Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bonjour mes Amis!


I'm Alive! Whew, been gone far too long but my oh my what an adventure it has been. About a month after my last post I was offered a position to sing in a music festival in France. So I upped and quite my job, hopped on a plane and spent the summer overseas.

Now I'm home and trying to re-acclimate to life here. I've scrounged up a few PT jobs (thankfully they're both pretty fun ones) and am slowly getting back to my old schedule. I haven't returned to CrossFit since moving home and that's pooey. I thought I would be back in the box the week after I got back but the laziness generated by temporary unemployment and a pansy-a$$ fear of having to start all over with my body conditioning have kept me from rolling up and getting down to the 3...2...1... "Excuses are a heavier burden than any barbell."

Good News: I've convinced my family to go Paleo for 3o days!!!!! They are on day 4 and dealing with it ok. The finite rules seems to be escaping them and they certainly aren't gung-ho about this but I think that as time progresses they will see that the food going in truly affects not just the waistline but the whole body.

Need some motivation? These guys seem pretty enthusiastic about what you eat.

So now that I'm home and no longer under the regime of evil firewall land, I hope you'll join me in continuing to reach for healthy goals and cooking up delicious things.

Who has a Fall/Winter goal to achieve?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is it Friday yet? YES!!!



Seems I've let the bulk of the week go by with no posts. Corporate updated our Firewall at work and now none of us can access any of the fun sites and that includes no Blogger.com

I was horrified.

My favorite co-worker and I are seeking a way to circumvent this Berlin Wall of web communication: freedom will come soon my friends.

It's been a good week. Not that life has been amazing but more that I've been reaping the fruits of my efforts. The scale has moved down by 2lbs which has refreshed my fervor to attain my ultimate goal. I've also been making it a priority to get more sleep. #killyourtv has been a contributing factor plus I've been avoiding the interwebs directly before bed time. Having averaged 7 hours a night it has been so much easier to get up for my 5am WODS and face the work day.

The office staff is going out for lunch today on the company dime so I picked a steakhouse. It may not be grass-fed but alteast I managed to divert them away from talk of Hooters. Now how tacky would it be to order the filet mignon?

All the best: Go conquer the day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

It didn’t rain on Saturday. The weather was actually quite lovely. My knee-jerk reaction was that I should go out and work in the yard or go ahead and clean my car but (with a little help from Jeffrey) I stayed true to the plan.

By early afternoon we set to the task of re-creating Mark Sisson’s primal take on Boeuf Bourguignon. The only diversion from Julia Child’s original recipe is to substitute almond flour. We were also sure to use unsalted Kerrygold butter and grass-fed stew meat. Since J is not a fan of traditional bacon I bought beef bacon. It seemed to be a good substitute, though the product is far leaner than it's porky counterpart. Mid-cooking we made the unlucky discovery that the mushrooms I’d bought the day before had gone quite bad. Everyone at home forbade me to run out to the store (probably because I was supposed to be taking it easy?) so I was only able to include one third of the recipe’s actual mushroom requirement. In the end we had a delicious meal (I'm enjoying the leftovers right now *yum*). I do think it would have benefitted from more shrooms and I’d definitely use a low sodium beef broth next time. Another idea from the taste testers was to use a bit more butter in the cooking process and perhaps serve the dish alongside smashed cauliflower. As is, our meal was full-bodied and very satisfying. It was a lengthy process but not difficult. During the in-oven cooking time we all sat outside and played card games. It was such a wonderful day, as indulgent as the dinner. After such a luxurious weekend I have decided to make this a priority in the future. I’m so much more rested and Monday doesn’t feel like a slap in the face. Plus, the opportunity to play with more complicated recipes is very attractive. How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Is Jason Voorhees a fan of Paleo?

It’s Friday the 13th I wonder if Freddy Keugel will haunt my dreams?

“I see SAD people.”

All bad Paleo joking aside, Happy Friday! We’ve made it to the weekend; two whole days to do with as we like. Personally, my weekends tend to be a whirlwind of chores, church and social events. I rarely score a full 8 hours of rest each night and tend to bluster in to Monday quite fulfilled from the good times but partly drained by my whirling dervish ways.

It’s vitally important to embrace rest. Our society loves to compare accomplishments by way of self-flagellation. Have you ever noticed that if you casually mention you were up late the night before working on a project then someone is all too quick to retort “I only slept 3 hours last night, was cleaning my whole house and writing the next great American novel!”

Accomplishment is a wonderful thing. What are we here for if not to produce a product; be it a family or mastery of one’s chosen career? Every day I try to move forward, to improve my body, my mind and my relationships. I wasted too many years losing the days in a whirlwind of mindless television and binge eating. Today, I’m not perfect, but I am ever improving and having the most wonderful time. Each day is vital, a chance to evolve, and I keep that as encouragement not to lose momentum. Conversely, we can take that zeal too far.

Rest is essential. Our bodies require sleep to function at optimum levels. But beyond that, our brains need down time too. 8 hours in bed and 16 hours of cooking, cleaning, working, exercising, hand shaking, party hopping, baby wrangling…..it’s taxing! And day after day of this, even with RX’d sleep, will render you exhausted in many facets. Eventually we must be honest with ourselves. Productivity feels great but machines we are not. Be willing to say no. Admit that you need to skip a party to pull on your pj’s and read a book instead. Realize that a missed workout is not a terrible thing if it’s occasional. Allow yourself to be fragile at times.

Tomorrow in my region thunderstorms are predicted. Initially I furrowed my brow and pondered how it would affect my day’s flurry of planned activities. Now, I have resolved to rest. I’m ignoring my planner and instead it will be a day of slow movement and slow cooking. Yes, there are chores that need to be done and my car requires some serious cleaning out but so does my brain. It’s going to be a day of good music and quality time with the people in my life.

Whatever is on the books for you this weekend I hope you’ll grant yourself a few moments of stillness, then go conquer the world. Enjoy~*

Thursday, May 12, 2011

And the winner is


ERIN!

Congratulations, you're the winner of FIVE packs of Grass-fed Paleo Stix from Steve's Original.

Thank you to everyone who entered and for your very kind comments, I hope you'll all feel welcome to keep chiming in feedback whenever you pop by.




Erin, please disclose your mailing address to me and your goodies will be on their way! operaismyopium@hotmail.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Last Chance

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I hope the weather is as gorgeously sunny where you are as it is for us. I ache to be outside 24/7 with these warm, breezy days. Never has the unnatural circumstance of a chair and fluorescent lights been more evident to me.


This is just a reminder that there is ONE DAY left to enter the FREE GIVEAWAY for Steve's Original Grassfed Paleo Stix. Just comment here and tomorrow I'll announce the lucky winner. No gimmicks, no mandatory blog following, just a thank you for popping by and a reminder that Girl Meats Paleo is now hanging about on Twitter.


Make this day a great one. Express gratitude to the people in your life, hug somebody, move your limbs and eat whole foods. Enjoy it~*

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken Tostadas


Still can't get the awesomeness of Jeffrey's Cinco de Mayo dinner off my mind. It was so delicious and satisfying. If you're craving a meal that is muy delicioso try this one out. There are a few steps but it's really worth the effort when the craving for a Mexi night comes along.


