Donny Shankle Seminar

This weekend I spent 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday participating in a Weightlifting Seminar with Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle.  Even though the only moves he dissected were the snatch and the clean & jerk, I learned a lot more than I had expected.

Ten Things I learned from Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle:

  1. Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses.
  2. Weightlifters lift in kilos.  Times pounds by 2.2 to get kilos.
  3. Need to have the right kit: Olympic (oly) weightlifting shoes. You can customize them: here.
  4. Know and record your PRs.
  5. The best way to learn the snatch/clean & jerk is to learn from the top down.
  6. Yes, the bar actually hits your body in the “pocket”.
  7. Do NOT get frustrated: unless you train these lifts professionally (which is three hours a day: EVERY day).
  8. Be aggressive.
  9. Be confident.
  10. Make goals.
Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

#1: Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses. When I thought of “weight-lifters”, prior to this seminar, I thought of great big guys with big ol’ bellys and prison tattoos; with a bald head.  Donny Shankle walked strutted around as an average 6 foot tall guy with medium long curly hair- his tattoos were simple and beautiful.  His voice was deep with an accent impossible to place.  His eyes: patient, focused and passionate for lifting.  This guy is a bad ass; and I know my bad asses.

#4: Know and record your PRs. After two years of crossfitting I thought I mastered the “Log Book”.  My wods are logged chronologically with my scaling in paraenthesis.  In the back of my book I have the following sections: general (heros, girls, 5k, ect), thruster, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, power clean, squat clean, snatch, front squat, overhead squat, hi-bar back squat, low-bar back squat, & deadlift.  I’m going to start a new book and have a PR section before my general section.

#7: Do NOT get frustrated.  If you’re not getting frustrated at crossfit- you’re doing it wrong.  Frustration comes with the territory, but don’t let it own you.  If it takes Donny Shankle eight years to PR– it might take a little longer for you.

#8: Be aggressive.  “…like you’re ripping the head off a god damn lion.”- Donny Shankle.  Seriously bad ass.

#9: Be confident.  Positive begets Positive.  Fill that brain-housing-group with positive thoughts!  “Be patient.  It will.  If the training remains constant, it will.”- Donny Shankle.

#10: Make goals.  Along the lines with #4 my new crossfit log book will have a goal section.  It will be on the first page.  My goals will be specific and have a target date.  If I don’t make my goal by the date I will channel lesson #9 and change the date.



Paleo Beef n Broccoli

When I was about 7 years old my dad took me to a sand pit and we picked out the perfect sand for my brand new sand box.  I remember my dad measuring, sawing and grunting through the whole project.  When all the pieces came together he stood back and said, “now you can dig your way to China”.  Well, Dad, I am now going to finish that journey!

“It is rarely a child’s potential that causes them to be unsuccessful, but rather the lack of rigorous goals, high standards and imagination of their parents, teachers and coaches.” ~Jeff Martin

To prepare for my 6 day trip (1 day for travel, 2 days for the crossfit gymnastics cert and 3 days as a tourist with the hubster) I’ve been racking my brain Pinterest for a good beef and broccoli recipe. I found it.  The trick is fry the meat separately!!!

Paleo Beef n Broccoli

  • 2 top sirloin steaks; sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2″ ginger; peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • coconut oil
  1. Place steak strips, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger and onions in a bowl and let it marinate on the counter top for an hour.
  2. Heat a large pan to just shy of HIGH and add coconut oil.
  3. Working in batches, brown the steak strips- ONLY the steak!!! Set steaks aside.
  4. Once the last batch of steaks is done add all the steaks, marinade and broccoli to the pan and fry ’em up (I had some left over zucchinis so I threw that in there too).
  5. Top with sesame seeds cause you’re fancy like that.


Hmmmm, beef- it's whats for dinner!

Hmmmm, beef- it’s whats for dinner!

Let it marinate!

Let it marinate!

Fry 'em up!

Fry just the steak first- then add the rest later!


Fancy, huh?!!?!


