Bring on the tasty!


It’s been a good week for new recipes in the Longoria household!

I tried this new gem:  Amaretti Thins.  The dough for these delicate, fancy-looking cookies tasted exactly like Bit O’ Honeys, which I absolutely love but never eat on account of the fact they will rot the teeth right out of my head.  These little darlings will do no such thing.  Their sweetness is derived from 1/3 cup of coconut sugar.  They are light, airy, crunchy, and beautiful.  Check out my Instagram feed to right for picture proof.  I will definitely make these again, but next time I will make a double batch and perhaps melt some dark chocolate with which to douse them.  Dark chocolate-covered amaretti thins would BLOW                          MY                          MIND.  Oh!  Just a note – I didn’t want to buy an $8 bottle of almond extract, so I used my home-made rum vanilla instead, and it tasted great.

My mind was blown by the pork chops we had tonight as well:  Sweet Fire Porterhouse Pork Chops.  These were insanely easy to make.  I whipped up the marinade in 7 minutes over my lunch hour, slathered it on the chops with my fingers, and let it sit in the fridge for about 5.5 hours.  Tim grilled them up tonight, and they were juicy, delicious, and addictive. I wanted to eat all 4 of them.  I couldn’t believe how strong the orange flavor came through, just from the orange zest.  We served these with a spinach, green onion, red pepper, and mushroom salad.  Perfect spring meal.

And that’s all my recipe updates for the week.  I was all jazzed about making Brussel Sprout chips to go with the pork chops, but the sprouts were $2.99/lb, and I couldn’t justify $6 for side dish.  When sprouts go on sale, I’m definitely going to try it!

I’m also planning to try this new Salt Roasted Lamb recipe this weekend.  Salt is one of my most favorite things, so how could meat cooked in a thick blanket of it not be amazingly delicious!  I hope Mom is ready for this…

So that’s my news. Oh, I did fall UP the stairs at work today.  My back is a little tweaked, but I think I will survive.  My back was sore to start with as Tim and I ran, swam, and biked this weekend.  Don’t worry – I ate and drank more than enough to sustain me!!  But, man, does road biking ever do a number on your back.  I also got wicked sunburned from the riding.  I’m just  falling apart here.

Well, I hope you have an awesome evening.  Go make the amaretti thins and be sure to appreciate their dainty beauty before scarfing them all down.

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I’m such a slacker


Man, I haven’t posted since March! That was two weeks ago!  Why have I been so lazy??  I don’t really know, to be honest.  Work is busy like always.  We’ve had a few bouts of good weather, so Tim and I have been running and biking a little more.  We did a super fun bike ride on Saturday, the Tour de Brew QC.  We biked 42 miles and hit 8 different bars/restaurants on the route.  We didn’t eat or drink at all of them, so don’t be all judgey.  It was a really fun time.  But that only accounts for one day of the past 15.  Hmmm.  Well, I just don’t know, so I’m going to move on.

So what have I missed of importance of these past two weeks?  I guess it’s been a pretty quiet couple of weeks!  I only have a few recipes to share with you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was going to and did make Slow-Cooked Chicken Adobo.  This recipe is incredibly easy, yet tasty.  I don’t have any coconut aminos, so I used tamari instead.  We liked this recipe so much that I made it TWICE in the past 2 weeks.  We served it with sauteed shredded cauliflower, and it was delicious.

Another winning recipe was this one for Apple & Arugula Bison Burgers.  I didn’t have any bison, so I made these with grass-fed ground beef.  I really wanted to make the paleo buns too, but we wanted to catch the 1PM showing of Captain America, so I didn’t have time.  The burgers themselves turned out quite tasty, and the addition of the apple and egg made the pound of meat stretch to make 4 burgers instead of the usual 3.  Also, I know this is probably common knowledge, but sauteing onions in coconut oil for 20 minutes makes the most delicious treat you have ever had.  Who knew onions could be so tasty!!

