Monday, October 26, 2009

Catch and Release


OK...so I'm not so sure about the whole touchy-feely, sacred place aspect of this blog...but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of writing what you want and need to let go of on leaves and leaving them. Mental fall cleaning. It works for me. Check out the post here: http://www.owningpink.com/2009/10/12/mojo-monday-exercise-letting-go-of-that-which-no-longer-serves/

Chinese and Split Peas

It's October.
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It's the end of October.
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It is cold. There was frost on the windows this morning, and I could see my breathe as I walked to my car to go to Crossfit.
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Ok. That's a lie.
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BUT...it's supposed to be cold.

Living here in Southern California, sometimes we have to pretend a bit in order to enjoy the seasons that our friends in other parts of the country take for granted. We pull out our dutch ovens and fill the house with the delectable scent of braising short ribs...and while dinner's bubbling in the oven, we're outside trimming the bougainvillea in our bikinis. We visit Riley's Farm in Oak Glen to go apple picking Saturday...then drive the opposite direction to go spend the day at the beach on Sunday. And we'll start making soup in October...even though it's been in the mid-nineties these last couple days.

So the last recipe posted was that wonderful curried lime shrimp soup. This new soup entry - Nori Shrimp Egg Drop Soup - is 100% paleo and ready in 5 minutes, which makes it totally lunch worthy! Dinner tonight is yet another soup - one that's not-quite-so 100% Paleo. A rib-sticking, been bubbling in the crockpot all day, down home split pea soup. Will the next post be yet another soup recipe? I don't know! Maybe I'll stray into the territory of paleo chowders or a succulent stew. But for me 'soup' equals 'autumn' ...and when you live in Southern California, that sometimes means quite a crapload of soup to try and pretend that the palm trees are finally changing colours!

Nori Shrimp Egg Drop Soup




This made 2 nice bowls. Perfect for lunch with a friend! This isn't the nicest picture in the world, but the soup was very good. The lime juice and extra grated ginger were added in after the first bite and made ALL the difference! If you want to make it vegetarian, use veggie broth and omit the shrimp. They weren't in the original recipe anyway!

2 cups water
2 cups low sodium broth (veggie, chicken, beef...whatever! soup is so forgiving!)
1/2 cup diced red onions
about 1 cup thinly sliced zuchinni
1 cup shrimp
2 sheets Nori, cut into strips, then squares (scissors work best)or organic kelp/sea vegetable flakes
about an 1" square knob of fresh ginger (skin removed), finely grated
pepper to paste
juice of 1 lime

Combine water and broth in a medium pot, throw in the onions and heat to boiling. Once the broth is boiling, add in the zuchinni, shrimp, Nori, grated ginger, and pepper. Turn down heat and cook about 1 or 2 minutes over medium heat, until shrimp are cooked through. In the meantime, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl with a fork. Reduce heat to low and quickly stir the eggs into the hot broth, whisking with a fork as you slowly pour the egg in. Add lime juice, stir, and serve immediately.

and now...just because I love you all, here's a little 2 minute bonus recipe! Takes 10 minutes to prep and dinner is done! Gotta love that!

Split Pea Soup


Dinner tonight at chez clements!

OK...first off, you need to have that ham bone that you bagged and threw in the freezer last time you had a ham. If you don't have a ham bone, well...then you won't have chunks of tasty ham unless you go buy some to throw in. For the simmering part though, you can also throw in a ham hock (you DO have those in the freezer, right?!) or even a chunk of salt pork. Basically, you're looking for salty pork goodness to flavor the peas! If you want ham and are sans bone, you can buy a ham steak and dice it and throw it in. You can also omit the ham altogether and make it vegetarian.

So...haul out the crockpot, plug it in and turn to low. Dice a big yellow onion and throw it in. Follow up with diced celery and a crapload of carrots in nice big chunks. Add pepper and (here's my secret)dried ground mustard. I usually put mustard seeds and pepper corns in my spice mill and grind them fresh, but obviously the pretty yellow tin of dried mustard works fine also. Add a couple cups of dried split peas. Throw your ham bone, or whatever you're using, in on top. Cover with broth or water (broth obviously adding yet another layer of flavor). Cook on low for 6 hours, adding more liquid if needed.

******************About an hour before serving, take the ham bone out of the pot and let cool. Mix the remaining ingredients in the pot. By this point, there should be no mashing of peas required...it should be all melded together into creamy green goodness! Add extra water if it's too thick for you. Personally, I like my split pea soup like my chili...able to stand a spoon up in it! Anyway, pick all the ham off the bone and throw it back into the pot (the meat...not the bone!), and let warm through. Serve and enjoy.

When heating up leftovers, you'll probably need to add some water and stir up before sticking in the microwave.

