Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Garden wrap up from 2012 and onto 2013

It's been a while! I've been busy blogging for Iron Body Studios, which I now call "home" for work. Last January 2012 I had to put Thyme To Cook on hold due to family related issues, and I haven't gone back. I've been concentrating on my fitness and got TRX certified as well as Russian Kettlebell certified, passing the Russian Kettlebell Challenge in Sept 2012 (Most of you know that I've been teaching Spinning since 1995). I am now working with Artemis Scantalides and Eric Gahan from Iron Body, teaching class and assuming my new role as Director of Nutrition where I coach clients as well as offer a variety of food related services. It's an exciting time!

Here at home, Chez Shiner, we are on to garden season for 2013!!! I never did wrap up our totals for 2012, so I wanted to do that now. My last report was from August, and I had reported a total of about 43lbs or produce. We had a very prolific fall w.our tomatoes! The grand total in pounds for the Shiner garden 2012 was 87.5 lbs!!!
Here's the breakdown:
Broccoli 27.3 
Radishes 3.2
Basil 25.6
Beets/Greens 42.2
Golden Beets/Greens 6.5
Blueberries 2.3  
Lettuce 1.4
Fennel 0.1
Chard 36.55
Sun Golds 359.8
Onions 19.7
Green Beans  31.5
Strawberries 1.4
Eggplant 36.3
My Girl Tomatoes = 137.8
Green Zebras = 460.03
Black Cherry Tomatoes = 57.55
Poblano Peppers = 18.25
Carrots = 14.7
Sweet Peppers = 40.95
Lemon Balm = 0.3
Raspberries = 0.1
Heirloom Bean = 0.2
Leeks = 8
Cabbage = 23.8
Brussels Sprouts = 44.55

1400.38 oz of produce = 87.5 lbs!!

We learned a ton about what to do and what not to do in terms of placement, spacing and symbiotic relationships. The boxes this year will be far less packed and spaced out better. We have already started with peas and kale and are anxiously awaiting them to sprout. We've also put in onions, which should be ready to pull in about 60 days, as well as some that take 90 days.  As the season gets going, I'll be sure to post pics of whats going on. I will also continue to post recipes here so be on the lookout for something tasty soon!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Quick Dinner: Smoked Chicken Saute w.Zucchini Noodles

Last Thursday I had to come up with a quick dish to make. I was starving, and didn't get home from my kid's dance class until after 6pm.
I had onion, garlic, golden cherry tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cilantro and a smoked chicken breast from Chestnut Farms, a local farm to work here's what I did.
Sauteing the garlic and onions in coconut oil

I minced the garlic and sliced the onions and gave them a saute in coconut oil....
I used a vegetable peeler to make long slices of the zucchini into "noodles" and set them aside.
I chopped the smoked chicken breast into bite size pieces and also set them aside.

After the garlic and onion softened up, I added in the broccoli and tomatoes to cook for a couple of minutes, until broccoli was still crisp and the tomatoes started to split open. The smoked chicken went in next - it was already cooked and only needed to warm through.
Zucchini noodles go in last for a quick wilt

Since I wanted a little sauce, I added in about 1/2 cup of coconut water and 1-2 TBS coconut concentrate (which is whole coconut in a concentrated form - I get it from Tropical Traditions). I let that simmer down for only a brief minute and added zucchini in last, just to wilt.
I finished the dish with a squeeze of lime juice and chopped cilantro. It took minutes to prepare and was really satisfying, and provided me w.a few meals worth of food.

Dinner is served!