As I’ve mentioned before, we are trying to get more liver in our diet.  My brother read a tip about how to eat more liver that I’m going to try next time I have a pound of it. Put the liver in a food processor and grind it up, then put it in ice-cube trays and freeze it.  Pop it out of the trays when frozen and put it in a freezer bag.  As you make soups, meatballs, stews, etc, add a cube or two of liver to it.  I used a similar idea and added some to ad-hoc meatballs I made.  I didn’t really follow a recipe – just added coconut flour, egg, spices, liver, onions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili paste, etc. to a pound of hamburger and made meatballs out of them.  They turned out really tasty, and you could barely tell there was liver in them.

Ok, one last recipe – Double Chocolate Almond Espresso Muffins.  I made these last night.  The dough was AMAZING.  I had chocolate all over my fingers and face by the time these were in the oven.  The dough was VERY thick, due to the almond butter, so these were a work-out to stir.  So it was very unfortunate that I didn’t notice the I forgot to include the chocolate chips IN the batter before spooning the batter into the muffin cups.  I didn’t have the energy to scrape the batter back into the mixing bowl and add the chips, so I just kind of poured them on top and kept my fingers crossed. In retrospect, I should have re-stirred everything.  The muffins turned out tasty, but they were a little dry, and the half-melted chocolate on the top was ultra-messy.  I want to make these again, adding the chips INTO the batter this time.   I also want to monitor the doneness more carefully. I checked them at 20 minutes, and the toothpick came out very globby, so I put them in for 5 more minutes.  By then they were pretty dry.

But, they are still pretty damn tasty.  And this is why I’ve been shying away from making paleo treats lately.  I eat too many of them!!  I took some in to work, and yet I still have 3 muffins to call my own.  No one needs to be eating that much almond butter over the course of 3 days.  I’ve also realized that I truly love ultra-dark chocolate dipped in almond butter. That’s a much easier snack to make, and it’s easier to keep track of how much, exactly, I am eating.

Well, there you go.  That’s what’s been shaking here.  Exciting times, Neo!  Weeeeeooo!

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I killed winter dead


It’s 50 degrees and sunny today.  I’m declaring winter dead.  Officially.  My name rhymes with weather, so my word actually holds some weight.  To celebrate the non-depressingness of today, I got a great massage for $15 this morning, had a Bloody Mary with a friend, ran 3.1 miles, raked a portion of the yard, and took a shower.  After planning the meals for the week (Slow Cooked Chicken Adobo, Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry, Salmon, Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche, Swedish Meatballs, and Amaretti Thins (for dessert)), I started this blog post, wrestled with whether or not to buy running tights from REI (said no for now – super proud of myself), and then went to the store.  And that’s my March 29th so far.

Last week I made a couple of tried and true recipes and one newbie.

1.  Oven-Baked Paleo Pork Ribs.  I put the spice rub on these ribs the night before, and then put them in the Nesco on 200 for about 6 hours.  While I was at work, Tim kept a close eye on them and took them out right when they were fall-off-the-bone tender.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tried the bbq sauce mentioned in the recipe, and it did not turn out AT ALL for me, so I didn’t make it again.  We saved the juice that cooked out the ribs, however.  It mixes with all the spices and makes a super tasty sauce for the meat.

2.  To accompany the ribs, I tried a new recipe, the tantalizingly named, Broccoli Salad.  The mix of bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and bacon sounded very interesting.  I sauteed the sunflower seeds in the bacon grease and added some salt to them. I left out the onions, as Timmy Tee is not a fan of raw onions.  This turned out amazingly delicious.  Tim and I both loved it, even though I typically do not like raw broccoli.  Here’s a pic of the ribs, broccoli salad, and the kimchi Tim made.

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This morning I prepared supper for tonight – pork chops and sweet potato salad.  I’m using a garlic ginger marinade I found in an Allrecipes magazine, so I can’t link to it, but I sure can show you a picture of it!  Tim is grilling these babies up as I type.