So try 'em and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime



OK folks...it's a race to beat the clock and be IN BED by 10:15 and clock in a full 8 hours of sleep. So here goes...

First off, I'm going to give you the original recipe for this soup. It's amazing! You can make it in minutes and can be served warm on a chilly evening or cold on a hot summers night. I've done both and have made it numerous times for company and everyone loves it! My kid's love it too! It's definitely one of my favorite keeper recipes. So un-adulterated version first, then I'll tell you what I did to make it paleo. And, for my vegetarian friends...ixnay the shrimp, use veggie stock, and ramp up the veggies (suggestions below with the paleo version) and you're good to go too!

Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime



1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
28 ounces lo-fat chicken broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup milk (preferably 2%)
1/2 pound shrimp (cooked or uncooked)
Salt to taste



Heat a dutch oven on medium high. Add butter. When bubbly, add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until onion is tender. Stir in flour and curry and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whish in chicken broth, lime juice and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Stir in corn and simmer for 3 minutes. Add milk and shrimp. If serving warm, heat completely but do not boil until shrimp is fully cooked (if uncooked) or warmed through (if cooked). Season to taste. If serving cold, remove from stove and refrigerate.

Jen's Tip: if you're planning on serving cold, go with a homemade broth or a storebought one. I made this once with a homemade stock and when it was refrigerated, I ended up with an aspic-esque mold! This is obviously not an issue if you're serving hot!

This stuff is SO good that this is what's left at the end:



Paleo Curried Shrimp Soup with Lime



Too simple! I omitted the butter, flour, honey, corn, and milk. I added zuchinni and red pepper - browning with the onions in some spray olive oil. I also used the juice of 2 limes. Other than that, no substitutions made for the deleted ingredients. Instead of a creamy looking soup, it was broth based. All the flavor was still there...just none of the non-paleo junk!

Honestly...if you only try one of my recipes, let it be this one! Delicious!

OK...good night! *sprints off to bed....*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eggplant and Garlic



...two of my favorite things! Dinner tonight contained copious amounts of both. And since it's already past my bedtime, we're jumping straight to the recipes without further ado... (after I apologize for any typo's that might appear, because I'm hitting send and going to bed!)

Lebanese Style Stuffed Eggplant



*******************Take 6 of the 5- or 6-inch long baby eggplants and hollow each out with a melon baller. Leave about 1/3 inch of eggplant flesh along the interior. Set aside.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts until golden...keep a close eye on them and stir frequently or they will burn! Once toasted, tranfer them to a mixing bowl.

Finely chop about 4 cloves of garlic and 1 large onion. In skillet, heat up a little more olive oil and saute half garlic and onion. After a couple minutes, add about 3/4 pound of ground meat (I used pork. you can use lamb, chicken, beef...whatever!) and brown with a bit of salt and pepper. After meat is cooked through, transfer to bowl with pine nuts. Add about 1 teaspoon of allspice and salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside for a minute.

******************In same skillet, saute the other half of the garlic and onions. Add about 2 cups of chicken stock and 14 oz diced tomatoes with juice...recipe called for canned - I used fresh. I also threw in some fresh parsley that I had chopped and a bit more salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered and go stuff the eggplants with the meat mixture.

Transfer stuffed eggplants to skillet with the sauce and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes to an hour. Carefully turn the eggplants once about halfway through the cooking process.

Once cooked, serve with fresh lemon juice and parsley sprinkled on top.

Roasted Cauliflower



Had this tonight too. It's my favorite way to cook cauliflower. Simply pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Throw cauliflower florets into a baking dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on thyme and fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, stirring frequently to avoid burnt spots. Tonight...I took it straight out of the oven and tossed it into a bowl of baby spinach. Once mixed, the heat from the cauliflower wilted the spinach a bit. It tasted good and looked pretty and snuck in yet another serving of veggies!

Garlic Sauce



I believe I've mentioned how excruciatingly delicious this stuff is! It's good on asparagus or green beans. Fresh yellow squash rounds are to die for when used to scrape the last of the sauce out of the food processor! It elevates a piece of fish or a chicken breast to haute cuisine! But be careful! It's NOT low fat! It has tons of flavor, so a little really does go a long way. And it will keep in the fridge for about a week!

****************** First mince 4 or 5 cloves of garlic...start by thinly slicing the cloves, then roughly chopping.

Once it's all chopped, add about 1 tsp of sea salt, then mash the hell out of it with the side of the blade of your chef's knife until it looks like this:

Once minced, throw it in a food processor. Begin processing, adding a total of 1 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice...alternating a little of each at a time until all liquids are added. Easiest way I've found to do this is to stick a funnel in the top of my processor!