Tortillas (per tortilla, J prepared three):
2 heaping tablespoons/3 tablespoons of almond meal
2 egg whites
Olive oil

Combine almond flour and egg whites, slowly adding water and whisk until mixture is less than lumpy and not quite runny.
Pour a capful (J's favorite measuring implement) of oil into your skillet to lightly coat the surface
Once pan is warm add mixture and use a spatula to spread it thinly
After 1 minute on high heat, flip tortilla to other side
When golden brown on each side place on paper towel to cool
*these are heartier and will only become so thin, expect it to be more like a pancake's thickness which makes them perfect for those hearty toppings

The Yummy:
Whole chicken
1/2 white onion, julienned
1/2 each of a red, yellow and green bell pepper
8 0z (half carton) of sliced mushrooms, try button or baby bella
Red pepper flakes
Chili powder
Paprika
Fresh cilantro

Bake chicken, or grab a quick a rotisserie bird at the local store, then strip the meat excluding the breasts (save these for another meal)
In skillet, saute bell pepper medley, onions, and mushrooms until softened.
Add red pepper flakes, chili powder, paprika, and cilantro . These amounts are unspecified, cater them to your tastes. Now finish cooking the veggies before incorporating chicken meat for a final stir.

Assembly:
1/3 lb sliced Habanero cheddar cheese
fresh chives

Place tortillas on a baking sheet and top with half of the cheese
Pile on the chicken&veggie mixture then top with remaining cheese slices
Add a few long strands of chives and place in oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is well melted on top.

This recipe serves 3. We plated it along with a refreshing guacamole salad. The third tostada made for an excellent lunch the next day at work, it warmed-up fabulously. Enjoy~*

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day


To the women who cook Paleo and Primal for your families, thank you. You refuse to pass off poisonous fast food to your children. By shopping Farmer's Markets and researching where your meat is produced you are stimulating the local economy and encouraging sustainable farming. Your children are learning to be informed consumers, to appreciate food. All of this effort promotes a person who is not only whole in body but in spirit because when you feed someone good things it says "you have value, you have worth." Thank you for not passing the buck, exclaiming you're too busy or that it's too hard. You defy the status quo. Your families are so blessed to have informed, vigilant moms like you~*

Friday, May 6, 2011

So you ate cheese?

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a fun Cinco de Mayo. Obvious Paleo-friendly meals to fit the theme would be fajitas (sans tortilla) or carnitas (no arroz, gracias). Maybe this is what you ate and maybe you pounced on the chips and salsa, washing it down with a margarita. It's all bueno, today is a new day.

J prepared a delicious treat for me. Originally the goal was chicken enchiladas though we decided that in the end he had created more of a tostada-esque meal. It was SO GOOD. He's been practicing his almond meal tortilla recipe and I think it lent itself fabulously to this dish. We both had wide grins on our faces as we tucked into a dinner that kicked the pants off of anything we could have ordered in a restaurant.

We did go over into Primal territory by including cheese in our meal. There weren't gobs of it, but some. I personally don't feel like I blew the diet by eating some dairy. But I will say that my tummy was aware of the foreign invader when I went in for my early morning WOD. Which brings me around the bush to today's recipe: Chia & Prune Pudding.

Yes, as in Ch-ch-ch-CHIA. It's a fun little seed I picked up at Wegman's after seeing it appear on several RAW food blogs. Now, there are conflicting theories on Chia's usefulness but I'm not looking to it as a source of Omega-3's. I just think it's cool.

Ya see, chia seeds can absorb up to 9x their weight in liquid! They also have this magical knack of making the liquid you put them in turn thicker and gelatinous. Thus they lend themselves perfectly for making fun treats like puddings.

If you're wondering why I prattled on about last night's queso here's the chia/cheese link: these little seeds will, erm, move you. For that reason I limit my intake to one Tablespoon a day. More is perfectly safe, I just don't feel a need to push it. (no pun intended!)

If I haven't scared you off with my bathroom humor then please grab some seeds and try your hand at this happy little treat. Personally, I find my daily dose to be creamy and refreshing.


Chia & Prune Pudding

1 Tbl. chia seeds
3 prunes
1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon


Mix chia, coconut milk and vanilla together in a bowl. Add sliced prunes. Stir again, sprinkle with cinnamon and walk away. You can eat your pudding in 10 minutes when the seeds have absorbed some of the liquid. However, I like to leave mine overnight. The next morning it is fully absorbed and the prunes have also plumped up from the milk and vanilla all while imparting their natural sweetness into the mix. It's yummy, satisfying and maybe a little bit beneficial. Just be sure to give it a good stir one more time before digging in. ENJOY~*

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giveitaway, Giveitaway, Giveitaway, Giveitaway Now!

Anybody want some free food?


I've got some Grass-Fed Paleo Stix from the good people at Steve's Original. These protein packed pipes are comprised of the same lean grass-fed beef used in their legendary Paleo Kits. It's mixed with some spices and presented to you in the fashion of a Slim Jim only not made of CAFO beef and assorted unpleasantness. It's a great source of portable protein~*

What's the catch?

There isn't one, I just like to feed my friends. It's my way of celebrating the fact that GirlMeatsPaleo has finally joined the modern world on Twitter! But no, you don't have to friend me, tweet this, follow the blog or jump through any other hoops to get the goodies. Yes, I'd LOVE for you to link up with me so we can continue to share knowledge, support and recipes but if you just want to eat and run that's okay too. Comment on this post and I'll announce the winner in ONE WEEK: Thursday May 12, 2011.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, thanks for connecting!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Product Review: Paleo Brands "Almond Crusted Cod"

Happy Hump Day Y'all! The weekend is within site -> reminder: Mother's Day is Sunday
I'm planning on taking my family on a picnic but still mulling over what to pack that will be yummy for the group and Paleo for me and J. If you have any suggestions, by all means, send them my way!


On to today's tidbit: round II of Paleo Brands' frozen meals. This time I tasted the "Almond Crusted Cod with Spicy Vegetables and Cauliflower Leek Puree." When I placed my order (you have to choose 12 frozen meals for shipping purposes) I decided to select 3 of these since they seemed like one of the more appealing recipes. Of course, I thought similarly of the Beef with Curry Pistachio Stuffing and Broccoli.

This meal is higher in fat and calories than the others. I wondered how this could be since it is comprised mainly of pureed cauliflower and white fish. Yes, there is an almond crust but it is a mere dusting. Further inspection of the ingredients list reveals that there was a mayo in the cauliflower/leak puree (WHY?) and this mayo contained soybean oil. Not cool, especially since it in no way improved the flavor.

Yes, flavor. It's what makes eating so dang enjoyable and ever since going Paleo my meals have been succinctly delicious. I am baffled once again by this company's line of frozen meals. The cod looked appealing in the package. It was a reasonable serving of protein along with some colorful veggies and a hearty portion of smashed cauli (and I loooove me some schmalipower). I even plated it so that my eyes would be visually appeased. Before me was what looked like a good meal. But as I tasted, re-tasted, pondered, reheated and doctored my meal there were two absolutes: it had an unappealing texture and was tasteless.

The texture was similarly disturbing to that of the beef with stuffing that I previously reviewed. It was mealy. The nuts seemed too finely ground and yet, simialrly, soggy. It was an alien mouthfeel. I'm not persnickety about texture but here it was off-putting.

And as for flavor.....wait, flavor? Other than notes of spiciness there was no flavor. I have tried many a dieter's frozen meal in my time, liking most, and this is the worst recipe I've ever tasted. There was nothing there. It felt like eating beige. So there I was eating mealy beige. I tried to liven it up first with a small amount of salt and then with juice from an orange I had brought along (thank God for that orange, only tasty thing in my lunch). Nether condiment was able to improve the dish. I'm still baffled as to how one can produce something that tastes like soggy cardboard. Now perhaps I'm being unfair. There was ONE flavor that came through: the cod was overwhelmingly fishy. Disturbingly fishy. I convinced a co-worker to try it and she entreated me to not eat another bite. So yeah, if I don't live to blog tomorrow then we know who to blame.

