J’s blog: Snow and stress removal courtesy of kettle bells

Remember last blog when I said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb? How was that lion’s roar of a snowstorm for you? Our road is still basically one lane. If someone is trying to turn into it but someone else is coming out, you have no chance. Remember the tale of Sisyphus, the mythical guy condemned for eternity to roll a boulder up to the top of the mountain, only to have it roll back down again, ad nauseum? Well, that’s who I felt like the other day. I quite like shovelling snow. I really do. But one afternoon, I got home from work, and had to shovel that hard, frozen, boulder packed snow from the bottom of my driveway. I then parked the car and went inside to put dinner in the oven, feeling all warm inside from the exercise and from knowing that my hard working hubs wouldn’t have to tackle it when he got home from a long day’s work. However, I looked out of the window at my handiwork a few minutes later, only to let out a strangled scream. Albany’s finest plow truck had just gone down our road and left an even huger pile of frozen, dirty, bouldery snow at the end of my driveway. It came up to my hips. I kid you not. Donning my cheap 10 year old Walmart snow boots once more, I spent the next hour slicing and dicing that sucker of a snow pile. How glad I was for The Kettlebell Fitness Center that afternoon. My shoulders, core, glutes and legs got a mighty fine workout and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I made short work of that Sisyphean boulder, and was even able to go on and help my neighbour make short shrift of his own snow boulders!

I guess I should thank the snow for giving me some workouts. I haven’t really been to The Kettlebell Center much the past couple of weeks. A lot of things have been stressing me out a little, and, as much as I say I’m a Drama Queen, I tend to keep my drama outbursts for when I’m on my own and in my head. I internalize a lot of things rather than blurt it all out for everyone and anyone to hear. I don’t like drama. It often makes me shut down and keep away from people. When things are going badly or I’m a little stressed out or am having a bad week, I stuff my feelings down inside, along with bread, chocolate, McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish and fries, Cadbury Creme Eggs, bagels, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting….wait a gosh danged minute….is this stuff I’ve been eating? Oh, yes my friends. Since my last blog, this has been on my menu and on my waistline and hips, resulting in very tight jeans, feeling fed up, sick, a fitness/paleo blogging hypocrite and an unwillingness to don funky leggings and go see my friends at the Kettlebell Fitness Center for fun, community and a bloody good workout. But by Saturday, my body was screaming at me to let it go and exercise please and stop making it a prisoner just because I was feeling like crap.

So I grumpily grabbed some workout leggings, a baggy t-shirt and hauled myself down to the center for open gym, armed with high test coffee and a bad attitude. Hey, Nancy and Beverly- just a little advice: stop greeting me with love and friendliness like you’re happy to see me – it’s hard to keep a grump on when you’re welcoming like that. I can’t wallow if you’re glad that I’ve come by! (Just remember that, folks. People are glad to see you when you walk in the door, so be warned that your attitude might melt, like the Wicked Witch of the West did when splashed with water.) Even after being in this community for the past 4 or 5 years, I’m still amazed at how working out is such an amazing antidote for stress, depression, grumpiness and over indulgence in foods that are not helpful to your health. I walked out an hour and a half later feeling so much better in body, mind and spirit. I’d done 4 sets of different sandbag disciplines, heavy swings and learnt a new kettlebell exercise: Kettlebell rockers. It was kind of like skiing with kettlebells, trying to keep your core and lower body balanced as you swung two kettlebells back and forth alongside your hinged body. I think it’s my new favourite!

Last Monday, we had the monthly Kettlebell Fitness Center’s Good Food Club, and I think everyone agreed, it was some of the yummiest food yet. We started off with a wonderful beet, goat cheese, mushroom and avocado salad with dressing, followed by a beautiful lemon dill soup, we had spicy ground chicken curry topped with baby kale and chopped cashews, lentil and black bean burgers, swedish meatballs, peppers stuffed with ground beef and cauliflower rice in a marinara sauce, and a rich, dark chocolate chia pudding and paleo lemon cupcakes to finish. A couple of glasses of red wine, lots of laughter and good conversation made this Monday night such a pleasure. Geri was kind enough to email me the recipe for the lemon cupcakes (they really were the bee’s knees). So for your gustatory pleasure, I’m passing it on: http://www.pbfingers.com/paleo-lemon-cupcakes/

Last month, I said I would give you a recipe for fajitas that I use a lot. I found this recipe in the September 2009 edition of Hannaford’s free “Fresh” magazine and have used it ever since. I have never bought the packet fajita mix since finding this recipe. I recently made it and adapted it to be more paleo friendly, and found that substituting coconut aminos for both the sugar and the worcestershire sauce was fine, as coconut aminos is pretty sweet anyway. Dan has them with whole wheat soft tortillas, but I just add avocado, or spicy guacamole to mine.

To make the fajita marinade (that you can use for chicken or red meat) you need:

1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil

3 tbspn fresh lime juice

1 tbspn plus 4 tspn coconut aminos

½ tspn cumin powder

Pinch of red pepper flakes (or if you like it a little hotter, add some more to taste or throw some Frank’s Red Hot sauce in)

1 tbspn minced fresh cilantro. (I add a little more and sometimes mix it with minced parsley)

Whisk those ingredients up and then add 3 cups cooked chicken (for time’s sake, I buy a fresh organic rotisserie chicken and shred that up) If you’re going to use steak, sear it on both sides before slicing thinly and putting it in the marinade. The lime juice will help “cook” it further. I marinade it for around 15 minutes, with cling film over the top of the bowl.

Chop up some brightly coloured peppers and a red onion and cook them on high in your beautifully seasoned cast iron skillet. Don’t move them about too much, because you want to get a slightly sizzled scorch on the pepper skins, but stir once the bottom layer is sizzling nicely. Once your veggies are cooked, pour the marinated meat and the marinade into the skillet, mixing it up with the peppers and onion. Done. Badabing. Bob’s your uncle. The fat lady has sung. That’s all she wrote. It’s that easy.

If you want soft tortillas, this will make 4 fajitas. Add your favourite toppings, whether it be sour cream for those who love diary. Or add a dollop of chunky guacamole, or sliced avocado. And don’t forget to clean your skillet with some hot water, and rough sea salt before drying well and wiping down with some oil, ready for your next sensational dish.

Next weekend, the ever-lovin’ and I will be in Maine for 4 days, celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary, away from work and by the majestic Atlantic. Maine at the end of winter is glorious. Cold, sunny and lots of beach walks to the sound of pounding waves. Good for blowing away the cobwebs and clearing the mind.

Until next time, stay strong. Stay positive (that’s for me), and keep walking on the path of health and fitness. If you fall off, get back on (that piece of advice is also for me).

  • J x
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