Once done, slowly add one or two egg whites while still continuously blending, until you get a nice mayo-like consistency. And that's it! Minimal input...amazing taste!

So there...three new recipes! Now it's time to go sleep!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cobbler and Gratitude...


...or 'When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Gingered Peach Raspberry Cobbler'. Yeah, that was the working title. But it was too unyieldy.

So today started off so nice. A calm, peaceful Sunday morning...A rest day for me - my first this week - so much needed. But you guys know me. A rest day simply means I didn't bust my hump at the gym or at Crossfit. Not that I actually rested. What a thought. I honestly don't know if I know how to do that! I'll even clean if I'm sick...but I digress...

Let's see..Reilly had a hike with his Cub Scout troup. We went to church and then hit up Winco, Costco, and Henry's to stock the pantry and fridges for the week. Started working on the food prep for the week...everything was going good. Then Rei volunteers to go get the mail from yesterday, which is still sitting around the corner in the mailbox. And in the mail is a damn overdue notice for my water bill. This brings up all kinds of angst that I had actually managed to put on the back burner for a day or two. And the him, who is supposed to pay those bills, even though he's not in the home any longer, is not answering his phone. So I remain stressed. and pissed.

Then, I get in the car to take Katy to youth group and as I pull out of my driveway, it sounds like legions of demons straight from the depths of hell are screaming for mercy underneath my car. Even I know that means I should stop. And my neighbor, Gary, who is very automotively inclined and just happened to be outside, informed me that "blahblahblah metal blah blah on my rotor blah blah brake failure".

hmph.

Ok then. Do I need a tow truck?

No, he says...I can probably get about 30 miles out of it before they go completely.

well, ok then! Thanks!

and with that, me and my daughter and my caterwauling car return to my driveway.

So now I have 30 miles minus 100 feet of driving left on my brakes. I'm pretty sure that'll get me to the dealership.

So, it could be much worse...but for some reason, it was all I could handle today. I sent Katy inside and proceeded to lay my head on my steering wheel and bawl my eyes out. Either one of these things I could have handled...both together were my undoing. I apparently do have limits. Unfortunately, crying in your driveway is not a good way to avoid discovery. Just in case you are in need of a good solitary cry, you might want to keep this in mind. I would recommend driving somewhere where no one can see you and then parking and crying. I recommend doing that in a working car.

So me and the kids head inside and have a good talk. Then I need to finish the food prep and feed these kidlings. But first I need to re-group. So I grab a glass of merlot and head upstair and give myself a five minute time-in in my bedroom. where my laptop and that happy little world known as Facebook lives.

Now, I know a lot of people don't get Facebook...but let me tell you what a mental lifesaver it can be. Here I am, dressed in my 'hanging out at home, so no one is going to see me' clothes. Hair thrown on top of my head because I can't chop with my hair down (that's a true statement...I make exceptions when I have company and have actually put some effort into my appearance...but for the rest of the time, hair on top of my head means I'm in business! But again with the digressions...). Eyes red and puffy from crying. Nose red and swollen from blowing - which you all know goes hand in hand with a good gut-cleansing cry! And I still have children that need to be fed and chores that need to be finished. I don't have time to call my girlfriends one by one and coordinate a meeting place and time and see who can possibly come and get me and take me away and get me drunk and return me safely home again. (though my across the street neighbor and new friend, Leticia, has graciously offered good wine and hugs at her house next time the need arises. Leticia...read the above description of what I looked like. Consider yourself forwarned!)

Yet with one merlot-inspired post, my girlfriends rally around me. Old friends and new. Friends across the street and friends in Pennslyvania. Friends I've known forever and friends I've never actually met in person. Posts on my wall. Emails. IMs. Words of wisdom...cyber hugs...offers to send out a hit team.

Girlpower strength and love being served up cyber-cafe style. What's not to get about that?

So, soul soothed, I open my bedroom door and rejoin my life. I made the kids carne asada nachos. I thought about what I wanted for dinner. Call it the merlot talking, but what I wanted was NOT dinner and was NOT paleo. And I said 'to hell with it'! And proceeded to throw caution to the wind, and peaches in the pyrex, with reckless abandon. That was probably the merlot too!

Jen's 'If-this-(and half a bottle of Merlot)-don't-make-me-feel-better-nothing-will' Gingered Peach Raspberry Cobbler



6 perfectly ripe peaches. You know the kind...the ones that drip down your forearm when you bite into 'em. The kind that smell like summer. The kind that, with the right person, makes you lose the afternoon after a well-meaning lick of that drop of peach juice running down the other's chin ignites a fire! Yeah..those are the ones! Now... leave the skin on, and cut 'em into wedges. Grab a pint of raspberries and about an inch square knob of fresh ginger root, grated. Mix fruit and ginger in a pyrex with about 1/4 cup of sugar. Cover with about 2 cups of organic peach cranberry granola. Evenly sprinkle about 1/2 cup of brown sugar on top of the granola, then liberally and lovingly dot with beautiful chunks of butter. Bake at 350 degrees until all bubbly and gooey looking underneath and all nice and toasty looking on top.