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Here is the recipe for the potato salad.  It seems as if whenever I make paleo mayo, I can never use it all before it supposedly goes bad (3 days).  I had some leftover mayo from the broccoli salad that I made last week.  It still smelled totally fine, but I was wary of using week-old mayo.  Instead, I added some rice wine vinegar, olive oil, and mustard to the potatoes and accouterments.  It turned out really good, and you can’t even tell it doesn’t have real mayo in it!  I think I’ll continue to use this shortcut in the future and save myself the expense of wasting 1/2 a cup of premium quality California olive oil.

And that’s it for today!  Tomorrow is supposed to be even more beautiful, so we are planning a 30 mile bike ride.  I’m going to be falling asleep at my desk on Monday…  I need to find a job where I can cook, eat, run, and bike for a living!

Hope you have a great Saturday!

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Paleo Meal Planning


As I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a method to my madness – at least as far as meal planning goes.  I know this is a tough area for a lot of people, so I thought I would share my process.  Please forgive the lackluster photos; I’m afraid that if I wait for good lighting and good photos, I will keep putting off writing this post as I have already done for the past 18 months.

Every Saturday or Sunday I stand at our kitchen table (my brother made us a beautiful kitchen table that we set up at bar height) and flip through my huge binder of recipes.

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I follow about 7 paleo bogs (via Feedly/RSS), which is where I get most of my recipes.  I get a ton from Chris Kresser, Paleomg, and Mark Sisson.  I print out the recipes (usually choosing ones with common ingredients and spices.  I try to not buy anything special for just 1 recipe) and file them in one of 7 tabs: Misc., Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, Veggies, Desserts.  If a recipe calls for two kinds of meat (beef and pork, for example), I’m in quite a quandary as to where to file it.  I just have to make a snap judgement and live with it.  It’s pretty intense.

I usually scan the freezer, see what kinds of meat I already have, and then flip through the binder to find some tasty-sounding recipes.  I pull them out and start to write out my menu for the week.

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Wow. That picture is really bad.  But you get the idea – I list out the dish, along with the major ingredients.  I put this on the fridge so I can easily tell if I can eat that red pepper in my lunch-time salad, or if I need to save it for a specific recipe.

I use this plan to make up my grocery list.

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I usually review the Wednesday HyVee ad as well and add anything that is on sale or that looks exceptionally tasty.

Tim and I then head out to the grocery store, load up on food stuffs, come home and try to find a place for everything in our tiny fridge.  If I’m feeling especially ambitious, I will cut up veggies and rinse and salad-spin our greens.

The whole process of finding recipes, writing out the meal plan, and then making the grocery list takes probably 1/2 an hour.  It’s pretty painless and helps keep us from eating out too much.

I’m sure there are better ways to do this whole process, but this has worked well for me for the past  2 years.

Hope you found that helpful, and thank you for putting up with the bad photography.  :)

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Devils on Horseback and Other Random Shiz


My good friend, Michael, hosted a Drink & Draw at his place on Saturday.  Well, ostensibly it was a Drink & Draw.  In reality it was a Drink & Eat & Play Dirty Cards.  No drawing was to be had.  We did TALK about drawing, at least, so that’s something.  We also did drink.  A lot. We definitely had the drinking part of the Drink & Draw covered.  We also ate a lot of tasty food – nice cheeses, gluten-free crackers, grapes, corned beef & cabbage, lots of dark chocolate, etc.  It was all very tasty.  What was my contribution to the festivities, you may ask?  Any guesses?  I’ll just tell you – Devils on Horseback (aka the boringly named “bacon wrapped dates”).

This was my first attempt at making these tasty treats, but not my first attempt at eating them.  I generally love dates, so when I saw them on the Biaggi’s New Years menu in 2013, I had to try them.  They                 BLEW                    MY                      MIND.  They were so delicious.  So I finally got around to trying them on Saturday.

They are incredibly easy to make – you just cut bacon in half, wrap it around dates, stick them in the oven to cook, and then hit them with the broiler.  They turned out pretty damn tasty too. However, next time I make these I will broil them for about 3 minutes and then flip them and broil them on the other side for 3 minutes.  My dates got a little too toasty on the top when I broiled them on one side for 5 minutes.  I would also like to try the modification mentioned in the recipe and stuff the dates with goat cheese before wrapping them in bacon.  I think that would be amazing.