During my marinating hour I made two sides:

Asian Cucumbers

  • 2 Japanese cucumbers; sliced
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T dill (fresh or dried)

Mix.  Refrigerate- if you have the time.

Spicy Kale Crisps

Preheat oven to 350.  Massage oil and salt into kale and bake for 10-15 minutes- long enough to be crispy but not burnt.

paleo preach





Butternut Squash

My dad used to tell me: You have to have a plan, even if it’s just to change it.  I take that piece of advice very seriously especially in the kitchen.  I hate coming home from work and having no idea what is going to be for dinner so I have started meal planning using Pinterest-smartest thing I have ever done!!!

Today I had planned on making a pork loin and butternut squash stew but the loin was still in the freezer.  Time to change the plan!  I had picked up some meat (and maybe some strawberry Kit-Kats) from the new San A by Kinser and thought I’d try the butternut squash in chili!  Perfect crock-pot meal and awesome for a typhoon day!

round pork mixed with ground beef

ground pork mixed with ground beef

Australian beef

Australian beef

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced



meat mixture with spices ontop of squash... on low 6-8 hours

meat mixture with spices on top of butternut squash… on low 6-8 hours

Since I only used 1/2 of the butternut squash in the chili, I went to Google to figure out what to do with the other half.  Then I found this: Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan.  I don’t understand the “parmesan” so this is what I did:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale:

  • 1/2 butternut squash , peeled and diced (yes I used youtube)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 leaves kale, diced and stems removed
  • 1 handful of almonds and pecans, chopped
  • salt n peppa
  1. Preheat oven to 400 while you dice away.  On a baking sheet (I used a Pampered Chef stone) add squash, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover with tin foil.  Poke holes in tin foil.  Don’t get too carried away.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Decrease oven heat to 350.  Remove from oven and remove tin foil.  Give it a good stir.  The squash should be soft.  Add kale and nuts.  Stir.
  3. Put back in oven for 12 minutes.
  4. Turn off your oven.  Remove from oven. Add a sprinkle of salt and peppa and then try to wait until its cool.
Salmon from the San A and the Roasted Butternut Squash Kale

Salmon from the San A and the Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale




Paleo Surf n Turf

The hubster just came home from a two week TDY (business trip) and I thought a Surf n Turf dinner would be nice to come home to:

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

What says welcome home than a T-bone?!

This dinner was wicked easy to put together…. especially since I let him do most of the work!  If you have one of these husbands laying around… tell him to fire up his grill!

1. While your hubster starts the coals for the grill: take the steaks out of the fridge and out of the wrappers.

2. Make a rub… heres mine:

  • 2 t granulated garlic
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • salt and peppa

3. Dice red onion, tuna (from any Japanese grocery store in the sashimi section), avocado and mango (dice the red onion a tad bit smaller than the rest).

4. Make the dressing:

  • 1 1/2 t minced ginger
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 t coconut aminos
  • 2 t sesame oil

5. Grab a small bowl and add diced onions, then pack in the diced tuna, avocado and then the diced mango.  Press firmly but don’t squish… finesse it.  Layer the diced yumminess until it reaches the top of the bowl.

6. Slice up a watermelon.

7. Rub one side of the steaks with your rub, the other half with salt & pepper.  Give your husband the steaks.  Remind him not to over cook them.

8. Open a bottle of wine, unless your preggo, then make sure your doors are locked.

9. Plate your Tuna Salad by placing the plate upside down on your bowl.  Flip the bowl and plate.  Slowly remove the bowl… slowly!  It tastes the same if a few squares fall of out place, trust me.

10. Top your sexy salad with the dressing.

11. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top.

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

Nacho Mommas Tuna Salad

12. Throw some watermelon on your plate.  Add salt if you’re from the South (or know where the “South” is).

13. Wait for your husband to come in the door with perfectly cooked steaks.

14. Add your steaks to your plate and fight over whether or not butter is paleo.




*I am not a doctor and do not tell preggo women what to do with their bodies.

** The tuna salad was inspired by… thank you Pinterest.

Tools for Crossfit. Tools for Paleo.