Mmmmmmmmmm! It was TO.DIE.FOR! I will admit it's the first non-paleo baked treat I've had in almost two months, but I don't think my tastebuds were that hard up. It tasted amazing! The fresh ginger had a lot to do with it! Perfect complement to the fruit! and normally I would make my own streusel topping with oats and walnuts and other good things. But for some reason I thought of the granola and I really liked the way it turned out! And I would have pictures for you - it was like eating a sunset, what with the peach and the reds of the raspberries...but alas, my camera broke the other day.

So here it is, almost midnight. Way past my bedtime. But I couldn't sleep tonight, even after a shower. But now that I've purged today and transfered it here to my blog, I think I can. I'm going to bed thinking not about what what wrong today, but what went right...

I'm grateful for my beautiful, strong, amazingly resourceful children who are handling this situation with more grace and aplomb than I sometimes feel I am.

I'm grateful that every time I go to church, something speaks directly to me and what I'm dealing with in my life at the time. Sometimes it's an entire service, sometimes a song, sometimes a snippet of prayer. But there's always something.

I'm grateful for the perfect watermelon and pineapple that I cut up for the kids today. The pineapple had that wonderful cinnamon undertone that is so elusive. It was delicious!

I am grateful that the asparagus at Costco today was tiny, tender little baby asparagus. And I'm grateful I decided to treat myself and buy the smoked salmon there too. The salmon, wrapped around the asparagus, made the perfect before bed snack just now.

I'm grateful that I have such an amazingly diverse group of friend - near and far - that have my back when I need them too.

I'm grateful for my health and my strength and my spirit and my fortitude.

I'm grateful that it's now time for me to go to bed.

Night all!

Friday, September 18, 2009

9-18-09 Log

Slept so well last night! about 7.5 hours...and I didn't wake up once!

CF was good today! After toasting my lower body over the last three days, I did offer up a prayer to the Crossfit deities as I drove to the gym this morning, asking for a good upper body workout that I could actually do. And apparently, I've been a good (enough) girl that my prayers were answered! The CF WoD was 5x3 of push presses, which I couldn't do since I'm still, still, STILL dealing with tendonitis in my right shoulder (but which I am, as I type, icing like that good girl we already ascertained I am!) - but the Kettlebell workout was exactly what I wanted! 20 rounds of (5 each side single arm swings, 5 each side cleans, and 5 each side presses). Because of my shoulder, I held the bell with both hands to do the presses and really concentrated on keeping my shoulders back and using my lats to pull down (thanks, Louie!). Just what the doctor ordered! Took me about 33 minutes and made me sweat. Those presses were the hardest thing at the end, even with two hands! Used the 16 kg 'bell for the whole thing.

Ended up at Kohl's after CF to buy another pair of my new shorts...when two people compliment you, and the dang things were on clearance for $4.20, you'd have to be a moron not to go buy another pair! : -) So I went there with innocent thoughts of actually paying cash and leaving the credit card securely holstered. Alas, I wandered into the junior's section. Stacy and Clinton would be SO very ashamed of me! They constantly belabour the fact that 40 year old women are never to shop in the junior's department. Never, ever, ever under any circumstances. Well, I'm going to assume they mean 40 year old women who aren't in shape and don't have discerning taste! That caveat works for me! ha! And I honestly needed stuff...none of my jeans from last winter fit anymore, and I really didn't want to be caught in one of our ruthless Southern California cold snaps with nothing but CF duds and frayed cut offs and tank tops! And I no longer have to worry. My new best friends are the Levi Tilted Low cut straight leg jeans...black and dark rinse...in size 7. Oh my goodness? Can I say that again? *ahem* Size 7! Damn, that feels good! And my daughter is going to be so proud of me because, after a year of her harping on me, I actually now own a pair of skinny jeans! Beautiful darkones with a deep green rinse that I adore! IAbsolutely love them! And a black mid-thigh mini with the most awesome big belt. And a red plaid not-quite-mid-thigh pleated mini. Which I oh-so-seriously need to finally get those 20-eyelet Doc Martens to go with! And a sage green silk baby doll with cap sleeves and sort of Mandarin-inspired embroidery. And three! yes, three! of the 'they-must-have-used-my-body-as-the-model-when-they-made-it' butter soft shirts. One blue and green plaid, one red and white, the other the perfect slate grey. they fit perfectly! Nips in at the waist...fits the old boobs...doesn't pull across the butt. And I know I'm going to be fighting Kaity for those shirts every week! I can't remember the last time I had this much fun shopping!

