Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NorCal CrossFit Kenya Competition

NorCal CrossFit Kenya Competition

Our gym held our "Kenya Competition" this past weekend at our Saratoga location.  The purpose of the competition was to raise $28k to build two schools for kids.  No prizes, no profit, just raising money towards building schools in Kenya.  Individuals went on Day 1 and Teams went on Day 2.  To make it accessible and fun for everyone, there was only an open division, which meant all workouts will be doable by the majority of our members.  No muscle ups, no HSPU, no heavy loads.

The competition is not trying to be like the CrossFit Games. It is simply a way for people to push themselves, get to know some great people, and have a good time raising money for schools in Kenya.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NorCal CrossFit Holiday Party & Potluck!

NorCal CF Holiday Potluck

On Sunday was the NorCal CrossFit Holiday Party & Potluck at our San Jose location!  It's been awhile since our last gym community event, so I was excited to attend and see everyone.  With the new job, it's been difficult for me to visit at the other locations as much, so it was great to catch up with people I haven't seen in awhile.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


New knives!!

Knives?  Possibly my new thing?  I don't know why it took me so long to upgrade my knives but I'm so glad I did.  Better late than never!  No kitchen is complete without a sweet set of knives!

This past week I got hooked up with some fine handmade Japanese knives from Bernal Cutlery in SF!!!!  It's a small shop that sells Japanese, French, and vintage knives and also offers classes on sharpening and knife skills.  The owner, Josh Doland, really knows his knives and the stories behind them.  He will spend plenty of time with you explaining the craft and answering all the questions you may have!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012!

This year we decided to go all out for Thanksgiving and make everything from scratch!  Last year, I had a gluten-free Thanksgiving with a lot of Primal/Paleo options.  And this year, well, we just went for taste, haha.

I was lucky to have some family and friends from home fly in to spend Thanksgiving with me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Scalloped Root Vegetables

Scalloped Thanksgiving Root Vegetables.  Clean/Primal/Paleo.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided it was time to post a Paleo/Primal recipe for a possible Thanksgiving dish.  For the clean eaters, the problem is that traditional Thanksgiving dishes tend to be full of carbs, except for the turkey.  Look we have mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, dinner rolls, sweet roasted root veggies, green beans, cranberry sauce, and a whole lot of pies.

Last year, I posted a Paleo Thanksgiving sausage stuffing recipe.  While it was still good, it was a different dish.  It lacked the essential texture and rich bread flavors crucial to making it taste like the real deal stuffing.  Since Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, instead of ruining one of those delicious carby Thanksgiving dishes by trying to make it "Paleo," I decided to create something totally new.  We used a variety of in-season vegetables (which for the most part are root vegetables) and Thanksgiving flavors to create Scalloped Root Vegetables!  This is clean, gluten-free, Primal, and "Paleo," depending on your definition.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NorCal CrossFit: Redwood City - Grand Opening!

NorCal CF Redwood City - Grand Opening!

Over 70 people cam out last Saturday to NorCal CrossFit - Redwood City's grand opening!  It started with a team WOD at 11am followed by a BBQ!

The new location is about 5 minutes off of the 101 at Marsh, near 5th and Middlefield.  It's a small building attached to a new huge indoor sports facility: Sports House, with indoor fields, sand volleyball, and a basketball court!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Truffle Omelette

Black Summer Truffle Omelette

Truffles.  I can't even begin to explain how much I love truffles.  Their my dish of choice to order and I absolutely love eating and cooking with them. 

Although I definitely prefer fresh truffles, unfortunately, they are rare and expensive.  In addition, a freshly picked truffle must be consumed within 10 days and if you got it in the US, it's already a few days old.  An alternative is to cook with canned truffles.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tim Swords' Squat Program

Tim Swords' Squat Program with Bailey!