Sorry to be so critical folks but I think you deserve to know what's out there. As Paleo and Primal products become more mainstream there will be a host of manufacturers chomping at the bit to sell us items with a trendy spin that's all hype and zero quality. While I may have wasted $70+ dollars on 12 very bad meals hopefully I can spare someone else the disappointment of paying for and tasting these epic fails. If you like Paleo Brands' frozen meals then I'd love to hear it/sell you my remaining meals ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day Muffins

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Gotta say that mine was fantastic and thank goodness too: Last Thursday and Friday in the office was overwhelming. Jeffrey stopped by at close of business with flowers and a card to cheer me up. His timing was spot on! We went for sushi that night and enjoyed some new flavors including Black Marlin and mango in our roles. It's always fun to use dates as explorations into uncharted menu territory.

Saturday I hit up a friend's Going Away party and successfully avoided the buffet of lovely food with the exception of some candied sweet potatoes. Everyone was raving about them and I got curious. Thanks for the great party Christianna, good luck out West!

Sunday was perfection. I've never had a truly perfect day before but this one was splendiferous (it's a word, trust me)! We had a lot of fun singing at church then met friends for a themed brunch and game of croquet. I donned a vintage hat & summer whites, J sported a lovely bow tie and we all went to town a la the Age of Elegance. We had so much fun playing in the backyard, dressed up and embracing the silly. Also lovely was that the brunch was easy to navigate. Our hostess had prepared assorted frittatas along with heaps of freshly picked strawberries and a bowl of chicken sausage and onions. I had a spot of champagne as well; it may or may not have helped my croquet skills.

For our contribution there were Paleo-fied muffins thanks to the inception of DessertStalker. I used the basic outline of this recipe then changed....well, a lot of it. The result was a very tasty muffin that was a bit too wet as the edges stuck to the cupcake liner. Also, these muffins were very small. I would double the batch next time and bake up 18 muffins as this produced 11 very small ones. To make it less moist, next time I'll try adding an extra tablespoon or two of coconut flour.

Here's the recipe from our maiden tour but I do encourage a bit extra flour and prepping a double batch, or just baking up fewer muffins.

Wild Blueberry & Banana, Cinnamon Crusted Muffins
(aka May Days)

Ingredients
3 organic eggs
2 Tbl. coconut milk (I used So Delicious Original)
3 Tbl. honey
2 Tbl. melted coconut oil (let it cool or you'll have scrambled eggs)
1 very ripe banana, smashed
1/2 cup wild blueberries (mine were frozen)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 Tbl. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Where the Magic Happens
Combine eggs, coconut milk, honey, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract in a blender until incorporated. In another bowl sift together coocnut flour and baking powder. Re-sift this dry mix into the wet ingredients and combine until no lumps are left. Fold in blueberries and banana.

After distributing the batter into 10-11 cupcake tins: combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with this sweet addition. Add as much or as little as your Paleo conscience allows :)

Bake muffins at 400 F for 20 minutes. Allow to fully cool; these were better the next day at room temperature rather than straight out of the oven IMO.


Let me know how you tweak the May Days and please, enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Use What Your Grocer Gave Ya

I had a large bag of organic carrots along with 2 bulbs of fennel (mad cheap at TJ's) sitting in the fridge so my plan was to serve roasted carrots and fennel as a side dish at Easter dinner. A quick Google search led me to AllRecipes where someone had suggested using fennel seeds and ground coriander. Seemed like a good idea, so I peeled and chopped the carrots in advance, diced up the fennel and popped it in the fridge to await cooking the next day for our big Sunday meal.

Turns out I don't read directions very well as the recipe was not for roasting but for some sort of shredded carrot stew concoction. We were short on time at this point, roasting was no longer an option anyway. Yay for happy accidents because it yielded me a new favorite side dish. I popped the raw veggies in the microwave to soften them up before stove top cooking. The flavor was rich but not overpowering and has been fantastic as a leftover this week. If you're growing tired of roasting carrots or cooking them in butter (Mom's M.O.) then try this dish out.

Quick Quick Carrots & Fennel
3 lbs. organic carrots, peeled and chopped
1.5 fennel bulbs, diced
1/3 cup organic heavy cream
ground coriander
fennel seeds
sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Soften vegetables in the microwave until forkable. Dump the carrots and fennel in a skillet on medium high heat. Add several dashes of ground coriander and fennel seeds, keep this at a 2:1 ration (more coriander than whole fennel seeds). Season with S&P, taste test and increase the seasonings as needed. After 2-3 minutes of warming up the spices pour in heavy cream and continue to stir until it thickens. This dish is not meant to be liquidy, rather the cream should form a thin layer around the veggies. Serve and Enjoy!


->No need to stick to my measurements, not every day calls for 3lbs. of carrots. Another great option would be to use a bag of baby carrots which would save even more time as they require no peeling or chopping.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Been mulling it over for 2 days now. The guidelines of Paleo, what seems to be working, what hasn't. Cheats, why I commit them, when I commit them, what I'm choosing. Habits. Happiness.
Really, this is all in the pursuit of happiness. Balance, success = happy girl.

Here's what I've concocted for myself goal wise:

CHOCOLATE-LESS MAY (starting TODAY)
Adieu schakolad, mon amore! Extra dark chocolate has become an obsession with me more recently. I view it as the only acceptable "naughty" item that I can validate eating without considering it a massive cheat. But here's the rub: I crave it constantly. I'm buying and nibbling the stuff in some small amounts almost every day. And last week, when my chocolate molds arrived, I couldn't stop thinking of all the amazing treats I wanted to create. The dark stuff has become a sort of crutch and that's no bueno. So I'm going cold turkey. This lends itself to the overall

6 WEEK STRAIGHTEN UP
Getting back to basics, a sort of Paleo Challenge Redux. In six weeks time I will be at the 2011 Crossfit Games Mid-Atlantic Regionals as a volunteer. It will be an amazing weekend, guaranteed. So from now until then I'm challenging myself to stay committed to Paleo eating and 4 WODS a week. I'll enhance this commitment by avoiding the chocolate crutch AND giving up television!


While mulling over my schedule and examinging how jam packed it is I lamented the absence of several other daily activities I need to incorporate (journal writing, bible study, book reading, room cleaning). There just isn't room for it all, but I could open up at least 30 minutes - 1 hour a day if I hid the remote. I'd get to sleep faster for sure. And sleep has been severely lacking more recently. Not to mention lack of sleep can lead to poor food choices...vicious cycle!

LinkSome blog hopping revealed that I'm not alone in this epiphany. How convenient that it turns out a whole slew of people will be banding together to dodge the boob tube!

So there we have it: No chocolate, no TV, clean eating, 6 weeks.

If you read through all of that then let me leave you with this little gem courtesy of The Clothes Make the Girl. It's a super delicious beet salad that I've made twice, the first time with yellow beets then for Easter I stuck to traditional red ones. They plate up beautifully and the taste is exciting. These compliment simply flavored meats and are proving fantastic as leftovers. So go buy a bunch of beets and don't worry about purple fingers, it's temporary :D



Monday, April 25, 2011

Bunny Flop



A belated Happy Easter to you all! We had gorgeous weather here in the mid-Atlantic, perfect for egg hunts and pretty Spring dresses.

Jeffrey and I sang for two church services (never a day off!) in the morning then spent the day with my family before bouncing off to a final service at my church. It was a really lovely day, quintessentially Easter in season and spirit.

I woke up to a visit from the Easter Bunny. My basket was thoughtfully packed with quality jerky products from Fresh Market. There was also a chocolate marshmallow bunny and a few eggs with candy inside. I stuffed the eggs in my purse and dispersed them among fellow choir members. Between services the nice church ladies had provided us all with breakfast. J and I chowed down on sausage links and eggs, choosing to sidestep the biscuits and pastries. I did grab a cup of fruit, but honestly didn't need it. Those green melon balls just looked so enticing.

