Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crockpot Pulled Pork Burritos (Paleo Friendly)

My intention when starting a blog this year was to share stories of my journey with organization, homemade meals, and DIY projects. As you have probably noticed, I have been on a huge fitness kick the entire summer (and now into fall). While this has cut back on time for DYI projects and organization around the house, I have still been working on many healthy recipes to share.
A couple months ago, JD and I decided to change our diet. The original thought came about when I was setting goals at the beginning of the year (although what I didn't know at the time was how well this goal would correlate with Crossfit which I wasn't even doing at the time). As I continue growing in fitness, I want to incorporate a more balanced approach to healthy eating. When you are dedicated to enhancing your life through fitness, it only makes sense improve the way you are eating too. So, my “no processed foods” goal came about….

Since I love cooking, trying new recipes, and making up my own, it seemed like an easy transition and a fun challenge. That was at the beginning of the year….Halfway through 2013, I still hadn’t taken the first steps to healthier eating.
Around the same time I was rethinking my goal and how to integrate this change into my lifestyle, I began working out at CrossfitFlyOver. As I previously mentioned, when I push toward fitness, it only makes me want to get more out of it and I knew I needed to change up our diet.

Through Crossfit, I was introduced to a diet that is based upon eating wholesome foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on including: fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat, if you can get it), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils. After researching Paleo recipes, finding a few more blogs to follow, and modifying a few weeknight staples, I realized we could make Paleo meals that include WAY more than just chicken, veggies, and salads.
Crockpot Pork Burritos is one of our all-time favorite meals. It took very few modifications to turn this favorite in a Paleo-approved meal….And the end result is just as good!

Crockpot Pulled Pork Burritos (serves A LOT)


  • Pork loin (around a 3lb boneless pork loin with the fat trimmed off)
  • Spices: chili powder, cumin, lemon pepper seasoning, salt/pepper
  • Peppers — green, red, yellow (if you like heat, add in some jalapenos)
  • Small white onion thinnly sliced
  • Salsa — prepare a homemade salsa or purchase a fresh salsa (jarred salsa)
  • Head of lettuce (tortilla shells)
  • Monterrey jack cheese
  • Toppings: serve with guacamole, sliced avocado, tomoates or green onion
Place the pork loin in your crockpot. Combine spices with about 1 cup of water and poor the mixture over the pork loin. Next, add in the salsa and peppers. Cook for 6-8 hours on low in a crockpot.

For the non-Paleo recipe, try the crossed out ingredients listed above.
At some point (I make no gurantees when), I will get better at providing measurements, real instructions, and appetizing photos. I can tell you though, any recipe I post will be simple, easy to modify, and absolutely delicious!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Looking Towards my Vision of Success

"We can focus on success and spend our life looking around to see how our competition is doing, or we can look straight ahead towards the vision of greatness we have for ourselves….We can look at competition as the standard or as an indicator of our progress towards our own standards. We can chase success or we can embark on a quest for excellence and focus 100% of our energy to become our best....and let success find us." - Jon Gordon

I have been thinking about this quote a lot lately. Since I participated in my first Crossfit competition, the MAT Games, I have been on a mission to learn more skills, lift more, improve my overall performance, and truly push myself. The other competitors at the MAT Games were an inspiration and motivation to take it to the next level.
My performance was okay during the games. I finished the WODs and made it through my first competition, but just okay. I think I could do better if I started to push myself more during the workouts get that one more rep, one more round, or a tad more weight.
MAT Games
 I will have another chance to redeem myself at a competition in December. My thoughtful husband accepted an invitation for me (before I had a chance to look at what skills I needed) to participate in a team competition with some friends. These skills that I don’t have mastered yet, have led to my November goals.

This month I have been focusing on improving (or learning) the following:
  1. Double Unders
  2. Kipping Pull-ups (Using only purple band or no Band during workouts)
  3. More weight during WODs (KBS, OHS, Snatch)
I have a long way to go and a lot of reps ahead of me to get where I want to be for my next competition. Sometimes it’s hard to have the patience, the slowest WODs, or skip a rest day to put in more time, but I know that is what I need to improve.