This is not a cheap treat, what with the cost of dates and pork these days, and with the high carb content of dates, this is not something you should be eating a ton of anyway.  I think I ate 3 of them at least.  They are dangerous.

Now on the “Other Random Shiz.”

My skin, which always does poorly in the winter, was finally starting to clear up and look semi-good, only to regress back to annoyingness.  I tried to pin-point the cause of the relapse.  All I can think of is that for awhile I was drinking about 1 cup of bone broth a day, but then I ran out, so I stopped.  To rectify this situation I journeyed to the Farmers Market on Saturday to pick up some soup bones.  I got a few packages of chicken bones for $10, but then.  Then, I hit the mother load.  I went to the Sawyer Beef guy, and he sold me this for $16:

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That is 16 pounds of grass fed marrow bones.  I was in heaven.  I eagerly carted them home with the intention of separating the bones into more reasonably-sized packages.  When I opened the box, I realized that the bones were hopelessly frozen together.  After pounding  away at them for a few minutes and ruining a perfectly good Pampered Chef wooden spoon, I  gave up and just left the bones out to defrost until I could pry them apart.

Once I could break off a few bones, I combined them with apple cider vinegar, a frozen bag of veggie clippings, a chopped onion, a bay leaf, garlic, and filtered water.  I set the Nesco on low and let it cook away.  I bagged up the rest of the bones into more reasonably-sized packages, but them in our freezer, and headed off to run errands.

When we returned home, we were assaulted by the odor of marrow being forcefully sucked from the insides of large cow bones.  I promptly set up a table in the back porch and took the broth out there to cook down in peace.

About 24 hours later, I drained the chunks out of the broth, let the bones cool, and then took a knife to the inside of the bones, pulling out all the marrow that was still remaining.  I dumped the chunky marrow into the broth, and then poured the broth in batches into our Vitamix, blending the broth until it was a nice, foamy caramel brown, which I then poured into jars for freezing.

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The broth turned out really well, IMHO.  I had some yesterday and today and will continue to drink it until my stupid skin starts to behave again.

And that was our weekend!  Hope you enjoyed your Saint Patrick’s Day in a healthy, responsible matter.  :)

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Smokey Roast Yay! Liver Nay!


As we all know, liver is insanely good for you and should be consumed regularly.  However, as we all also know, its texture and flavor can be, well, troublesome.  I generally like liver, but I’m on a constant quest for a better recipe – a recipe where I make it and say, “Oh.    My.     Goodness.  This liver is awesome, and I’m going to eat this whole 1/2 pound.”  I ran across this recipe and was intrigued by the idea of marinating the liver.  I thought maybe it would make it more tender and less liverish. Unfortunately, it didn’t.  It was still very livery, and I still had unpleasant liver burbs all day long after eating it.  Tim also was not a fan of the flavor of this dish.    So far the best way I’ve found to sneakily incorporate liver is to add some (1/4 a pound) to meatballs or meatloaf.  I’ve read you can also liquify it and add it to soups, but for some reason the thought of liquified liver just really grosses me out.

On a positive note, I tried a new recipe which I absolutely love:  Smokey Roast.  For this recipe you apply a spice rub of ground coffee, chipotle, cocoa powder, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt to a nice chuck roast. Really rub it in!  Then you heat up a skillet with some fat (the recipe calls for coconut oil, but I used bacon grease) and sear all sides of the meat.  Then you toss it in the crockpot on top of a sliced red onion, add some water, and let it slow cook.  Tim is home during the middle of the day, so he kept a watchful eye on the roast (I have a tendency to overcook roasts and dry them out), and took it out right when the meat was ready to fall off the bone.

It was PERFECT.  The meat was seared on the edges, but still a little pink in the middle.  It was ultra tender, and the the juice from the meat/spices/onions, was a tasty meat-bath of subtle deliciousness.  We ate it with Tim’s home-made sauerkraut for 2 meals.  The only regret I have about this roast is that after heating some of it up for breakfast, I acccidently left the pot out all day and had to toss the remainder of the leftovers.  Such a shame.