Back home we munched on appetizers which included shrimp cocktail and my Red Pepper and Walnut Dip served on cucumber slices. Then it was in to the kitchen for some last minute food prep. We cooked up Moroccan Lamb meatballs from Jen's Gone Paleo. I served these at last month's birthday party and they were SO good. Pretty dang easy too, try em.
While the lamb cooked in the oven I prepared two more veggie dishes that would be good for J and myself but also provide some variety for big brother's vegetarian gf. Mom said there were too many food guidelines to adhere to and just made what she knew: ham (win!), roasted potatoes (not a temptation for me at all) , squash casserole (I allowed myself a few bites of this carby creation but regretted them, it's no longer the tasty dish I remember loving), rolls (didn't give them a second glance), and a mixed pea salad (simple, good). So all in all I behaved myself.

Mom also baked up desserts: Bunny Cake and Lemon Meringue Pie.
I've mentioned mom's traditional Easter dessert on here before. She's been making one every year since I was little. Bunny Cake is strawberry cake covered in store-bought vanilla icing topped with sweetened, shredded coconut. It's in the shape of a bunny rabbit and he has pink ears, sits on a bed of coconut "grass" and will sometimes have gumdrop flowers blooming around him. He's cute, his cloyingly sweet, he's tradition.

I submitted to tradition. It was unintentional. I just wanted to nibble his cute rabbit's foot. But for some reason it didn't stop there and at breakfast this morning I ate his ear off (call me Mike Tyson). I had evaded the gorgeous pie mom baked as well. But once you've tasted the bunny you might as well have a forkful of pie, right? So I did. And, well damn, may as well sliver off some of that moist and gorgeous Triple Berry Pound Cake.

EGADS!

Part of me (the mid-senseless-binge par) reasoned that it was a major holiday and I deserved to enjoy these rare treats. A more rational side screamed *THIS TASTES BLAND, WHY ARE YOU EATING IT* Hand and fork did not hear the screams. A bloated belly and mild self-loathing is now my punishment.

Jeffrey has been so good since adopting Paleo/Primal eating. I'm crazy proud of him. He passes up yummy treats all of the time. Here I am, the girl that dragged him in to this lifestyle, shoving processed crap down my gullet. And the worst of it is: it wasn't worth it. If I'm going to cheat it should be over a slice of cheesecake in a restaurant with my girlfriends. Not late night ice cream when all I meant to get from the kitchen was water. No longer living alone has made it harder, but I can't blame anyone else. I feed myself, I make the choices. Plus, it's no fun feeling out of control or guilty. And again, I can't stress it enough, the cheat food has yet to be worth it (except that one time we split my favorite custard sundae. So.Worth.It) I simply won't go around touting the wonders of clean eating and encouraging weight loss amongst the people I love while I stall my own progress with SAD crap. I'm working to hard to sabotage myself.



I share this because a) we're human and I want my friends who read this, and applaud my good progress, to know that I still trip and fall and because b) i'm establishing some new guidelines for myself to be shared with you tomorrow. So get excited, give away that Easter candy and let's optimize progress for a sexy summer...cuz we all just really want to look good naked ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smoothie RX

As warm weather roles in my tastebuds have instinctually begged for more refreshing delights. This is where the delicious smoothie enters. Now, I know that (1) we should not drink our calories and that (2) whey is not Paleo. I also know that occasionally, when I'm (1) home from an intense WOD and (2) rushing to work with little time to cook and clean up a full breakfast that this balanced smoothie is just the ticket. It is an infrequent indulgence that satisfies my cravings and deliveries some pretty good nutritional elements. This is my favorite drinkable creation so far. It literally tastes like a raspberry truffle!



Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened Almond milk

1 cup frozen organic raspberries

2 T. melted coconut oil

2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder*


Toss items in your blender and liquify. It's so good. I hope you'll enjoy this treat on a hot, busy day.






*I use 100% Whey. It has a great flavor, is fairly crap-free (as these products go) and mixes like a dream. Plus, you can find the 6lb. bag at Costco for $30

Monday, April 18, 2011

K*I*S*S

...as in Keep It Simple, Sexy!

Sometimes minimalism is best and that was expertly proven in the tasty meal J whipped up for our dinner.

The players: Grass-fed Ribeye and Stuffed Peppers

Game plan: Marinate steaks in whiskey and sliced garlic. Then sprinkle with a favorite steak seasoning, if you so desire. Grill it up *sizzle*

Mash up avocado and combine with a jalapeno pepper, diced tomatoes, a small amount of chopped onion, along with grated garlic. Drizzle in some olive oil and spritz with lime or lemon juice. Don't forget a touch of S&P. Fill roasted and skinned bell peppers with the creamy combo and place in the oven for warming while the ribeye grills. Play with the measurements to suit your personal taste. Jeffrey felt he should have added more jalapeno and pre-cooked the onion. I was happy with everything as it was...though I do feel there is ALWAYS room for more garlic.

It was uncomplicated and tasty. The steak had noticeable bite from the whiskey which I enjoyed pairing with a creamy slice of the pepper. Speaking of that pepper: it was huge! No room to miss dessert when filling yourself up with a monster meal like this. It was just one more tease for the copious summer grilling to come~*

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Paleo Brands: Product Review


The week continues to be a barrage of unanticipated, shall we say "challenges." Little sleep meant I didn't get up for the 5am WOD (that's two missed sessions this week!). I went downstairs with plans to cook breakfast and prepare lunch. Alas, the coffee maker had exploded coffee and soggy grounds all over half the kitchen. It was e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Suffice it to say, cooking time became cleaning time.

Luckily, my order from Paleo Brands had recently arrived so I grabbed one of their frozen entrees and headed off to work. When lunch time came I opened my "Beef with Curry Pistachio Stuffing and Broccoli."

First impression: this looks nothing like the photo. As you can see above it appears to be two sections of marinated beef filled with a robust stuffing of primarily pistachios and cranberries served alongside broccoli and carrot strings.

There are no carrot strings, those were for aesthetics in the promo image, it seems. Ok, no big loss. The beef looked a bit sad. It was four very thin slices. The stuffing was a pale yellow, no cranberries in sight. It was sitting in what looked like a pool of gravy. I was dubious but continued on with warming the meal up in the microwave (was ready in about 3.5 minutes) and commencing consumption.

Sorry to say it was a disappointment. The beef was very well done and commanded no real flavor. The same can be said of the stuffing. It was minced super fine and fell out of the beef roll-up as soon as you cut into it and would then wash away in the hefty amount of au jus. A slotted spoon would be needed to retrieve the finely minced filling from the unnecessarily deep juice pool. The ingredients list includes exciting elements like curry powder as well as those mythical cranberries but I tasted none of it. Couldn't even really pick up on the pistachio element either.The only accomplishment was a good portion of bright green broccoli and the fact that my hunger was appeased at meal's end.

Much praise goes to the marketing department who hired the food photographer. It looks like a yummy meal. My hope when placing the order had been that I'd have a stash of truly healthy, well-prepared meals for when there was zero time for food prep. Honestly though, it would be worth it to spend a few dollars extra on a Panera salad or grab some fajitas at the local Mexican joint than to invest in this dish.

I'm a fan of Paleo Brands' jerky and there are 4 other flavors to try so I'm hopeful that the remaining recipes will be more palatable. *tastebuds crossed*

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meatapalooza


Home again, well rested and definitely well fed. A good thing too as this week started off with several swift kicks in the a$$. No matter, I've experienced the ecstasy of a churrascaria and nothing can steal the warm, beefy glow emanating from within. Well, maybe that was taking it a bit too far...