Now, down to business:

7:45 1 egg scrambled with mushrooms, zuchinni, 1/2 diced jalapeno and a crapload! of garlic.

8:30 - 9:30 The totally awesome, I could do it all, kettlebell workout!

10:00 Cashew Larabar

1:45 Last of the ground turkey cooked with onions, jalapenos,and green peppers...threw it on top of a big salad of greens, artisian lettuces, cucumber, radishes, zuchinni, avocado, and grilled corn. Dressed with lemon juice, paprika, cayenne, cumin, fenugreek, tumeric, and crushed red pepper.

4:30 small handful of walnuts

Obviously, not done for the day yet...but it's time to shower and get ready for the first high school football game of the season. My daughter is in marching badnd and it's their first show! and my boys are so excited to be going to a football game! More later!

9-17-09 Log

So...I wasn't planning on weighing myself today. Am back on track and want to stick to once a week weigh ins. But had a doctors appt today and they threw me on the scale. I was all mentally prepared for the difference that being fully clothes and hydrated mid-day - as opposed to butt naked first thing in the morning - would have on my weight. So was oh-so-excited to see a nice strong 148 pop up on that scale. Booyah! First time in recorded-in-hospital-record history that I'm officially NOT overweight. Yeah me! So then WHY oh WHY, when I go to Kohl's afterwards to buy some new exercise pants, do I still insist on bringing larges into the dressing room with me. I never want to mentally fuck myself by trying on something to small to begin with and feeling bad. Old habits die hard, I guess. So I will bring in 4 different sizes and start working my way down from the top. It really makes shopping take to long. I ended up with some perfect Fila pants in XS!!!!! XS!!!!!! on the bottom! with this ass! Ha! Maybe from now on I can start with the mediums or, dare I say it, the smalls?

Less than 6 hours of sleep last night because I was worrying someone was trying to break in. So not off to a good start. Then with the turmoil of this morning, I didn't have time to pack something to eat post-wod, and didn't have time to stop and get anything on the way to the Drs...so very large, very bad, big empty void in my eating. won't happen again!

8:00 1 hard boiled egg, 1 apple, 2 Tbs of almond butter and cinnamon

9:45 12 minute WOD. I'm going to pretend today was a rest day.

2:00 Ground turkey with big salad (greens, cucumbers, radish, zuchinni, tomatoes, peppers). Sunflower and pumpkin seeds for fat. Lemon juice and spices.

4:00 1 nectarine

7:30 4 oz chicken breast, 1/2 yellow squash, 12 almonds.

10:30 couldn't sleep because I was hungry. Ate about 2-3 oz flank steak and an apple with almond butter and cinnamon

9-16-09 Log

Sooo...as many of you know, this last month has been pretty darn stressful for me! Can you say 'understatement'?! And when I was finally brave enough to weigh myself monday, for the first time since this all started...I was up to 151 from 147.5. And it wasn't from eating to much...just the opposite...I had no appetite and would forget meals and I wasn't sleeping. A sure-fire recipe for disaster! So Monday I re-dedicated myself and hit the ground running. almost 8 hours of sleep the last two nights...and nary a skipped meal! and today...149. Yes! So I know you guys don't always believe me when I say to eat more or get more sleep, but the proof is right here! : -) Have a great day guys!

7.75 hours sleep.

7:45 2 hb eggs, 6 strawberries, 12 almonds

8:15 teach xbiking

9:15 coconut water and 1 larabar (yeah...I said screw it to the whole 'I'll only eat half' idea! ha!)

9:16 teach xbiking

11:00 Nice bowl of paleo chili (ground turkey and tons of veggies)...no oil or avocado since it's post wod!

12:30 3 stalks asparagus and a small handful of walnuts

3:00 3 oz chicken breast, a small bag of tomatoes and baby peppers

7:00 4 oz grilled tilapia with a huge salad (greens, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni), sunflower and pumpkin seeds for fat. lemon juice and spices.

8:00 WANTEDNEEDEDABSOLUTELYHADTOHAVE something sweet. Into the blender: 1/2 banana, some lite coconut milk, some walnuts, shredded coconut, and ice cubes. Whirled it all up. Threw about 1 oz raisins in their to because for some odd reason, that sounded too good!

9-15-09 Log

only 6.75 hours of sleep. But it's hard to get to bed any earlier than 11:30 on the night I teach until 7:30...too much energy!

7:45 1 egg scrambled with ground turkey, jalapenos, green peppers, zuchinni, tomatos, garlic and tons of greens. EVOO on top. Need to buy more avocados!

