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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


Kettlebell Kitchen Helping With My Meal Prep

Kettlebell Kitchen saved our bacon a couple of times at the CrossFit Games. Their booth was a welcome respite from long lines at the food trucks, not to mention the presence of chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli and kale!

Available at the show were their small-sized containers, with a medium-sized amount of food. Two different meals were on hand: Roasted Chicken Salad (435 calories, 34g protein, 12g fat, 48g carbs) and Tumeric Spiced Chicken (420 cal, 33g protein, 12g fat, 45g carbs).

Meant to be enjoyed cold, I found the Tumeric Chicken meal to be tasty and fresh. This one includes bacon, the spiced chicken of course, sweet potato and yucca crumbles.

Anne had the Roasted Chicken Salad; in addition to the chicken this selection is packed with white rice, kale, cranberries, celery and walnuts. Delicious!

Today for the first time I'll taste a Kettlebell Kitchen meal warm from a microwave. Looking forward to that. I'll let you know how it compares.

I don't have all the details on Kettlebell Kitchen's business model yet, but I'm impressed with the food quality and taste, and their vision to move beyond CrossFit boxes to corporate and individual customers. 

On our way out of Vendor Village at the Games, with only a two-hour drive ahead of us, we loaded up on a couple days of meals. Getting home late, with an early morning wake-up ahead, it's pretty damn nice to have a couple of days headstart on meal prep. Thanks, Kettlebell Kitchen!

@kettlebellKMCR, @carleyjones1, #kettlebellkitchen, #crossfitgames2017


Efficient in the Kitchen This Morning

I’m a big believer in preparing multiple meals at a time. Food prep is always on my mind. It’s fascinating to me how, over time, setting and tracking macronutrient ratios and numbers increases my discipline with food portions (thanks, Avatar Nutrition).  I’m seeing and feeling results, and just don’t want to screw things up.

This morning was a good example. I had time to make a good breakfast, knowing I wasn’t hitting the gym for another three hours or so. Some carbs were going to be included, but most important, I wasn’t going to stand at the stove-top and only make one meal. 

I ended up with four. Here’s how:


A half dozen of these little potatoes were sliced thinly and started in a pan with coconut oil. While they cooked on medium, I enjoyed another cup of coffee, and got all my other foods out of the fridge.

Next in the pan went four cups of my mixed vegetable mix. While they were heating up and mixing with the potato, I measured 600 grams of egg whites into a mixing bowl, adding four eggs, whisking it all together. Seasoned with Trader Joe’s Chili Lime and salt and pepper, I dumped it into the pan, still on medium flame, and kept an eye on it.

My plan was to eat half for breakfast and save half for another meal.


While this was happening in the pan, I opened two cans of albacore tuna and emptied each into a food container. A half cup of white rice was added to each. Knowing from long experience how tasteless this combo is, here’s my magic touch:  add cut-up kalamata olives and artichoke hearts and capers! Not much is necessary, but this addition makes a big taste difference.


While doing this I’ve been stirring the egg mixture, and that big pan is done about when I finish these two meals.

Numbers:  65 grams of jasmine rice, or 95 grams carbs. The tuna is 35 protein and 6 fat.

The egg mixture is 48 grams protein, 29 carbs and 10 of fat. The small amount of coconut oil, olives and artichoke hearts spread over the meals is not part of those totals.

It’s easy to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Be prepared and not surprised!


It's a Green Dragon Sauce Kinda Meal Prep Today

Considering how often I use a slow cooker, today was the first time I jammed a bunch of chicken into one! Weird that somehow this hadn't happened before. During a phone conversation yesterday with my daughter Jess, among other topics I was telling her of my brief excursion to Trader Joe's, and that Green Dragon Sauce had been one of my puchases. Anne and I have been enjoying Green Dragon Sauce from Trader Joe's for a while; I often cover my eggs and vegetables with it. It's damn delicious (and low fat and carb).

Jess suggested covering some chicken with Green Dragon in the crock pot; she does it all the time and says it's great. I had thawed six chicken breasts, so I cut four of them into big chunks, hit 'em with some sea salt, dumped a bunch of Green Dragon in, and set the heat to low. Frankly, our slow cooker isn't slow enough. The low setting is hotter than our previous machine was, so this one needs careful watching. Jess will put chicken in and cook it for eight hours. On low in our crock pot the four chicken breasts were done in three hours! So lesson learned - keep an eye on your chicken!