But seriously! Have you been to a Brazilian steakhouse? More pointedly, have you been to Texas de Brazil?

Jeffrey and I had one of the best meals and dates of my life on Saturday. Let me set the stage: you walk into a richly-hued, flower laden, sexy restaurant and are guided to a table set with crisp white linens. Your main server arrives (ours was Bianca, and she rocked) who will give you the 411: there are several cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and pork, all of which will be continuously brought around to your table for sampling by "gauchos." The majority of the meats are rubbed in salt and all are roasted over a fire. You're given a two-sided disk and it's very simple: red means stop feeding me, green says bring it on!

First, you are directed to the salad bar. It is teaming with quality items including smoked salmon, aged cheeses and a bajillion varieties of olive oil. There is also a hot bar containing rice, beans, lobster bisque and faroffa. I chose a small sampling of roasted red pepper, some chimichurri for my forthcoming meat, a few olives, two slices of delicious mortadella and some asparagus with strawberry sauce. At the table, J quickly sent back the cheesy bread (good job honey!) but we allowd the mashed potatoes and sauteed bananas to stay. A very conservative sampling of each was done mid-meal when our tongues wanted a distraction from the carnage.

Speaking of which: WOW! Almost every cut of beef was cooked rare and I loved it. The first meat to hit us was the flank steak (best I've ever had!) and bloody goodness dripped on the tablecloth as our gaucho sliced my portion. Next was filet mignon which also rocked my socks. Soon we were cutting in to bacon-wrapped chicken, picanha their signature steak, succulent beef ribs, frenched lamb chops, leg of lamb, more bacon wrapped around more filet mignon, Brazilian sausage...the list goes on!

It was SO MUCH FUN. We ate, every bite being something new and tasty. We talked, taking breaks between rounds of meat to enjoy the ambiance and one another. Our server made sure that we were offered everything promptly and to our fill. If you want the meat cooked differently or without salt they'll do that for you too. It was the perfect dining option for two food-lovin Paleo kids like us. Even better, you can register with TdB's e-club to receive coupons. My recent birthday netted me a BOGO dinner ticket, so not only was our meal fantastic, it was a steal. I'm already trying to scheme another trip to this meat haven, seriously good eats!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Rebecca Black Day

My freedom is 3 hours away and I'm chomping at the bit! I've taken the WHOLE weekend off (no WOD, no church gig, zero obligations) so that J & I can head to D.C. for two whole days of adventure. Now, ironically, Uncle Sam may be closing the doors of all the attractions we had banked on visiting (Cherry Blossom Festival, Smithsonian museums, etc) but irregardless we're gonna have a great time. I plan on sleeping in -> something I NEVER get to do. And hopefully the weather will cooperate so that we can walk & wander ourselves silly.
Since we're both of the same nutritional mind it was fun to plan our meals. Tomorrow morning I'll be donning my newest apron and making some pancakes. We've also scored dinner reservations at Texas de Brazil for an all out meat worship: it promises to be what caveman dreams are made of!
J is cooking dinner for us tonight to take on the road and I've packed a Paleokit, a Larabar, nori sheets and a few oranges should they be needed throughout our travels.
I'll be on the lookout for local produce at the Eastern Market and some new goodies/recipe inspirations via Wegmans. All in all we plan on enjoying ourselves while staying mainly within the parameters that we know will bring us success.

What are you getting in to this weekend?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This Primal Goodie will make your Entenmann's cry

Liz over at Eat The Cookie deserves a standing ovation for this gem. I was hunting for a recipe that would use up the medjool dates I still had from my birthday party and happened upon her Date & Pecan Cinnamon Swirls. Incidentally, there's also over a pound of pecans sitting in my pantry (bless you bulk shopping) so this was a perfect fit.
OMGeee this is a mega-tasty treat! It's simple and divinely delicious. If you're heading to a brunch or just have a hankering for something with a similar flavor profile to coffee cake then PLEASE bake up a batch this weekend. My goal is to slowly pull my family over to the Primal/Paleo lifestyle by tempting them with items like this. After baking it, I left the wonderfulness to cool while J & I sped off to a wedding. When I came home it seems somebody had decided to dive in already :D The whole family loved it, I was ga-ga over the creation myself. Share this with your world, it will one-up anybody's breakfast sweets recipe.
Below is Liz's original recipe with my small adjustments in bold italics

date & pecan cinnamon swirls

-for the base:

1 jar (16 oz) almond butter

1/2 cup honey, or to taste (1/3 cup for my batch)

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

-for the swirls:

4 oz (1/2 block) softened cream cheese

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vanilla

-for the pecan stir-in:

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pecans, chopped (heaping)

1 cup dates, chopped and pitted (super heaping, rough chopped)

method: preheat oven to 325f. prep a 9×13″ glass baking dish by coating it with oil. (coconut oil)

over low heat, toast cinnamon and pecans until they become fragrant. careful, nuts burn quickly! set aside to cool.

to make the swirl mixture, whip cream cheese, vanilla, and honey together with mixer until creamy and smooth. set aside. (I microwaved the mixture and whipped with a spoon)

now make the base. using hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the almond butter until smooth. add eggs, honey, and vanilla. mix until well combined, but do not over mix or it will make a dense finished product. mix in the baking soda and salt. by hand, stir in nuts and dates.

pour batter into baking dish in an even layer. yes, it’s a little sticky and may be kinda hard to spread out. do your best.

now drop cream cheese over batter by the teaspoonful and use a knife or toothpick to swirl. sprinkle a little brown sugar on top and pop it into the oven. (I omitted the brown sugar)

bake for 35 minutes. let cool for a few hours before cutting. (The traditional toothpick test is not a good indicator of "doneness." My result was still a bit soft in the center but firmed up nicely after cooling. Better to be mindful of the edges and bottom not becoming overcooked.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Summer Sauce


Chimichurri is a popular item, known for jazzing up steak. So when I had the idea to serve it to friends, there was a slight pause upon consulting the ingredients list. Parsley is not a favorite herb of mine, a bit too grassy and bitter for me. Yet, somehow, this mystical South American sauce transcends its ingredients list to render a savory, delicious marinade/topping that is so good you'll be looking for anything to put it on. This is your summer grilling menu's best friend. Drink up, I mean: Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch/two handfuls of flat leaf parsley (mostly leaves, some stems are fine. wash thoroughly)
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • the juice from a lemon wedge (it's not aerospace engineering here, guestimate)
  • 3 Tablespoons (or so) chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • Where the Magic Happens
    In your food processor, chop parsley. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until a sauce forms with fragments of leaves and veggies visible. However, this should not be "chunky." So good!

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    The other Pink Meat


    Inspired by the awesome dishes at CFVB's Paleo Potluck I knew immediately what one of my entrees was going to be for the birthday party. I also knew that I was not going to serve farm-raised fish to myself or my guests. Mom said she's seen wild-caught salmon filets at Sam's Club and would grab some while she was out. She brought home half a dozen HUGE, gorgeous, pink fillets. We used them to bake up:

    Pistachio Encrusted Salmon
    Salmon fillet
    Whole grain mustard (TJ's has an awesome product that I highly recommend)
    Pistachios (I used roasted)

    Now for the hard part:
    Smooth a thin layer of the mustard on top of the salmon fillet then top with crushed pistachios. Bake. Serve. -DONE-

    It's seriously that easy! This is my new favorite way to eat salmon. It was flaky and flavorful. The pistachios offer a nice textural contrast and oddly enough this dish is not "mustardy." It is, however, a quick and easy crowd-pleaser and tastes like you invested quite a bit of prep work. Let's call this your "honey, I slaved all day in the kitchen for you" April Fool's Meal.

