Summer Sides! Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Granola

savory granola tomato salad overhead horizontalBotanically a fruit, embraced as a vegetable, the vibrant and vitamin-packed tomato is tops when it comes to versatility. Tomatoes are enjoyed at the annual rate of 31 pounds per person, eaten raw on salads and as a key ingredients in sauces, salsas and many soups. Even my tomato-avoiding son gets his fair share in the form of ketchup!

I’m flashing back to one of my favorite easy recipes of summer, Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Honey Granola. Get the recipe in an archived post FOUND HERE:

Tomato Salad with Ancho Honey Granola is a gorgeous and good-for-you side dish for your summer meals.

 

 

 

The Tomato Salad with Savory Ancho Honey Granola recipe can be avory Ancho Honey Skillet Granola is delicious eaten alone, but also makes a great crunchy topping for salads, soups and baked fish.FOUN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancho Honey Skillet Granola recipe FOUND HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like using Love Grown Food”s Super Oats for this Ancho recipe — it’s packed with all sorts of extra nut and seed goodness!


I’m also putting this gorgeous Crab & Heirloom Tomato Salad on my dinner lineup this week — it looks so light and refreshing!

Crab and Heirloom Tomato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomat-O, tomat-OH, what is your favorite way to eat tomatoes? Please share in the comments below. Also, who’s training for what — I’m looking for some fall half marathons! XOXO, Jennifer 

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and La Tomatina

Tomato toes IG‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!

Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - multiply the recipe and store in the freezer or year-round enjoyment on salad, pizza, pasta, steak and more.

Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.

 Also, if you’re looking for a top-notch olive oil, I highly recommend the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ellydale Organics, a division of NOW Foods.

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes 250 - thefitfork

I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!

So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!

What is your favorite fruit or veggie of summer?  Would you rather eat a tomato or throw it? Let’s connect in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme.
  3. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
  4. Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.
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Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho – Some Bunny Loves You

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!”  That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer.  Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration.  Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

 

Benefits of Ginger - TheFitFork.comWhen I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!”  That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful  of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits.  Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.

To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste.  A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need.  Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off.  Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!

Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot?  Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Instructions
  1. Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water. .
  2. Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
  3. Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
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4 No-Cook Jicama Wraps for Dog Days of Summer

These No-Cook Jicama Wrap ideas are the perfect meal solution  for the dog days of summer.

I have a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you (I’m pointing to all of y’all)!  I’ve been having this love affair with jicama for a while now, you’ve probably seen some of the posts here and on Instagram– this is one of my favorite, Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer. I now have a new addition to the no-cook meal solutions — Four No-Cook Jicama Wraps!  It’s the perfect solution for the dog days of summer — and speaking of the “dog days,” check out my Lucy helping me with yoga!

I revisited this jicama obsession when I noticed that my grocery store started stocking jicama “tortillas” in their produce department. They are made in-house and sold in the convenience prepped veggie section – I did a little jump for joy when I first spotted them sitting there waiting for me. I’ve drooled over all the jicama “taco” recipes on Pinterest, but I’ve never been able to slice my jicama that thin (cause I’m not losing a finger on the mandolin)! Yay, now I have people that do that for me!

I originally made this collection of jicama tacos (or wraps or rollups – what does one call them?) to showcase the OPA by Litehouse™ Greek Yogurt Dressings.  I love those dressings, they taste so rich and indulgent but they have fewer calories than traditional dressings . . . and more protein, too!

Some of the perks of these jicama rollups – the are Paleo friendly depending exactly what you put on top; they are crispy, crunch and low calorie; and, whoot-whoot – there is no heating up the kitchen with the oven.

Fig, Blue Cheese and Arugula Jicama Wraps

Sliced Black Mission Figs + Arugula + Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese + Balsamic Syrup + OPA by Litehouse™ Blue Cheese Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bean and Mango Relish Jicama Wrap makes a sweet and spicy vegetarian meal -- no cooking!Black Beans+ Mango Pico de Gallo + Cilantro + OPA by Litehouse™ Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot, Pea and Radish Jicama is so much tastier than bunny food! Matchstick Carrots+ Thawed Frozen Peas + Radish Slice +Fresh Dill + OPA by Litehouse™ Feta Dill Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa, Tomato and Ranch Jicama Wrap makes a quick and easy summer lunch -- no cooking!Quinoa + Tomato Slices + Flat Parsley + OPA by Litehouse™ Ranch Dressing

Full disclosure on this one — the quinoa is cooked, obviously. It was leftover — use any leftover grain that you have like brown rice, wheat berry, couscous and so on!

