Crock Pot Carnitas and a Killer Leg Workout!

  I have so much to share today! (And about half of it involves food.) I’ll start with my workout. I’m taking a week off from running because of an old injury flare up, and it’s actually fantastic timing because this is one of Houston’s hottest weeks of the summer. I am not usually a fan of indoor cardio, but I suppose it’s a welcome escape from the heat this week. 

Once I dragged my butt to the gym, I could not force myself to stay on one cardio machine for a full 30 minutes. So, I split that portion of my workout into two 15 minute segments: 15 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 15 minutes on the upright stationary bike. :Yawn: Even with the resistance hiked up on both machines, I still wasn’t feeling it. I may just skip cardio all together tomorrow. 

lazy cat

This picture nicely sums up my attitude towards ellipticals and treadmills, or really any cardio exercise that doesn’t actually involve moving forward.


Now on to part two: the killer leg workout. I try to push myself here because I have a more natural lower body strength. I just find it easy to build up muscle in my lower body and it’s difficult to get sore….this is not the case with my upper body!!! I may be disproportional, but at least I’m not at risk of tipping over like those top heavy men at the gym. 

Below, you will see the leg workout I completed today! I used two 15 pound weights for most these exercises, but obviously they can be completed with any set of dumbbells or no dumbbells at all.  If there are any exercises you don’t recognize or need to re-fresh, keep scrolling to find links to a few helpful (and super short) videos.

quads and hamstrings workout


Links for exercises:

Pulses: What are pulses? Here’s another example.  

Squats: Narrow stance, wide stanceballet squatBulgarian squat

Jumps: Squat jumpslunge jumps

One-Legged Deadlift

I have found that my best workouts are the ones that are PLANNED. I often browse Pinterest for ideas and then tweak someone else’s idea to fit mine! This workout, however, was completely self-created this morning while I was watching Good Morning America (I have an odd affection for this morning show that I rarely get to watch), and  going in prepared helped me stay focused and push myself.  

Speaking of our gym, I just need to make a quick side comment. Look at how pink it is. I really can’t complain because it’s a really nice gym for an apartment complex, but it’s just so pink. The floors are pink, the walls are pink, the ceilings  are pink, and unfortunately I was pink too. 


And here’s a pink border to go around the pink picture.

I did mention I had a couple of recipes to share. Last night, Ryan and I had meat sauce and spaghetti squash. The reason I consider this a share-worthy recipe is because the featured spaghetti sauce from Target left something to be desired, and this problem needed to be remedied. I don’t like wasting meals on food that’s not very good. It was pretty much just a jar of pulverized tomatoes. So I had to spice it up a bit. Here’s the recipe:

1.34 lbs of ground meat (Costco has oddly sized portions)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 large red onion, diced

2 teaspoons chili powder (I really like chili powder, so you may want to put less if you’re not a fan)

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon Tony’s

1 jar of mediocre spaghetti sauce (unless you just find something better….then skip all of the above steps and just pour it on your meat.)

salt, to taste (it shouldn’t need much after Tony’s and store-bought sauce)

Begin to brown the ground meat, and then throw in the garlic, pepper, and onion. Continue to brown meat until cooked through. Pour in spaghetti sauce, chili powder, basil, cumin, tony’s and salt. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve over paleo-friendly noodles, like spaghetti squash or zucchini squash, or just lettuce.(Meat sauce on lettuce is strange, but I eat it that way frequently when I need to use up leftovers!) 


Taaa Daaah! One heaping spoonful of meat sauce over another heaping spoonful of spaghetti squash. Add more veggies with a salad =)

Ok, one last quick item (or two ) to share! Tonight we made Crock Pot Carnitas and Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower rice. These are in no way, shape, or form my own recipes, so instead of typing out the recipes I’m going to link to the creator’s (Popular Paleo) blog posts. I’ll throw in pretty picture as well! =)

crock pot carnitas

That’s how food pictures are supposed to look. Gosh I need to figure this out. (

Click here for Crock-Pot Carnitas!. It’s not one of those recipes you can put in the crock pot at 7am and have ready when you come home because you’d destroy the defenseless pork, so read carefully before planning! It’s more of a weekend recipe. I paired this meal with cilantro-lime cauliflower rice, and you can click here for the recipe. The author of Popular Paleo compares the combination of these two recipes to a Chipotle burrito bowl…I’m not sold on that comparison, but it was still a good dish. 

In addition to my food photography failure, I also failed at dinner presentation. Instead of a neatly organized plate with sliced limes and perfectly placed pico de gallo, Ryan and I threw all the ingredients (pork, cauliflower rice, salsa, guacamole, avocado, and more adobo sauce) over a giant bed of lettuce. I know…second recipe in one post where I mention throwing a perfectly normal meal on top of lettuce. When you like food as much as I do, it’s a good idea to put lettuce at the bottom of it. Then it’s a salad. 😉

Question: What’s your favorite ingredient to put in spaghetti sauce? (Scroll all the way down to comment!)

Good night!




4 thoughts on “Crock Pot Carnitas and a Killer Leg Workout!

  1. Mmm, gotta share those recipes with my friend Rosemary, om nomnom.

    Little secret, I hate spaghetti sauce. Not in general a big fan of anything tomato. Part of why my cooking leans Asian. Or a olive oil garlic kind of combo. Been into butternut squash sauce and butter chicken sauce lately.

    I also lean leg in the muscle dept, my legs go on for miles. But my cruddy knees really limit my choices. Elliptical over running or bike any day, and I have to be really careful with squats. My arms build slow, but I have to be careful because my shoulders and upperback really go once they get started. One summer working for the joust I got `Wow you really look like a dude from the back!` gee thanks. So gentle on the upper body workout. The reason I finally flopped into ballet is the barre stretches turned out to be perrrrffeect for my knee issues. Never felt better. Really want to get a portable barre for my apt.


    • There’s a jar of butternut squash sauce in my pantry waiting to be used! Any suggestions??

      I love ballet, too, for that reason. My only problem is that going up on releve creates this really uncomfortable twinge on my right heel. I’m not sure what the deal is, but it shows up when I’ve been a little to enthusiastic with that kind of exercise.

      Ryan really wants a small garage/home gym once we make it to that part of our lives when it’s financially reasonable. I’ll probably insist on a barre =)


    • I didn’t even think of spinach! I have an enormous Costco-sized bag in the freezer at the moment. That would have been perfect. Ryan won’t eat mushrooms, so they have stayed out of our recipes so far.


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