Paleo (mostly) Chocolate Chili Tart

zomg. If you read my last post, this recipe post isn’t really that surprising. BUT it is sooooo good. This recipe makes 6 4-inch tarts, which can feed 12 people easily. It would be a nice thing to make if you had a bunch of couple friends from your box over for dinner.

Finally, a decent image of something I made.

Special supplies:

A double boiler OR a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water

A tart tamper (You can pick one up on Amazon. Sorry I picked the most phallic looking one)

Mini tart pans (Also on Amazon)

For the crust:

3 cups almond meal/flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 c coconut oil, melted

4 tbsp honey

For the filling:

12 oz dark chocolate, chopped. (I suggest a high quality bar chocolate, like Lindt. I used 70% cocoa.)

1 can of coconut milk, chilled

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp ground chipotle peppers

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with foil. In a medium-large bowl, combine the almond meal, salt and baking soda. In a different bowl, whisk together the honey and coconut oil. Then add the coconut oil to the almond meal and blend thoroughly.

2. In each tart pan, add a few tablespoons of crust mixture and flatten down with the tart tamper. Make sure you cover the walls of the pan–I had to press the crust in with my fingers on the walls.

3. Place the tart pans on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Remove from oven and tamp down the puffy bottoms with the tamper again.

4. Start the heat under your double boiler. Chop the chocolate and add to the top of the double boiler. Melt very gently so it retains that nice glisteny color. Once melted through, remove the boiler from heat.

5. Open your chilled coconut milk, scrape off the thick part and drain away the coconut water (save it, drink it, whatevs). Put the creamy solid in a bowl and beat until about as thick as whipped cream. Fold the coconut whip in the melted chocolate. Add the spices and vanilla. Adjust seasonings to your preference. I like mine a little spicier.

6. Pour the chocolate mixture evenly into the cooled tart crusts. Place in the fridge to cool and firm. Remove from fridge about 10 minutes before you want to serve.

7. Eat! Either with friends or alone by only the glow of the open fridge door.



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Mediterranean Chicken Ragout (Paleo pantry throw-together)

I should have cropped this. I apologize.

So, last night at 5pm, my mom asked me what we should do for dinner.* She said something with sundried tomatoes and chicken, so she ran to the store for chicken. Once I got half-way through this dish, I realized that we didn’t have any sundried tomatoes, so I had to change course. We had some good leftover ingredients, though, and I’m pretty damn proud of how this turned out.

You will need:

2 tbsp olive oil

8 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or you can get bone-in. whatevs)

salt n pepa

2 cloves of garlic, (say it with me now) pressed

1/2 purple (or red, in the rest of the world) onion, thinly sliced

1 can of artichoke hearts in water, drained and water reserved. The hearts can either be whole or quartered. But if they’re whole, you’ll have to quarter them later.

1 jar of roasted sliced red bell peppers (the tall Merezetti’s one), drained

1/2 cup chopped olives. I used some garlic stuffed ones from Central Market.

2 tbsp capers

salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Ok, grab you a big ol skillet. Add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken. Sear for 5-6 minutes per side or until it’s looking nice n golden. You may have to do the chicken in batches so you don’t over crowd your chicken.

3. Once your chicken is done, remove it from the pan and place it in a covered dish.

4. If the fat content of the skillet is looking low right now, add some more olive oil (or coconut oil). The fat rendered off the thighs was enough for me though. Now add the onion and garlic and sautee until the onions are caramelized.

5. Add the artichoke hearts, peppers, olives and capers and sautee until everything is heated through. Next add about 1/2 cup of the artichoke water (if this grosses you out, chicken stock is a good alternative). Add the chicken back in, adjust seasonings, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. If the liquid level starts to look low, add more of the artichoke liquid.

6. Dish it up in a bowl or on a plate–the choices are yours, and yours alone!**

*Yes, I live with my parents right now. I realize this is border-line loserish. My husband is in Afghanistan and I seriously was going to lose it if I had to deal with another German winter alone. Cut me some slack, people.

**Did you catch that “Legends of the Hidden Temple” reference? I heart you.

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Baby-fied Paleo Butternut Squash

Nugget baby is getting to that pincer-grasp/finger food stage. I bought her some organic cereal to play and practice with and now she’s actually getting it to her mouth so I need some better grain-free options for her. I had some leftover butternut squash sliced (I used it for Butternut Squash Lasagna), so I diced it up to make a good snack for me and baby.


