Slow Cooker Carnitas

Now that the Crock Pot Challenge is in full swing, I find myself feeling more and more motivated in the kitchen. Trying out new recipes is a lot of fun, especially when the recipes involve the crock pot and aren’t overly complicated.

Yesterday I made Lindsay’s slow cooker carnitas.

Carnitas Crock Pot

I followed the recipe on Lindsay’s blog exactly and after eight hours, our house smelled fantastic and we had a delicious no-fuss dinner on our hands.

Crockpot Carnitas

While I thought the pork was good, Ryan was a huge fan. He said that this pork was “restaurant quality.” It was extremely flavorful (placing the pork back into the sauce is a must) and I think it would be a great dish to make on Super Bowl Sunday to feed a whole gang of hungry people.

slow cooker carnitas

We paired the carnitas with steamed veggies and a sweet potato topped with a bit of Earth Balance.

When I went to put the leftovers away, Sadie broke out her best pitiful “please gimme some carnitas” face.

Sadie Vizsla

She gets me every time. I’m such a sucker.

Workout

This morning I hopped on the treadmill at the gym for a 40 minute workout. I ran four miles, followed by a .25 mile cool down walk and some stretching.

40 minute treadmill workout

I’ve been extra mindful of my hips lately and try to take a solid five minutes to go through some of my favorite hip stretches after a run. I’m hoping this will help keep my running injury free since my hips seem to be my “problem area” when it comes to injuries and pain. So far so good! Knock on wood.

Breakfast

Pancakes for breakfast!

pancakes

I planned to make whole wheat pancakes, but ended up making the pancakes with half white flour/half whole wheat flour because we ran out of wheat flour at the last minute.

I have a feeling I’m going to be digging into my morning snack a bit early since I doubt these pancakes will keep me full for long. I should’ve added some almond butter to the batter for some staying power. Next time!

Question of the Morning

  • Do you stretch before and/or after a workout… or not at all?
  • Do you take special care to target your stretching based on past injuries?

Comments

  1. Katie says

    Like you my pain “problem” area is my hip, so I pay extra attention to it, I also find foam rolling to be extra helpful as well as regular sports massages, my person is AMAZING and can get my hip loosened up like no one else!

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  2. says

    I have been so bad with stretching lately, I always tell myself I will stretch but I much prefer to hop in the shower. At home I feel gross being all sweaty and sitting on the rug and at the gym I get anxious about getting back to work in a decent amount of time! I hope your hip stays well! I have lucked out and have only had knee problems and blister issues, both of which are at bay right now.

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  3. says

    The carnitas sound delicious!

    I’m not usually one to stretch before my workouts, but I try to stretch and cooldown afterward. If I’m being honest though, I usually only end up stretching if I feel extra sore. That’s something I need to work on!

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  4. says

    I have started stretching after exercising. I know there’s several schools of thought on this. My massage therapist told me that if you stretch “cold” you’re more likely to cause an injury. She said if you tend to prefer to stretch before a workout then you should do some kind of light warm up – walking, etc… and then stretch after your muscles have loosened a bit. I know the exercise classes I take run through stretches at the end but I’m always surprised by how many people are in a hurry to get out first and leave just as stretching begins. It’s important!

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  5. says

    Thank you for the hip stretches!
    I’m also training for a half right now, and during my 7 mile run on Sunday, my hips started aching towards the end. Since Sunday they’ve felt better…and during my run this morning they felt fine, but it’s probably something I should be aware of as well :)

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  6. says

    I do my best to stretch out after a workout, but it doesn’t always happen. I have ridiculously tight hips, so it really is needed for me to avoid soreness and pain afterwards! I have a foam roller, but I need to work on breaking that out more often.