 

Don’t forget to check out my past round-up of Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer.

Jicama is a root vegetable that tastes a bit like a mild apple. It doesn't oxidize when cut -- the perfect crunchy ingredient for salads and summer no-cook recipes.

Are you a fan of jicama? What is your favorite no-cook recipe for the dog days of summer? Please share in the comments below!

 

Ancho Chile Honey Granola on Summer Tomato Salad

Ancho Chile Honey Granola adds a sweet and savory crunch to soups, salads, baked fish and more.If someone says “granola” and do you instantly think sweet, crunchy and  . . . spicy?  Probably not, but I’m here to share my recipe for Ancho Chile Honey Granola — it might just be the most delicious and versatile granola recipe ever. The secret is a dash of ancho chile powder — don’t worry, ancho chiles (referred to as poblano peppers when fresh) aren’t super hot, they are the sweetest of the dried chiles and most commonly used in authentic Mexican cooking.

Tomato Salad with Ancho Chile Honey Granola

Ancho Chile Honey Granola can be made in a skillet on the stove top in less than 10 minutes. Packed with pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, this easy granola recipe is a fantastic way to get the benefits of the heart healthy fats that nuts and seeds offer.It’s lightly sweetened with honey to complement the mild ancho heat.Use the savory-sweet granola to top a tomato salad (as pictured), to add a crunch factor to green salads, atop soups, as a crispy topping on baked fish or chicken — or simply eaten straight out of the container!

 

Ancho Chile Honey Skillet Granola ingredients

Oh, and you’re going to LOVE that it’s super easy to make — just requiring 10 minutes in a skillet on the stove top rather than the lengthy baking of traditional granola recipes. I originally created this recipe for the Living Litehouse Blog at LitehouseFoods.com, check it out — I’m a big fan of their Instantly Fresh Herbs.

Have you every tried a savory granola? What is your favorite flavor of granola — spicy or sweet?  Please share in the comments below? XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Ancho Chile Honey Granola
Print Recipe
Add a slightly spicy, slightly sweet kick to your salads, soups and entree recipes with this savory granola -- also great for a "right out of the bag" snack.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ancho Chile Honey Granola
Print Recipe
Add a slightly spicy, slightly sweet kick to your salads, soups and entree recipes with this savory granola -- also great for a "right out of the bag" snack.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
For Salad
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add honey and stir to combine.
  3. Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes in skillet. Transfer to air-tight container using spatula to break up any pieces stuck to skillet.
  5. Make salad by slicing tomatoes and sprinkling with yellow bell pepper and cilantro. Top with a dollop of ranch dip and ancho chile honey granola.
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FAST! Beef Tenderloin and Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema

Use leftover beef steak, fresh tomatoes and naan bread to make a easy weeknight meal.

I’d hard to imagine there would EVER be beef tenderloin left on the platter at my house – but there was this weekend! That’s because I cooked an extra hunk so that we’d have “leftovers on purpose” for a couple easy weeknight recipes that were floating around in my head. I had to threaten all the boys to keep their dirty meat-stealing mitts of this extra steak, and once they saw the More-eo Blondie Bars I made for dessert, they had moved on to new conquests.

This southwestern-inspired naan pizza recipe uses leftover steak dressed up with fresh tomatoes and an creamy ancho pepper drizzle.

So, the great thing about this Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema is that you can use thin slices of any leftover steak like top sirloin, ribeye, flat iron — or even fajita meat! I also used naan bread for “let’s make dinner in five minutes” convenience, but feel free to do a homemade traditional crust or even a cauliflower crust if you prefer.

Tomatoes are an abundant source of lycopene, vitamin B6 and other important nutrients.The toppings are fresh and healthy with a southwestern spin – cilantro, queso fresco, hatch green chilies and a trifecta of colorful tomatoes. Red, yellow and orange – they were almost too beautiful to eat!  But gobble them up because I know how great the abundance of lycopene and vitamin B6 found in tomatoes is for athletes — you can learn more on the topic of tomatoes and working out in a post I wrote for CorePower.com.

Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema Recipe

  • 4 8-inch diameter pieces of naan bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 medium red tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 medium orange tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
  • ½ cup chopped fire-roasted hatch green chilies (or can use canned)
  • 1 cup of crumbled queso freco
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 8-ounce pre-cooked beef tenderloin steak (or other steak) sliced thinly across grain.
  •  1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder
  • Avocado for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Lay naan bread on a baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and pepper flakes.
  3. Layer each crust with tomato slices and green chilies. Sprinkle with queso fresco cheese.
  4. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until edges of bread turning golden brown and cheese beginning to bubble.
  5. Remove from oven and top with thinly sliced steak that is room temperature or has been lightly warmed — taking care not to over reheat it and make tough.
  6. To make crema, whisk together Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder in small bowl. Drizzle on top of pizzas. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with avocado, if desired. Serves 4.

