Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

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The first time I made these pork chops I was just using up some blue cheese that had been in the fridge for awhile and I don’t like anything to go to waste.  My husband raved about them and since then they have become a Friday night or weekend treat.  They’re not difficult to make but they do take a little time so I save them for my cooking night as the Jag needs simpler recipes.

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Thicker cut boneless pork chops work the best although I have also made them with the bone in chops

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My preference is raw blue cheese if you can find it.  There is no need to pasteurize cheese provided the source is clean and the cow pastured; the good bacteria in raw-milk cheese protects the cheese from dangerous pathogens. 

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Mix the carrots, blue cheese, pecans, green onions and teriyaki sauce in a small bowl

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Carefully cut a horizontal slit into the fatty side of the chop

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Until you have a nice pocket

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Stuff each chop equally

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Secure with toothpicks and tie with kitchen string.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness

Recipe & Ingredients

4 thick boneless pastured pork chops
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw blue cheese crumbled
2 finely chopped green onions + tops
2 tsp gluten free teriyaki sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Mix the carrots, pecans, blue cheese, green onions and teriyaki sauce together.  Carefully cut a slit or pocket in each chop making sure you do not cut through.  Stuff each pocket with equal amounts of the carrot mixture.  Secure the pocket with wooden toothpicks and culinary string.  Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper to taste and grill over indirect heat for 6-8 minutes turning once and then grill over direct heat for about 4-5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning once.  You can also broil these in the over for about 6-7 minutes per side.

Age is NOT a Valid Excuse

“I can’t, I’m too old”.  Bullshit.  You can.  You just need to find the right program and begin slowly respecting where you are starting from, any challenges you need to work around and never ever giving up.

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CrossFit exercise can be intimidating, I’ll be the first to admit that.  Having an affiliate–CrossFit Jaguar–for over 6 years I’ve seen the fear in the eyes of newcomers and the deer in the headlight look often enough in younger people let alone someone well into their fifth or sixth decade and beyond.  They shake their heads and say “oh no, I’m too old for that, it’s not for me”.  Is it not for everyone?  I believe the basic movements and exercises are indeed for everyone.  They are natural, functional movements that we should all be able to perform to some degree to improve and maintain our activities of daily living and life in general.

We’ve all heard how scalable CrossFit is from the collegiate athlete to your grandmother and that’s certainly true to some extent.  However there comes a time when ‘everyone’ is not always suited to work out collectively in one class.  Too many extremes will take away from the coaching.  At CF Jaguar we’ve learned that through experience and now have 3 tiers of classes or challenge.

Jaguar Shots (48)

We have our ‘regular’ classes for anyone ranging from 18 to 80+ as long as you have the appropriate fitness level.  You need to have gone through our On Ramp program, have knowledge of the movements–especially the Oly lifts and experience with rep maxes.  We have intermediate to advanced athletes and fire breathers of all ages in the classes.

Boot camp 2

We have a CF Boot Camp an excellent program for the beginner to intermediate athlete.  It’s definitely not all bodyweight exercises and high volume repetitions like you picture at your local park.  They initially follow a solid linear strength progression to build a strong foundation.  Many go on to the regular classes and some are quite content with the progress they make in that program alone.

We had another group that we needed to extend our menu of services to accommodate and get them the attention, results and life they needed.  Thus begun the Silver Jaguars. . .

Gail

“I not only can, I will”

For those over 50 and sometimes even 40 bodies and goals have changed. Six pack abs and bulging biceps might not be the top priority.  But feeling good, looking good, maintaining agility and balance and being able to participate in your favorite sport or activities of daily living and off of medications most likely are.  At this age, (trust me I know I’m 54 and my husband is 66) it boils down to lifestyle choices.  Wear and tear and the damage throughout the decades is cumulative.

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Who is this program best suited for?  Those over 50 (or 40 ish) that have not worked out in awhile, have gained a few pounds, have some aches, pains and orthopedic concerns and little energy.  But they don’t like feeling like that. They don’t like being overweight or on “medications” with toxic side effects.  They’re not quite ready to run wild with the 20 something or even the 30 something crowd but they want to get some exercise and make positive changes; they know its possible they just need direction.

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We start with the basics and modify/scale the same movements that we use in our other programs.  We help them to regain mobility, balance, strength and muscle mass while improving body composition and endurance. We focus  heavily on lifestyle related choices that while we don’t condone for any age group to abuse the younger generation can get away with it more–for now.

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If you don’t think you can do it, check out Jean Stewart’s story An 83 year old woman that couldn’t lift a 20# bag of potting soil and is now deadlifting 155#.

While we’ll never be 25 again make some changes now and the potential to live independently with a good quality of life can be yours for the taking well into the golden years.  And remember that age is just a number not an excuse.