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  7. says

    hips are my problem area too, especially bc that’s how my IT band issues originated… i’m usually pretty mindful to stretch my hips and hamstrings well beforehand, and then foam roll afterwards :)

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  8. says

    Yep, my Achilles and my hips both react badly if I don’t take time to stretch before and after. Also make sure to keep your Omega 3’s boosted to reduce inflammation and promote recovery particularly with the race coming up – lots of oily fish and pumpkin seeds!

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  9. says

    I don’t think I could say no to Sadie either, that face! The carnitas look delicious…I’ve never made pulled pork before but with the Crockpot, suddenly I’m not scared to try it! It makes life so much easier, I’m newly obsessed with mine!

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  10. says

    I’m gonna have to try those. They sound awesome!

    I always PLAN to stretch after working out (especially running), but it NEVER happens. I also make plans to do yoga on active rest days, but that doesn’t happen, either. :-(

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  11. says

    I am awful and hardly ever stretch unless I am feeling tight. I have started going to yoga once a week to get a good stretch in and to center myself, I feel like a mad women lately! I am making your garam masal crockpot chicken tonight, I substituted the cauliflower for broccoli though, I can’t wait!

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  12. says

    Just a tip from a chronic crockpot user. You can buy crockpot liners at the store near the ziplock bags/tin foil, etc. They are the best inventions ever! Just put the bag into the crockpot and cook all day. When you are done eating you just pull the bag out and throw it away and you don’t have to spend time scrubbing the cooked gunk off the sides of the crockpot.

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  13. says

    I definitely make an effort to stretch after a workout. I’ve never stretched before although I know it’s good to do. Also those pancakes look delicious! I know what you mean about not having much staying power. Oatmeal seems to be the best breakfast to hold me through lunch!

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  14. Christina says

    Question on the carnitas….I’ve tried a couple different recipes using pork in my crock pot, and I the meat always seems to be tough and fatty in the end…..did you trim all the fat off your meat before putting it in the crock? Or just throw it in as-is? A lot of recipes say to use “lean” pork, but it seems like all the pork in my grocery store has a healthy amount of fat on it.

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  15. says

    I’ve never made pork in my crock-pot before; I think I’ll add these carnitas to my list of new meals for 2013!

    I’m terrible about stretching. I never stretch before working out and only ever stretch after if something is actually bothering me. That being said, my hips almost always tighten up if I run more than 3 miles so I try and remember to give them a good stretch after every run.

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  16. says

    I’m terrible at stretchy until something bothers me. Usually my IT band will bother me so I do stretches for that sometimes! Have you used “the stick”? We had to drive 8 hours home after a marathon once and that was the only thing that kept my hamstring from bothering me!

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  17. Julia says

    Hey Julie! I am super interested in all these crock pot recipes, but don’t have a crock pot! (Fail!) I’m debating buying one, since I’ve wanted one for a long time-what size is yours? I’ve seen many for either 2qt or 4.5. Does it matter which I get?

    Thanks!!
    Julia

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  18. says

    Sadie’s face is just too adorable! I have weak hips as well and have been battling that for awhile. Stretching and strengthening is a must after any workout for me!

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  19. says

    That picture of Sadie is super cute BTW!!! I always stretch after I workout, but I should start doing it a little before as well. I had a lot of injuries in the later half of last year so I want to avoid them this year!

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  20. says

    Yea for the slow cooker! I did a pulled pork tenderloin the other day & am loving the leftovers! I’m TERRIBLE about stretching & am making it a point to get better, even if it’s at night after work & long after my workout, it helps. Sometimes I set a timer for 15-20 mins. & stretch it out!

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  21. Karey says

    I stretch before and after my workouts. I only stretch a couple minutes before I workout and usually take about 10 minutes stretching afterwards. It really helps keep joint pain at bay.

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  22. says

    I am ALL about stretching post-workout. When I began running, I never stretched at all, but soon after I started training for my first 10K I found that I had some BRUTAL shin splints. I realized that I couldn’t run consistently high-ish mileage (compared to what I had been doing, at least) and not stretch, so I started getting into a post-run stretching routine. I expanded that during my half marathon training and managed to stay un-injured through all of it, and then when I did Round 3 of Best Body Bootcamp at the end of last year I started stretching after every workout. I still definitely get sore, but so far I’ve avoided any major injuries. I’m a huge believer in stretching because of that!