9:00 - 10:00 Kettlebells (swings, squats, deadlifts (48kg)

10:45 3 oz beef jerky, 1 apple

2:00 ground turkey with tons of veggies (leftover from last night), 4 stalks asparagus

3:45 lemon larabar

6:00 strawberries

8:30 carne asada, 4 stalks asparagus, small handful of almonds and walnuts

9-14-09 Log

First off...an apology to anyone who might have noticed I haven't been around much lately. My husband and I just separated, and me and the three kidlings have been adjusting these last couple weeks. But I'm quickly putting up the last four days food logs, though there are no pretty pictures. And I'm now back in the game! So thanks for sticking around!

9-14-09 7.75 hrs sleep~

8:00 1 egg with mushroom, pepper, tomato, cilantro, garlic, mixed leafy greens. 8 strawberries and 2 Tbs sun butter.

8:30 Kettlebells: 5 min TGUs with 12 kg. then 30 sec. swings, 30 sec. overhead press and hold, 30 sec planks...repeat for 20 minutes.

9:15 "annie" Time: 16:42 rx.

11:30 Lunch at Soup Plantation. Huge salad full of good things (beets and banana squash were my treats!)...2 oz of chicken and sunflower seeds for fat.

3:00 8 strawberries.

5:45 4 oz shrimp, 4 stalks asparagus, a couple cherry tomatoes

6:30 - 7:30 Taught Xbiking.

7:45 Larabar

9:30 ground turkey with a gazillion veggies.

bed at 11:30. Hard to go to bed earlier after teaching so late!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

9-6-09 log

bed at midnight, didn't set alarm...still woke up at 6:30...ugh! managed to doze for another hour, but still not 8 hr. Apparently I need to just assume that my body wakes a 6:30 and always make it to bed by 10:30.

9:00 2 eggs, sauted mushrooms, red onions, garlic, tomatoes, and greens. 1/4 cup guacamole.

12:00 pint of raspberries on the way home from Costco. Too delicious looking to wait.

1:00 Turkey patty, 1/2 cup guacamole, veggies (zuchinni, radishes, celery, cucumber).

5:00 larabar and 6 almonds

7:30 Rubio's (Grande Salad with mahi...no beans, cheese, or rice. Extra guac and cabbage.)

10:00 1 hard boiled egg

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Daily Logs

Good Sunday Morning, All!

Made the kid's french toast for breakfast, then enjoyed my usual eggs and veggies. Now it's off to Costco to finish up the shopping for the week.

First, though, I wanted to post my last few food logs up here for you guys. I've gotten a bunch of questions in the last few days about why I wasn't updating my paleo journal on facebook anymore. I had stopped because I wasn't really counting the days anymore. I rocked my first thirty days, survived my first cheat meal, and it's really just how I eat now. But old habits die hard...and especially since my physical activity is so decreased these last two weeks, I did still want to keep track of my food intake. I just moved it on over to my blog, because it was an easier process to update and edit. But I hadn't realized that so many of you read my food journal and used it for 'inspiration and ideas' (one of my readers words, not mine...and thank you!!), so I wasn't publishing them.

So...here you guys go! The last three days of food logs and notes. And I'll keep posting them daily as long as you guys want them! : -)

9-5-09



8 hours sleep! whoo-hoo!

9:00 1 h.b egg, 10 almonds, 1 apple

9:15 - 10:15 Taught Pedal/Pump...the pump part was in classic FGB style. They loved me! they hated me! haha!

11:00 About 1.5 cups of that yummy paleo chili from the other night. Sans avocado, since post - workout.

2:30 Turkey patty, 1/4 cucumber, 1 stalk celery, red, yellow,and orange pepper slices (about 1/2 of a pepper total), a couple slices of jicama. Small handful of almonds and walnuts.

5:00 Larabar

7:30 Flank steak. Guacamole with squash, zuchinni, cucumbers, jicama, pepper slices, radishes and celery.

9:30 apple with almond butter and cinnamon.

9-4-09


7.25 hours sleep (11 - 6:15) for no good reason. Reading blogs last night. : -(

B - 8:00 am: 1 egg, 1.5 cups portabello mushrooms with garlic and 1/2 bunch of cilantro. 1 cup mixed cantaloupe/blueberries/raspberries with slivered almonds mixed in.

9:00 Ran 5K.

10:00 1 hard boiled egg, 1/2 cup blueberries and raspberries.

