Pan of Stuffs

Happy Humpday!

It’s meet week in the Ristic household, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite race day recipes.img_0952

Milan is not only a machine, he eats like one too- especially on race days. Because his event (60m hurdles) tends to be earlier in the day, he usually eats as much as he can physically intake in the morning, and then not again until after he’s through.

O.K., so that the racing half of him- needing an enormous “game day” breakfast. The Serbian half of him, doesn’t consider food to be food unless he’s consuming at least 51% meat. This usually rules out my eggs and waffles plan.


Milan and Manteo prepping for their Indoor Seasons

I wouldn’t say we are “clean eaters” but we are whatever tries to eat as much fresh food as possible. We don’t eat hardly any processed foods, a product of his national food background and my mother being a dietitian. This holds especially true on meet/meat days, he needs to feel full, but the food has to hold him a while as well, so we want to make sure we get him some sustainable energy with all that protein.

With such a tremendous meat requirement, we are usually left in dinner territory when deciding what we want. In an effort to keep it as early-morning consumable as possible, I turn to one of our favorites, which we affectionately call “Pan of Stuffs”.

This is one of the first things I started making for Milan when we first got married. We were poor, the ingredients were easy, and there was plenty of meat. The best part- I’d say start to finish, it takes about 20 minutes to get on the plate!

In a nutshell, its Polish Kielbasa, peppers and onion all cooked up together and served over mashed potatoes or grains (quinoa, lentils, rice)  depending on how healthy you’re feeling. On meet day, mashed potatoes- they’re good luck, right?img_0947

I always start by mincing a couple cloves of garlic (1-3) depending on how much you’re making. I heat that up with some olive oil on a low heat while I chop up the veggies.

I always use (3-4) multi-colored peppers, and usually a couple of bell peppers. This time I used our  “weird vegetable of the week” which happened to be a type of dark green mild Poblano pepper (3). I honestly didn’t taste a huge difference.

Hopefully, now that all of your peppers are chopped you are starting to smell the garlic. Add the peppers, before you get going on your onion.img_0948

I am not a huge onion fan, but I do like the flavor it gives off.  I usually try to dice up about half an onion, and I add it just before I  when I add the kielbasa.

Next is Milan’s absolutely favorite part- the meat. Serbia does a lot of smoked meat, which is why I started making kielbasa in the first place- I know it’s not the same, (and lets be real- I was 20 when we first got married. I’m pretty sure I was doing good to not be making ground beef tacos every night) But, it at least gives him a hint of that flavor he loves.


I should have made these into a heart, because this is clearly where Milan’s heart lies.

I usually use two (1lb) sausages, and I cut them into 1/4″ slices. (Big enough to to save time, small enough to be able to have a slice in every bite). img_0951

Once I get it all in there, I usually add a little garlic salt, pepper and paprika, just for an extra smoky taste. I let the onions and garlic do most of the talking!

I usually let it cook about 7-10 minutes because the kielbasa is already cooked, I just want to get everything brown and get some good cast iron pan-marks on the sausage.

Once it’s all done I lay deliciously huge spoonfuls over mashed potatoes! (We usually like a little Franks Hot sauce on top of ours too).

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. In most households, I would say serves 4 without leftovers, but in our house, especially on meet day, the serving size is Milan, with a remainder of Meredith getting a taste.

I love any suggestions on any other “pre-game” meals you love to make!

What you’ll need:

  • (2) 1 lb. polish kielbasa
  • (3-4) multi-colored peppers
  • (2-3) bell peppers
  • (1/2) white onion
  • (1-3) cloves garlic
  • Carb/grain of your choice!
  • (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • Optional: garlic salt, pepper, paprika.

3 Ways to Outlast Resolution Abandonment

Finally Friday in what could quite possibly be the longest four-day work week of all time! As we go into the first weekend of the New Year, I want to share three ways I have found to outlast resolution burnout.


Flying into 2017 (with help)

1. Avoid All-or-Nothing thinking

textOK, this one pertains to all types of resolutions. The reason many people don’t find success in their resolutions can boil down to one word.  Expectations. 

If I learned anything from 2016 it’s that unrealistic expectations can kill anything  if that want to. Resolutions, dreams, relationships, goals,  jobs.  That may sounds a little backwards if you’re ‘type A’ like I am. We’re supposed to have high expectations to be successful, right? Well, Sort of.

The side of expectations that tends to drag us down is the unrealistic side in the second half of the first definition. Believing that we should achieve something results in thinking that if it doesn’t happen exactly the way we thought it would, then we aren’t succeeding, and we are wasting time.

If you set expectations unreasonably high or too specific (I’m talking to you, perfectionists) then you will just chase after something  until you are exhausted, and that feels like failure, even though it’s likely not.

The truth is that things happen sometimes that are out of your control. You never know what life is going to serve up and if you have one specific vision of what success looks like, or how to get there, then there is a pretty good chance that every last detail of your plan isn’t going to pan out, no matter what you do.

What you can do is set a goal, and actively pursue it with a hope and faith that things will unfold like they are supposed to.fpAvoiding unrealistic expectations and all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t mean to stop believing in yourself, or to stop thinking that you can achieve anything. It just means that if you want to reach for the stars, you can’t think the only way to get there is a rocket ship.

2. Accept that you can’t have abs before you can touch your toes

For those with fitness goals. Please, get out there, accomplish them, and prove people wrong. But extra please, do it the right way, be realistic, and be kind to your body.

As a former D1 athlete who worked for most of her childhood to get there, I could only remember one body that only reacted to food, lifting weights and running in one way: awesomely.

So when I took a year off from exercise, and decided to pick it back up last fall, I was less than pleased. I’m  24, and not that far out of the game, but I couldn’t do anything. I was exhausted all the time, the food I ate was bad and in strange quantities (and not in the cute girlfriend-meme-kind-of-way) and it just felt like something was wrong.

It was. I was trying to pick up the same exercise habits as I had in college, hours of running, plyos and weights. And of course I couldn’t do it! I should have noticed something when I was completely gassed by the warm-up jog.image

The point is this no matter how much weight you want to lose, strength you want to gain, performance you want to improve. You can’t wave your wand and be there. And I’m not even talking about results- I’m talking about the practice it takes to get there.

I know you hate it, and I did too. But walk first, drink more water, lift light weight well, and it will all come back. Whatever you want to attain, you can totally get there. Just start small and appreciate your your gainzz!

3. Set SMART Goals

I’m pretty sure anyone who knows me is tired of hearing me say this. But, what really drives me crazy are people who set goals like “I want to be healthier,” or “I want to be a better person”. Please tell me what “better” means?

If you can’t measure or track your goal in some tangible way, there is a very low chance that you’re going to stick with

By setting a goal where you can track your progress, you can easily see what direction you’re moving and that will continue to renew your hopes ( see what I did there) in fulfilling your resolution, and your faith that it will come to fruition.

So please, don’t tell me me you want to be healthier. Tell me you want to drink  64 oz of water per day, or eat two vegetables with every meal. You’ll be surprised at how much more likely you are to follow through!

As someone who is a compulsive goal-setter, the new year is just an excuse for me to distribute my crazy with a little context. I’d love to hear about any of your goals you hope to achieve in 2017! (SMART goals only, please! 🙂 )