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  23. says

    I am always really carefully about stretching my hips and IT band because they have been problem areas in I high jumped in high school, although to be honest, sometime the stretching at the end of my workout is my absolute favorite part!

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  24. says

    I always stretch after running, escpecially my legs because I pulled a muscle once and don’t care to ever re-experience that pain again! Although I am in ballet, so stretching is always really fun for me and probably my favorite part of my workout! :p

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  25. says

    My husband is going to go crazy for that crockpot pork!

    I am not the best at stretching and I know I need to do more because the older I get the tighter I find my lower back muscles are the morning after a good workout. One thing I do try to be vigilant about is foam rolling my IT bands after a run or spin workout because if I don’t I really suffer.

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  26. Traci says

    I printed off this recipe so that I can try it, my family LOVES meat in the crock pot!

    I stretch after my runs and workouts, but apparently haven’t been giving enough attention to my hips. Honestly I didn’t realize what the problem was but as my mileage has gotten higher, my tendons/ligaments under my glutes are achey..not really sore, just tight and I am more aware of them. Is that the problem you are having? Is it hip flexor stretching I need?

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    • says

      that’s the light pain i have now after long runs – that dull, achy feeling – not really pain, but before i had hip bursitis which was serious pain and i couldn’t run (or walk!) without pain for months. i saw a doctor, etc. and now i’m just extra cautious. stretching REALLY helps me a lot.

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  27. Amy says

    I just found a great magazine at the grocery store last night called “Skinny Slow Cooker” by Better Homes and Gardens. It has a ton of different healthy slow cooker recipes for all meals, even dessert! I can’t wait to try them and share some of my favorite recipes!

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  28. says

    I am SO GLAD that you linked to your hip stretch post today. I have never experienced hip pain or discomfort before until last night and I was trying to stretch them all morning. I was going to search the web for some stretches and you happened to have them on here (and I am regular reader so I didn’t search for this!) It was just meant to be.

    Thank you!!

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  29. says

    I don’t usually stretch before a run (though I probably should). I try to stretch after a run and use the foam roller, but I’m rather uncoordinated on it. Sometimes I have my boyfriend roll out my calves for me, which he seems to get a sort of evil joy out of. I also try to do yoga when I feel really tight, especially in my hips, because it helps loosen me back up.

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  30. Deanne says

    I stretch before. When I started running I had pain in my shins and plantar fasciitis, I read online that those can be from tight calfs so I try to stretch them out as much as possible. If I do stretch the shin pain is gone, I still struggle with painful feet though. Nothing seems to help that. I developed it before I started running and it just would not go away. Once I started running I noticed that if I take a break for a few days my feet get better, weird.

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  31. says

    I try to do 5-10 minutes of stretching/foam-rolling after a run. And I’m usually pretty good about it… but some mornings I’m so ready for breakfast or a shower that it gets clipped off pretty shortly.

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  32. says

    I actually stretch my leg muscles quite a bit and I also do stretches for my feet. I am prone to plantar fasciitis and once it hits, it is a pain {literally} to get rid of!

    Those carnitas look amazing!

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  33. says

    Yes, stretching is a must for me allllll throughout the day, before and after a workout! Sometimes even a little during a workout. It just makes me feel so good and refreshed, and it’s kind of addicting I must say! I don’t know how one could be injury free without stretching b/c I think I’d be hurting all over then! hah

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  34. says

    I loveee stretching after a work out. We always stretched in HS/College and it’s a habit that has stuck with me. It makes a huge difference. I love hip stretches because they just feel amazing, but my problem area is my joints, so I try to do a lot of restorative yoga for them on top of my normal stretching.