Slice of healthy naan bread pizza.What toppings do you like to put on your pizza? Please share in the comments below:

So Good! Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomato Recipe

Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.comSo good, so good, you see! These slow-roasted balsamic tomatoes transform a simple salad, piece of crusty bread or unadorned eggs into a masterpiece of epic, mouthwatering proportions. You can also use them on pizzas, blend into sauce, serve on an anti-pasta platter or just pluck them right off the pan. Lust-worthy, luscious and loaded with flavor, these tomatoes are super easy to make — however, don’t rush the job, you’ll need at least an hour. The result of this patience is an intensified breadth and depth of flavor that is to die for. The other thing I love about this recipe is that nearly every type of tomato works beautifully, from Cherubs to Campari to Romas. Make a big batch, they keep well in the freezer!

Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.com

Use them on a salad!

Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.com

Use them on a steak!

Are you a tomato-phile or a tomato-phobe? Do you like little grape tomatoes or big beefsteak? Ever tried them slow-roasted?

Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.com
Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomato Recipe
Print Recipe
This easy recipe is worth the wait -- roasting in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes.
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - TheFitFork.com
Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomato Recipe
Print Recipe
This easy recipe is worth the wait -- roasting in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes.
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
  3. Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Recipe Notes


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Tomato Strawberry Smoothie & 2014 CrossFit Games Open Recap (Finally)

Yesterday while I was knocking out some burpees, my mind started to wander and I realized that I never gave an “official” update on my experience doing the CrossFit Games Open 2014. But, first let me give you the quick backstory. I’ve been a fairly competitive runner for a long time and my first real experience with CrossFit was back in January 2011, when my good friend Valerie Hunt, a running coach and owner of BVM CrossFit, drug my scrawny runner’s rear up to California to a CrossFit Endurance (CFE) camp being put on by Brain McKenzie.

On top of the world & running from mountain lions at CrossFit Endurance Camp in CA.

On top of the world & running from mountain lions at CrossFit Endurance Camp in CA.

Brian’s CFE program follows the CrossFit model while adding precise training protocols for endurance. It is fair to say I was skeptical of the claims that weaving CrossFit into my fitness routine would make me a better runner. It is also fair to say that despite my high level of cardiovascular fitness, I was pretty darn out of shape. I could only do one pull-up and after running a marathon, the sorest part of my body would be my lower abs and back as I had the core strength of a flea.

Jennifer Valerie deadlift

Valerie and I working on deadlifts for 14.3 – it’s a little easier to lift with a friend!

I took what I learned from camp and with Valerie’s encouragement and advice turned my wimpy self into a much all-around fitter person, if I dare say so myself!  The one measly pull-up turned into 25 unbroken “kipping” style pull-ups and I overcame (most) of my fear of Olympic style lifting – all this “old dog trying new tricks” translated into some great Master’s running PRs. Despite all the improvements, I do need to get over my tendency to just do the parts of a WOD that I like – which tends to be the body weight and endurance stuff. My weaknesses became readily apparent when obligated to perform the CrossFit Games Open 2014 workouts exactly as prescribed – for it to count, there could be no scaling back the weights, substituting or skipping over a move!

Scenes from my experience in CrossFit Games Open 2014.

Scenes from my experience in CrossFit Games Open 2014.

14.1 WOD Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of jump rope double-unders (30 reps) and 55-lb. power snatches (15 reps). Started off the whole Open with a skill I have never done (why jump rope when you can run had been my mindset)! I felt like an uncoordinated kid, but wasn’t going to let it all start and end with first hop. I reminded myself that you have to believe you can do something to actually do it, so I kept my confidence up and at one point actually strung along about 7 rotations.