Stock up your pantry w.some key ingredients such as coconut water or coconut milk, aromatic veggies (your onions, garlic, carrots, celery), some fresh veggies and proteins and a meal is just minutes away :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SMART Goals w.a Nutrtion Focus

My first post of 2013 is actually a guest post on the blog of Iron Body Studios, the gym where I workout. Please head on over there and give it a read. It's on setting SMART goals w.a nutrition focus. You can find the post here: SMART GOALS.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baked Apples

So, in all of my years cooking, baking etc, I'd never made baked apples prior to last night. The apples this fall have been so great and I've been enjoying them straight up. I wanted to try a baked apple for a couple of reasons:
1) I'd never tried them
2) My sweet tooth has been CRAZY lately and I wanted something for after dinner that was (almost) guilt free - the recipe is Primal/Paleo

The recipe is easy. The first step is the hardest, and that is to core the apple, to about 3/4 of the way down, not all the way through. I don't have a corer, so I used a pairing knife to cut out most of the core and then a spoon to scoop the rest out. That's all the hard labor!

A filling is made and then the cavity of the apple is filled with it, and baked. Couldn't be easier, and couldn't be more tasty.
The apples tasted like apple pie, without all the guilt of the pie - warm, cinnamony, soft and delicious.

Baked Apples
Makes 4

4 Apples, cored as described above - apples good for baking such as Rome, Cortland, Granny Smith all work well
1/8 -1/4 cup coconut sugar (also called palm sugar)
Apples w.cores filled, topped w.grassfed butter, ready for the oven
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 chopped pistachios (roasted, unsalted) or use the nut of your choice
1 TBS grass fed butter, cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup boiling water

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees; place cored apples in an 8x8 baking pan.
2. In a separate bowl mix coconut sugar through pistachios.
3. Fill each core of the apple with the coconut sugar mix.
4. Top each apple with a piece of the butter.
5. Pour boiling water in pan around apples.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes until soft, but not breaking apart.
Apples, right after coming out of the oven, soft and bubbly w.that delicious filling!

Just like apple pie filling - so delicious!

Definitely try this at home. If you don't have coconut sugar, you could use brown sugar, or another alternative sweetener. You could use coconut oil instead of grass fed butter as well. Using pumpkin pie spice would also work well instead of cinnamon.  Enjoy!  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sharon Shiner RKC

It's one week later, and I'm still reeling from my weekend at RKC. The weekend offered an experience beyond words, but I'm going to try to write about it anyways :)

I flew to Philly on Thursday filled with anxiety, nervousness and fear. Many things weighed on my mind: would I make my weight class? would I be able to keep up with the volume? had I done enough in my training? would my nerves get the best of me? would I be able to do the snatch test? what team would I be on? WOULD I PASS? WOULD I LET EVERYONE DOWN??
My mind was going a million miles an hour and it continued that way pretty much throughout the weekend, but settled down as I hit milestones, such as weighing in and doing flex arm hang w.ease on the morning of Day 1. My mind didn't completely turn itself down until after I got my certificate that indicated that I passed!

With excitement and anticipation, I entered the gym on the morning of Day 1 to find out I was on Team Heinz, with Assistants Holiner and Clark: John Heinz, Steve Holiner and Amanda Clark. I went to RKC knowing a handful of people who were also RKC hopefuls. I was lucky enough to be on the same team as Jay Krawczyk, who lives locally and trains at a gym down the street from where I live.  Jay also trained with my coach/trainer, Mike Perry, from Skill of Strength to prepare for RKC. After the team arrived we all gathered around for the strength tests and weigh ins and we were under way.

Amanda Clark, John Heinz and Steve Holiner
Day 1 started with deadlifts, swings, one arm swings and ended with cleans and presses. However, before we started, the entire group gathered around in a large circle and everyone introduced themselves. It was interesting to see so many different types of people, from doctors to trainers to physical therapists to moms, military and pro athlete hopefuls. We also learned that this RKC, for the first time, had more female candidates then male. Quite appropriate as Andrea DuCane, acting chief, was teaching the course.

What I noticed right off the bat was, the level of instructing was incredibly high. Andrea
DuCane, not only was an amazing teacher but she was an amazing mover, moving with fluidity and grace. The other instructors, John Heinz, Delaine Ross, Steve Friedes, Phil Scarito and Betsy Collie each brought a different flavor and style to the mix, but none that was of less quality.

