54281139-summer-beach-vector-design-in-the-seashore-with-beach-umbrella-and-chair-summer-background-vector-il  Summer is in full swing and with that comes all the barbeques and outings. It sure is a fun time, but it’s easy to lose track of your eating habits you’ve worked hard all winter to get under control. Here are a few of my tips and recipes for staying on track and still having fun:

1 – Stay hydrated. This is not overrated. One of the added benefits of hydration is it will keep you more full and less likely to indulge.

2 – Bring a dish you can eat and share to all your events. You’ll be amazed how many people will ooh and aah over your paleo friendly side dish or dessert. Warning: don’t let them know in advance they are eating something healthy.

3 – Put the bun down!  Honestly, the burger is just as good in a lettuce wrap.

4 – Mingle away from the food table.  If you’re not standing by the enticing foods, you’re likely not to eat them.  No one is watching what you eat or drink, so make a plate and move away.

5 - Instead of beer or wine, have a flavored vodka and soda. It’s amazingly refreshing.  When going back for seconds, just add the soda.  You’ll still have the flavored ice and no extra calories.

Here are a few of my favorites to bring along!

broccoli salad

36 oz broccoli florets
1 medium red onion
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds
6 slices of bacon (optional)
1 ½ cups homemade mayonnaise
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt

Blanch broccoli, drain, and cool in ice bath or with cold water. Drain/dry well.
Dice red onion and sprinkle with sea salt. Put in a large bowl.
Add mayonnaise and balsamic to bowl and mix well.
Add broccoli and mix well.
Cook bacon on stove or in over until well done (you want it to be easily crumbled).
Optional, but recommended: toast slivered almonds in bacon fat.
Add crumbled bacon, almonds, and raisins to salad and mix well.
Try not to eat it all immediately; its way more delicious if it sits in the fridge for a while.


Cauliflower Potato Salad

2 head cauliflower 
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the dressing:
½ cup homemade mayo or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
½ red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.
2. Slice cauliflower into small florets.3. Place cauliflower onto baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and a bit crispy.
5. In a large bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix. Set aside.
6. Once cauliflower is cooked, set aside and let cool slightly before adding to the yogurt dressing.
7. Garnish with more freshly chopped dill before serving.
8. Enjoy!




Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/4 cup (32 grams) coconut flour2
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) coconut oil or unsalted butter, room temperature (if your coconut oil is a little melty, put it in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes or until firmer, like softened butter. If you use slightly melted coconut oil, the dough will be greasy and the chocolate chips will be hard to incorporate.)3
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) coconut sugar or brown sugar4
  • 6 tablespoons (98 grams) natural almond butter (the kind with just almonds in it and no added fat / sugar), room temperature5
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature (or 1 chia egg for vegan)
  • 1 1/4 cups (213 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (make sure to use paleo-friendly chocolate chips, if desired)


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat together the fat and sugar at medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. If you use coconut oil, it may not come together easily. If that’s the case, use your hands to combine it and then beat another 20 seconds.
  3. Beat in the almond butter and vanilla extract on medium speed and mix until combined. Beat in the egg on low and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1 cup (170 grams) chocolate chips. If you used brown sugar, skip to the next step. If you used coconut sugar, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  5. Roll the dough into 8 (75-gram) balls and place the remaining 1/4 cup (43 grams) of chocolate chips on the top and on the sides of the dough balls. You can also roll them into 16 smaller balls but then you need to adjust the baking time (a few minutes less than recommended below). Place 4″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the cookies down lightly with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for 11-14 minutes (if using coconut sugar) or 14-17 minutes (if using brown sugar) or until the surface of the center of the cookies no longer appears wet. They’ll be very soft but will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet.
  7. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days


How to Beat Superbowl Party Temptations

super bowlSuperbowl weekend is here, with all its hype and glory, friends, food and……..yes, anxiety!! I’m not talking anxiety about which team to root for or what to wear.

Whether you’ve started the new year going paleo, in the midst of a Whole30 or following Weight Watchers, you can do this! It’s not uncommon to think, I’m not going.  I won’t be able to stay away from all the wings and chips and dip and desserts and goodies that are sure to be there.  First of all, sit back, take a deep breath and believe in yourself. You have enough willpower to just say no. Focus on the longterm goal.

A few tips I always find helpful are to do the following things: Stay hydrated and eat before you go. Sit down and enjoy a meal that you love. Secondly, find a place to be away from the food. Many times we eat because it’s in front of us, and that’s what others are doing so we think we should too!   Don’t give in!  If nothing else, find a spot in front of the game and enjoy the commercials.  Lastly, just in case temptation is following you, bring a dish to share that you can eat.  Whip up one of your favorite dishes, side or dessert and do not feel guilty enjoying it.  I like to keep my recipe secret and enjoy watching people eat something that they would normally snub their nose at and tell you, That’s too healthy.   There’s no way I’ll eat that.  (Admit it, we all have friends and family like that)

Hang in there.  It’s just another night.  Don’t fall into temptation. Remember, nothing will taste as good as being strong feels. Nothing!

