Crockpot Recipe: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

This is one of my favorite recipes, bar none. It's easy, luxurious, and goes with just about anything. On a cold winter's day, there's nothing better! Note- this can also be done in a slow cooker.  Just transfer all ingredients to the slow cooker after sautéing the veggies and tomato paste. Be sure to scrape all the browned bits from the pan into the slow cooker! Final cook time will be 3-4 hours on low.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2' pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 cups beef stock
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in wine Be sure to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the wine deglazes, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
  4. Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and serve!

Crockpot Recipe: Poached Chicken

With colds and all kinds of illnesses going around, it pays to have chicken soup ready to go at a moment's notice. However, a lot of people don't know how easy it is to add delicious chicken into soup, settling instead for rubbery, tough chunks of meat. Say it with me: control the heat, control the delicious.

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You will need ...

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2-3 chicken breasts

Place chicken in the slow cooker (Or a soup pot on the stove). Pour the stock in, and bring to an almost boil over high heat (If your stock boils, that's fine, just don't let it keep boiling). Once you reach the almost-boil, turn the heat down to low (if you're going stovetop, cover the pot now), and let it go! You may see a bit of foam or scum on the surface- just skim this off with a spoon. The chicken will be done in 8-10 minutes, succulent and delicious. Eat with the soup, or however you like (it makes the world's best chicken salad, or chicken for a salad)!

Crockpot Recipe: Pineapple Pork

Pineapple juice helps tenderize. We know this. Pineapple juice plus pork, some aromatics, and a slow cooker? Now we're talking.

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2" chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 2" knob of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped.
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (optional)
  • 2 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • Cilantro, chopped for garnish

(NOTE: guajillo chiles can be found at hispanic markets, or online.)

Place everything in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 3-5 hours, depending on volume. Garnish with chopped cilantro, Serve and enjoy!

Patience is a Virtue

pa·tience

ˈpāSHəns/ noun1. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

As many of you know I suffered a major injury to my left ankle six weeks ago and if you know me you also know that I do not have patience for anything.

I want it and I want it now, dammit!

With any injury, knowing and understanding your limitations plays a vital role to recovery. You have to follow doctor’s orders: rest, treat, rehab, and be patient.

During this process, I have tested my limitations and I have quickly realized that this was not the best decision as it only added more recovery time.

Again, that lack of patience thing….I am very fortunate to have the entire Activate Body staff by my side to reign me in, not let me do things too quickly, and to assist with my rehab. I realized that my workouts and goals needed to adjust with my injury.

I switched my focus from trail running to nutrition and core/strength workouts. With the assistance from Jenna on nutrition, Dylan and Ben with fitness programing, and coaching from Clara, I have been able to achieve and maintain my weight loss and muscle gain goals despite my injury and the associated limitations.

I have finally begun to understand, and have accepted that fact that my trail running is currently on hold. However, I know it will again be part of my fitness regime soon. With the proper rehab, recovery, and degree of patience, I know that I will be a stronger runner for it.

Now if I could only apply this patience thing to the rest of my life….

Poached Garlic Spinach Soup

For fall and winter, this is my go-to soup. The sweetness of the poached garlic and the sauteed leeks gives a nice comforting balance to the soup, while the spinach offers a refreshing pop of green goodness. I like to add a garnish of a few dots of sriracha- the color contrast really makes the dish stand out, and the heat is a nice touch on a cold night.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup diced, peeled, russet potatoes or celery root
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups roughly chopped spinach leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sriracha to garnish
  1. Put garlic in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat two times (this helps remove some of the acrid elements of the garlic, and bring out its natural sweetness).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onion, leek, celery, bay leaf, and a little salt. Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, blanched garlic, and stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and cream, cooking just long enough to wilt the spinach. Transfer to blender (or use a stick blender) to puree the soup. Garnish with a few dots of sriracha and serve!
  3. Note on blenders and hot stuff- the release of steam when blending hot stuff in a blender can be problematic, as the release can be enough to pop the top of the blender and spray hot liquid onto you. Definitely not a good start to a meal. Don't fill the blender more than halfway at a time, and instead of the hard top, take off the lid and cover the top of the blender with a towel or rag, which will allow the heat to escape while still catching any spillover.