    And in keeping with April Fool's Day: Mom totally tricked me. It turned out that our salmon feast wasn't really salmon at all! Ever heard of Steelhead Trout? It's trout that takes to the sea. It tastes EXACTLY like salmon but is often less expensive. Some even argue over Steelhead's specific species classification (trout v. salmon). When she had gotten to the store there wasn't any wild-caught salmon in stock, only the farm raised variety with added food coloring, so she opted for the Steelhead. All I know is that 20 people thought they were eating salmon, damn good salmon, and it turns out we were having more environmentally sustainable trout. So glad Mom pulled a fast one on us!

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Feed Me Seymour!

    Famished! Not sure what's up but I have felt fairly ravenous the past two days. I pulled off two successful IF's on Monday and Tuesday with no problem. In fact on Tuesday I only ate lunch and was quite content. I awoke Wednesday and cooked a lovely balanced breakfast, one that was honestly larger than I needed. After that I don't know what happened, but I've been insatiable. J brought me dinner that evening (just 4.5 hours after lunch) and then later we attended a party. At first I politely declined any food, then conceded to one taste and it was all over. I pretty much had "4th meal." Today is more of the same. After cheating last night I was going to get myself back on track with another IF. My body disagreed with this goal so I munched on a small orange at 11am. Then lunch at 12:30pm. And the desire for food continues. I don't really understand where this is coming from. So what do you eat when finding yourself super hungry, anything that triggers this occasionally? All I know is there is pot roast at home and I am literally RACING to it, errands be damned!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Kenny's Kruciferous Kreation






    My long time best friend and beloved vegetarian Kenny also contributed indispensable sides to the party's feast. He brought a gigantic salad to the table (enough to feed legions). Kenny has always been a salad master. He magically combines leafy greens and his own spur-of-the-moment dressings to produce unique and satisfying flavor combinations. His primal concoction incorporates Brussels sprouts which enhance the texture; this may be my new favorite. Thank you Kenny!



    Salad with sliced Brussels Sprouts:
    (Makes a VERY LARGE salad)
    Three bags of various greens (Rocket Mix, Mesculin Mix, Baby Spinach, Wild Arugula, etc.)
    1 1/2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts
    1 cup slivered almonds
    8 oz. Asiago Cheese

    1. Place the greens at the bottom of a large capacity salad bowl.
    2. Shred the Brussels sprouts on a fine setting on a mandolin slicer, or slice finely with a sharp knife. Spread the shredded Brussels sprouts over the greens. I place mine in the middle to add visual contrast.
    3. Use a vegetable peeler to make 2" cheese ribbons out of the Asiago cheese. Spread them over the vegetables.
    4. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the salad.

    Vinaigrette:
    3/4 cup Olive Oil
    1 Whole Lemon
    1/2 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
    2 Tbsp. Tahini (Sesame Paste)
    3 Large Garlic Cloves
    1/2 Tbsp. Salt

    1. Mince the garlic and sprinkle salt over it. Then turn the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board, and bear down on the garlic/salt mixture "smearing" it to make a paste. Repeat this step until the paste shows no more chunks of solid garlic.
    2. Add this translucent paste into a steep-sided bowl, along with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients, and whisk thoroughly. Drizzle over the salad when ready to serve. (Add more oil and salt if necessary.)

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Mayo Monday!


    Nobody likes the start of the work week. The only way I can think of to improve the forecast? MAYONNAISE!!!!
    Uninformed dieter's may shudder at the mere suggestion of this creamy goodness but we know that Fat is our Friend. Our very tasty friend.

    Since my schedule is going to kick into high gear come tomorrow, it seems best to whip up a batch of this yumminess for use as a binder. My meals will be eaten away from home until Friday so this should be a great way to create appetizing tuna salad on the fly.

    Store bought mayo is unacceptable. It's made with soybean oil and some brands even contain starch or sugar. Aw Helllll No Let's love our bodies and our taste buds tonight.

    Health-Bent suggests that avocado is the best oil for mayo making. I've tried my hand at the art before: extra virgin olive oil then a hybrid of olive oil and coconut oil. No bueno!

    Avocado Oil should be the magic ingredient for a buttery, unobtrusive flavor profile. Now I just have to be patient with the slow inclusion of the oil (1/2 cup) into the food processor where it will join an egg and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice . Go too fast and you'll end up with oil/egg soup. Bonne chance!

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    3 Ingredient Awesomeness


    Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Dates

    I like to call these gems a Dessert Appetizer. They are deceptively wonderful and beautifully simple in construction. The bacon fat and sugary dates meld together to form a sweetened savory that seduces your tongue before delivering an enjoyable crunch from the almond inside. Sweet + Salty. Chewy + Crunchy. These babies are a win.

    Medjool Dates
    Raw, unsalted, whole Almonds
    BACON (uncured, nitrate-chemicallyness free)

    Slice the date length-wise on one side and remove the pit. Replace it with an almond or two (my dates were quite large and required 2 each). Wrap the date once around with bacon, no need to double over. Space in a lipped/sided pan 'cuz fat travels

    Now the cooking is up to you. The recipe I used called for broiling at 415F but the bacon wasn't cooking (it was rather thickly sliced). We switched to baking it, which took longer but achieved the desired effect. You really can't screw this one up. Just watch until the bacon looks done. Fight the urge to pop in your mouth as they retain a high level of heat for a bit. Once tongue-safe: DEVOUR!

    Wanna kick it up a notch? I served guacamole that night and my kitchen wizard buddy Dave discovered that a stuffed date dipped in guac is kinda sorta mind-altering.


    * Forgive my self-portrait, and any more which may follow. All of the food was scarfed up so quickly that most dishes went, sadly, unphotographed. This was all I had to share of today's recipe*

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Party-time Primal Polenta

    This weekend I hosted a birthday party to honor the aging of, well, myself. Also to surreptitiously force my friends to eat Paleo and Primal food. IT WORKED! I think everyone was well-fed and goodness knows we had a great time. So WELCOME to all of my lovely party-goers, the mystery behind you're favorite dish will soon be disclosed. Over the next week or so I'll be sharing the recipes for what was served. We'll kick it off with my guy's super awesome Cauliflower Polenta. Jeffrey makes this for me habitually at our weekly dinners. I really wasn't kidding when I say this is how he nabbed my heart. Well, that and being an incredible person



    Schmallipower aka Primal Polenta
    by Jeffrey Easter (straight outta Compton)


    1 head of cauliflower steamed 30-45 mins

    Put into food processor and puree

    When the cf has broken down add 1/2 stick of melted butter (or evoo equivalent for Paleo) while the processor is running to give it a creamier texture

    Taste and add Parmesan cheese or a pinch of salt if necessary

    Transfer puree into a small bread pan, sprinkle Parmesan on top and put into the oven at 350F,
    keep in oven until top is golden brown


    -->In order to observe Paleo/Primal principals one should use the best ingredients: organic cauliflower and butter/cheese made from grass-fed cows. Trader Joe's carries Kerrygold Irish Butter which is derived from grass munchin Moo'ers. Enjoy!