I started going to Barbell Club at Catalyst right around the time I finished the Burgener 10x3 squat program.  They recommended I do Tim Swords' Squatting Program next, so I did.  It was great since I was looking for a squatting cycle that had both front and back squats, but more front squats.  It was a nice transition from 10x3 and a huge relief!

The Swords' Squat Program was created by Tim Swords, head coach of Team Houston Weightlifting.  The Tim Swords' squat program is 7-weeks long and has you squatting three days per week.  It includes both front and back squats, with an emphasis on front squats.  For a given session, you'll either do front or back squats, but not both.  Since there is no clear pattern in this cycle, I ended up doing the sessions Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  It is also fairly low volume, approximately 10-25 total reps/session (including warm up)... especially when compared to the full Burgener 10x3 cycle!  Nevertheless, many people have experienced great success from it.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sautéed Mushrooms & Variations

Sauteed black trumpets and chanterelles.

How to saute mushrooms... seriously!?  Yes!  Mushrooms and most of their flavor compounds are fat soluble.  This means they taste extra yums when paired with butter, oil, or a combination of both... and they really don't need much more than simple seasoning to make a great side dish.  Serve them with a nice cut of steak, chicken, whatevers.  The other cool thing about mushrooms is the variety, not just in species but also in taste and smell.  They are so unique and delicate.  Some mushrooms can't even be cultivated and hence making some types a delicacy. 

It's super simple to maximize mushroom flavor output.  With the exception of truffles, you can pretty much use this recipe for any type of edible mushroom, fresh or dried, wild or non, and get the most out of the natural flavor without going too crazy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Delicious Karma Review

Delicious Karma!

As you all know, I am a huge foodie.  I love cooking with premium, natural, and local ingredients. But sometimes these ingredients are hard to find or expensive.  Looking for grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, or wild mushrooms at a discounted price?  Check out Delicious Karma!

Delicious Karma is a social shopping site that makes it easy for food lovers to discover, learn about, and buy exceptional artisanal and gourmet foods at great prices.  Based in San Francisco, this start up is also passionate about supporting the community of artisanal food vendors by providing them an efficient way to get their products out.

Currently, you have to register to access the site.  Members are introduced to new foods via special sales that last 3-7 days.  During this period, members can buy the new foods at 30-50% off before they are moved to inventory.  Upon registration, you can also use my promo code: JES10%OFFDK for 10% off your first purchase... or used with Karma Kredits for up to 30% off!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Gym Bag

My gym bag.

What's in my gym bag?  What are my favorite accessories and why?  I get asked these question a lot both at the gym and over email.  So here is a post to hopefully cover it all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cocomo Joe's Paleo Joe Bars Review

Cocomo Joe's Paleo Joe Bar

It is hard to find a good Paleo bar out there.  Although there are a lot of options, the problems I have with packaged Paleo energy bars are: I find most to be pretty disgusting, too sweet, too carby (and not enough protein), or just way too expensive.  You know they are bad when you don't want to keep the samples!  This is why I prefer make my own energy bars: Primal Energy Bars and Coconut Bars.  They are delicious and convenient, especially with my busy schedule.  I would have them all the time if only I had time to make them!

Lately, I have been consuming the Oh My Bars.  They are probably my favorite packaged Paleo bars to date, but at $5 a square for a tiny un-filling piece, it adds up.  Recently, the awesome team at Cocomo Joe Foods hooked me up with some Paleo Joe Bars to try out (thank you!!).  I was happy to see that the main ingredient is not honey!