1:00 Made lunch for my friends... salad (napa cabbage, red bib lettuce, arugula, dandelion greens, ruby red chard, kale, cilantro, red cabbage; yellow, red, and orange peppers, red radishes, yellow squash, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red onions, avocado, kalmata olives, shrimp) Dressing was fresh lemon juice, EVOO, tumeric, fenugreek, ground coriander, s&P, paprika (which I also cooked the shrimp in). Dessert was strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

4:00 small handful of walnuts, 1 oz raisins

7:45 4 oz Cooked dinner for a friend: ahi tuna, grilled asparagus, zuchinni,and yellow squash; grilled mushrooms and onions with parsley. Dessert: coconut banana 'ice cream' (whirl in food processor: frozen ripe bananas, coconut milk or water and cinnamon. when smooth, add walnuts and unsweetened coconut and pulse to roughly chop. Freeze. Then Eat.)

9-3-09



8 hours sleep! Finally!

B - 7:45 am: 1 yummy runny egg with sauted mushrooms (2 cups) and 3 little tomatoes. 1/2 peach with about 1/8 cup each blueberries and raspberries. 12 g. sliced almonds.

KB's (new TGU, new Swing. 10 rounds of 10 swings, 10 planks (15 min). then GHD WOD...13:10...3:23 off my last time!)

L - 11:00: Cinnamon Roll Larabar, 1 banana, 1 h.b. egg, 1 coconut water.

S1 - 1:30: 6 almonds and 3 walnuts. 5 stalks asparagus..

s2 - 2:30: - 6 stalks of asparagus

s3 - 3:30: 1 oz chicken breast.

D - 6:30: "chili"...7 small tomatoes, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 red onion, 2 cups mushrooms, 1/2 ear corn (treat!), 1/2 bunch of cilantro, large handful of brocolli slaw, 4 oz sirlion, all the appropriate chili spices...topped with 1/2 diced avocado. this made 2 servings. Ate half tonight...will eat the other half later. Dessert: 1/2 cup of rasp and blueberries with slivered almonds.

9:00 Larabar

Friday, September 4, 2009

Paleo Prep

******************So I know I've talked a lot about prepping being one of the cornerstones for making this whole Paleo thing work! But I realized today that it might be helpful to some if I went into a little more detail. So...

Went to Henry's today and did a quick run through to pick up some essentials. I buy tons of stuff at Costco also, so this isn't all my veggies for the week, but about half. It took about an hour to prep it all once I got home. My BIGGEST tip to you would be to try and do your grocery runs when you have an hour or so after to spend chopping. I love to cook. I love to chop. It means nothing to me to spend 20 minutes making lunch. But I've learned the hard way that when I'm tired - walking to the outside fridge to get that entire head of cauliflower...knowing I'm going to have to get the plastic off and cut the damn thing. Ugh - too much! I'll grab whatever happens to be in the fridge and fast (usually raw asparagus or cherry tomatoes)...yeah, still Paleo...still veggies...still healthy. But we're also going for variety here for numerous reasons. And honestly, woman can not live on asparagus alone. It would make eating boring...and that's sacrilegious! And I know that if I shove everything in my fridge when I get home from the store, it's chances of staying right in there, wholly intact, increases tenfold! I will even leave the stuff on the counter for an hour or two until I can get to it, before putting it away unprepped! So, if at all possible, prep immediately upon unpacking!

******************Now first thing I do is make my greens for the week. Those are the numero uno veggie of any good Paleo diet. I try to eat them with every meal - and it's really not hard, so I guess it's really not 'trying'. : -) I saute them with a bunch of other veggies with my eggs in the morning. It's the basis for my lunch salad. At dinner, it usually is sauted with onions to make a nice cushy bed for whatever animal fell to my spear that day or gets thrown willy-nilly into the chili pot. So lots and lots of greens!

******************Today I bought red chard, dandelion greens, kale, collard greens, and napa cabbage. Got home, chopped them all up, and mixed them all together with a head of cilantro just for good measure. Now I know that it looks like a huge pile...but ...it condenses nicely when packaged up; if you're eating as much of it as you should, it won't be around that long; it takes about ten minutes to do and is cheaper than buying those pre-packaged bags that were cut days ago; and - most importantly - you control what goes in them. You'd be hard pressed to find a salad mix as nutriently dense as this one is! And leave those beautiful stalks and stems on when you chop them. You won't notice them in your salad, or if you do, it'll be like celery! And another helpful hint...any veggie that's a 'heavy breather' needs to have a paper towel thrown in the bag with it to absorb the excess moisture, which will keep it fresher, longer. I'm actually a huge fan of Tupperware's FridgeSmart storage system - NOTHING seems to go bad in those things! But right now I'm prepping so much - that even with two fridges, I wouldn't have room for that many containers. The bags make it easy to stack and fits lot in a small space.