    I’ve used my pot three times this week already for the challenge, and I love how it takes no time to prep for! My husband is going to be sick of crock meals by the time Feb rolls around!

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  35. says

    That pork looks amazing. For years I didn’t stretch before or after I ran and it didn’t affect me at all. Now I do a brief stretch beforehand and a brief on after. The only time I really feel the repercussions of not stretching is if I take a few days off… basically it’s motivation for me to be consistent!

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  36. says

    I also have problems with my hips and have started doing the pigeon pose since I saw your post on it. :) I definitely try to stretch after workouts but not before. I remember hearing it was bad for your muscles to stretch them when they are cold.

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  37. Beth Snyder says

    I don’t stretch before I run at all- I’ve read a lot that it can actually be harmful to stretch while your muscles are “cold”. AND… I know I should stretch when I’m done but I rarely ever do! It’s definitely a habit I need to get into. I think I stretch more often when I’ve run outside vs. running on the treadmill.

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  38. says

    I have to work on stretching my hamstrings, calves, and hips because they get so tight and I’ve had injuries in the past because of the tight muscles. It’s really hard for me to make myself stretch and foam roll, though! I’m not sure why, I guess because it doesn’t seem that essential? It’s something I’m making a priority after hurting myself on a New Year’s Eve half-marathon.

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  39. Dee says

    I actually don’t stretch before my runs, and although I should stretch after, I don’t :( I found that after my runs, I want to be productive and get on with the day. But I do make sure to walk a little after! My problem area is my knees! I dont know any knee stretches, but if the pain flares up, ill wear my brace for the day :)

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  40. says

    I am terrible about stretching but ive never had an injury to scare me into stretching. I need to not let it get to that point though. I have started trying to do yoga once a week though as an attempt at getting more stretched out. Better than nothing!

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  41. says

    I love when Sadie makes the blog!

    I am notorious for not stretching before or after workouts, so I have been making a conscious effort lately to be better. I realize that my body no longer responds to a long run the way it did when I was in high school and college and that I need to stretch.

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  42. says

    I was just thinking about how terrible I am at remembering to stretch before and after workouts. I”m usually good about stretching after runs (it’s really helped my shin splints!), but I rarely stretch when doing strength workouts

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  43. says

    I at least stretch for a good five minutes and do all my stretches 3 times through. It makes a huge difference. My cross country coach was really about making sure we didn’t get injuries. The running stretch is my fave move to stretch the hip flexors really good.

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  44. Amanda Bass says

    Thanks for posting the hip stretches. I also struggle with hip/lower back pain from running. I see a chiropractor once a week and that seems to really help along with the wonderful foam roller. I notice mine when I run too much in a week or increase my mileage too quickly.

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  45. says

    I do target my stretches- usually to hips/groin and calves, oh and hammys. I’m a bit slack with stretching- definitely don’t do it as much as I should. All my classes finish with stretching and I never stretch beforehand. I do foam roll daily though after my classes and teaching.

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  46. Jenn says

    Absolutely love your blog! I found it on Pinterest a few weeks ago and have been following you since :) Tried the carnitas and they were delicious. Served them with tortillas and had cilantro, salsa, fresh mozzarella, limes, black beans and cabbage as toppings… I too am a fitness and health food junkie and you’ve inspired me to start a blog of my own- very excited!

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  47. Laurie says

    That pork looks delicious. I want to try it but everything I cook in my slow cooker fails. It is newer and I’m wondering if it cooks at higher temperatures then other ones. My beef is always dry. I’ve cooked steel cuts oats and has to be on warm, not even low and I cooked it for half the time it was recommended. I bought a new one because my last one was the same. Any suggestions?

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  48. Julie Grant says

    Made the crockpot carnitas today! My husband could smell it in the garage when he got home from work. They were amazing!! Cilantro, sliced avocado and tomato plus a dollop of plain Greek yogurt made this dish heavenly. My husband was so impressed and my parents just loved them! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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