Cocomo Joe is a newly launched organic foods company.  They specialize in completely organic and vegan products.  According to the company, the Joe Bar has become increasingly popular among the CrossFit community because it is raw, organic, gluten-free, and PALEO.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre -- Peppered Steak in a Brandy Sauce

I am currently really into French-style cooking.  So much that I bought Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking book to really learn how to make delicious French dishes.  The first dish I decided to make from this book was Steak au Poivre, or peppered steak in a brandy sauce.  This was one of my favorite dishes I had in France.  There are only a small handful of sauces that can accompany a filet without spoiling the natural flavor of the cut and this is one of them, if done right.  Julia's recipe did not disappoint!  The flavor was absolutely marvelous.  The sauce, simply outstanding.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CrossFit Santa Rosa

CrossFit Santa Rosa

I was in Sonoma County last weekend so we decided to drop in for a class at CrossFit Santa Rosa.   I am glad I finally made it in!  I have been in Sonoma a few times this summer and wanted to stop by but failed.  Turns out, Joanna, one of the ladies in my squad at Occupy Strength, owns CrossFit Santa Rosa!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Burgener 10x3

Burgener 10x3 -- holy front squats.

After Hatch, I decided to do Mike Burgener's 10x3.  Like Hatch, the Burgener 10x3 program is twelve weeks long.  Ten sets of three of back squat and front squat on separate days.  The actual full program is you do 10x3 back squats and then 5x3 front squats, and for the other squat day, you flip them.  This is the rep scheme I followed.

The Burgener 10x3 squat program is the hardest squat cycle I have done to date.  SO MANY FRONT SQUATS at a high percentage of your 1RM.  For the first half of the program, you do 10 sets of 3, starting at 80% for the front squat and 75% for the back squat.  Every week, the load increases by 3-5%, until week six, where you will be doing 10x3 front squats at 95% of your max!  After that you drop to sets of two (at 101% during week 10!).  Don't worry, there is an alternating de-load built in after week five.  The program concludes with multiple sets of singles at 104% of your 1RM front squat!  Crazy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paleo Spaghetti

Best as leftovers.

Paleo Spaghetti was my lunch staple for a very long time.  The sauce (the base of the dish) is super easy to make and does not require a lot of time or tools.  Like the Italian meatballs, this dish tastes even better as leftovers and is addictive!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Home Gym

Squats in my cute little gym.

I don't know why I did not blog about this earlier, but this is my home gym!  One of my favorite things to do at home is lift in my backyard.  I can't think of the right words to describe why; there's just something special about it.  Anytime, whether it is to the sunrise, in the hot summer afternoons, or in the wee hours of the night.  It is just a pleasant feeling to lift outside wearing anything I want.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Occupy Strength NorCal

Occupy Srength NorCal @ CrossFit One World

Last weekend I competed in the CrossFit Football Occupy Strength competition at CrossFit One World.  The competition is one day long and consisted of two workouts: the CrossFit Football Total, and a short metcon.  The emphasis of the competition is strength.

Unlike most CrossFit competitions, this competition had weight classes:
  • Female Light Weight - up to 70kg/154lb
  • Female Heavy Weight - 70kg/154lb+
  • Male Light Weight - up to 85kg/187lb
  • Male Middle Weight - 85kg/187lb to 100kg/220lb
  • Male Heavy Weight - 100kg/220lb+
Unfortunately for me I was in the same weight class as a 154lb chick.  So being the smallest person in the competition, I knew from the beginning I was going to get crushed.  Whatever, it was all about doing the best I can, and hopefully set some new personal records.  Lucky for me, I PRed all the lifts in the CrossFit Football Total, and surprisingly did not come in last!  In addition, my metcon performance blew Freddy's mind so I got the Pound for Pound award!  yea yea, an unexpected pleasant surprise.

Occupy Strength NorCal Results

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crispy Caramelized Grilled Kale

The tastiest way to eat kale.

I'm not a huge fan of making a recipe post for just a side dish, but this one stands out and is too good not to share.  Seriously, every time I make it, I have to make at least double the amount because I will eat one bag of kale myself!

I came up with this recipe out of drunk and laziness.  Normally, I would cook kale on the stove top or in the oven but since I was too lazy to wash dishes and since we were going to be grilling anyway, I decided to throw it on the grill too.  Why not right?  Also while drunk, I tend add way more garlic than intended and grate cheese over everything.  This time the dish turned out well, and is probably now, one of the more desirable side dishes I make.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2012 CrossFit Games!