Me and my HKC partner, Kate
The day was split into learning/lecture with movement mixed in, team practices and group workouts. Team leaders and assistants offered training tips and form tweaks as we practiced to ensure we were getting better at the exercises. I had an instant rapport with Steve and Amanda, and I was appreciative for their vision. I kept track of my volume for the weekend. Day 1 consisted of close to 25 deadlifts and 500 swings, nearly 100 cleans, over 20 presses, over 15 clean and presses, a number of planks, and some loaded carries. Not too bad. On this day I hit a personal record in my strict press, pressing the 18kg (39.6 lbs) on my right side. I have to give thanks to Steve for helping me through this. It was truly an amazing feeling to press that bell up, teammates watching and hearing them cheer for me. When the day was over, I left feeling happy about how the day went. I went to dinner w.a couple of my HKC friends, Kate Fiore and Christina DeVos. I came home not too dazed and took and epsom salt bath to get ready for Day 2.

Me and my HKC buddy, Christina
Day 2 proved to be MUCH more demanding, physically and mentally. Since we had already learned the deadlift, swing, clean and press the day before, all of those moves became part of our practice and group workouts for the day. I was a little fatigued from Day 1. Mentally, it became hard to break away from the thought that testing was only a day away. We covered the Turkish Get Up, Snatch and Squat on Day 2. Tally: Approximately 10 deadlifts, over 600 swings, close to 100 cleans and presses, about 25 TGUs, over 80 Goblet squats and over 80 Front squats, over 100 snatches and high pulls as well as some planks and overhead carries. By the end of the day I was tired for sure. We had planned to have a team dinner which we did, but not until 8pm (our training days ended at 6:30, so 8 was not unreasonable). By 8, I was a wreck. I was sore and I was starting to mentally implode. Thoughts of testing the next day were doing me in. It took all I had to go to the dinner and act like a human being. After dinner I went back to hotel and took another epsom salt bath. I was exhausted but I couldn't sleep and awoke every 2 hours. At 4am, I just got up since my mind was racing.

It was awesome to meet Tracy and Janelle!
There was an electricity in the air on Sunday. Everybody was buzzing. First off before testing, we had a marketing meeting with John DuCane. Having this meeting directly before testing was tough for me. I found it hard to pay attention since my mind continued to race. It was also held off site, and so after the meeting we had to then drive to the gym. I used this time to try and breathe and do some positive self talk. At the gym, after a nice Qijong warm up by John DuCane, testing got quickly underway. When we were told to get our snatch size bell, I walked over to where all the kettlebells were. My eyes laid upon a single 12kg (25lbs), and it spoke to me - I grabbed it out of the bunch and brought it over to test with. I was thankful to be testing with Steve. Testing the RKC 6 moves was less nerve wrecking than I thought it was going to be. I was with 3 other team mates and we all cheered each other on through the testing. I was fortunate enough to have 2 friends come to watch and support me, Tracy and Janelle. Both are HKCs. I am so thankful that they came and experienced it all with me!! Janelle is planning to go on to RKC in 2013!

Unfortunately a blurry pic of all of us, but still a great one!
Then it was time to do the snatch test, which we went outside to do. I just kept repeating to myself that I had done the snatch test in 4:05, so I knew I could do it. When it was my turn, Steve said, We'll start the timer when you hike it I took a breath and I just went for it. By rep 60 I was tired for sure. My forearms were sore from the volume we had done on the previous 2 days and the burn set it. I kept it going to 80 and my time was around 3 min. I knew I had plenty of time so reps 81-90 I took nice and slow. For reps 91-100, adrenaline kicked in and I decided to just smoke them. For some reason I put the bell down at 99 thinking I had done 100. Steve yelled, you still have 1 more!!! I don't what happened, I picked the bell up and did my last rep, coming down w.a nice hike pass back and sort of tossed the bell on the ground, not placing it down. Steve looked at me and said, I think I might have to fail you on a technicality since you didn't place the bell down. I was shocked and horrified. Are you joking, I asked him? He said no and that he needed to confer w.John Heinz about it. My heart sank. As he walked off to find John I felt the tears well up in my eyes. In what seemed like forever, I saw Steve and John walking towards me. I searched Steve's face for a sign when he gave me a thumbs up. 4:01 was my time!!!!!!! So you can see, the weekend was filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows...a crazy emotional roller coaster.

