By Fitness Editor Paula Jager CSCS
Fall is here, no doubt about it even here in sunny Florida, and I am getting into the swing of the seasonal shift in culinary pleasures in my personal fit kitchen. It was an enjoyable but extremely busy summer. If you follow the fitness posts on this blog, you may know we moved our CrossFit box to a new location and have experienced some serious growing pains along with the trials and tribulations of the construction process. All good.
Whether you’ve experienced something similar or have 12 children we are ALL busy in our lives and everyday frenzied pace. So what do we do — buy Swanson fake chicken broth, use processed vegetable oil and hit the drive-thru? Of course not but how does one keep up with or maintain the healthy traditional diet for ourselves and families in these light of these busy times along with keeping up our fitness? It ain’t easy but I’d like to share my tips and recipes for what’s going on in my fit kitchen and hear about yours. . .
Fit Kitchen: The Larder
We have got to keep this stocked; that is key. After moving into our new location July 1 and barely having time to breathe let alone make bone broth come the beginning of September mine was empty–it was time to restock. Over the course of three weekends (only time I have) I made beef stock on the first one, rendered tallow and pureed fresh pumpkins the next and finally made turkey stock out of the carcass in my freezer from the August bird we cooked on the third. The larder was filling up and looking much better.
You need to pick a day/time that works for you. Choosing the weekend allowed me to let the stock simmer or the fat slowly melt while I could also throw in a load of laundry or catch up on work tasks on the computer. I only chose one or two tasks per weekend. I penciled them in ahead of time thus planning out the month. If my platter gets overloaded, I find that nothing gets completed or completed well.
Fit Kitchen: The Workouts
It’s not important what you do just so that you get in some type of exercise or movement. Pick an activity that works best for you–be it the gym, videos, chasing/playing with your children, walking etc. . . Just Do It! Yes, I am quoting Nike. Pencil it in, make the time–it will save your sanity, health and well being. No excuses period. Make it work.
With the larder stocked and the Wods scheduled I then took to recreating my recipes. Some of my seasonal favorites are. . .
Stew & Biscuits
Yes, you read that right, “we eat biscuits”. As much as Sarah & I love and respect each other’s beliefs she knows I won’t touch today’s wheat– traditionally prepared or not (I have an intolerance to gluten), but I do love my biscuits. These are pretty tasty if you are grain free too.
Basic Beef Stew (4-6 servings)
1 lb beef chuck, cubed
2 Tbl beef tallow or duck fat
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl tomato paste
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 heaping cup green beans, snipped and cut into pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
2 cups homemade beef stock
1 Tbl arrowroot powder (grain free thickener)
2 tsp cold water
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat tallow in a large cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Add beef; sautÃ© until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Add onions and sautÃ© for about 4 minutes; add garlic and sautÃ© for another 2 minutes. Return beef and any juices to pot; stir in tomato paste, then add broth and enough water to just cover. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours.
Add carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and green beans. Cover partially; simmer about 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and allow to thicken slightly.
In a small bowl, mix arrowroot and water and stir into stew. Increase heat and bring to a slight boil for 1 minute. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Plantain Biscuits (makes 7 hearty biscuits)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel plantains, cut in half lengthwise and crosswise. In a large cast iron skillet melt the lard over medium heat and fry the plantains until they are just golden — about 3-4 mins per side.
After cooked, add them to a food processor and puree until they begin to clump together. Add the melted butter, eggs and cream and puree until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse one last time to combine everything well.
Drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a cast iron biscuit pan. I made 7 good sized biscuits. Bake for 25-30 min or until slightly brown and cooked through. Let cool and settle some before eating.
We served with grass fed butter alongside the stew. The slight sweetness of the biscuits was an excellent complement.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Grain Free Pancakes (kids & husbands love these!)
1 cup of fresh pumpkin**
2 tsp of vanilla
3 Tbl Grade B maple syrup
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3 tbs of melted butter or coconut oil (your choice)
Coconut oil for cooking
**I prepare this ahead of time and freeze in pre-measured bags to make easier.
In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs; add pumpkin, vanilla and maple syrup and mix well. Add in the spices and the butter or coconut oil. Again mix well. Stir in chopped pecans.
I used a cast iron griddle to cook these which worked very well. Place coconut oil on griddle over medium heat. Using a “gravy” ladle drop the pancake batter onto your ready griddle. As they thin they will be about 3-4” in diameter. When bubbles begin to surface it’s time to flip. Cook until lightly browned.
Be creative when serving: I liked them plain, hubby liked them with maple syrup and more butter. Another idea is fresh whipped raw cream or yogurt. And of course serve with a side of sausage or bacon!
Enjoy the flavors of Fall in your Fit Kitchen!
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