Holy crap- Crossfit has been in the news and not in a good way.  Between “should a preggo do overhead squats” to “do Crossfit and you’ll get rhabdo and die” to my favorite “I don’t want to get bulky” — Sheesh! To balance all this ickiness plaguing my faceboook  there has been some amazingly awesome things: Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Fallon are in my top three, but this one is my total favorite for the week: “Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Now Biggest Loser“. 2 reasons why I love that a celebrity is a contestant on Biggest Loser: 1.) Takes away the excuse (guilty): If I was famous and had someone cook for me and tell me when to work out I’d be Hollywood thin too! 2.) Biggest Loser uses all types of workouts for their athletes including Crossfit. Even with all of the negative publicity of Crossfit… I’m still loving it.  I’m loving it so much, in fact, that I have signed up for another crossfit cert!  I am beyond excited to be travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the Crossfit Gymnastics certification. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please look into attending a Crossfit Level 1 certification.  Even if you have only been crossfitting for a short amount of time, the information you receive during this 16 hour seminar is mind blowing!  Rumor has it that Shogun Crossfit on Kadena will be hosting a Level One cert— seriously, check into it! So, this one isn’t “Crossfit” affiliated, but its sure to be bad ass… Reebok Crossfit Asia will have Donny Shankle in town for a two day weightlifting seminar.  Who the eff is Donny Shankle?!?!   Please, please, please watch this video:

THAT IS 458.562 POUNDS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

I may never be a crossfit trainer and I may never get a muscle up- and that’s ok with me.  These certifications are (very expensive) tools that give me two valuable things:

The first is knowledge.  They teach me the safe and efficient way to do move my body.

The second is confidence.  Crossfit can be intimidating and down right confusing as hell.  Having a whole weekend to break down each movement to the point where it starts making sense changed everything for me.

Along with knowledge and confidence, I met some really awesome folks and Ill continue to use these tools to help my family travel from sickness into wellness for the rest of our lives (and that’s a super long time).

On a lighter note I wanted to show some things that I use on a weekly basis that help me in the kitchen. My number one favorite thing I have in my kitchen is my egg boiler.  I have had a gazillion recipes for idiot-proof-hard-boiled eggs and have proven each and every one of them wrong…. until this: DB tech at 22.95 Chefschoice at 38.97 Cuisinart at 39.95 I’d go to Bed Bath and Beyond, but I don’t think Ill have the time….

18 minutes. Perfect eggs.

Follow up with an ice bath- peels right off… everytime. Even with fresh eggs from the oki egg zoo!

My second biggest helper in the kitchen is my handy dandy Pampered Chef chopper.  If you have been on Okinawa for more than 6 months and haven’t been invited to a carb filled Pampered Chef party… then you need to find new friends.

Zeds dead, baby.

#3: Grease-thing-a-ma-jigger.  The name says it all, really.  Oh, too much nitrate in your bacon, leave it for me… Ill take it.

Got this at a flea market 10 years ago: Fiddy Cent.

Bacon crusties. Looks tempting, but don’t eat them… trust me on this one.

Liquid Gold aka bacon grease!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stanco at $7.80 FoxRun at $18.37 RSVP at $19.95 Why don’t I have my own store on Amazon?  Seriously.  Which brings me to the point that I make a big fat goose egg (zero dollars) on the links I post on my sight. In closing…


Tootles- jess #morelinksthanyoucanshakeastickat, #I<3lists, #longwinded

Permission Kale Salad

Heres what my kale looked like this week:



I found it at the commissary.  I haven’t found any kale off base.  Well, to be honest…. I haven’t looked very hard.  Whatevs, go to the commisscary.   Buy kale, bacon, chicken breasts and light tasting olive oil.  Then go to the gate three market and buy a permission and some eggs.

This is an awesome lunch but start making this at breakfast time- trust me on this!

Step 1: Make breakfast with a side of bacon.  Set aside a few pieces for your lunch.