1-1/2 cups diced butternut squash

2 cloves garlic, pressed (I never dice garlic. I am way too lazy. I always use the garlic press)

1 tbsp coconut oil (or fat of choice)

1. Heat yo pan up over medium heat. Add the coconut oil. Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute.

2. Add the BS (butternut squash, haha) and mix well. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let roast/sautee for 15-20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Uncover and let the water reduce down until almost gone.

3. Let cool and serve to baby (and you). Store in the fridge.

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i have no will power

I am totally trying to be a more reliable blogger. I *so* have to fight the urge to just veg in front of the computer. And then I turn on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and start looking at food porn on Pinterest and I just wind up doing nothing productive at all.

I’ve been doing great with my Paleo challenge. That was until my mom read that dark chocolate was a super food and started buying shit tons of chocolate. I want to burn it all. Effing ridiculous. I need more will power. I need to quit chocolate until we get back to Deutschland. Even though I won’t be able to finish the Open, I want the best performance possible.

I also have an extreme weakness for sweet-hot things, which explains why I love my husband so much (did you just gag reading that? Cause it was SO SWEET). Anyway, I love Hot Tamales, hot cinnamon bears, Red Hots, etc. So my mom bought me a chocolate bar with chili in it for Valentine’s day. We’ve got kind of a Broke Back Mountain thing going on, me and chili-choco bar. I wish I could quit you.

I just figured out kipping hand stand push ups. What? I know, I’m like 20 years behind on CF-related things because I was WODing solo for so long. The things you learn at the box.

Also, feel sorry for my husband because I have sent him like 9 million emails while he’s been away on a mission. I am usually much cooler during his “radio silences”, but it’s been a while and I’ve got stuff to say.

****ALERT**** Iron Chef just came on and would you GUESS what the secret ingredient is??????

CHOCOLATE AND CHILIS!! I’m not even kidding. Holy shit. Amazeballs. Although the Iron Chef is Michael Symon and I find him a little contrived and over the top. I feel like he’s pretty boring in real life and his screen persona is what he thinks a celebrity chef should be. God, who have I become? I’m giving you commentary on Iron Chef contributors.

Hot Topics

1. Less than a month until C-money and I fly back to Deutschland. I’m excited to reunite with my husband (and my stuff), but dreading the flight somethin’ fierce. A small part of me is terrified of inciting a passenger mutiny and them throwing open the emergency exit door and forcing us down the inflatable slide thing. My baby has a habit of screeching when bored…crap.

2. C is teething. Enough said. 4 hours of sleep a night is probably not preparing me well for the Open WODs. Oh well.

3. I am obsessed with Lululemon. It’s so flattering, cute and comfortable. I want to wear my workout clothes all. the. time.

4. The best baby teether I have come across is my iPhone in an Otterbox cover.

5. Hail Merry vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free desserts are rocking my world right now. You won’t regret eating one. Seriously.

My thoughts on Shakeology

Ok, my fbook newsfeed has been absolutely flooded with people selling Shakeology. I have looked at the nutrition facts and it’s not terrible as meal replacements go, but there are some things that really bother me (which I will now list for you).

1) There are no unbiased reviews of this product. Most every review you find on the internet is written by a Team Beachbody “coach”. These coaches need zero actual knowledge of fitness or nutrition. They get paid via a multi-level marketing scheme for selling Shakeology and the accompanying exercise “programs” (Insanity, P90X, etc). As someone who is an accredited coach, this is bothersome to me. I work hard to have as much knowledge as possible and money is of no interest to me–I really am just that passionate about fitness and nutrition.

2) Meal replacements are a horrible choice for a daily meal. If you have it for breakfast everyday, yes, you will lose weight. A single serving of Shakeology is fat free and very low calorie, which will definitely result in weightloss. But in the meantime, you learn no real skills for eating that meal without your crutch (Shakeology). So when the shakes are gone, you will probably gain weight back. Then you could start the Shakeology cycle over again and buy some more from your coach (or you could get in on the deal and start selling it yourself).

3) I saw the supplement billed as “5 trips to the salad bar”. I’ve got a newsflash for you–nothing dehydrated, powdered and processed is going to be as good as 5 trips to the salad bar. Sorry.

4) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Shakeology doesn’t seem like it will commit the vast majority of users to a lifestyle change.

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Paleo Thai Green Curry Shrimp with Swiss Chard

Ok, still obsessed with getting my hair cut. I know you’re all relieved about that–wondering if I was going to commit to looking amazing and all. I’ve also been completing my Lululemon collection. Why does every piece make my ass look amazing? Sigh. I want IT ALL!