So try this recipe ASAP!

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Sunday Recap


Wow. What a week.  I thought the week before last was busy, but this week put it to shame.  First of all, an update on the topics discussed last week:

  • Meals
    • I DID make the Crockpot Coffee Ancho Chile Short Ribs.  I think they turned out fine, but I wasn’t blown away by them, which was really too bad because Tim has been knocked out by a severe stomach issue for the past 7-10 days, so I had to eat all 4 pounds of this by myself.  It was tasty at first, but after about the 5th meal of ribs and sauerkraut (which Tim made and which turned out SUPER awesome), I was very much over it.
    • I made Heavenly Paleo Meatloaf, leaving out the onions, red pepper, and cayenne to protect Teeeeeeem’s tummy.  It still turned out really good.  It seemed to sit well with Tim, too, who got all creative and made meatloaf and sauerkraut soup with some homemade chicken broth (recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman).  The meatloaf recipe can no longer be found online, but if you want a copy, let me know in the comments.
    • Paleo Fudgy Brownies.  A large portion of my favorite recipes are from Health-Bent; however, this one did not turn out well for me.  I baked the brownies for 18 minutes as indicated in the recipe.  They still looked very under-done when I took them out, but I didn’t take the time to really test them.  I waited for them to cool and realized that they were still completely doughy in the middle.  I refrigerated them and was then able to scoop out bars and microwave them for about a minute (they burn something fierce if you microwave them for 2 minutes, fyi).  They get a little more cooked that way.  The flavor is pretty good – but very nutty.  These won’t stay in my dessert rotation, especially since they call for 1 cup of almond butter.  These are some EXPENSIVE brownies.  In fact, after failing this recipe, I went through my recipe binder and tore out all the recipes calling for full cups of nut butter.  I’m trying to be more thrifty with my cooking.  More on that in a later blog post.
    • I didn’t get around to making the Cowboy Breakfast Skillet, but that’s on the docket for this week.  Since I’m trying to be more frugal, I didn’t plan many official meals this week; we are just going to scrounge around and eat what’s here.  That means we’ll have a lot of scrambles, stir fries, and tomato soup.  If I can get our monthly food spend below $700, I’ll be happy!

And to tie up some more loose ends from last week:

  • My water kefir turned out!!!  YAY!!!  I’m so excited.  I did a double ferment which means I fermented the water for 2 days, then transferred it to a flip-top bottle, added 1/4 cup of organic cherry juice, and let it sit for 6 days.  When I opened it up on Thursday, it shot carbonated water 6 inches into the air! Out came fizzy pink, delicious water kefir.  The flavor was great.  The only disappointment is that the kefir didn’t stay very carbonated after I transferred it to a regular mason jar.  Maybe I have to keep it in the flip-top bottle for it to stay carbonated.  I need to get some more of those bottles.  The single-fermented water kefir is way too sweet for me, so I’m going to have to double ferment everything.  I’m so excited that this turned out.
  • Yoga – We didn’t go on Monday, but we did make it on Wednesday.  There was a different teacher this time, and instead of telling you exactly what to do, she allowed you to make it “your workout.”  That meant that she described several variations of what you could be doing at any point in time.  It was very confusing to me.  I just want to be told to do one thing, so I can look at the teacher or the other students and figure out exactly what I should be doing.  We are trying a different class with a different teacher on Tuesday to see if we can find something more our style.
  • Swimming – We actually made it to the pool yesterday!  We went to the Y at 9AM, and had no trouble finding a lane.  The water was tortuously cold though!
  • CBRC Chili Chase – The 4 mile run last Sunday was an adventure!  The sun was out, but the temp was only about 20 degrees.  The course was damn hilly too!  The finish line is at the TOP of a hill, which is just so painful and cruel. I probably would have stopped and walked if there wouldn’t have been so many people watching the finish line.  As it was, out of 123 female runners, I came in 39th, which means I got a free CBRC coffee mug! It’s the first time I’ve won any award for a race, so that kind of made up for being extremely cold while simultaneously hot and sweaty and generally miserable.   This was our first CBRC run, and it was actually, all told, a really fun time.  The crowd was in good spirits, very supportive, and they gave us beer afterwards.  :)