Sold out!

This was my second time attending the CrossFit Games and wow, it has changed so much in one year.  Not only was it completely sold out this year, but everything was turned up a notch.  There were a lot more spectators, vendors, food options, commercials, and coverage.  There was even a performance from elite jump ropers.  This is just some of the differences from last year.  I cannot even imagine how it was back when it was held in Aromas.  

The Games actually started on Wednesday this year, with a triathlon followed by the Infantry Obstacle Course.  However no spectators were allowed since it was held at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Base.  Also new this year, was a programmed rest day on Thursday.  Over the span of the weekend, athletes completed 13 workouts!  The scoring system was also different: the athlete with the highest score wins.  Workouts were out of 50 or 100 points, and athletes were awarded more points for a better finish.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Valley CrossFit - New Location!

5pm class at VCF!

On our way to Carson for the 2012 CrossFit Games (post to come soon), six of us from NorCal CrossFit decided to hit a WOD at Valley CrossFit, just like last year!  I really wanted to stop by because every time I've been here, I had a ton of fun, learned new things, and got to play with some cool new equipment that we don't have at our gym.  But on top of that, I really wanted to see the new location in person!

We arrived here way earlier than expected and the gym was actually closed.  Just as we were about to leave to checkout CrossFit Mean Streets, one of the trainers pulls in and lets us in.  Great timing!!  They let us hang around and do our own thing for a bit until the 5pm class.  So many new equipment to play with!  They now have ski ergs, the Rogue Cannonball grips and the giant basketball-size version of that, Rogue matador, watt bikes, 30# med balls, and a section of the Killer Kage!  I'm sure I missed a bunch, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Congratulations Jason!

Jason Khalipa - 5th place overall at the 2012 CrossFit Games!!!

Congratulations to our trainer, Jason Khalipa, for finishing fifth place overall at the 2012 CrossFit Games!!!!  After a rough start that put him in 19th place coming into Saturday, Jason went beast mode and placed 2nd place on four of the five workouts later that day.  A huge and impressive comeback!  By the end of Saturday, he was in 4th place!  Jason killed it and his performance was phenomenal!  J's got a lot of heart and determination, for sure.  It is his best finish yet since winning the games in 2008.

Over 200 members from our gym came down to Carson last weekend to support him.  Many more watched it live at home.  Down at the Home Depot Center, we went all out: Khalipa t-shirts, cutout letters, posters, body paint, and even a life size (well it was as tall as me) cutout of Jason's face.  Haha, Jason's #1 fan club and support group.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2012 Redwood Empire Olympic Weightlifting Championships

Colin, Liz and I representing NorCal CrossFit @ the Redwood Empire Championships

Last week I competed in the 2012 Redwood Empire Olympic Weightlifting Competition, hosted by Myles Ahead Weightlifting.  This was my first oly meet I've been to and competed in so that was interesting.  Getting up on stage alone to do a lift in a singlet with all eyes on me was pretty nerve-racking.  Regardless, I learned a lot and I am glad I did it.  It was nice to establish a baseline total.  

The venue was pretty cool.  It was at La Plaza Park in Cotati.  The "stage" was in a gazebo and there were haystacks scattered around it for seats.  The competition started at around 9:30am and went until night time.  Lightweight women and masters went first, then lightweight men and masters, followed by heavyweight.  Weigh in for each class started 2 hours before.  Unfortunately, I missed my intended weight class by 1kg.  No big deal though, as I still lifted with the little kiddies.

Redwood Empire Championships: Results 2012 | 2012 Info | Results 2011
2012 PWA Schedule

Monday, July 9, 2012

Roasted Chicken with Black Truffles and Porcini Mushrooms

The best homemade Primal chicken dish ever.

I absolutely love mushrooms, especially wild exotic ones and I have been meaning to make a Primal dish that can really showcase the flavors.  The problem with wild mushrooms is that they are hard to get a hold of, let alone fresh.

