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Chris's Kitchen: How To Effectively Meal Prep For An Entire Week

Hello Everybody, I've had the same conversation with Carmen, coworkers, friends, family, and so many others about preparing food for an entire week. The common questions/statements are: "I don't have time," "I cannot eat the same thing day in and day out for five days," "that sounds expensive," and "where do I begin?"

My meal prep on an average week takes me four to five hours start to finish. Yes, four to five hours! What comes out of that four to five hours is; my Post Workout Shakes, Brunch, Mid Day, Early Evening, Dinner, and my final shake of the night. Here are the meals that I had this past week:

Post Workout Shake - Chocolate Chip Mint Protein Shake (16 Dark Chocolate Chips, Handful of Mint, 6oz of Almond and 6oz of Coconut Milk, with a handful of spinach, ice, and One Serving Sun Warrior and BioTrust Protein) - 40grams of Protein

2 Eggs Sunny Side Up with 2 Portobello Mushrooms

Tilapia with Cooked Spinach (1 Whole Bag) and 2 Strips of Bacon

3 Chicken Thighs with cooked Kale and sliced Portobello Mushrooms

Ribeye Steak with cooked Collard Greens with Sweet Potatoes

Night Time Shake - Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Shake with Athletic Greens (49 grams of Protein)

Here is how I put this together. I went to the store on Friday Night and when I woke up Saturday morning, I immediately went to the kitchen and pulled out all of my ingredients, eggs, butter, tilapia, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, almond milk, coconut milk, bags of spinach, kale, collard greens, steak, chicken thighs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, zip lock bags, cast iron skillet, large fry pan, small fry pan, Vitamix, shaker cups, and additional cooking utensils.

I then pre-heat the oven to 375 Degrees and I spray two pyrex dishes down with coconut spray. While my oven heated up I removed the stems from the portobello mushroom caps, wiped them off with a paper towel, set them in the pyrex dish top down, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and then sprayed them down with coconut oil spray. Beep, Beep, Beep, oven is ready, caps into the oven. I then heated a cooking pan with coconut oil and butter and added my tilapia to the pan when it was hot. While my tilapia was cooking I was also cooking two eggs at a time in my small skillet, in addition to that I was also cooking my package of bacon in a large skillet. Beep, beep, beep, fifteen minutes later my mushrooms are ready and out of the oven and into my waiting glass dishes for the week.

I don't waste that hot oven, I immediately wash and cut my sweet potatoes length wise and into the oven they go.

The mushroom caps were then married with the eggs. One meal done.

Not shortly after that, My tilapia was done and now it was time to cook my spinach and collard greens in that bacon fat from my cooked bacon. Oh yeah, I put the tilapia and bacon into waiting tupperware (after they cooled off a little bit as to not activate the chemicals in the plastic)(editors' note, at work I normally have the convenience of warming my food on paper plates). When my vegetables are done they too go to waiting glass and plastic tupperware.

While my potatoes are still cooking I season five ribeye steaks with cayenne, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, sea salt, fresh black pepper, chili powder, and then I placed them into the waiting zip lock bags. I then took the butter which had softened, divided it amongst the bags, and rubbed the meat thoroughly with that butter, released the air from the bag and placed them into the fridge for a couple of hours.

My potatoes are ready and out of the oven they come and into the oven go my chicken thighs which were placed into that second pyrex dish which was waiting.

My chicken thighs were pre-seasoned from Whole Foods (don't be afraid to let someone else get one meal or at least a part of the meal started for you. I crank the heat up to 400 Degrees and in they go.

While those chicken thighs are cooking I am making three post workout shakes and two night time shakes in my Vitamix. I place each one of them in the freezer; Yes, the freezer! The night before my workouts I take out one post workout and one night time shake. The post workout shake is almost always cold when I finish my morning workout like I just made it at home and the night time shake is still cold and ready for me. I find having the night time shake made ahead of time to be a lifesaver when life throws a monkey wrench into getting home on time.

I clean my shaker cup at the office on most days so when I come home I just make another post workout shake and you guessed it, it goes right into the freezer and out of the refrigerator comes the steak.

After I am done making my shakes I do the dishes and clean up my work area.