Step 2: Brine your chicken.  Say whaaaaat?  Yes.  Do it- trust me.  Get a big ol’ zip locked bag.  Fill it with:

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 T Kosher Salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 T coconut aminos
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 t coriander seeds
  • 2 t whole black peppercorns
  • 1 package of chicken breasts- thawed
  • **everything is from the commissary except the aminos.  The original recipe called for cumin seeds, but I haven’t them**

It looked gross- so I didn’t take a picture.  You’re welcome.  Then leave.  Take your kids to school or walk your dog.  Go to the 0845 wod, go shopping at the BX, do whatever you do.  Then come home.  And prepare yourself… and your salad.

Step 3: Preheat oven to “BROIL”.

Step 4: Dice your kale and throw it in a bowl.  Squeeze some lemon on it, massage it like you mean it, and set it aside.  Been there, huh?

Step 5: Take your chicken out of its salt bath and rinse it off.  Set it in a colander to drip dry.

Step 6:  Make your rub:

  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 T allspice
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1 t ground black pepper—(if you have a pepper in a shaker… throw it away.  Please use fresh ground pepper…. for everything.)
  • **each of these I got at the commissary… the original recipe called for cumin seeds, but I haven’t them**

Mix all the spices up and add a Tablespoon or two of melted ghee or coconut oil to create a paste.  Spoon the paste over each breast of chicken and massage it.  Yes… massage those breasts.  Do it.  It’s only weird if you make it weird.

Step 7: Put chicken in the oven on the top rack for 7ish minutes. Flip it over and 7 more minutes.  If there are beads of solid white pearls on the top of your chicken- it is done.  If it’s not, put it back in the oven until juices run clear or it’s no longer pink inside.

Step 8: Assemble your salad:

Diced and massaged with lemon

Kale: diced and massaged with lemon

add diced brined chicken

add diced brined chicken

add diced persimmons

add diced persimmons… call them permissions… see if anyone calls you out.

add pine nuts

add pine nuts

add diced bacon

add diced bacon

Top with dressing

Top with dressing


  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 2 mint leaves diced super small
  • 3 sprigs of parsley diced super small
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper



Fat Jelly Bean

Picked up JR from school yesterday and out of habit, I asked him how his day was.  “Good,” he replied.  Not his normal, “good!” that I’m used to.  Then JY piped up from the back seat, “someone called JR fat today”.

JR bowed his head. A metal stake went through my heart.  “What happened, buddy?” I asked, trying to keep my emotions at bay.

“It was at recess and she kept coming in my space saying I’m a fat jelly bean. I asked her to stop and she wouldn’t.”  His body was deflated.  He wouldn’t look at me.

The metal stake in my heart became engulfed in flames.

“Did you tell someone?” I asked.

“I told a teacher.  She gave me a hug.”

I changed the subject and drove the rest of the way home with my heart on fire.  When we walked into the house I asked JR to walk the dog.  As soon as he walked out, I walked into my room and did the ugly cry.  How could I have let him get this way?  Why are kids so mean? What more can I do?  I’m going to CRUSH that 9-year-old girl!

I called the hubby and tried to convince him that my parenting career was a complete disaster and my child was going to be scarred forever.  I updated my Facebook and solicited pity and got some really good advise in return.

The last piece of advice I happened to read before JR walked back in the door was from my Uncle.  All he wrote was: sticks and stones.

I looked at JR, he sat on the couch, Indian style, chin on his hands, watching tv.  He saw me watching him.  He looked up at me and smiled.

Instead of a full fledged attack on the 9 year old girl, her parents, the school system, the teachers and the counselors…. I did what I knew would make me and JR feel better.

“Get your shoes, JR.  Let’s wod“.

We only did three rounds

We only did three rounds

JR held for 12 seconds

JR held for 5 seconds

JY held for 18 seconds

JY held for 18 seconds

Then he held for 12 seconds!

Then he held for 12 seconds!

I stopped the wod at three rounds 1: because I was tired, 2: because the kids were over it and 3: we broke into dance to Gangnam Style (Kids Bob version)!

Can't touch this.

Can’t touch this.

Words will never hurt us. 



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