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    The Art of Self Sabotage

    I think I can, I think I can, I know I can't!
    How did it start? Well, I lost the Paleo Challenge. I didn't just lose, I was found wanting, monstrously so. Indeed I shaved time off of my WOD, tons of time in fact. I was the first to finish in my heat! It felt great, the recovery was almost instant, I couldn't have been more pleased with the improvement in my physical strength. But when those "Before & After" photos hit my Inbox I cried. EVERYONE looked different. Many were akin to those changes you see on late night infomercials for diet programs. But my photos? I really can't say there was marked improvement. Everything looked the same, in the same places. My stomach doesn't look like I've been doing anything over the past 2 months. Should I have just continued sitting around and frequenting the Froyo shop? Visual evidence seems to suggest so.
    This was crushing. I put off commenting on it to let myself have a chance to gain prospective. All that has happened is a considerable dive in self-confidence and satisfaction. WTF diet have I been on? What were these people eating? We all do the same WODS so I must have f'd on the eating, but HOW? I thought I had this mastered?!!?!?! I really can't convey my disappointment well enough. I'm frustrated and flustered.
    Looking around it feels like every fat girl has changed herself completely! Sarah Rue, whom I adore, has gone from being the classically cast fat girl to a sex kitten. And she only lost 50lbs? I've lost 80, why don't I look anything like her by now? Let's not even talk about the unmatchable beauty of svelte Jennifer Hudson! Now even vocal goddess Adele has slimmed down. Last night I had a "nightmare" that Adele's stomach was featured in her video "Rolling In The Deep'" looking flat and slightly defined. I woke up this morning to Google images of said new body only to realize I'd imagined it all. And was jealous, of a dream <---cuckoo! But seriously. I don't understand. How am I failing??? And as in any case in which I find myself not winning, I rebel with outright failure. If I'm not good at something I don't care to try. Which is probably why I found myself eating sugar-laden frozen dairy products and WHITE BREAD at midnight. It. Didn't. Even. Taste. Good. *golf clap* I don't just fall off the wagon folks, I jump off of it and run in the opposite direction.
    I decided that today I would recommit myself to eating clean, hitting the workouts hard, and incorporating even more IF's. Today's IF was to last until dinner tonight. But since I f'd up my happy chemical balances by shoveling crap into my gullet the hunger pangs hit by mid-morning and I ate some tuna curry and dried fruit. So yay for failing on yet another goal.
    I just want to have a nice figure, why is it so damn hard? It shouldn't be this difficult to attain a pretty body! I don't want to be Megan Fox, more like Kate Winslett.
    Seems I have three options:
    a) give up and go eat myself to be the size of a house
    b) accept the improvements acheived up to this point and live with the nasty remnants
    c) keep trying and hope beyond reason (it's seeming) that things will change

    Only one of these is an acceptable course of action. Damnit.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Pass It On

    I have become nutrition-blog obsessed. Those closest to me often fall victim to daily e-mails labeled "must read," or "let's make this." Everyday I check in on my favorite people: Mark's Daily Apple, Everyday Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl, among others. It's been a great way to learn new recipes, discover products that will make clean eating tastier as well as provide me with a sound scientific understanding as to why these nutrition choices are so crucial. It's not just about looking pretty anymore, it's about living fully.

    Today I came across two entries that I wanted to share with you. The first being from Barefoot Coconut. I've tried spouting "Sugar feeds Cancer!" People just give me a quizzical look. Perhaps the message will be better received by this informed lady?

    Second is a bit of BOOYAH encouragement via Finn at I WANT SOME FECKING CHIPS! (great title Finn!) While a bit vulgar for my taste, he gets to the crux of it all. Read,Rinse&Repeat


    There you have it, happy blog hopping~*

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    1 step back, 3 steps forward?

    First off: THANK YOU for the awesome support throughout this "challenge" and especially for the well wishes as I headed in to the final WOD. I am super proud to say that I shaved minutes off of my time. I actually was the first to finish in my heat (some of my squats were shallow though, damn long legs). The before and after photos will be evaluated b all participants and then the winner will be determined *fingers crossed*

    I had been fantasizing about an immediate cheat at the contest's close but found myself too afraid to let dairy or grains pass my lips. Instead Jeffrey and I whipped up a mighty meat bowl and curled up on the couch to remind ourselves of what couch potato life was like.

    The next day we were both faced with a pot luck and came through it just fine! I had a sip of wine, a sip of a mimosa: both tests confirmed I don't miss alcohol. I had two bites of cheese: unimpressed. There were some hearty looking cookies but I didn't touch them. Instead I pigged out on ham, apples, J's stellar paprika avocado dip w/ veggies and a super yummy curried broccoli,bacon, pecans dish.

    That night was my uncle's birthday party. I had a bunless burger, sweet potato chips and passed by the colossal chocolate cake and ice cream. I know right, I am super woman!

    And then Monday morning happened. Longish story short: I ate PET ice cream. It contained corn syrup and other crap. But I ate it, after my huge Paleo breakfast. I ate it right out of the carton! Thank goodness I stopped at just under 2 servings. Afterward I was frustrated by my weakness but also convinced myself it was a good test for food allergies. By late afternoon my stomach was mad at me and I won't be eating that stuff again. Even better: it kicked off my current fast which has just rounded out to 24 hours!!! VICTORY!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    The Final Countdown

    Completed another 19 hour fast today! Lunch was thanks to TJ's. I added some avocado and cut down on the dressing to avoid sugars. Dinner will be some more avocado and a bit of jerky. Giving it my all on this last day.

    Egads, in less than 24 hours the CFVB Paleo Challenge will be over and done with, the WOD completed and winner determined. EEEEK

    I can't believe it's time to take the "After" shots. I stared at myself in the mirror this morning trying to decide if my stomach looked any smaller. I feel a Hell of a lot better, more in control and entitled to be who I am. When I am making strides toward my health I am more confident so currently I am awash in this feeling. I don't worry about my size as much because I know I'm being proactive. Honestly, I should stop worrying about what I look like anyway. This just in: 5'10" hourglasses are gorgeous. 5'10" hourglasses with flat stomachs and rock hard thighs stop traffic...give me time :)

    I'm nervous about the final WOD. When we did it initially I was totally intimidated by the crowd of regulars watching each heat. It was my first workout with CFVB and I had a really painful muscle strain in my abs. When the workout was over I felt wretched, it took me a long time to recover. This time around I predict it won't be so harrowing, but I do plan to push myself really hard to improve my time. I'm mainly dreading the push-ups. Mine have always been paltry and tomorrow will likely be just the same. Thank goodness there are only 20 to be done.

    I want to win. I set out to win. I want to win. I've put forth great effort and $20 into the kitty. I want to win. I want people to look at my photos and say "WOW! Great results." I want to cut minutes off of my time. I want to win.

    But if I don't it's okay. I have been attending WODS regularly (with regrettable but needed bow-outs during my TWO colds). I'd score my nutritional choices at A-. That's pretty flippin good for me! So while I hope I win. I WANT TO WIN. Well it's corny, but I think I already have *awwww* I am comfortable in this Paleo lifestyle and I don't want to go back to the old ways. The true purpose of the challenge has been achieved. I'm enthusiastic about being supremely healthy for health's sake, not superficial motivation. All that said, it's time to WIN!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    The Beat Goes On

    Another easy day of healthy awesomeness.

    I skipped dinner last night since lunch had been a generous sized burrito bowl at Qdoba - double meat, grilled veggies and a pile of salsa&guac. I have to say I think Qdoba is pretty paltry flavor wise, I'd take Chipotle over it any day. But I digress...

    Worked out with the 5:30am crew this morning and got home, realizing my fast had lasted 19 hours comfortably. I decided to break it with 3 eggs fried in coconut oil and a small serving of Paleo Krunch in almond milk. I could have gone ahead and made it a 24 hr. fast, but didn't want to find out if I would get the munchies as the finish line neared while at work. However, one full day of fasting is on my soon-to-do list.

    J met me for lunch. We both had fajitas with lettuce, guacamole and sour cream. No rice, no beans, no tortillas or chips! YAY US I had forgotten to ask them to leave off the dairy, so I avoided it mostly but enjoyed a little.