My chicken thighs are done, but I am not. I turn off the oven and I heat up my cast iron skillet and add a pat of butter to the pan. One at a time I cook my steaks 4 minutes each side. The steak is rare at this time. I do this because when I come home I simply add it to my hot skillet with butter and cook it for another 4 minutes per side for medium rare and I warm my collard greens and sweet potato in a warm oven. Dinner is served and Your Meal Prep for the Week is Done, Done, and Done!!!! (Brilliantly Ambitious)

I was going the entire time and standing the whole time. You can do this, and once you get your own special routine down, you will find that prep time is the best time to meditate, spend time with your loved ones while teaching them a healthy meal is not impossible to put on the table several times a day with just one days worth of work.

Keep training hard and eating great! I will see you all very soon and I cannot wait to share with you the great recipes I am discovering and creating!

Chris

Chris's Kitchen: Hummingbird Bread

Greetings from the Kitchen, If you were fortunate enough to attend the Ambitious Athletics Happy Hour a few weeks back then you were most likely part of the crew that demolished and enjoyed the Hummingbird Bread that I baked. I found the recipe on one of my favorite go to sites, www.paleomg.com. I added one ingredient which does not alter the taste of the recipe but definitely will help you recover from Carmen and Emile's great workouts.

Here is the recipe and your grocery list for what you all so nicely described as Awesome which ironically is how I describe all of you:

1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour/Powder - Available at Whole Foods in the Bakery/Spice aisle

1/2 Cup Coconut Flour - Available at Whole Foods in the Bakery/Spice aisle

1/2 Cup Cup Coconut Sugar - Available at Whole Foods in the Bakery/Spice aisle (look for it near the Cocoa and Sugar)

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt (I used sea salt)

2 Bananas mashed (I used ripe bananas but not too ripe)

1/2 Cup Pineapple Diced - (You have two options, you can get the canned version or you can get the fresh version) (Fresh I can honestly say you can do either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. The cost will vary but not by much for the fresh, just be sure to check the use by date on the Trader Joe's fresh fruit because it does make a difference) (If you are going to do the canned then I would go with Whole Foods 365)

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, melted - (Available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) (Trader Joe's is typically $1 cheaper)

2 Scoops Bio-Trust Vanilla Protein (24 grams) (This is the ingredient that I added.) (You can do any protein that you are currently using, that is one of two that I use. The next time I do this recipe I will try it with SunWarrior Protein.)

3 Eggs Whisked

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract - I would recommend Whole Foods because what Trader Joe's sells is not pure Vanilla Extract and Yes, it does make a difference. Look for this in the Bakery/Spice aisle (notice a pattern for this post.)

1/2 Cup Pecans, chopped

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Add Tapioca flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, protein powder, and salt to a large bowl and mix. Then add the rest of the ingredients, folding in the pecans at the end. Chris' Kitchen tip, use a lot more pineapple than 1/2 a cup. This will not only make your Hummingbird Bread more moist, it will also ensure every bite has a taste of pineapple. Pour the mixture into a bread pan (coated with coconut spray (again I recommend getting this from Trader Joe's.) and smooth at the top.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until bread is completely cooked through, let cool slightly before serving. Chris' tip, do not open the oven door to check on the bread! This will make your bread very flat and it will allow heat to escape from the oven. Be patient and wait until the timer goes Beep, Beep, Beep!

I am so glad that you all enjoyed this so much. There are more treats coming your way, just you wait and see, but more importantly, taste!

Until next time, continue to Train Hard and Eat Great! Chris

Chris's Kitchen: Thai Steak Salad

Hello Everybody, This recipe is brought to by www.howsweeteats.com. I LOVE this recipe! No, No, you don't understand I made this recipe for Sunday night dinner and then I turned it into my weekly salad for lunch. WOW! The preparation for this recipe is simple and the flavor and possibilities for pairings is limitless! The recipe is linked below and it is Thai Steak Salad with Roasted Mango Vinaigrette.

Hungry yet?

I suggest allowing the steak to sit in the marinade for at least 8 hours. Remove the steak from marinade and pat dry and place either on your hot grill or in your oven. If you broil this steak I suggest for medium rare you broil it for 10 - 12 minutes remove your steak, turn it over, and broil for 7 more minutes. Let your steak rest UNTOUCHED for ten minutes...DON'T TOUCH IT! Slice this steak and enjoy on a salad of mixed greens with grape tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed colored peppers, fresh sliced mango, cashews, and dressing.