Shepherd’s Pie

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First Shepherd’s pie of the season.  Hearty and satisfying–great for an easy weekend meal or make ahead for a no fuss weeknight dinner.  Whether you choose ground lamb, beef, bison, venison or turkey it’s packed full of protein, veggies and excellent with either white or sweet potatoes.  Get creative and let me know your favorite.

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Prep the veggies

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Put the taters on to boil

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Melt the fat over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven; add the onions and carrots, cover and cook until tender — about 5 minutes.

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Add the lamb or other meat

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And the mushrooms and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the mushrooms have softened.

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Add the tomato paste, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and beef stock and bring to a simmer.  Add the arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in cold water to the meat mixture, bring to a very slight boil and cook stirring constantly until slightly thickened — about a minute.

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Place in a buttered casserole dish

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Mash your potatoes adding butter, salt & pepper and enough raw milk or broth to yield a nice spreading consistency

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I personally prefer a hand held potato masher to a mixer as it leaves a few lumps

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Carefully place dollops of the potatoes on the top the filling

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Taking care to spread evenly and sealing at the edges.  Sprinkle with paprika and add a little butter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 or until bubbly and the top is slightly golden.

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Enjoy!

Recipe & Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs ground lamb (pastured)*
2 tbs healthy fat (tallow, lard, coconut oil)
1 medium organic onion, chopped
3 organic carrots, chopped
8 oz fresh organic mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs tomato paste (no added junk)
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp marjoram
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup beef stock (homemade preferred)
1 tbs. arrowroot powder or non GMO cornstarch
2 tbs cold water
*pastured ground beef, bison or venison may be substituted

Potato topping
3 cups white potatoes
Butter or ghee to taste
Broth or raw milk
Paprika, if desired

Variation:  I’ve also made this with ground turkey and sweet potatoes.  Slightly sweet but a nice change of pace

Preparation

In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven heat fat over medium heat. Add onions and carrots; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender—about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and mushrooms and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the mushrooms are slightly tender. Add the tomato paste, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper and beef stock and bring to a simmer.

Stir the cold water into the arrowroot or cornstarch powder until dissolved. Add to the meat mixture until slightly thickened—about 1 minute taking care to not overcook.

Meanwhile cook the potatoes in water on a low boil until tender. Add butter or ghee to taste along with a little broth or raw milk for a nice spreadable consistency.

Place in a lightly buttered 2 quart baking dish.  Add in the meat mixture, top with the potato mixture taking care to spread evenly and seal to the edges. Sprinkle w/ paprika and add a couple dollops of butter.*

Bake at 375 about 30 minutes or until bubbly and the potatoes are just slightly golden.
Serves 4 – 6
*You can prep to this stage and refrigerate for up to 2 days for an easy make ahead weeknight meal.  Do allow the casserole  dish to set at room temperature for an hour before placing in the oven.

Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is in the air even in Florida; time for a bowl of nourishing soup and all things wonderful made from the delightful gourds the season has to offer. . .

Butternut

When the Jag picked up our vegetables from our coop last week I assumed this was a pumpkin.  Wanting to be sure before I cooked it I asked my friend Tabitha who runs the coop and it was not a pumpkin but a butternut squash.  Hmmm, first thing that came to my mind was soup.

We’ve all probably had butternut squash soup either in a restaurant or out of a box or can.  The last time I did it was served it at a family gathering; I was really looking forward to it and when I took my first spoonful it was obvious that it had come from a commercial source and the blatant taste of chemicals prevailed.  Of course I didn’t want to offend the hostess and disposed of it when she wasn’t looking.

This has to be one of the simplest soups to make.  It begins with a base of chicken stock which should be in your larder (ok modern name is freezer).

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Recipe & Ingredients

1 large butternut squash or 3-4 cups pureed butternut squash
3-5 cups homemade chicken stock
2-3 tbs grass fed butter (preferably raw)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more if you like it hotter)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
finely chopped green onions for garnish

Preparation

A couple of ways to do this; you can precook your butternut squash, puree and freeze until ready to use or you can cook in the broth when you are making your soup.  I prefer the former because I like a little bit of ‘chunkiness’ to my soup and just want to serve when I am done rather than have to puree hot soup.  Either works, it’s a personal preference.

To precook and puree:  cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, rinse and place cut side down in a glass baking dish.  Fill with water to about an inch and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour or until fork tender.  Allow to cool, remove squash, puree in food processor, place in individual Ziploc freezer bags if not using, label and freeze until ready to use.  I will do varying amounts in each bag depending on use.

In a heavy duty saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add your onions, celery and carrots and saute until tender.

  • If you are using the puree; add the chicken stock and spices and bring to a slight boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the puree and simmer until hot.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with the green onions and serve.
  • If you are using the raw squash; add the chicken stock, spices and squash and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook 20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat through.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with the green onions and serve

Enjoy!