    That's the food day so far! I have plans tonight after work so dinner may or may not happen. Won't bother me either way :D

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Home Repairs


    Back! It was a nice, exhausting weekend. The mission of staying Paleo was accomplished. There were a few moments where I thought "normally I'd get this, or that" and "it would be nice to try _____" but really no big sacrifices were felt. I've changed how I value food, it is what it is and I'm happier this way. I ate well and focused on taking in the experience of being with the people around me <---isn't that what really matters anyway?

    I don't know if it was because I was travelng and not cooking for myself, the strung out exhaustion from everything I've been up to lately, or maybe yesterday evening's WOD. All I know is that by last night I felt like a dizzy, somewhat nauseous pile-o-crap. I layed down in a darkened room for a few minutes at 8pm last night only to wake up this morning just in time for the 5:3oam class at CFVB! Normally I can't manage to sleep over 7 hours but this was, apparently, much needed. It also helped to induce an unintentional intermittent fast which I carried through for 18 hours before casually breaking with some Paleo Krunch: Cranberry Recipe and a hard boiled egg.

    Now I feel quite full and a little icky again. Wonder what's up with that? Guess I should have listened to my body and staved off a bit longer. I love IF. (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fasting/) I feel great when I do it, accomplished and in control. I am noticing a difference on the scale. I've pulled off about 5 IF's, 13-18 hours each. I'm down to about 165 lbs. Oh my goodness, 165! I can't believe I've made it this far. Just 15 more to go and I'll have accomplished what I dreamed of, but never really believed I could do.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    On Holiday


    Today's noms will comprise of grass-fed beef and a fennel/apple salad with fresh orange juice/EVOO vinaigrette. Then it's off to a church retreat in the Outer Banks. So absolutely excited and ready for a gosh darn break! My second cold of the month is finally subsiding *hooray* and sea air should be just the ticket for reviving the spirits. Tabata sprints in the sand sound like fun too...
    CFVB's Paleo Challenge ends in ONE WEEK so I will not be cheating this weekend. Have even gone so far as to research the menus of restaurants where we're heading. The car is full of some emergency PaleoKits and Larabars too. A few more hours at the office and then it's play time~*

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Thank You Alaska


    The world is a fascinating place, our connections with people sometimes mystifying. I was once very good friends with someone who became a CrossFit trainer. If I had never met him I would have never been persuaded to try CF. If I'd never tried CF I certainly never would have attended the 2010 CrossFit Games VA/MD/DC Sectionals where I met Michael Murphy and learned all about the Paleo diet and drooled over his yummy Paleo meals. If I hadn't gone strict Paleo I would never be off of sugar and dairy which means when my co-worker brought the Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich into the office just now I would most certainly have eaten it. And if I was not so joyously Paleo I could not have educated those around me, and so my boss would not be peeping his head around the corner to proudly let me know he wouldn't be eating his either!

    A domino effect of good things. So thank you Craigslist, thank you Alaska.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    On a Salad Kick


    I think I may be getting too carby? For a while I was clearly not eating enough veggies, my body just wasn't comfortable *ahem* However, I may be over compensating? I keep reading posts where people say "if you eat the right foods you can't eat too much." Well I'm just not sure if that's true. And I'm not shoving sweet potatoes down my throat hand over fist by any means, but I have been more liberal with consumption of greens and fruit:

    This morning I had a bowl of berries, 3 pecan halves, a small orange and 3 organic eggs.

    Jeffrey and I had a lunch date at Panera. I got the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. While I used only half the dressing, I did keep the Gorgonzola cheese on there. It just seemed to me like such a small amount of dairy for the flavor impact it imparts. I couldn't finish my whole salad, may munch on it as the work day wears on or have it for dinner tonight along with a baked chicken breast.

    Tomorrow I am definitely ready to indulge my desire for grass-fed beef and guac! Still not sure on how much fat I should be consuming. Hopefully the "After" photos of the Paleo Challenge will prove I'm doing a good job.....hopefully.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Pats On The Back


    There has been a frustration building up inside more recently as I have been a well behaved little Paleo-eating CF'er: Why is the scale not going down, why am I not a dress size smaller, where are the dramatic OMG results?

    Each day I've salivated over thoughts of brownies and ice cream yet abstained. Each day my body composition seems to be right where it was when we started this hard-core-challenge a month ago. It's gotten to the point where I was starting to think "I should just restrict calories and give up on Paleo, it doesn't seem to work." I mean come on!!! I have 20lbs to lose, I eat cleaner than most Americans, I lift heavy things and run around 4 days a week :( WHAT GIVES

    Enter good Samaritans!

    My voice teacher, who hasn't seen me in 2 weeks, voluntarily said I look like I'm losing weight. Directly after that an acquaintance I hadn't seen in 2 months exclaimed I looked as though I'd lost 15 lbs!!!
    -> THANK YOU GOD <-

    So maybe it is working? Maybe the small changes are imperceptible to my hyper-critical eye? What I have noticed is bicep definition and rapidly increasing endurance and strength. I wish I was one of those people who "went Paleo and dropped 7 punds in the first week" but apparently I'm not. My trainer has assured me to give it time, that weight loss is also hormonally influenced and that maybe my body needs longer to adjust. So with this encouragement I will continue on my merry grain and dairy free way, but I'd better be having to buy new pants soon~*

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Valentine's Day

    Ah V-Day, riddled with assorted lame candies for most. My guy was brilliantly good to me, replacing chocolates with every other sweet holiday gift imaginable. We went to a Japanese Steakhouse for dinner where it was so easy to make good choices: steak and shrimp for him, chicken and scallops for me. Honestly there was no room for rice in our bellies even if we wanted it. True the chefs used butter (hey, it's Primal!) and some soy, but in the big scheme of things these items aren't going to affect my overall success in one meal. There was no thought of dessert, really it was the perfect idea for keeping this girl good.

    Of course my dearest Tay did gift me with some extra dark chocolate which we nibbled along w/ fresh strawberries at lunch. However, as I've been crawling up the walls with recent chocolate cravings (HOT FUDGE BROWNIE SUNDAE) I think the recent treat has quelled the most likely hormone-driven taste beast. Also, I'm getting back into IF: yesterday I staved off eating until 1pm. Will try to implement 15-18 hour fasts 3 days a week and see how my body reacts.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Thursday Night Dinner Night

    Chef J knocked it out of the park again! This meal was Paleo-concious and ridiculiusly delicious. Drawing inspiration from The Foodee Project, Jeffrey whipped up a beef filet with red wine mushroom sauce ( http://www.thefoodee.com/blog/page/2/ ) alongside smashed cauliflower and steamed veggies. I'd provide a photo of the beef-tastic awesomeness of it all but we were far too eager to enjoy the fare. I got to have a redux of the meal today for lunch because Jeffrey, in his continuing generosity, prepared extras!


    MAKE THIS: http://gavanmurphy.com/beef-filet-with-red-wine-mushroom-sauce/

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Breakfast:: Variations on a Theme

    I love my breakfasts and have been pretty satisfied with them each morning. When I get home from the morning WOD I'll eat half an apple (the other half comes to work) then on to cooking my fare. It's always a combination of the following proteins which I try to keep at 3 blocks (although honestly the Zone gives me a headache and I don't like construction):

    farm fresh eggs
    natural pork sausage
    Canadian bacon


    ...this melange of meat is often accompanied by a carb or fat if I feel the meal needs to be rounded out:

    onions
    mushrooms
    salsa
    avocado


    Today I'm throwing a few sun-dried tomatoes in the mix <--smells enticing. The pic above is from a Sunday brunch Jeffrey and I enjoyed: frittata with chicken sausage and veggies, sweet potato hash and a bit of cumin-laced avocado spread leftover from a party the night before.