You can also have this steak with broccoli or broccolini or with eggs and sautéd spinach (I did the latter) or in a lettuce wrap with the Mango Vinagrette, mixed peppers, and sprouts.

If you cannot get Flank Steak, Grass Fed Sirloin Steak works great, it is actually what I buy each time I have done this recipe.

I have missed you all. Have you missed me? You can show me how much you have missed me by letting me know what you think of this recipe and what you would like to see in the future. Vegetarian friendly meal coming very, very soon.

Stay Tuned, Stay Hungry, Stay Motivated! Chris

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/07/thai-steak-salad-with-roasted-chili-mango-vinaigrette/

Chris's Kitchen: How to Feed 7 Guys in The Wild Wonderful WV

At the beginning of this month my groomsmen, friends, and family set off for my bachelor weekend in the woods of West Virginia where we went whitewater rafting, rode 4-wheelers, played paintball, and ate like back country men. Yes, I’m getting married in just a few days but this entry is about nothing but food, good people, and why Chris’s Kitchen posts are a must eat.

The Opening of Chris’s Kitchen

Two years ago, I invited Chris to help celebrate my 29th birthday at Broadkill Beach, Delaware. He was kind enough to accept the invite but under just one condition, we allowed him to cook all of the meals for the entire weekend.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had someone ask or tell me that they want to cook for an entire weekend.

“Ummm, sure. I guess you can cook everything, Chris.”

We couldn’t go wrong even if the guy was just going to be cooking hamburgers and eggs all weekend, it would be made to order food and we wouldn’t have to cook.

I’m sure that if you’re reading this and or have read or tried any of Chris’s recipes or recipe finds, you would expect that the weekend of my 29th birthday was top notch with some amazing food.

As I said, just a couple of weekends ago was my bachelor party down in the “Wild, Wonderful” West Virginia and of course Chris was there; he’s in the wedding – and of course he wanted to take the reins on the menu, he’s earned the right to do so.

Some of you know Chris and some of you don’t, but what I wish for you to do is explore Chris’s ideas and love for food. Healthy food. Try out his recipes when we post them, and begin to explore your own taste buds.

I had to write this post for you guys because it’s just not fair that you don’t get to taste this dude’s cooking. Plus, I had to let you in on the menu that he created for the “guys in the woods” weekend.

The Bachlelor Weekend Menu

Thursday night Pulled pork

courtesy of the Civilized Caveman website with coleslaw squeezed between potato rolls.

Friday Breakfast Casserole

Eggs

Bacon

Russet Potato

Onion

Precook two packages of bacon, cube 2-3 russet potatoes, dice as much onion to your liking and sauté in some leftover bacon grease. Layer these cooked ingredients into a 9X11 pan; add approx. 18 eggs and bake in oven at 400o for 45 minutes. Teriyaki Portobello Mushroom Veggie Burgers

(My favorite of the weekend)

Portobello Mushrooms

Canned Pineapple Rings

Light Brown Sugar

Soy Sauce

Potato Rolls

Coconut oil

Red Leaf Lettuce

Remove stems and gills from Portobello mushrooms and place into a skillet topside down with two tablespoons of coconut oil. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan add three tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of light brown sugar, and pineapple rings and simmer while you cook your Portobello mushrooms. Toast your potato rolls and assemble your sandwiches with the lettuce, pineapples, and mushrooms.

To make this recipe even faster, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven is preheating, coat your Pyrex dish with coconut oil and place your Portobello top side down and place pineapples on the inside of the Portobello. Cook for fifteen minutes, remove from oven and drizzle simmer sauce onto Portobello pineapples, and assemble sandwiches as described above. Steak Rub

(can be any cut of your choice, we did rib eye’s)

Light Brown Sugar (1 Tbsp)

Smoked Paprika (1 Tbsp)

Chipotle Powder (1 Tbsp)

Sea Salt (1 Tsp)

Garlic Powder (1 Tbsp)

Cumin (1 Tsp)

Fresh cracked Black Pepper

Saturday Cobb Salad Sandies

(A staple of our get-togethers since the opening of Chris's Kitchen 2011)

Eggs

Avocado

Dijon Mustard

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Hot Sauce of your liking

Potato Rolls (if desired)

