Sunday, April 28, 2013

Creamy Bolognese

How about the amazing weather this weekend, huh?  I don't know about everyone else, but the temps were in the 60s and 70s yesterday and today, not a cloud in the sky.  Definitely got my Vitamin D in this weekend.


Not so much on the workout front this weekend.  Saturday I went to the gym in the afternoon for some easy cardio on a spin bike while reading my book.  I sat outside for a bit yesterday but didn't move around much, so by the end of the day I was starting to feel the infamous ants-in-the-pants, so opted for a quick calorie burn.  Today I walked around the Union College campus where the Coach works in the bright sunshine.  Briefly I wished I was back in college until I noticed that half the kids had their noses buried in textbooks while they laid out on towels, were the other half were obnoxiously playing golf with tennis balls aimed at those studying.  Yup, don't miss college that much.  Also, it made me feel super old.  I can't believe I graduated 5 years ago...

One thing I wanted to mention: some people have asked me some specifics about the tempo sprints I do on the treadmill.  I've already detailed the numerous benefits about high intensity interval training, and going all out on the treadmill is an easy way to ramp up your fat burn at the end of a workout.  It's best to start out sprinting for 15 seconds, then hopping off the track on to the sides of the treadmill for 45 seconds.  It sounds silly, but if you're nervous about the jumping off part, practice it before you ramp up the treadmill!  Trust me, it's better to prep for some badass sprints and practice than fall off the treadmill because you've never jumped off the moving track before.  The incline should be set at 1% minimally, and basically you want to set the speed as fast as you can safely sprint.  I always start at 8.5mph and ramp it up from there, maxing out at 10mph (it's just not safe to go faster than that, if that gets easy just up the incline).  It should go without saying that you should not hold on during the sprint itself.  Start with 4 sprints, then 6, 8, etc. as they get easier.  You can also play with the rest time--go to 20 on / 40 off, or 30 on / 30 off.  These should be hard.  Like breathing hard, sweating profusely, hands-on-knees kind of deal by the end.  Enjoy!


As I mentioned last week, I'm on a total paleo-book reading kick these days.  I rarely actually buy books, especially cookbooks since I tend to come across all of my recipes online.  However, I had heard awesome things about Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, so I decided to screen this book first by taking it out from the library.  The author does an amazing job detailing how certain foods negatively (and positively) affect the digestive system, and goes in to great depth about how various conditions can be improved or worsened based on diet alone.  This book is a great resource and I definitely plan on buying it to have a personal copy to reference.

Besides the ridiculous amount of helpful information, there were also tons of yummy looking recipes in this book.  I decided that while I still have this book checked out til the end of the week, I'm going to make a recipe from it every night.  Tonight's menu: creamy bolognese.  Did you know that traditional bolognese from Italian restaurants usually has heavy cream in it?  News to me.  So this recipe has a nice dairy-free swap that I was super curious to try out.  I would say that I was more inspired by the recipe, since I made a bunch of swaps and barely followed the original.  These swaps include: subbed canned tomato sauce for white wine, used an onion and a pepper for the mirepoix since the Coach hates celery, and used fresh sausage instead of the suggested mix of veal/beef and pork plus bacon (too many ingredients to deal with).  If you're interested in the original recipe, here's the link: original Practical Paleo bolognese recipe.  Here's how my interpretation came together.

Creamy Bolognese
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
16oz Italian sausage
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
1t dried oregano
1/2t cayenne
1/2c coconut milk
6oz tomato paste
8oz tomato sauce (no spices in it, just the can)

Heat a skillet with cooking fat over medium-high heat and saute your onion and pepper until translucent.  Add the garlic and stir around for 1 minute.  Add the sausage and cook until browned.  Then add the rest of the ingredients, season with s&p, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20-30 minutes and taste, adjust seasonings to your liking.

I served this with zoodles (just found out that's what you call the zucchini noodles you make with a julienne peeler) but you could also serve this with roasted spaghetti squash or any other veg.


As far as meat sauces go, this one came together relatively quickly and tasted sooooo delicious!  Not like coconut at all, which I was slightly concerned about.  Instead, the sauce was thick and creamy, perfect for when you want some Italian comfort food but don't have time to wait for it to simmer on the stove all day.  The Coach was definitely a fan--he gave it the highest rating of any dish I've made recently!  Kind of an ouch for my recent culinary adventures but I can deal.

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Just wanted to do a quick check-in on the Whole30 front (no grains, legumes, sugar or dairy).  I'm officially one week in now, and I can already tell a huge difference, both in how my clothes fit and my overall energy level.  I definitely found myself searching out extra food this past week, as my body came off the roller coaster diet I've been on since my last go around at this detox.  For the beginning, I just focused on eating all healthy, clean foods without worrying about amounts.  This week I'm going to reign in my portions and snacking, since I've probably (definitely) been overdoing it with the almonds/walnuts.  At least that's my current game plan.  Fingers crossed I can resist the call of the nice white wine sitting in the fridge that's just calling to be sipped in this nice weather...

Hope everyone has a nice start to their week!

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