14.2 WOD Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete: From 0:00-3:00 2 rounds of 10 overhead squats and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups; from 3:00-6:00  2 rounds of 12 overhead squats and 12 chest-to-bar pull-ups; from 6:00-9:00 2 rounds of 14 overhead squats and 14 chest-to-bar pull-ups.  I was SO looking forward to doing the chest-to-bar pull ups; this is one of my stronger skills. The only thing standing in my way was the overhead squats with a 65 lb. bar.  Overhead squats are one of the lifting moves that I had always ignored; rationalizing this un-love with the excuse my tight runner’s hips don’t work like that. I practiced all weekend and was having trouble even finishing one with an un-weighted ladies’ 35 lb bar. Well, by some miracle, I made it through the 10 reps (not pretty) and was able to knock out the chest-to-bar  pull-ups with ease. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get one more squat with quite a bit of time remaining on the clock, so no more pull-ups for me. Sniff.

14.3 WOD Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of: 95-lb. deadlifts (10 reps) and 15 20” box jumps, 135-lb. deadlifts (15 reps) and 15 20” box jumps, 155-lb. deadlifts (20 reps) and 15 20” box jumps, 185-lb. deadlifts (25 reps) and 15 20” box jumps through 205-lb and 225-lb deadlifts same pattern. So this is one of the WODs I was most proud of because I always scale back my deadlifts “to save my legs for running.” So, knowing that I had only lifted 135-lbs for a few reps here and there, I totally surprised myself to get all the way through the 20 reps of 155-lbs! I had about 35 seconds left to go for some 185-lbs, but decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of injury considering I had just run a half marathon the day before!

14.4 WOD Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of: 60-calorie row, 50 toes-to-bars, 40 wall-ball shots, 20 lb. to 10-foot target, 30 cleans with 135 lb. 20 muscle-ups. The rowing was totally tolerable, especially when reflecting on the time I thought it would be a good idea to row 13.1 miles at one sitting.  I had raced a 5k the day before and my glutes were screaming during the wall-ball shots – I never made it to the muscle ups, but definitely some day!

14.5 WOD 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of 65-lb. thrusters and burpees. No surprise to me that the easiest workout for my athletic abilities and also ranked me the highest on the leaderboard – despite having run the Dallas Half Marathon and winning my age division the morning before!

Recovering after a CrossFit WOD with Sun-Rype and Spaulding,

Recovering after a CrossFit WOD with Sun-Rype and Spaulding,

What I learned:

1)      Always start a WOD with an “I can do this” attitude. When I start to self-doubt, I’m not focused on the task at hand, only failure.  Case in point, the double-unders and the overhead squats — decided I “could” do them, and I did!

2)       Road racing and the Open mixed better than I thought. I really wanted to do the CrossFit Open, but also had two half-marathons and a 5k scheduled on three of the five Sundays during the Open – I went for it ALL anyway!  With the WODs being announced on late Thursday night, my hand was forced to compete on Mondays, the last day scores would be accepted. This meant no significant practice prior and often competing with delayed onset muscle fatigue.However, recovering proper after my races with a lot of quality protein (BEEF) helped significantly as did a lot of warming up before the start timer went off.

3)      Pay more attention to my weaknesses and actually put in the work to improve them.  In CrossFit you have to be ready for anything at any time – constantly varied, functional fitness and all that! Until they come up with a “Jennifer WOD,” doing only what I “like” isn’t going to make me very adaptable or competitive.

4)      I didn’t get bulk up like a beast and lose my streamlined runner’s shape doing Crossfit. Many women have the misconception that this type of exercise is going to make them huge and man-like. Your body is genetically programmed to have a certain shape, more or less. So, unless you are from Amazonian stock, you are just going to look like a fitter, leaner, slightly more muscle-y version of normal yourself.

5)      Winning isn’t everything. In running,  I compete to win overall, master’s or AG depending on the race. If I don’t, I can be very hard on myself  However, the CrossFit Open reminded me that showing up and getting it done is something to be proud of. I put in a lot of work, even though I didn’t get any sort of golden ticket. So, how DID I do 0 that IS the burning question, right? Well, according to the online results,  worldwide I ranked 1078 and in the South East region I ranked 70th, I’m assuming this is my age group or the entire Master’s division; I’m having trouble interpreting the leaderboard.  I think there were around 125,000+ competitors in the whole event, so I’m actually quite happy and surprised. I felt like I would be at the bottom when I compare myself to the strength and talents of many others I know.

And, now onto the refueling smoothie of the day! It sounds sort of strange, but tomatoes and strawberries make a really interesting, yummy combo for a fruit smoothie! I mean, a tomato is a fruit — right?! Check out my recipe for a Strawberry Tomato Smoothie.

tomato teaser smoothie

Blend 10 ounces almond milk with 6 frozen grape tomatoes, 6 frozen strawberries and Stevia to taste. Add ice to achieve desired consistency, if needed. Top with chia seeds.