Hard-boil about six to one dozen eggs. Cut and dice two to three avocados. In a mixing bowl mix dijon mustard with avocados. When your eggs are ready and cooled add them along with blue cheese crumbles to the bowl, mix and serve on lettuce leaves, potato rolls, or just eat it by itself. Pork Chops

See Steak Rub above

Brown the chops in bacon grease before grilling

Side Dishes Roasted Potatoes

Red Potatoes 3lb Bag

Russet Potatoes 3lbs

Smoked Paprika

Cayenne

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Pesto (I used the Whole Foods pre-made kind)

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 415 degrees

Wash, peel and dice your potatoes. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the above ingredients. Eyeball the spices (I did!) and then spread on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and place in a mixing bowl and top with pesto, mix, and enjoy! Bacon wrapped asparagus Whole Foods premade Coleslaw Vodka Soda w/ lemon Athletic Greens

I really hope you take the opportunity to try out some of these great meals, rubs, or other ideas that Chris throws down; or at least throw some of your own meals together at home. As we do, feel free to share a favorite healthy recipe of your own below or on our Facebook page. And if you’ve made any of the recipes from Chris’s kitchen, please let us know which one and what you thought about it.

Now wipe your mouth of the drool that’s about to land in your lap!

Cheers,

Carmen

Chris's Kitchen: Breakfast Anytime

Hello from The Kitchen, I have to start off by saying, it was AWESOME to work out with some of you guys last Wednesday. It was supposed to be my off day, but Carmen said I could be his friend that got to go to Bootcamp so I jumped at the opportunity, and I could not have been happier to have worked out with you guys and gals. My lower body was not so happy the next day, but I just switched my workout days around and got after it! You all pushed me, so Thank You!

And thank you for the feedback. It was great to meet the people who are actually trying out the recipes and providing real feedback. Feedback that said, there needs to be a binder for the Meat Lasagna and we need more vegetables and maybe even a vegetarian recipe in the future. Noted and Noted. The people have spoken and I have listened. Below are two links to two of my favorite recipes. They pack the nutrients that everyone wants and needs; vegetables, protein, carbs, and bacon. Oh Yeah, one of these recipes has bacon! In fact, a recent article was just published about a 105 year old woman who attributes her longevity to back. Long live bacon!!

Seriously, these may be breakfast recipes, but I remember a Kellogs cereal slogan from when I was a kid that asked, "when is the best time for breakfast?" It had a bowl of cereal poised as a clock with no hands and the simple answer of "Anytime". And you know what? They were right. I no longer eat cereal but I can tell you this, after my workout yesterday I had the Rutabaga Egg Nests (Four Eggs) and for dinner last night I had the Delicious Breakfast Hash with a large chicken breast and Chocolate Peanut Butter and Blueberry Shake with 3 Scoops of Protein (I slept like a baby).

These recipes are super simple and honestly can last you for up to three days. Make them both and alternate and you have a post-workout meal for the entire week. For those of you who don't know where to find Rutabaga, it is in the Turnip family and is usually sold in the vegetable section alongside of the turnips. Turnips are purple and white and rutabaga is a light tan color. Simply use a vegetable peeler and peel the outside hard skin away and either shred it in a food processor or for a great tricep workout, use a cheese grater.

Again it was a pleasure meeting you all. I hope to see A Lot of you at the May 18th Adventure Run and I look forward to your continued feedback. These are your recipes, so keep the feedback coming.

Lastly, I saw this Great quote when I was out to dinner at an awesome organic restaurant in Old Town, Alexandria (Jackson 20) and immediately thought of Carmen and the Ambitious Athletics Family, so I leave you with this quote:

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

Chris

PS. If I didn't have the opporutnity to work out with you or meet you at the anniversary party, then please feel free to leave your feedback below. Thanks again!

Chris's Kitchen - 6 Healthy Protein Shakes for Spring

Hello Everybody, The spring season is coming; I know it snowed just a couple of weeks ago and it is still a little chilly outside, but warmer weather is coming! I won't jinx it and say that Spring is here until the next time you hear from me, but Spring is here :)

This time around in Chris' Kitchen, we all wanted to share some of our protein shake recipes, both original and discovered from cookbooks and blogs.

I LOVE protein shakes! For a person with a serious sweet tooth, my protein shakes provide me with not just my nutritional needs; they also provide a healthy alternative to an unhealthy snack. Here are a few of my go-to’s.