Last week, while in Santa Rosa, I stumbled upon some dried Porcini and Morel mushrooms for a reasonable price at Savory Spice Shop (btw, best spice shop ever).  An ounce of dried Porcini mushrooms costed me about $8 and $16 for Morels.  This would have probably costed me much more at Whole Foods, if they even had any.  I also had some canned whole black truffles from my trip to Italy.  With Truffles, Morels, and Porcini mushrooms all in stock, I was prepared to create some glorious wild mushroom dishes.

This is, hands down, the most awesome homemade chicken dish I have ever made.  Thanks to a combined effort with Colin, another foodie.  The entire chicken alone (including the breast), was so soft, tender, juicy, and full of flavor!  Even better than the gourmet Rotisserie chicken at Calafia or RoliRoti.  Covered with the awesome truffle and Porcini sauce, it was no joke, super mouth-watering!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Progress / Memorial Day Murph

Me after doing Murph on Memorial Day 2012.

I go to the gym daily, Monday through Saturday.  I usually do some strength work and/ or skills practice and then the class.  This is my gym routine, and with routines, at least for me, sometimes it is hard to see my progress or how much I have improved since x date, especially if I do it every day.
About a month ago, it came to my attention, how much I have improved in one year.  Like most CrossFit gyms, we too did Murph on Memorial Day.  Conveniently, the last time we did Murph was also around that time last year (05-07-2011, to be exact).  I've done Murph twice since starting CrossFit in January 2011.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Competition Club at Santa Cruz Beach

NorCal CrossFit Competition Club @ Santa Cruz.

I have been going to Competition Club every Saturday morning.  In a nutshell, we usually meet at our San Jose location to do some crazy workout Taz programmed for us.  However, last weekend, Taz spiced it up a bit and had us meet at a beach in Santa Cruz for a WOD on the beach!

Monday, June 18, 2012

CrossFit Ewa Beach - New Spot!

CrossFit Ewa Beach's new 10,000sqft location!!!

After catching up with Se and Noel Famy at the NorCal Regionals, and hearing about their new, upgraded location, I decided to make the drive out to Kapolei to check out the real deal, in person.  Noel and Se own CrossFit Ewa Beach in Kapolei, Oahu.  Though I guess they are called Kapolei Strength and Conditioning now.  It's been awhile since I last visited, mainly because it's quite far from where I stay, so I am glad I made the visit.

My first reaction: HOLY BALLS, their new location is fricken sweet!  All new Rogue, everything, and in high quantities. Any CrossFitter/gym owner/fitness whore's dream.  When I was there two weeks ago, they were still in transition.  They had a lot of equipment set up already when I was there, but also a lot still at the old location or in boxes.  I cannot even imagine how much more sweet their box is now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CrossFit 808 - Post Regionals Visit

Yea, CrossFit 808!!!  First place @ the NorCal Regionals!

I went home for Memorial Day weekend to attend my friend's wedding.  Conveniently, it was also the week after the NorCal Regionals, so I was there to congratulate my favorite, CrossFit 808, for kicking  major booty that weekend!  The team placed first!!  Yea yea, Hawaii!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

NorCal Regionals - Individual

Jason Khalipa, 2012 NorCal Regionals winner!

This was my second year attending the NorCal Regionals and this year was even more amazing to watch than last year.  Not just because NorCal is stacked, or how ridiculous it was to watch Jason and Neal alternate between first and second place for each workout, but also because there was a lot of representation from NorCal CrossFit in the individual division: Jason, Neal, Alex, Miranda, Jackie, and Garrett (Pat qualified too but was out due to appendicitis).  Their performances were really, really impressive.  I think the workouts in Regionals this year were on the heavier end so it was also really inspiring to watch some of the smaller ladies like Annie Sakamoto and my home girl, Elyse Umeda, dominate the workouts.