So there’s my update!  This week looks to be another busy week – yoga on Tuesday, drinks with coworkers on Wednesday, Wine & Art at the Figge on Thursday with my Mammacita, and then a trip to Monticello to visit the folks.  HOW do people regularly exercise and/or take exercise classes in the evening??  It seems impossible to get anything else done (like making supper).  I can’t wait until the weather warms up so I can start running in the AM again.  It makes me feel so much better all day, and then my evening is free.

Wow, this is kind of a long post.  Maybe I should start writing more than once/week.

I want to thank the new subscribers to my blog – thank you for reading!  I’m used to my blog only being read by my Mom, husband, best friend, and occasionally one or two of my brothers.  While I’m sure they are always RIVETED by the content, I realize they are bound by love and duty to read this; whereas, you are not.  So thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the posts and find them useful.

Have a great week!

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Spring Fever Medley


Yet again, it’s been more than a few days since I’ve posted.  I really have no excuse other than I’ve been both really busy, and when I’m not really busy, I’m really lazy and don’t feel like doing anything.  So…yeah.

I’m sure you’re not interested in the stories of me being lazy, so I’ll enthrall you with the stories of me being busy.

I made FOUR new recipes last week – all from the Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals cookbook.

1. Buttery Eggs & Leeks with Bacon p. 17.  This was simple meal consisting of leeks sauteed in butter over scramby eggs (with coconut milk in them), topped with bacon bits.  Very simple and very delicious.

2. Greek Salad with Lamb p.81.  This was a simple romaine salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and ground lamb mixed with spices.  The recipe calls for fresh spices, but they are too expensive this time of year, so I used dried.  It still turned out very tasty.  Tim LOVED this salad.

3. Pork Chops with Shredded Brussels Sprouts p.95.  This was another ultra-simple recipe.  You shred a pound of brussels sprouts in the food processor and then cook them in a sh!t ton of olive oil.  So easy, but so good.

4. Cauliflower “Arroz Con Pollo” p. 109.  This recipe was more work than the other three, but since you can chop everything (onion, jalapeno, garlic, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and cauliflower ) in the food processor, it goes pretty fast.  This made a TON of food, and it turned out really tasty.  The recipe calls for saffron, which was $12.99 for a tiny bottle at HyVee, so I subbed paprika and turmeric for it instead.  From what I’ve read, nothing but saffron will give you the flavor of saffron, but I wasn’t willing to spend $13 to test that out.

That leads me to an observation I’ve had after being paleo for 2 years.  At first, I felt as if I had to go out and buy all these expensive ingredients (ghee, sesame oil, coconut aminos, spices, avocado oil, etc. etc. etc.).  However, as we’ve settled into our pattern of eating healthier, we’ve found that as long as we have olive oil, some meat, and some veggies in our fridge, we can eat pretty good!   Eating this way can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

And, as I mentioned on the outset, life is starting to get busy again, so I’m trying to go with the more simple recipes that make leftovers.  On the docket this week is Coffee Ancho Short ribs (which are currently slow-cooking in the Nesco and making our house smell amazing), cowboy breakfast skillet, brats & homemade kraut, paleo meatloaf and salmon with salad (FYI – Target has wild-caught frozen salmon on sale this week for $9.99 – $3 cheaper than normal!).  Oh, and I’m going to be decadent and make Paleo Fudgy Brownies.  I’m kind of scared to make them because I think they are going to be crazy delicious, and then I will have to eat them all.

Now on to what’s been making me busy besides making and eating food.  Let’s see.  Work is busy, which takes away my mental energy to do much of anything else in the evening.  BUT I have gotten some things done.  I’ve been making water kefir, for one thing.  So far it hasn’t been turning out – the water is still too sweet after the fermenting process.  However, the instructions say it can take up to 3 weeks for the grains to really get activated, so I just need to be patient.