Chris’s go-to daily protein shakes

Pre-Workout Shake

· 2 Scoops of Sun Warrior Vanilla Rice Protein

· 3 Tbsp of Potato Starch

· 1 Tbsp of Athletic Greens (Greens Supplement)

· 1 cup of Unsweetened Coconut Milk

· 6 oz of Unsweetened Almond Milk

· 3 oz of Coconut Water

I place everything into my Blender Bottle in the order listed above and shake for thirty seconds and slam it back, heavy lifting to follow.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Post-Workout Shake

· 1 Scoop of Sun Warrior Chocolate Rice Protein

· 1 Serving (2 Scoops) of BioTrust Low Carb Chocolate Protein

· ¼ cup Frozen Black Cherry's

· 1 Tbsp of Almond Butter

· 3 Tbsp of Potato Starch

· 1 cup of Unsweetened Coconut Milk

· 1 cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk

Combine all ingredients in your Vitamix or blender, cover, blend, and enjoy. I make my shakes the night before and place them in a blender bottle. I find that the flavors meld together over night. If you are making this directly after your workout, add about a cup of ice for a really cold treat.

My nighttime shake is usually the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie you can find right here: http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/sidessoupsdrinks/pumpkin-pie-smoothie/

CivilizedCavemanCooking.com

Carmen’s go-to daily protein shakes

The Vitamin Cocktail

· Huge handful of baby spinach

· 2 of cups water

· 1 Serving of Athletic Greens

· 1 Serving of coconut oil or full fat canned coconut milk

· 1 Serving of frozen blueberries

· 2 servings of chocolate protein powder

The Sweet and Salty Hulk

· Handful of baby spinach

· 2 cups of water

· 2 kale leaves stripped from stalk

· 3-4 Clementine’s

· 1 Serving of mixed roasted and salted nuts

· 5 ice cubes

· 2 servings of chocolate or vanilla protein powder

*Tip: Blend the vegetables first to avoid any clumpiness in the shake. Then add the more dense items (fruits/nuts) and blend again. Lastly, add in the protein powder. If the recipe calls for ice, add it in last to get the consistency you desire.

Emilie’s go-to daily protein shakes

Monkey’s Milk

· 1 scoop of vanilla protein

· ½ cup of frozen berries

· 2 handfuls of spinach

· 1 Cup of almond milk

· 1 banana

(Optional add-ons: 1 tablespoon almond butter)

Cucumber Delight

· 1 scoop of vanilla protein

· 1 Cup of cantaloupe

· ½ cucumber

· 2 handfuls of kale

· 1 cup of almond milk or water

I LOVE training hard and eating clean. Actually, WE LOVE training and eating clean. That's why you don't see huge differences in our shake ingredients, we only throw in the necessities and keep out the crap. Enjoy the protein shake recipes and have a great Spring season, your summer body is right around the corner.

Please feel free to share you go-to protein shakes by commenting below. I'd love to try out one of yours!

Chris

Chris's Kitchen - Chilean Sea Bass

Chris's Kitchen - Chilean Sea Bass (Pictures Below)

Hello from my kitchen, Chris' Kitchen! I am sure you have all noticed a commercial or two about fish sandwiches and fish bites. While I, and probably the fast food joints included, am not exactly sure what type of fish is contained in those sandwiches and mini bites but I am sure that this month's recipe will surely delight. Today I will not only provide you with a main dish, but an entire meal.

When people think fish, they think salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, and mahi mahi. Those are all very great and healthy fish, but today I am going to give you a recipe for Chilean Sea Bass.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

Chilean Sea Bass - 2 - 3lbs

Grass Fed Butter - 1 Tablespoon Equally divided amongst your fish.

Lemon - 1 Sliced Thinly

Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste

Swiss Chard - 2 Bunches

Dino Kale - 2 Bunches

Carrots - 4 (Shaved)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 Degrees.

While your oven preheats, cut your Chilean Sea Bass horizontally into two or three equal parts. Lay out enough aluminum foil to fold and tent your fish. Lay your fish in the center of the foil, season with salt and pepper, a pat of butter (insert English Accent), and two lemon slices. Fold and Tent your aluminum foil and place on a baking tray and place in the oven for fifteen minutes.

While your fish is cooking in the oven, place a tablespoon of coconut oil or a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet and melt over medium heat.