Prowler not Prozac

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Age 54

According to an article in the New York Times . . .

“Over the past two decades, the use of antidepressants has skyrocketed. One in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication; among women in their 40s and 50s, the figure is one in four. Experts have offered numerous reasons. Depression is common, and economic struggles have added to our stress and anxiety.”

Wow.  That blows my mind. The use of antidepressants is definitely encouraged by Pharma Cartel and the media.  One example is the nightly television commercials that are shown promoting this travesty of a “solution”.  It insults our intelligence.  But why, why are so many people on anti depressants? I get “economic struggles” I’ve dealt with them myself.  And why so many women in the 40-50 age group?  Menopause, changing hormones?  Hell, wind sprints should be the go to and you will literally sail through it–happily embracing those decades.

But I don’t believe the majority of Americans have a Prozac, Abilify, Welbutrin, Zoloft etc. . . deficiency.  I would say the root of the problem lies with the fact that they are eating foods that are not right for them and not getting sufficient exercise.  Yes, Dr. Oz it really is that simple.

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Chuck & Karen 51 & 50

At ages 50 and 51 respectively Karen and Chuck make time to workout at least 3 times a week.  They also are the parents of 5 children ranging in age from 5 to 15.  Karen cooks most of her family’s meals from scratch and sources out pastured meats and fowl, organic fruits and vegetables in addition to all the other responsibilities she has.

With the over consumption of refined carbohydrates and processed foods and excessive alcohol intake coupled with a sedentary lifestyle people can’t “handle” normal life stressors and label it depression.  Is it real?  Yes, I do believe to a degree it is.  The diet and lack of exercise will alter brain chemistry and very much cause a melancholy state or depression in genetically prone individuals.

Although life has changed through out the centuries every generation since man began has faced “stressors”.  So, is a pill the almighty cure?  Let’s take a look at some common side effects from anti depressants:

  • Decreased sex drive or no sex drive at all and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions

I would say not.   If someone wasn’t depressed they certainly would be after going on them.  And this is the “answer” conventional medicine gives us?  Frightening.  There is a big big problem going on here, more like a conspiracy.  But that’s fodder for another post.

It’s actually fairly simple to get started on your journey to health and happiness; take out refined sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol if you can’t control it and gluten.  Start moving but make it progressive and make it intense relative to your starting fitness level.  Hire a coach if you need to learn proper form and technique. Start at an appropriate level, be consistent and progress intelligently in a manner that continually challenges you.  I guarantee you it will improve your life. The only failure is in not starting.

Let’s not use age as an excuse either as shown by the examples in this article.  On Chip’s 46th birthday he pushed a prowler loaded with 180#, 60 yards, that’s what I’d call 4 wheel drive.  Like begets like so surround yourself with like minded individuals in a healthy community environment.

There is no quick fix or magic bullet.  It will take effort, sweat and sometimes blood or tears.  But the rewards are well worth the trial. Do not fall victim to mainstream “medicine” and their chemical experiments when lifestyle changes are the answer.  They have their bottom line profit as the top priority and it’s increasing every second while Americans are still suffering.  Get off the drugs and push and pull your way to a healthier and happier you!

The ‘Perfect’ Boiled Egg

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Boiling eggs is pretty basic but there a few guidelines that can make them turn out as close to perfect every time with neither over or undercooked eggs.  Under cook them and they will be raw or runny in the yolk’s middle. Cook them too long and you will see a green gray color form on the outside of the yolk where it meets the white.  That is the formation of ferrous sulfide; the reaction of the sulfur from the egg white and the iron from the yolk.  It’s relatively harmless but they won’t look as pretty or taste as good if the cooking time and temperature are not just right.

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Start with free range pastured eggs from a local farm where they were allowed to run around and eat bugs and if possible not given any soy in their feed.  It’s worth sourcing these out.  As with anything we consume the damage is cumulative and we not only eat this ourselves but feed it to our families.  First time I got pastured eggs I was shocked at how much bigger the yolks were and the deep orange yellow color of them.  And the taste — amazing, you won’t go back.

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Put your eggs in a pot big enough to give them a little room, otherwise they will bang into each other and crack.

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Add water to cover by at least a half an inch.

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Slowly bring the eggs to just barely a boil.  Cover, remove from heat and let “cook” for exactly 17 minutes.

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Drain off the water and immediately cover with ice and a little cold water to prevent further cooking.

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I’ve found the fresher the egg the harder it is to peel so you’re better off using eggs you know have been at least 1 week out of the hen.  Don’t wait too long to peel the eggs.  I let them sit in the ice bath for about 10 minutes and then I peel finding it easiest to do so under cold running water.

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There you go — yellow all the way around!  And FTR eat the whole egg just the way the chicken laid it, nature makes no mistakes.