Oh, friends. It’s been far too long since I did back squats of the barbell kind (as opposed to the emotional kind). When I’m following my preferred routine, Monday is some-kind-of-squat day, and Friday is deadlift day. This is how I like it. Sorta.
So yesterday, I ignored the little voice telling me to lie in bed and finish my book, and I took myself to the gym to say hello to the barbell and back squats.
2:00 on the elliptical to get blood moving
10 air squats + 10 globe squats w/ 20# DB
10 back squats w/ 45# bar
5 @ 95
10 kb swings, 16kg
20 walking lunge
2X10 situps on the steep decline bench (these burned!)
The last time I did a 1RM back squat, it was 155, so I’m hoping to crush that at June’s CrossFit Total benchmark. All possible if I don’t freak out at the bottom… which I could, but I will do my best to avoid.
OK. Enough about the barbells. Let’s talk food. Specifically, bell peppers.
My parents took a 3-week trip to Italy this month. They stayed in an apartment and really lived there: shopped in the market and cooked at home, took day trips for unforgettable meals and vistas, crashed a country wedding, and drank wine.
They also inspired me to make some Italian food of my own. I give you: Italian Sausage & Peppers. Easy to make. Totally dino-chow. Satisfying and tasty enough to share with friends. Throw in different colored peppers to make it look pretty…
Sausage & Peppers
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
4 Italian sausage links (I like Buddy’s.)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 bell peppers, sliced into 2 to 3 inch long strips
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large sweet or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 small (14.5 oz) can of crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen fired roasted.)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine (replace with broth if you’re in a no-cheat paleo phase)
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that has a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown slowly on all sides. This is somewhat tedious, but worth it. When you’re happy with they way they look, remove from the pan and place in a bowl to catch the juices.
2. Increase the heat to high (yay! High heat!) and add the onions and peppers. Toss to coat with the leftover oil i the pan, and saute until they get little black spots. When they’ve softed a bit, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and stir-fry quickly to prevent scorching – about 45 seconds or so. When you can smell the garlic, you’re ready for step 3.
3. Add the wine/broth to the pan (swoosh!) and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to bet the yummy brown bits. Let the liquid cook down by half.
4. Add the tomatoes, oregano and red pepper flakes, and stir well to combine. Lovingly place the sausages back in the pan and nestle them down into the vegetable bed. Bring to a bubble then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft and the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
If you want to get fancy and serve this atop something delicious, you can almost replicate the texture of polenta with cauliflower pilaf; get the recipe here and replace the cinnamon and cumin with oregano and basil, or an Italian herb blend. (molto buona!)
I also ate this by itself in a bowl (delizioso!) and over a bed of sautéed greens (gustoso!)
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