While this is going on wash and slice your swiss chard and Dino Kale vertically against the stems and then cut horizontally and add to your skillet.

While your kale and swiss chard cooks, cut the tops off of your carrots, wash, and peel your carrots and add to your skillet.

By now your fish should be done. Carefully remove your Chilean Sea Bass from the oven and open the tent away from you. Plate your chard, kale, and carrot mix onto the plate and top with your Chilean Sea Bass. Dinner is Served!

Straight Out of the Oven Kitchen Bonus: The REAL Filet O' Fish

What you will need is a 1 to 2 pounds of Cod, some Panko Bread Crumbs, 1 Egg, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

You will need one bowl with your beaten egg and another with half a cup of Panko Bread Crumbs and Seasoning mixed together.

Heat a medium size skillet with a tablespoon of Grass Fed Butter over medium heat.

Cut your fish into three or four equal pieces.

Dip your fish in the egg mixture and coat both sides of the fish, and then cover both sides of your fish with your Panko Bread Crumb seasoning.

Place your fish in the hot skillet, careful not to crowd the pan. Cook on each side for three minutes, plate and enjoy on top of a mixed green salad or the vegetables from above.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Chris' Kitchen. Next month I hope to do something totally different with this blog post which will include Carmen.

If there is something you would like to see more or less of in recipes please let me know. Thanks for your time.

Train Hard and Eat Great,

Chris

Chris's Kitchen - Carrot, Orange, and Ginger Soup

Two weeks ago it was hard for me to think about a soup recipe, seeing that it was seventy degrees outside, however; in light of twenty degree days and our Ambitious leader recently feeling under the weather, there could not be a better time for this recipe. Today's treat; Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup with Chicken is courtesy of the Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook. I absolutely love this cookbook and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to simplify their life and healthy lifestyle. For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:Coconut Oil or Butter 2Tbsp Onion (rough chopped) 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Ginger (Grated or Chopped) 1 Tbsp Cinnamon 1 Tsp Chili Powder 1/2 Tsp Baby Carrots 6 Cups Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice 3/4 Cup Coconut Milk 1 Cup Low-Fat Milk 3 Cups Salt 1 Tsp Pepper 1/2 Tsp Chicken (Cubed) 1lb 5 oz

Instructions: Preheat a large pot on medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then the onions and saute until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the remaining oil, ginger, cinnamon and chili powder and saute for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add the carrots, orange juice, coconut milk and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. When the milk begins to boil, reduce heat immediately to a simmer to avoid boiling over. Simmer until carrots are soft (about 10 minutes). Let mixture cool for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper and puree with a blender or food processor until smooth and then pour back into the pot. Season your chicken with salt and pepper and grill. Cube the chicken and add to the pot. To maintain the tenderness of the meat, avoid bringing the soup to a boil after the chicken has been added.

Ready for a little secret? If you have a Vitamix, you can make this soup in less than 20 minutes...WHAT!!! I Know, Right!?!! This meal is great after a workout, when you're feeling a little under the weather, or you just want the comfort of a nice warm cup or bowl of soup. With changing weather and a flu epidemic, it is very important to make sure your body is constantly getting the right vitamins and nutrients. I hope this recipe finds everyone "well" and I wish everyone a healthy, strong, and because it is the "Month of Love", Love!

Work Hard and Eat Great!

Chris

Chris's Kitchen - The Muscle Meat Lasagna

Hello Everybody and Happy New Year! For this month's recipe you have to look no further than down. Today I am pleased to present you with a Chris Original Recipe! How original, I just finished this recipe and it is cooling on the counter original. So everybody loves lasagna, but how can you enjoy lasagna if you don't want noodles? It's easy, you take out the noodles and leave the stuff that compliments your hard work with Carmen. I used to make this lasagna which everyone loves and requests (I just made it for Christmas) and while I was making this recipe I literally said, Chris take out the noodles and get this to Carmen and Company. So here it is, My Muscle Lasagna:

Ingredient List:

Portobello Mushroom Caps (Two Packs) (At Trader Joe's they come three to a pack for $2.50)

Sliced Portobello or White Mushrooms (10 oz)

Red/Green/Orange/Yellow Peppers - 1 of Each (Best Deal Trader Joe's - 3 Pack)

Fresh Basil (Trader Joe's)

Bagged Spinach - 1 Bag (Trader Joe's $1.99)

