small, 1 medium, and 1 a little bigger.  In the smallest indentation add the 1  t vanilla.  In the medium indentation add the vinegar, and in the largest, add the coconut oil.  Once that's done, pour your cup of cold water over the top of everything and mix well.

Here's what the 3 indentations look like before you add the water.

Spray square cake pan with coconut oil and bake at 350 for 30-35 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool and enjoy the noms.  I actually prefer to eat this cake chilled.  That's how the Polissons like to eat their Wacky Cake.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chinese Fried Rice

Last weekend I wanted to make a nice dinner for Allan while he was visiting.  I had a tasty flank steak marinating in my secret recipe (kidding, not secret, I'll share it below), and it has a lot of Asian-inspired flavors.  I had a flashback to my teen years when my dad would make his pork fried rice.  It always tasted so good.  I emailed my Pa Dukes to ask for the recipe so I could try to make it.  It was a labor love, but it came out dericious!  So dericious, in fact, that both Allan and I started craving it in the middle of our workout the next day.  This recipe is full of some good carbs and fats and has a decent amount of protein, too.

Chinese Fried Rice
3/4 C dry rice, parboiled until very al dente (under cook and don't stir)
Peanut oil
Sesame oil
4 oz. finely chopped protein (pork, shrimp, chicken, whateva)
1/2 C coarsely chopped onion
1/2 C sliced celery
1/2 C coarsely julienned carrots
1/2 C coarsely chopped bell pepper
1 can of sliced water chestnuts (optional - I despise water chestnuts, so I left them out)
2 chopped green onions 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs at room temp
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp of dry mustard
white pepper to taste
low sodium soy sauce to taste

First use a hot skillet or wok...work over medium to high heat...not low otherwise the stuff will just stew.

In 1-2 Tbsp of peanut oil and saute the pork/shrimp/chicken bits until brown and crispy...remove from the pan, but leave the "crud" (my dad's word, not mine) in the bottom of the pan to then saute the onion until translucent...then add celery, carrots, bell pepper, water chestnuts, green onions, and saute until until just barely wilted.  Add the pork bits back to the mix and finally the minced garlic...do not burn.

Move the ingredients to the perimeter of the pan, then add 1-2 Tbsp of sesame oil to the pan, then stir in the under-cooked rice, sauteing over medium to high heat (it should crackle)...use spatula to keep from sticking.  Add a bit more peanut oil if necessary, but not too much or it will get greasy and sticky.  

Add the ginger, mustard, and white pepper (you can also use Schiracha sauce) to taste (it should be a bit piquante).  When the rice has been fried, so that it is coated with all of the crud and sesame oil, move all ingredients to the outside perimeter of the pan again leaving a bare space in the center.  Crack 2 eggs into the space and let the heat begin to cook the eggs then very coarsely scramble.

When the eggs are done, stir everything together and douse with soy sauce to your taste.

The texture should allow you to recognize all of the ingredients and the veggies should be cooked but still al dente.

I used a regular saute pan for this; the next day I IMMEDIATELY went out and bought a wok.  Unless you have a HUGE saute pan, this recipe is a pain in the ass.  It was tough to move everything around in the pan without sloshing something over the side or burning something.  If you're going to use a pan, make sure it's big...........like, really big.  

Asian Flank Steak Marinade
1/2 c red wine
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c raw honey
1 T fresh ginger (seriously, don't use powder, you jerks)
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional - can use more or less depending on how hot you like it)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Stuff

What a craaaaaazy year.  Just crazy.  Jaysus.  If you had asked me 365 days ago where I'd be today, I would NEVER have told you that I'd be a full-time CrossFitter.  Nor would I have imagined that I could give 0 shits about measuring my food anymore.  Sometimes I am truly fascinated how the smallest decisions and life choices can completely change the course of our lives.   Not only MY choices, but the choices of others, as well.

An ex of mine introduced me to CrossFit last year, and I fell in love with it.  People talk about drinking the kool-aid all the time.  I don't have the patience to explain why I like it in this blog, because I've already explained it once.  Now that we've settled that, I'd like to discuss how my training has evolved this year.  I no longer train in body part splits.  I did that for 4 years, and while it had its place for aesthetic purposes, that's no longer what my training is about.  Now I train for function and for performance, not a look.  I'd rather be able to clean and jerk my body weight, not have the best glute-ham tie-in.  I do not think 1 form of working out is superior to the other...they're just different.  I'm having a blast with my training.  I feel strong, athletic, powerful, and beastly.  I feel better than I have in years.  Every time I step into the gym I try to best my most recent performance.  I compete against myself, I use others to push me, and I thrive off of the energy in the room.  If it's a cult, count me IN.