During the snatch test
After testing and a short lunch, we then had our victim training. People volunteered to come for a free kettlebell lesson, taught by us, the RKC candidates. Its a way that the Team leaders and assistants could assess whether or not we could teach the exercises we just learned. Since there were only a few volunteers, we had to team up to teach. I was paired with a gentleman who didn't speak English very well to teach. This was challenging for me on a couple levels. One, it was tough to communicate with him about what to do with our victim and two, he had a different vision about what to do with our victim. So, the hour long lesson was definitely hard. Having said that, the person we worked with really did great. He started out not being able to hip hinge at all, and ended up being able to hip hinge and deadlift as well as do a great plank. The day after RKC I got a nice note from our victim's wife on Facebook. She is also an RKC and complemented me on being able to teach her husband how to hip hinge!! That was great feedback and it really made my day!

Team Heinz!!
The last part of our day and the last part of our weekend was our Grad workout. We were told to grab a bell one size lower than snatch size. All of the candidates then lined up at one end of the gym and Phil Scarito stood at the other end. He called out the exercises that we were to do and we followed them, making our way across the floor. It was an amazing feeling. Everyone was hooting and hollering, completing the workout, knowing that at the end, RKC weekend would be over. It was awesome because a number of people came to watch the testing and our grad workout - a number of HKCs, RKCs, family members and victims, all sat and stood opposite us, watching us and cheered us on. By the end of the workout I was so overcome with emotion, that the tears started flowing. We joined together in the middle of the gym, one hand in and we all shouted RKC! together.

For me, this weekend validated almost a year's worth of training. It was the opportunity for me to spend time with like minded people, who appreciated me for who I am, who offered support, acknowledging my strength and giving me positive feedback. Never before had I set such a physically and mentally demanding goal for myself. I questioned whether or not I was going to be able to do it, just a month shy of 43 years old. With each workout I logged in my training log, I knew I was getting stronger and closer to my goal. At RKC, I connected with my fellow candidates and made some new friends as well as strengthened old friendships. It was truly a life changing experience and one that I will never forget. I'm looking forward to when I can get together fellow RKCs again! In the mean time, in my training, the sky's the limit, and I'm ready to push myself even further to see how strong I can get. I'm also looking forward to bringing my knowledge to people to help them to move better and get stronger. Good stuff all around!

I'm certified!!!

 Thanks for reading :) Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This time next week

Wore my HKC shirt when teaching Spin this past Friday
This time next week I'll be on Day 3 of RKC!
It's been a long road to get here. Lots of hours logged training. Worth every minute. I totally changed my diet last January to support my training from veg/vegan to Paleo/Primal and boy am I glad I did. I've lost about 5lbs of fat of my body, am experiencing less inflammation in my back (I have arthritis in the joints of my lumbar spine), and overall, just feel better w.great energy.

A couple weeks back I did practice testing with Artemis from Iron Body Studios and did well - did my flex arm hang, 15 (s)....did my RKC 6 moves.....passed the RKC snatch test, 100 snatches in 5 min testing weight, 12kg (25lbs), in 4:05.
So, I know I can do it.
Will I be able to do it under pressure, in front of my peers, mentors and teachers? I certainly hope so.
TGU, 12kg, at Skill of Strength 09/21/12

This past Friday I went up to meet coach/trainer for the past 8 months or so, Mike Perry from Skill of Strength.  It was a good check in meeting and I'm glad we got to meet before I go on Thursday (I live 40 min from Mike and we've met about every 3 weeks or sometimes every 4, as I trained this past year). On our first meeting, I couldn't even snatch the bell! I've come a long way since then! Now, I'm snatching the 16kg.