Canned Crushed or Diced Tomatoes - 2 (28 oz)

Grass-Fed Ground Beef - 2lbs

Sausage - (Trader Joe's or Whole Foods) (Links - Remove Casings) - 2

Packs Bacon - (I used Trader Joe's Apple Smoked Bacon $3.99)

Cayenne Pepper - 1 Tsp

Smoked Paprika - 1 Tbsp

Chili Powder - 1 Tsp

Dried Oregano - 1 Tbsp

Garlic Powder - 1 Tsp

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: In one skillet prepare your bacon. Use the entire package and resist the urge to eat the bacon, IT WILL BE HARD, but you must resist. Everyone say Thank You to Our Favorite Strong Mom Tara L who reminded me, "Bacon makes everything Better!" Thank You Mrs. Lamond, Thank You! Heat another skillet on medium heat and place a Tbsp of Coconut Oil into the pan. While the pan is heating up, remove the stem and gills from the portobello mushroom caps, wash, dry, and slice length wise and place into the warm pan. Monitor your mushrooms and watch that bacon.

Remove the cooked mushrooms from the pan and now add another Tbsp of Coconut Oil into that same pan which had the sliced mushroom caps and add the sliced mushrooms and peppers which should be sliced length wise. Cook for approximately eight to ten minutes. Remove them from heat and add them to the same area where you put your sliced mushroom caps. By this time all of your bacon should be cooked and resting on a plate.

Now add your ground beef to the same pan which had your mushroom and peppers and cook until no longer pink. Drain your meat in a strainer in the sink. Now go add your sausage to that same pan. Cook your sausage. Now everything is cooked right - WRONG! We have to make the sauce. It is simple and you are going to be making this sauce for everything and for everyone.

For the sauce open your two cans of diced or crushed tomatoes and add them to the pan which just had your sausage. While the sauce is cooking add your spices and the bag of spinach and basil to the pan. Cook until the spinach has wilted and is totally incorporated into the sauce.

Now we are ready to assemble. I know what you are thinking and what you are going to say; Chris this is A Lot of Meat! You are Right - You're Welcome!!! Coat a 9x5 pyrex dish or anything which you normally cook lasagna in with coconut spray.

Now assemble:

First Layer - Ground Beef

Second Layer - Bacon (I hope you did not eat it all)

Third Layer - Sausage

*This was included in the first layer per this chef's own discretion.

Fourth Layer - Sliced Portobello Mushroom Caps

Fifth Layer - Mushrooms and Peppers

Final Layer - Sauce Cheese? There is NO Cheese - And you won't Miss it!

Place in a preheated 400 F oven for 30 minutes.

Remove and Enjoy!

Pre-stomach

You train hard, Now Go Eat Well!!!

Chris

5 Simple Ways to Accelerate Fat Loss

5 Simple Ways to Accelerate Fat Loss 1. Ditch breakfast

Here’s what I’m saying, breakfast is two words: break and fast. It’s not necessary to eat a meal as soon as you get out of bed or before you leave the house. Break your fast a little later in the day. Why? Think about your dinner. Calories-wise, it was probably your biggest meal of the day. And what did you do after? If you’re like most people, you sat around, watched a little TV and slept. This means that all of that energy from dinner is just waiting to get used in the early morning. If you eat breakfast, you’re just packing in more calories that you really don’t need.

2. Start your day with a fatty protein packed meal

Have a protein and fat source available to you for your first meal of the day, so you don’t grab a breakfast burrito or something easy that’s loaded with carbs. Why? Because it’s all about keeping insulin production to a minimum, and fat burning at a maximum and insulin blunts fat utilization. Carb up early and stop fat burning early. Sure it’s said that most people who break their fast later in the day often make poor food choices when eating their first meal, which is why it’s extremely important to have a plan.

Here’s a few ways to break your fast: Greek yogurt + almonds Whole Egg omelet Vegetable protein shake + almond butter Steak and eggs Bacon and eggs The Vitamin Cocktail shake

3. Eat a variety of vegetables

If you’re reading this, the chances that you are an adult are pretty good. This means it’s about time to learn to cook with a variety of vegetables. It’s really easy: mix them into your favorite dishes, sauté them, roast them, grill them, bake them, etc. Do whatever you need to do to get them into every meal. Why? Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals essential to our body vitals and functions. Nothing further needs to be said, just start eating at least 5 handfuls of vegetables daily.