My eating habits have changed this year, too.  CrossFitters typically follow the Paleo Diet.  For those who are unaware, Paleo instructs us to eat what the caveman used to eat: meats, nuts, seeds, fruits.   Processed foods bad, T-Rex good.  I agree with parts of Paleo, and I vehemently disagree with other parts.  Here's what I like about its implementation for the general public:
  • Elimination of processed buuuullllshit
  • Eat whole, real, naturally-occurring foods
  • Compose meals mostly around protein, veggies, and clean carb/fat sources
  • Don't fear fat!
Here's what I dislike:
  • Carbs = bad and should be avoided 
  • Keep nutritious carbs (fruits, etc) to a minimum
  • Use fat as your energy source
  • Dairy is bad
  • Glute/inflammation are the root cause of all illnesses and should be avoided at all costs
I read a lot of pro-Paleo articles that absolutely villainize carbs.  Carbs apparently are the #1 reason we're all fat and dying, didn't you know that?  Yeah, no.  A caloric surplus is the #1 reason we're all fat.  There are some people who will swear up and down and left and right that fat gain is not a result of being in a caloric surplus.  I can't say this enough, people: you gain or lose weight/fat by controlling your CALORIES.  You reduce the fat on your ass by reducing the # of calories you consume in a day, whether that be by eating LESS overall food or by moving that ass a little more, or a combination of both.

This is where I think Paleo loses a lot of people: it can be overly-restrictive and not practical for most people, especially most athletic people.  What's funny is if you look at the top performers in CrossFit, they don't adhere to Paleo like you may think.  Rich Froning, for example, drinks a shitload of milk.  Dairy is a no-no on Paleo.  But homeboy should really just have his own cow at this point.  Athletes typically need carbs, and a lot of them, to perform at the highest levels.  Paleo can look dangerously close to keto, and that's really my biggest problem with it.  Keto sucks so bad and is so, so stupid, unless you have a medical condition.  If you want to ruin your metabolism and completely eff up your body's ability to process carbs, then follow keto.  And fibrous vegetables are NOT carbohydrates.   So stop with that.

I guess the take home message for me on Paleo is this: eat whole foods as often as possible (at least 80% of the time or more).  Also, I'd like to say this: our boy, the caveman, is extinct.  We evolve as a species, and I think our diets should also evolve.  Sometimes innovation is a good thing...........just sayin.'

So, on my quest for nutritional perfection, I've created some new, really tasty recipes.  I've also discovered some ridiculous food blogs, which are linked over on the right side if you want to get your taste buds tingling.  

Protein Brownies

Protein is still a staple obviously, but I have a sweet tooth.  These are a perfect blend of sweet and healthy and I can eat 2 of them as a meal replacement without feeling like a jerk.

2 scoops whey (I used Ultra Peptide 2.0 Triple Chocolate)
1 c almond flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c stevia for baking or any baking blend
2 room temp eggs
2 t vanilla
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
3/4 c almond milk
1/2 c dark choc chips (optional) 

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  You can add about 1/2 c applesauce to this for denser brownies, if you'd like. 

Protein Ice Cream

So I recently purchased an Ice Cream maker on Amazon.  This one, to be exact.  It's the tits.  All I do is mix up 1.5 cups of almond milk and then add 1.5 scoops of any protein powder of my choice.  Blend in Magic Bullet, pour in ice cream maker, and poof!!  Deliciousness ensues.  I've made a bunch of variations:

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + honey drizzle

Protean Vanilla Mint Swirl + homemade caramel + choc chips

UP 2.0 Butterscotch + homemade caramel

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + homemade gluten-free granola

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + blackberries + honey drizzle

I've found that Ultra Peptide 2.0 yields the best ice cream, as the fat content is higher than in most other protein powders.  The end result is a creamier texture.  Regular powders can be a bit more like ice milk than ice cream.  My favorite flavors are Chocolate Mint, Butterscotch, Lemon Cream Pie, and Cinnamon Roll.  Have fun with this easy recipe, guys - it's meant to satisfy that sweet craving that you have at the end of the night while also providing you with some extra protein for your mooscles.

Alright, that's it for now.  More later.  Holla!