Crossfit (and the MAT Games) has definitely brought back the competitor in me. While I try to make improvements and learn new skills, I need to remind myself that it’s not always about “winning” or finishing first. And on the other end, I also need to remind myself (before every WOD) that just because I am adding more weight, using less bands or exhausted from the previous day, doesn’t mean that I don’t need to push myself.

Just like everything in life, it’s all about finding the right balance.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Coffee Is Always A Good Idea

There's nothing as good as a strong cup of coffee, unless it's a free cup of coffee.

Since tomorrow is National Coffee Day, coffee only seemed a fitting topic for this post.
What’s not to love about coffee — especially since there are so many good benefits that come along with drinking it! Runner’s World posted an article awhile back 8 Things Runners Should Know About Coffeeoutlining the benefits of running and coffee.
Some Saturdays I am not sure what I am more excited aboutcrossing my long run off the list or making the routine stop at Dunkin Donuts afterwards. Now that I know it may help post-exercise recovery, I can be excited for both!
A good run coupled with coffee and I may just be able to rule the world…. well, my world!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Redefining My Fitness

Redefining My Fitness

At the beginning of summer (Monday following my Dam to Dam run), I started my journey with Crossfit. Like many unaware people out there who haven’t stepped foot in an actual BOX , I was a complete skeptic. All I could think was this is just the next expensive, workout fad…..But, since my husband wouldn’t stop asking me to go, I figured I would at least try out the free first week. Needing a break from running and always up for trying something new, I thought, what could 1 week hurt….

Well, actually, it could hurt a lot! I remember the soreness from that first week….and hurting more than I have ever hurt from a workout. Was I really this out of shape? My motivation for each demanding workout came from knowing it would be done soon. If I could run for more than 2 hours, than could do the daily workout….right?

Well, it’s been more than 3 months and I am hooked. Even though some may call it obsessed, I know the change Crossfit has made in my life — and it’s hard to not be excited. I have noticed a positive difference in numerous areas — from my health, to my confidence, to my fitness level as a whole. And now that I am back into half-marathon training, I have really noticed how Crossfit complements my running performance.
More importantly, Crossfit is pushing me and motivating me to try harder and undefine limits I previously set. The possibilities are endless…..
As we celebrated JD’s 30th birthday this past weekend, I couldn’t help think about turning 30 in May. And while I have had this “perception” stuck in my head, it’s good to know at almost 30, I can say I am in the best shape of my live and it is only getting better.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Saying Goodbye to a Great Summer!

This is another “What I’ve Been Up To” post since it’s been a good three months since my last post. I have plenty to share and promise to do so more regularly!


Continued our adventure with volleyball — as much as I was ready to have the season over, I really missed it this past Wednesday night! And the great group of friends we played with each week!


A very sad goodbye....But excited to visit the Florida sunshine when it's freezing in Iowa!

Annual Northwestern Mutual Trip to Milwaukee....Had a relaxing time during the days and a great time attending the events with our friends — SafeHouse, ZooBrew, and Tim McGraw concert!

August was an amazing month!

My brother Alex made a visit back home. He's been stationed in Dover, Deleware for the AirForce forever now! We also celebrated my nephew Owen's batipism. JD and I are extremely honored to be his Godparents, along with Kara's brother Tyler.


I will also post instructions for a great baptism give....I have made two now! One football and one baseball version.....


I also went to a concert with Tess at the fair. We had an amazing time at the meet-and-greet before the show AND an even better time when Tess was picked to join The Wanted on stage!

We celebrated the end of summer by taking Crosby to the Doggie Dive at the pool down our street! And now, during our walks, Crosby tries to head towards entrance to the pool! I think he was a fan of it!

As we move into fall, I look forward to making many more great memories! We'll start this weekend as we celebrate JD's 30th birthday and continue into October as we celebrate our 1st Anniversary!



Friday, June 14, 2013

From One Challenge To The Next

It’s been awhile since my last post. Here’s what I’ve been up to since mid-May.

Dam to Dam—Not sure what it is about this race, but it always gets the best of me. While it wasn’t a PR or great feeling run, I did get to “enjoy” the time running with good friends. Stacy ran with me the entire way which is not her pace! She motivated me to keep moving (as much as I could I listened) and we crossed the finish together. After that race, I decided I should cross that off my Thifty Before Thirty list. They days are only getting shorter….