4. Drink black coffee, tea and water – nothing else

Coffee, tea and water all include great benefits until you start adding stuff to them. Why? Not only do coffee and tea provide a boost to your day, they have also been linked to other benefits that you can read more about here and here. Water should be more obvious to you. We know it’s essential for life (crystal light isn’t), so be sure to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces: 150lb person = >75 ounces.

What about alcohol? Keep it minimal and stick to vodka soda and fresh squeezed lemon.

5. Save your starches for dinner

Home sweet home, toss the phone aside, turn on some Seinfeld and grill up a big slab of meat and some potatoes. It’s time to kick into chill mode and starches will help you achieve just that. Why? Carbohydrates trigger serotonin release, which makes us feel content and relaxed and usually induces sleep. What about Thanksgiving Day? Sure the tryptophan in turkey lends a hand but lets think about all of the extras: stuffing, sweet potatoes, pies, etc. You know where I’m going with this, straight to the couch. Zzzzzzzz….

Dedicated to your health,

Carmen

Gluten-free Blueberry Protein Pancakes

This batch will make 10-12 good sized pancakes. I ate mine in two sittings and they were just as good the second time around. Don't add any additional butter or syrup, just demolish. Bowl 1 - dry mix

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour 1/2 cup Bod's Red Mill Potato Starch 3 teaspoons baking powder 3 teaspoons stevia - not really necessary Couple dashes of sea salt 2 scoops chocolate protein powder

Bowl 2 - wet mix

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 1/2 cups coconut milk turned butter milk (add 1 tablespoon or lemon juice and vinegar to the milk) I only had apple cider vinegar and it worked just fine. Not really sure if it's even necessary to add lemon juice or vinegar to be honest. 5 tablespoons or 70 grams of real butter (Kelly's Irish Gold or Smjor are my favorite) 1 large egg

Whisk all wet ingredients then add to the dry bowl. Whisk all ingredients together until there are no lumps in the mixture.

Add 2 cups of blueberries. Wisk again to complete mix.

Use 1/4 measuring cup to ladle pancake mix on to griddle and cook until golden brown, then flip.

Please let me know what you think about these pancakes by leaving a comment below or on the Ambitious Athletics Facebook page. Enjoy, Carmen

Chris's Kitchen - The Rub Down

I am back with some new recipes to get you through the week if not the month. This month I am centering my attention on rubs for meat. Rubs are simple and add a variety of tastes which take plain old chicken and grass fed steak to a whole other level. These rubs can be applied right before cooking or can actually be done ahead of time. It was common practice in the days of Columbus and beyond to season meats with salt and other spices for the purpose of preservation. Like anything, the longer the spices stayed on the meat the more infused the meat became with the flavor of the spices. I like to shop at the end of the week, rub all of my meats for the week, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and then leave them for 24 to 48 hours. This simple trick helps me get lunches and dinners prepared in the fastest time possible. I hope you will enjoy these two very simple and distinctive rubs.

The Coffee Rub.

This rub is for red meat and can be used on any cut. I have personally used this rub on Flank Steak, Sirloin Steak, and New York Strip. What I like about this recipe is that it can be done on the stove or on the grill. Here is what you do. Combine all of the ingredients listed below, rub on your meat, and then cook your meat to your desired doneness. Yes, it is that simple.

Here's what you need:

1 1/4lb Steak (Flank, Sirloin, New York Strip) (I like the Flank and Sirloin the Best!)

1 1/2 TSp Ancho Chili or Chili Powder

1 1/2 Tsp Fine Ground Espresso Coffee (I use Ferrara Instant Espresso which is available at Whole Foods in the Coffee Section)

1/2 Tsp Brown Sugar

1/4 Tsp Dry Mustard

1/4 Tsp Ground Coriander

1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

1/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

Cinnamon and Sage Rub (best used on chicken drumsticks)

This is another rub and recipe I found on the Civilized Cavman site that I shared with you last month.

You will need:

6 Chicken Drumsticks

2 Tbsp Grass Fed Butter (melted)

1-2 Tbsp Sage (Cheapest at Trader Joe's in the Fresh Produce Section)

1 Tbsp Cinnamon

These are simple rubs that I use often and I have tried with family and friends. I hope you find as much enjoyment in them as I have and will this week.

Train Harder and Eat Well!