My big vegetable medly was consistent with past weeks, though I'm out of artichoke hearts until my next Costco run, so none this week. However, thanks to the Trader Joe's trip yesterday, I am restocked with Tunisian Harissa (hot chili pepper paste). Wow, I love a few tablespoons of this zingy red paste added to the pan after all the vegetables are in and slightly cooked. Simply mix everything together a few more times and the Harissa will be everywhere. Subtle but very present on your taste buds. I feel Tunisian Harissa adds a great taste to my vegetables, even with the capers, sundried tomatoes and kalmata olives already in there.

Today I began the pan with a few slices of organic bacon scissored into little pieces, and cooked halfway in coconut oil before I added any vegetables. First in went an entire bunch of asparagus, then partial bags of cauliflower crumbles and cabbage slaw. Afer a few minutes of sautee and mixing I cut up a big red pepper and a head of broccoli.  After all this had cooked for a few minutes the capers, sundried tomatoes, Tunisian Harissa and olives were added. No mushrooms or kale today - I didn't feel the need to make a trip to the grocery store just for those items. Next week.

On the grill I had four organic pork chops, three ground beef patties, and a couple more big chicken breasts. Reaching into the magic Penzy's spice cabinet, today's chicken is liberally covered by Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave Chicken & Fish Seasoning. I don't know who the hell Ruth Ann is, and I'll assume without looking it up that Muskego Avenue is in Milwaukee (Penzy's home). Who cares, 'cause Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave seasoning is superb on chicken. Try it yourself; use a bunch and see how you enjoy it.

We got ourselves a rice cooker today, but that'll be another story, after I break it in. Exciting, huh?

@traderjoesDPU, #penzyspices, #greendragonsauce, #traderjoes


Chokin' Down Egg Whites

If you are honestly weighing and measuring and tracking your food, you know the critical role egg whites can play in your life. Stock up on this zero-fat goodness. #eggwhites #avatarnutrition


Ultimate Nutrition Iso Gold Protein

At the early March Arnold Classic Expo, I happily bought two 5 lb jugs of whey isolate from Ultimate Nutrition. Yeah, this was my gateway purchase for tickets to meet and get signed photos from Dexter Jackson and Phil Heath, but hey, ten pounds of quality whey isolate for $50? I was in. 

Today the second jug was emptied. Anne and I went through the 10# in a month, more or less. Probably our standard pace. But how much protein powder we consume isn't the point. five pounds of chocolate goodness

Ultimate's Iso Gold mixes in a Blender Bottle well (even with BCAA at the same time). Not superbly, not on the order of, say, a Progenex or Gaspari or even the thicker BSN, but nicely. We didn't get lumps or have problems mixing it by hand. No chunks of Iso Gold were clinging to the inside of the Blender Bottle.

In the Blendtec, clearly there were no mixing issues. Nothing slows down the Blendtec (don't believe me? watch this video!). I mixed Ultimate Iso Gold in various combinations with Fiberlyze, fruit, almond butter, Carbolyze, Real Food, Build, various BCAA powders, and Vitargo. All came out smooth, creamy, and frankly delicious.

That's right, Chocolate Creme Iso Gold from Ultimate Nutrition tastes great. Not too artificial at all, a good chocolate. I had it on vanilla ice cream one time, just to give it the texture test, and it passed.

Mixing Iso Gold into oatmeal was the only place it stumbled. The flavor was fine and wasn't altered, but the protein powder seemed to get lumpy in the hot oatmeal and didn't mix as nicely via spoon as I wanted it to. Certainly this wasn't a stumbling block and I continued to use it in oatmeal (along with a half scoop of Fiberlyze, sometimes a scattering of nuts or a few raisins, even a smattering of granola on top when I was heading for a big workout). I'm a texture guy and I had no problem with how Iso Gold acted in oatmeal, but some like it smoother or creamier.

For the money, I consider my investment in Ultimate Nutrition Iso Gold to have paid off handsomly!

@UNutrition, @arnoldsportsfestival, #arnoldclassic, #blendtec, @Blendtec, @BlenderBottle