Blueberry Coffee—I had to find a way to regulate my obsession with blueberry coffee. Well, that was kind of accomplished. Instead of driving completely out of my way to work, to enjoy this delicious beverage, I found a blueberry syrup online. Add that syrup to some Dunkin Donuts coffee (or even the FREE stuff at work isn’t bad), and I am set for the morning. It’s probably a good thing I found this syrup....the day I received it in the mail was Day 1 of Crossfit.

CrossFit—Yep, I joined in on the CrossFit craze and now understand all the hype. Knowing I needed a change from just running, I decided to test it out. What’s the worst that could happen, right? Although I couldn’t move for the first whole week (very sore muscles), I made it and completed week 2 today! It definitely helps that I’m doing this with a group of friends and every one there really is encouraging and friendly.

I am enjoying the quick, intense workouts, heavy lifting and sense of community. In many ways, it’s reminds me of a half-marathon with the discomfort, exhaustion, competition (either with the group or yourself) and uncertain moments….but it’s only half the time and almost every day. Now, I just need to fit some running in my schedule.

What have you been up to the last month?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Race Day Inspiration

I have completed quite a few races in the last couple years. And during every one, I still recall my first half marathon (IMT half) through downtown Des Moines. I was beyond excited to know that I had trained for this race and even more excited that I was on my way to accomplishing a huge goal by finishing it. During the first two miles of the race, the streets were lined with family members, friends and race volunteers. I remember being overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of these complete strangers and found a new level of confidence in myself. Their cheering kept me moving, one step closer to the finish with each stride. And the nerves of running my first race, 4 times as long of my usual 5k (at the time), lessened as the race went on.

I am so appreciative of the time and motivation every one provides to runners during race season. After being on the receiving end so many times , I knew this year I wanted to give back to the running community. Here’s a look at my first (and very small) opportunity…..it's not much, but it's a start.  

A good friend of mine spent the last three months training and mentoring a group of girls at a local elementary school through Girls on the Run. The 3rd-5th grade after school program met twice a week over the course of 10-12 weeks. During this time, the girls participated in interactive lessons and running games that taught life skills and inspired an appreciation of health and fitness. The program ended with a celebration 5k run for the girls.

I had the great opportunity of participating in the Girls on the Run 5k last Friday as a running buddy for one of the girls. As I waited to meet my girl, I chatted with another girl’s running buddy. Apparently her girl was a quick little thing whose family was full of runners. At her young age, they were already giving her tips on her 5k “fun run”. It kind of made me nervous about keeping up with the young, energetic and excited girl I would run with that night.

And then I met my runner. She was so excited to be there around her family and friends. I don’t think she knew what to expect and wasn’t as prepared as some of the other girls. I snapped this picture of her shoes before the race, knowing that running in these, on gravel….wasn’t the best idea. At this time, I didn’t realize what I was in for the next hour (that’s right….the next hour).

As the race began, the smile on her face grew and grew. She was so excited to be participating in this event with friends and even more excited that her family was there to cheer her on. We started out fast, but once we turned the corner onto the path that would lead us through the 5k, she was ready to walk. So, on and off for an hour, we pushed and struggled to make it around the 5k loop. I tried everything I could do to motivate and encourage her to keep moving….And she did everything she could to find a reason to walk (which ironically is usually me with our running group). I answered question after question about running, porta pottys, myself, our distance and anything else she could brainstorm along the way. When we finally cleared the trees, we could see the finish filled with her classmates and other fans encouraging us on. About 200 meters out, her family joined in on the running and shared in her victory across the finish. The smile on her face was just as big as her proud parents.

Even though she complained (my specialty) about running almost the entire way, at the end, she realized how much it was worth it. And if you asked her to do it again, I bet she would. That, to me is running. A struggle, a challenge, an obstacle right in front of you and you make no other choice but to push through and finish.  I never doubted that this experience would amazing….What I didn’t realize is how enjoyable it would be for me. As I push and struggle to finish Dam to Dam next weekend, I know I'll have her smile in the back of my mind, motivating me to finish. Well, that and our reservations at Americana!