Honoring a Hero; Moxy socks; Make your own Chinese take-out!

So, it’s a big day in my second official week of CrossFit. It’s Hero Friday! My first Hero WOD!! CrossFit Hero WODs are intense and are intended to be performed with intense effort, in honor of our fallen Heroes. The idea is to focus on what you can do, scale where needed, and think about the Hero that has given his all for our freedom. Today’s Hero is Australian Army Sergeant Brett Wood MG, 32, of Ferntree Gully, VIC, assigned to the 2nd Commando Regiment, based in Sydney, NSW, died on May 23, 2011, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, after insurgents attacked him with an improvised explosive device. He is survived by his wife Elvi, his mother Allison, and his father David.

Wood

The WOD consists of running, burpee box jumps, sumo-deadlift high pulls, and thrusters, 5 rounds for time. You can see the breakdown for each group (Rx, Scaled, and Novice) here. I, of course, did the Novice (Except for the burpee box jumps. Those I did scaled.) because, well, that’s where I’m at.  And I was skeered. But I was ready! And I think I knocked it out of the park! I finished in 30:25. Woot!! By round 3, I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest and my legs were like jello but I kept on. Dug deep and found more. Nothing like finishing a tough Hero WOD to make a girl feel invincible. Oh, and awesome socks help, too. Check out my new Moxy socks! Love them. 🙂

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Make your own take-out!

I don’t know about you but we love us some Chinese take-out. We have a great place that we love and frequent regularly but, sometimes, the budget doesn’t have room or I want Chinese but without all the sodium and fat. So, that’s when I make my own. Takes very little time, I can control what goes in there and my Chinese food craving is quashed. Can’t argue with that!

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Beef and Broccoli
Recipe from Women’s Health Magazine
Serves 4

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 can (14 1/2-ounces) beef broth
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips (optional – I added for a bright red pop of color and because I LOVE red bell pepper)

1.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and whisk until smooth.  Set aside.

2.  Warm the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat for 1 minute.  Add the steak and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the beef is browned.

3.  Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.

4.  Add the broccoli, garlic, and onion (and bell pepper, if desired) to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender.  Add the broth mixture and bring to a boil, stirring.  Reduce the heat, add the beef, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

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Do you have cravings, too? What’s your take-out guilty pleasure?

Words of wisdom from Dove chocolate:

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Happy Friday!

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Tagine

Day 3 of vegetarian week! Okay, more accurately it’s day 3 of 3 days of vegetarian recipes but that doesn’t sound as interesting, now does it? Anyway, day 3. How the heck am I going to follow up those quesadillas?! Well, by taking a tour of the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, of course! 🙂

The tagine is a traditional North African dish named after the pot it was cooked in. Add the Mediterranean flavors of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and fabulous grilled vegetables and you’ve got dinner! Serve it over couscous and enjoy!

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Tagine
Recipe from Cooking Light

1 small red onion
2 red bell peppers, quartered
1 green bell pepper, quartered
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 3/4 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups water, divided
1/4 sliced pitted green olives
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 small red potatoes, quartered
Cooking spray
2/3 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Cut red onion into 4 wedges, leaving root end intact. Place red onion, bell peppers, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag; toss well to coat.

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2. Prepare grill.

3. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes.

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Add cumin, fennel, and cinnamon; saute 1 minute.  Add 1/4 teaspoon, 1/4 cup water, olives, raisins, black pepper, tomatoes, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.

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4. Remove bell peppers and red onion from bag; discarding marinade; place on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  (Or, a cast iron grill pan works in a pinch!) Grill 10 minutes, turning frequently.

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5. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve tomato mixture over couscous.  Top with grilled peppers and onions; sprinkle with pine nuts.

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Yields 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups tomato mixture, 1/2 cup couscous, 1/2 cup grilled vegetables, and 1 tablespoon pine nuts)
Calories 462 (14% from fat); Fat 7.1g (sat 1g, mono 3.2g, poly 2.2g); Protein 15.8g; Carb 95.5g; Fiber 13.9g; Chol 0mg; Iron 4.7mg; Sodium 574mg; Calcium 123mg

Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

So, it’s been a busy past few weeks. The holidays always get crazy the closer it gets to Christmas. Of course, throw in susceptibility to the colds that are inevitably making their way around schools and places of employment and you have a disastrous combination.

Because we’re all so busy, time is a premium and being able to get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes is priceless. The best way to make that happen is with stir-fry. Seriously, the most time consuming part of a stir-fry is the chopping and that doesn’t really even take that much time!  So, dinner on the table in a blink of an eye. Add in a Cooking Light recipe and it’s totally a win-win situation. And have I got a recipe for you! Sweet, spicy, chock full of vegetables and protein-packed chicken. What more could anyone ask for?

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Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry
(with double sesame rice)

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
8 ounces sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients, stirring well; set aside.

2. Heat a large wok or a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; stir-fry 4 minutes or until browned and done.

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Remove chicken from wok. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add sugar snap peas, bell pepper, & red onion; stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

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Stir in brown sugar mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened.

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Stir in chicken; toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts.

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Serves 4 (serving size 1 cup)
Calories 349; fat 14.2g (sat 1.7g, mono 7.5g, poly 4.3g); Protein 31g; Carb 24.6g; Fiber 3.5g; Chol 66mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 576mg; Calc 60mg

For the double sesame rice (Optional. Do what you like!)
Cook 1 (3 1/2 ounces) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice according to package directions; drain. Stir 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoons salt.
Serves 4 (serving size 1/2 cup)
Calories 119; Fat 3.3g (sat 1.7g), Sodium 148mg