I was craving some Thai the other day and came up with this little number.

We need:

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed

3 cloves garlic, pressed (or minced)

3 tbsp green curry paste

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and saved

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp palm sugar (or more or less, depending on how sweet you want it)

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Start by prepping your veggies. For the chard, remove the stems and slice the stems in to 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the leaves into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is melted/heated, add the garlic and sautee 1 minute. Then add the chard stems (stems only!) and the bell pepper. Sautee those until pretty soft. Add the green curry paste and stir constantly until the paste is dissolved completely. Add the coconut milk and palm sugar. Stir to combine, then adjust seasonings. (I added some extra spicy Madras curry powder, too.) Add the chard leaves and let simmer 5-7 minutes. Once the leaves are softened, add the shrimp and cook about 10 minutes or until all the shrimp are pink. Remove from heat and serve in bowls. Garnish and enjoy!

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Semi-paleo Mocha Coffee Creamer

So, you went paleo, but you miss your creamer? Fear not, I created this little number.

Caveat: this will not taste like International Delight – Mocha Caramel Vanilla Sugar Cookie sweet overload, but it *will* give you a little more punch in your java hole.

Ok, so it doesn't look that pretty. And I should have used a smaller jar.

Gather this ensemble:

1 cup coconut milk (I used low-fat because it’s all we had. I would suggest full fat, canned coconut milk)

2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup palm sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

Now, put them all into your vessel of choice and shake well. Taste and adjust the sweetness and flavorings to your preference. Realize that if you add more sugar, it gets worse for you. Duh.

I keep this in the fridge and add a tablespoon or two to my morning coffee (before I head out the door to my WOD).

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Do you remember when Calvin Klein Obsession was the hottest b*tch on the block? Around the era when everyone was wearing Tommy Hilfiger mid-calf white athletic socks with shorts and Doc Martens sandals. Thank you for evolving, fashion world.

So, I have become obsessed with getting my long-ish pixie cut ala Michelle Williams, spring 2010. My appointment isn’t for 2 weeks. It’s going to be a long 2 weeks for my Pinterest followers! Clothes, makeup ideas, etc.

I’m over 1 month in to my 8 week strict Paleo challenge. I had 2 cheats: 1 margarita on 1/23 for my birthday and 1 glass of wine on 1/14 for my birthday. I know…2 birthday cheats. I’m a loser. But I am seeing results and that’s what counts.

I use Washington Post Social Reader on Facebook and for the most part, it’s good, except for the fact that after a few relevant articles, my feed is riddled with sports pieces from my alma mater, which I really don’t care about. And I especially don’t care about basketball. It’s a sport I just don’t get.

And you may notice (small, humble collection of followers–and I think one of you is a business, so that brings me to one follower), that I changed the name of my blog to Max Effort. Max effort is a term popular in CrossFit, especially re: sprints. But it takes my max effort to parent well, to CrossFit well, and to make appropriate food choices. So there you have it.

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Chicken Fajita Salad

I’m not sure this even counts as a recipe since I’m pretty sure someone with a brain slug* could make this. It’s not very creative at all, but it’s something easy to make when all you feel like doing is digging in to a pint of Chubby Hubby (Ok, I’ve never had Chubby Hubby. My favorite is Phish Food and I haven’t had it in YEARS). Anyway, back away from the carbs/sugar. Eat this and feel satisfied, my friends.

You will need:

Grilled/broiled/baked chicken breast, chopped. Probably 1.5 – 2 cups.

1 avocado, diced

2 handfuls of diced tomato (or halved grape tomatoes)

1 handful diced pepper (bell pepper or mini sweet peppers)

1 handful chopped olives

4-6 cups hearts of Romaine, chopped (and stems removed if you prefer)

Salsa, for dressing – read the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t have added sugar or anything disgusting added to it.

1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced & 1 cup sliced mushrooms sauteed in olive oil until mushrooms are soft and onions are caramelized (optional)

It’s go time: Throw everything but the salsa and optional onions/mushrooms in a big bowl. Mix it all around. Eat all the stuff that fell out of the bowl because the one you selected isn’t large enough. Dish a serving of salad on to a plate. Top with salsa and then onions/mushrooms. OMG, you just made chicken fajita salad.


*Did you catch that Futurama reference? If so, I heart you.

Fry with a brain slug