What is your Why?



A few months ago the question came before me, What is your why?  I really started pondering this and I had no answer, zip, zero, zilch, nada!  Over the months it’s really been on my mind and I’ve put countless hours into trying to figure it out; What is my why?

I started to feel like a child.  Why?  Why?  Why?  Why didn’t I go to college?  Why did I sell Northeast Court Reporting?  Why did I open a gym?  Why do I work these ridiculous hours?  What path am I taking?  Why is my hair curly?  What is my purpose?  What do I want to do for the rest of my life? Why is the sky blue?  Let me tell you, there were/are lots of whys.  As 2016 was coming to an end and 2017 was beginning, I was frustrated and even mad that I still did not have my clear answer.

In the past two weeks this has happened:  Two clients have returned stating, “It feels good to be home.”   I received a message from someone I spoke to probably five or so years ago about a conversation we had, and just now she was able to fully grasp and implement what we were talking about and thanking me for a life-changing experience.  Thirdly, I got a hand-written note from a client who moved away letting me know the positive impact I had on her life.

I’m still exploring, but for today, Friday, January 13, 2017, this is my why!

What is your why?

Cheers, Staci


You never leave a place you love…

You Never Leave a Place You Love – a Part of it You Take With You, and a Part of You is Left Behind ~

As I turned off the lights and locked the door last night, I was hit with a wave of sadness. I was locking the door of two businesses that I had started and entering a new phase of my life. It is no mistake that Northeast Court Reporting and Great Lakes CrossFit share a building.

(A brief history: I guess I have always been an entrepreneur. I babysat as a young teen and then worked at Yours Truly as a teenager. I helped open Time Out, a carry-out business behind the Chagrin Falls restaurant, and then managed the Beachwood location. After many years of deciding what to do with my life, I went to school and in 1996 I hung a shingle and opened Northeast Court Reporting, Inc. I was determined to be independent. I had a goal, and no one was going to stop me. In 2007, Bill and I, along with our partners, co-founded CrossFit Cleveland in Lakewood. I met Patrick in 2010, and we co-founded Great Lakes CrossFit in December of 2010.)

In time, all things change. Last January I felt it was time to alleviate some of the pressures of running more than one business. Sure, I was just a piece of the puzzle and Bill and Patrick did most of the CrossFit stuff, but believe me, I was a very busy girl. Let’s be honest, we can’t be everywhere all of the time.

Chris took over Northeast Court Reporting last January, and I couldn’t be more proud of what she has done. She has put her heart and soul into growing Northeast Court Reporting and taking it to the next level. We shared the same vision, and she is taking it there.

Now seems like a good time for me to step aside from Great Lakes CrossFit and dedicate all my time to CrossFit Cleveland. This has been a very hard decision, but knowing the friendships that have begun and that it is not goodbye has helped.

I feel fortunate that I had parents who taught me how to be independent. They have always supported my endeavors, and were there for the highs and the lows with words of wisdom and guidance. Thanks Mom and Dad!

While part of me is sad, I am proud of what I have accomplished and excited to see where the next step in the journey of life will lead me and Bill in 2015.

What are you excited about?

Stepping outside your comfort zone

Stepping outside your comfort zone:

As you may or may not know, I have no problem talking. It might even be said I talk too much, but NOT in front of a group of strangers.

A few weeks ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I walked into a room of women I did not know to talk about exercise and nutrition; things I am very familiar with. There were no fancy introductions, just a flick of the hand and, “The girls are in there.”

After stammering out my name, what my purpose of being there was, I frantically searched for the outline I prepared, only to realize it was still at home on my desk. Uggg!!

“Hi, my name is Staci Russell. I’m from CrossFit Cleveland and, umm, well, umm, I’m really nervous. So, I’m here to talk about — Umm, I’m sorry, but I’m really nervous.”
I think the first five minutes went that way, although it seemed longer than that, and then I started talking, and the questions started, and phew, before I knew it, my time was up and I felt much better. I had stepped outside of my comfort zone. I did it, and it felt good!!

I have since returned to that same group of women. I was not terrified or nervous, but excited to see them again and see if anyone was able to implement what we talked about.
I’m not saying I won’t be nervous in front of a group I do not know, but at least I know I can do it!!

Do yourself a favor and step outside your comfort zone. You may just amaze yourself! What is outside your comfort zone?
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Happy New Year!

Bill is working to get my blog up and running and to teach me how to make it look super cool.  Please be patient, we’ll get things rolling here soon.

In case you need to place an Advocare order and you’ve been coming to this page in the past, here is a temporary link for you. Staci’s Advocare Order Page.  We’ll have a new Advocare Page coming soon also.  Thanks!