It's been a life saving experience, setting this goal for myself. I happened to have the hardest and most challenging year of my life this year and training with RKC as my goal definitely was my savior. Training became something bigger than it was, giving me a life to have where things were (mostly) positive every time I practiced. I welcomed the community experience of having the support of fellow HKCs and RKCs; mostly everyone who I've encountered on this quest has been great and for that I am thankful. The community props me up when I'm down and makes it possible for me to believe in myself at a time when I feel totally lost, and for this I am thankful.
So bring it on and let's get this done!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RKC Update and Amazeballs Lamb Curry w.Summer Squash "Noodles"

It's just shy of 3 weeks from RKC!!!!!!!!! Mildly freaking out. Mildly.
My training has been consistent and I feel like I've done all that I can. I know that over the course of the three 8-9 hour long days of training at the RKC, I will learn tweeks to my form and technique and I'll only get better. I'm looking forward to the camaraderie of my team and fellow RKC candidates. As I've blogged before, I've never undertaken anything this big in my life and I'm hoping that I will be successful. The support that I've gotten from RKCs and HKCs, both in person and virtually has been amazing; from tidbits about training to advice about what to do in my classes, everyone has been extremely welcoming. Through and through I have learned that the RKC is a family that I want to be a part of.

I've been eating a pretty clean diet - high in protein, healthy fat, veggies and fruit....oh, and dark chocolate, 85% to be exact....I've been able to keep my weight where I want it, though if I dropped another pound by the 27th, I'd be happy w.that as well. An example of a meal that I might eat is this amazing lamb curry I made, served over "noodles" made from summer squash.
The ground lamb, squash and peppers came from Stillman's Farm. The tomatoes and eggplant came from my garden.
I sauteed onion and garlic, with some mild hot peppers in some coconut oil until soft. I then added thyme, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and a small bit of turmeric. Here you can be as liberal as you want w.the spices - I used a little less cumin (2 tsp), more coriander (1 TBS) since that's what I like. I also didn't go nuts w.paprika (1/2 tsp) in case my daughter liked it and didn't want it too spicy. The turmeric can easily overpower so it's best to use a small amount, like 1/4-1/2 tsp. After the spices become fragrant, I added in lamb to brown. I added salt and pepper to season all along the way!!

To the browned meat I added a small chopped eggplant, a medium sized chopped sweet potato and a few diced tomatoes. I also added about 1/2 cup of coconut water. I usually would have used stock, but was out. The coconut water worked fine.
After cooking for about 10-15 min at a generous simmer, I wanted to fortify the dish a bit more. So I added in some coconut creme concentrate, which is basically whole coconut, pureed up into a creamy consistency - it's about 70% coconut oil so it's solid at temps lower than 75 degrees, and more creamy at higher temps.
The coconut put this dish over the top and made it creamy, thick and hearty. Alternatively you could use coconut milk instead of the coconut water and concentrate and get the same effect.
To finish the dish, I added fresh lime juice and fresh basil (also from my garden).
I served the curry over noodles made from summer squash. I made the noodles with my Paderno spiralizer, a tool that rotates the veggie or fruit over a series of blades to cut them into a spiral shape, which you can cut into noodles. I sauteed the noodles with some onion (from my garden) and added a small bit of water to steam them.
I loved every bite of this dish. It was hearty and flavorful, yet didn't feel heavy. The spices complemented the lamb, the tomatoes gave the acidity and the sweetness of the sweet potato rounded out the dish.
My only complaint is that I didn't make enough!!! I wish I had more leftovers!! :)
If you don't like lamb, try this dish w.a different ground meat - pork, beef, turkey, chicken would all work great.
And def try the noodles. You can also use a food peeler to make noodles - just shave off thin slices of the squash an cut into thin strips :)