I also finished Mindset which was an awesome book that really made me look at myself and my abilities/talents in a new light.  I don’t want to write a review because this post is already getting too long, but take my word for it and read it.  It’s a good perspective-shifter.

I also went to an official yoga class for the first time in 6 years!  I’ve been using the yoga app on my phone, but going to a class is so much better.  It’s great to get teacher feedback. My iPad can’t tell me if my form is bad.  I really enjoyed the class.  Even though it gave me a good workout for my core, legs, and back, it was still very calming.  Maybe it’s just psychological, but after only one class, I already feel as if I stand up straighter!  We are going back on Monday.  We are scheduled for Wednesday too, but Tim and I might try a spinning class instead.

We’ve been trying to swim too, to prepare for the tri in 4 months.  We joined the Y, and it’s been really difficult to find times where there are open lanes.  There are a lot of water walkers at the Y, we’ve found.  It’s getting frustrating.

And, well, that’s about it.  Tim and I are doing a 4 mile run in about an hour, so I should go get ready for that.  Hope you are having a great Sunday!

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Primal Potluck


Back in early January, I proclaimed my intention to re-do the 21 Day Challenge (after being primal for 2 years).  After a long road trip, subsequent vacation, long road trip back, and then a long, cold, dark winter, I felt as if I needed a primal re-fresh.  The 80/20 was slipping to 70/30 or even worse.  So on 1/6, I started The Challenge.  Some of my friends at work were also trying to eat better, so I invited everyone over for a Primal Potluck to be held on 2/8 to celebrate our success.

Well, if you read this blog, you know that my plan ran into some snags, so I fell of the wagon.  We still had the Potluck, however.  This winter has been brutal, and hanging out with friends and eating good food makes one evening of it less brutal.

I originally invited 6 other couples, which including Tim and me, would have made 16 people and one oblivious chihuahua in our little house.  I would have loved to have everyone though – the more the merrier, right??  Well, it ended up that only 2 other couples could make it, and the 6 of us made a full, merry household.

For the main course, I made this Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket.  I usually use honey instead of sugar, but we were all out, so we used organic sugar instead.  Also, instead of the beef stock, I used home-made bone broth.  It turned out very tasty!

For a side dish, I made Chipotle Slaw.  To be more exact, Tim and I made Chipotle Slaw.  As I was chopping the cilantro, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what I was doing.  I sliced off the right 1/3 of my left index fingernail.  It hurt like a mother.  Tim had to take over chopping duties, after tossing the fingernail-tainted cilantro.  Despite the drama, the slaw turned out quite tasty and went well with the brisket.  I also defrosted the chicken liver pate I made a couple of weeks ago (read more here).  We served it with Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins.  People said it tasted better than it looked as if it would taste – which is a compliment I will take.  I think the flavor did improve whilst in the freezer.  It tasted more like braunschweiger the second time around, which is a good thing.

For dessert, I hazarded a new recipe – Lemon Basil Cookies.  I was intrigued by the idea of basil in a sweet dessert.  These turned out fabulous!  They have the consistency of a peanut butter cookie – very dense and flavorful.  They go great with coffee and are not too sweet.  I cross-hatched the top with a fork like you do with peanut butter cookies, and they looked beautiful when baked.  Everyone liked them, or at least said they did.  ;)

Our guests brought a delicious array of food as well – French wine, a salad with endive, radicchio, apples, walnuts, capers, avocado and a lot of other stuff, baked salmon with fresh dill, dark chocolate bars, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and bacon-wrapped pineapple.  It was a smorgasbord of tastiness.  Oh!  And we bought a Bota Box of wine – the Redvolution.  For $17.99, you get a box full of the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. It’s pretty good too, for wine that average $4.50 a bottle.  While searching for wine, I picked up a bottle of Pinot Nior for $9.99 and a bottle of Malbec for $10.99, but then I heard Mr. Money Mustache’s  in my ear.  I decided to be frugal and smart instead of a fancy pants, and went with the cheaper (probably just as tasty) alternative.

