I love the idea of brunch but I never really know what to have. It confuses me. It’s like, do I order pancakes with a side of veggies? Or do I have fruit on the side of my burger? I’m just not very good at brunch. When my mom asked what I was bringing to Easter Brunch at my brother and sister-in-law’s new house I really didn’t know what I wanted to make. I figured I’d be in the mood to make something borderline indulgent because I would have finished my 6th Crossfit Open two days prior and ready to splurge. My diet and training have been pretty much spot on for the last year, and especially dialed in for the last five weeks after I unintentionally placed 4th in the Northern California region for first workout of the Open. This might sound a like I’m getting off topic but I promise I will tie it back in at the end. For the last year, I kind of have been feeling a little lost in my Crossfit life. I know I love Crossfit. I know I love my decision to change my career patch and train people full time. I know I love feeling fit. I know I love eating healthy. And, I know I love the feeling of making physical and mental progress as an athlete. But over this last year, I kind of have been feeling like Brunch. Confused. I work so hard and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I really don’t know what I’m training for anymore or where exactly I fit in.
I used to train all year to compete in the Crossfit Open to be part of a team that could potentially make it to regionals. We competed three times in Northern California, and in my time as a crossfitter, I qualified as an individual female twice along the way. I never gave any thought to actually competing as an individual, as I find team and partner competitions to be so much more fun. Now all of a sudden, my hard work in the gym and my dedication to a balanced, performance based diet over the last year has suddenly put me in a position where I find myself staring at that individual spot again. Albeit from the bottom, but it’s still in my viewpoint. Believe me when I say, I thought my competitive days were over, especially when it comes to competing as an individual athlete. The crossfitting pool of women is getting younger, stronger and has more time to dedicate to training. I’m 35, a mom with a two year old that still wakes up 2-4 times a night, and have zero coaching when it comes to my training. I workout when I have time and I workout with my friends. Last week somebody asked me who programs my workouts and I was embarrassed to say nobody. I do my gym’s workout of the day and will throw in some additional lifting or conditioning that I find through my favorite elite crossfitters websites or Instagram accounts. That’s how I’ve always rolled. My husband said that if I actually do make Regionals by some miracle that I immediately need to go see a lifting coach and do some damage control. God I love him.
So yeah, I’m confused. How the hell did I get myself into this position? My Crossfit goals over the last year have pretty much consisted of trying to be a fit wife to my firegighter husband, a healthy Mama to my daughter and have the ability to occasionally crush handfuls of M&Ms when I fall off the wagon. I feel like Brunch. I’m not breakfast, but I’m not lunch. I’m not “elite” but I’m not average. What I do know is that I gave these last 5 weeks everything I had and I’ll know where I stack up against these other amazing women come 5 PM today.
And now back to food, because it’s always about food on my blog J I gave myself Friday and Saturday off from my typical clean eating because I felt like I earned a few margaritas, a fully loaded burrito wrapped in a gluten filled flour tortilla, all the cookie dough I could stomach and too many spoonfuls of peanut butter to count. If you can’t tell from my binge, I don’t do well without guidelines. That goes in all aspects of my life. I respond well to structure and when I don’t have it, I tend to get a little off track…or a lot. By Easter Sunday I was done. Instead of continuing down the path of food debauchery, I locked it in and brought a super delicious and healthy chicken salad alternative to share. And with all the donuts and scones, cheesy egg bakes and fried chicken, and cookies and candy available for people to choose from, almost all of my chicken salad was gone. Morlocks Macros for the win!
I earned those few days off, but damn it feels good to eat good again. And my workouts today felt stellar…I’m just hoping it wasn’t because of my peanut butter gains.
Check out my chicken salad recipe below. It’s not earth shattering. It’s not something you’ve never had before. But it’s one of those things you can easily forget about. With the warm weather approaching, this is an easy and healthy dish to make in bulk that you can eat in a variety of different ways. Serve it between two pieces of gluten- free bread or a wrap, in lettuce cups or over mixed greens, or scoop it out and eat it as is. Nothing wrong with that!
This particular recipe I used red grapes as my fruit component and almonds for my nuts, however, you can substitute a variety of different combination add-ins:
Fruit Ideas: Green or Fuji apples, Dried Cranberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Pear
Nut Ideas: Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia, Cashews
Creamy Fruit and Nut Chicken Salad
One Whole Pulled Rotisserie Chicken
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt of Choice (nonfat, lowfat or full fat)
6 Celery Stalks
1 ½ Cups Quartered Red Grapes
5 Green Onion
½ Cup Sliced Raw Almonds
Salt & Pepper
Suggested Optional Topping: Diced Avocado
Pull apart one whole rotisserie chicken, both white and dark meat. Place shreds in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl add the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon to the Greek yogurt of choice and combine thoroughly. Add curry powder to taste. Curry can be strong for some so add in small amounts, taste and add if more is desired. Curry sounds like a bizarre ingredient but it makes the dish.
Coat the chicken with the lemon-yogurt mixture. If a creamier texture is desired, add more yogurt and lemon juice accordingly. Set aside.
Depending on the size of your celery stalks, either cut each stalk into halves or thirds and then dice. Place celery in a small mixing bowl, then cut the red grapes into quarters and add to the celery. Lastly chop the green onion stalks, add to the bowl and combine all ingredients.
Add the veggie and fruit mix to the chicken and combine. Season with additional salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. If a heavier curry flavor is desired, then add a bit more as well.
Lastly, add the sliced almonds and mix.
Depending on how it is being eaten, garnish chicken salad with additional chopped green onio, sliced almonds and/or avocado!