Hmm.  Am I forgetting anything?  Oh yes.  Well, this is not primal at all, but a friend of mine got me a cheesecake for my birthday.  While I absolutely love cheesecake, it does not love me.  I had a piece at work on Friday, and on my way home experienced one of my old anxiety spells at a stoplight. I just can’t handle the sugar/dairy that well any more.  However, my adoration of cheesecake is so intense, that I will continue to eat it if it’s in my house, despite the deleterious affects.  To relieve myself from that personal demon, I served the rest of the cheesecake to our guests.  Everyone loved it.

While the whole supper was not strictly primal, it was a really fun evening, with interesting company, really tasty food (that was mostly really good for you), and good conversation.  Maybe we’ll do it again in February 2015!

Well, Tim and I need to head off to the pool before we cross over that hump where we don’t get out of our pajamas all day.  Hope you have a great Sunday!

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Muffins & Acupuncture


My birthday was this weekend.  What does that mean?  Firstly, it means I’m a year older.  Secondly, it means I get a free day off work.  Thirdly, it means I can eat whatever I want for the weekend.  Well, that’s what it SHOULD mean.  And, that’s what it DID mean.  But what it DIDN’T mean is that those calories didn’t count.  I’m getting confused by the double negatives here, so let me state this plainly.  I ate a ton of non-paleo food this weekend, and despite it being my birthday weekend, I still gained 3 pounds.  The world is just not fair.  All that apple crisp, pizza, chicken wings, and beer had no respect for my special day.

But despite the weight gain, I had a really great weekend.  We watched a few movies, did some house cleaning, got my budget set up for 2014, went to the gym twice, got groceries for the week, etc.  I also took advantage of the poopy weather to stay inside and make tasty paleo muffins:  Apple Cinnamon Muffins, in point of fact.  These little gems are super easy and very delicious.  I think they would be fabulous with some pecans on top as well.  They make your house smell beautiful too.

I was also fighting some pretty severe sinus pain over the weekend.  Since going paleo, I rarely get sick for any extended period of time.  However, with the stress of the past month, my immune system just wasn’t up to the task of protecting me.  Tomorrow will be the 2 week mark for this cold.  I am 95% better, but only after a weekend of neti pots, epsom salt baths, hot compresses seething with eucalyptus oil, and tons of bone broth.

To get this cold completely out of my system, I went to the acupuncturist today.  I have to say, getting an acupuncture treatment is one of my favorite things.  In case you’ve never gone, I will explain what the process is like.  First, the acupuncturist takes you into a private room and asks you questions about your health and symptoms.  Mine usually looks at the top and bottom of my tongue as well.  Then she leaves the room while you strip down to your underclothes and put on a robe-type thing, climb on a cot that is covered in a heating pad, and cover up your legs with a towel.  The cot has a pillow for your head and a bolster for your knees.  It’s very warm, cozy, and comfortable.

The acupuncturist returns and swabs all the needle entry points with alcohol.  She then taps in needles in various places around your body.  I got one in the top of my head, my forehead, one of each side of my nose, my wrists, the tops of my feet, my sternum, and my shins.  If she thinks a needle is going to hurt a bit going in, she instructs you to breathe in deeply and then exhale.  It makes the slight pinch less noticeable.

When she is all done inserting the needles, she covers your feet with the sheet, moves a heating lamp over them, turns off the lights, and leaves the room.  You are left in the dark, warm room, listening to the soothing tones of Chinese instrumental music.  Fifteen to twenty minutes later, she returns and gives each needle a turn.  She leaves again, and you are left to your warm nest.  It’s a great time to meditate or fall asleep, or just to enjoy doing nothing for the first time that day.  Another 15-20 minutes later, she returns and removes all the needles and asks you how you felt about the treatment.

I find the whole experience to be very relaxing.  I never notice any *amazing* improvements from acupuncture, but I do feel better, more calm, more relaxed, and more centered.  I highly recommend trying it!

And that’s it for me tonight.  It’s almost 8 o’clock, and I have literally 5 books that I am trying to read right now.  I just picked up Mindset from the library on Friday, so I better get moving with that before I have to return it.

Have a great evening!

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