******************After the greens, I prepped the rest of the stuff I'd bought. That included celery, radishes, peppers, red cabbage, red onions, 4 heads of cauliflower, a second head of napa cabbage all by itself, Italian parsley, portabello mushrooms, and jicama. It really is amazing how much more likely I am to grab that celery or a radish if they've already been topped and tailed and put in a bag! Just this hour of prep will save me numerous hours over the coming week! But bear in mind that some veggies don't respond well to pre-prepping. Tomatoes, zuchinni, squash, cucumbers...all lose a little something when left to sit. And if everything else is prepped, it's not that bad to just chop one of two things!

Hope that's a bit more helpful that just telling you to prep! Now, go eat those greens!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shoulder-less WoDs

******************I love me some split jerks! They are probably my most favorite Oly lift! But I haven't been able to do any for a couple weeks. I'm still battling this darn bum shoulder. I've managed some deadlifts here or there...maybe some front squats. But everything else seems to involve my shoulder. Even pull-ups and push ups are jacking me up right now. *Sigh!* What's a Kool-aid chugging Crossfit chick to do? Going to the chiropractor and trying really hard to be good. And I bought the Hopper Deck today and just went through it and pulled out all WODS that either involve no shoulder, or are very easily subbable.

1) 4 rounds for time: 400 m Run, 50 squats

2) "Michael"...3 rounds for time: 800 m run, 50 back extensions, 50 sit ups

3) 5 rounds for time: 30 GHD sit -ups, 25 back extensions

4) For time: 400 m Walking Lunge

5) For time: 5K run

6) For time: 2K row

7) "Annie" 50-40-30-20-10 reps for time: double unders and situps

8) "Kelly" 5 rounds for time of: 400 m run, 30 wall balls (I'm gonna sub heavy kb squats), 30 box jumps

9) 5 rounds for time: 500 m row, 400 m row

10) Tabata Bottom to Bottom: 8 rounds of 20 sec effort, 10 sec rest of squats only. Rest is in the BOTTOM of the squat position. Note: Don't let the hamstrings go during "rest".

11) 4 round: 400 mtr run. Time each individually. Rest 3 min between rounds.

12) For time: 50 Wall Ball (sub heavy KB Squats), 40 Double Unders, 30 KB swings, 20 Steps Lunging Waiter's Walk (or just walking lunges if shoulder hurts overhead), 10 box jumps.

13) "Nancy" 5 rounds for time: 400 m run, 15 OH squats (once again...I'll be subbing those heavy KB squats. I'm so gonna rock those Lucy shorts when they get here!)

14) "Jason" For time: 100 squats, 5 m/u, 75 squats, 10 m/u, 50 squats, 15 m/u, 25 squats, 20 m/u. (this one has potential because of all those damn squats...will need to sub something for the m/u...can't even do the normal p/u and ring dip sub. Maybe 10, 20, 30, 40 ghd's? Will have to think on that some more.)

15) "Helen" 3 rounds for time: 400 m run, 21 kb swings (1.5 pood), 12 pull ups. Will save this one towards the end, and do the p/u with a bigger band than normal, or do it sooner with a sub for the pull ups...

16)10 -20- 30 reps for time of: Slam Ball, Walking Lunge Steps, OH Squat (Heavy KB Squats for me!)

17) 2 min double unders/ 2 min sit ups...90 sec d/u/ 90 sec sit ups...1 min....30 sec...

18) For time: 150 KB swings (obviously the swings depends on how your shoulder is tweaked. They're no problem for me, thank goodness).

OK...see...almost 4 weeks of WoDs that don't involve my shoulder! That's what I'm talking about! Doesn't seem so dire now!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If You Can't Take the Heat...

...then get out of the kitchen! As fast as you can!

Lordy...it's been topping 110 degrees here for the last couple days! Blistering! And, on pain of being stoned by all my friends back east, I am going to bravely complain that it's been damn humid too! Ha! Yeah, yeah...I know...nothing compared to you guys. But that's why I CHOOSE to live in Southern California - Hate! Hate! Hate! the humidity!

But enough whining...once again, I am sporting the supremely happy tummy. I'm glad my tummy is happy tonight. After 400 meters of walking lunges yesterday and then teaching two back to back Xbiking classes this morning, just about every part of my body below said tummy is filing a formal complaint. So I was put on notice that I better step up my game and put some prime paleo grub into the engine or all hell would break lose. But I didn't wanna cook. And I definitely didn't want to even crack that back door and venture out to grill. Hell NO! So I threw stuff in a bowl and took a bite. And it was so good, that I knew I had to write down the exact combo and share with you guys. Now, keep in mind that I did not INTEND to post my dinner today, so it's not the most photogenic dish in the world. But, man oh man, it was some TASTY grub! And that's really all that matters! It's the food equivalent of personality over looks!

****************** Real fast first, I have to introduce you to another one of my favorite new finds this summer. It's those adorable little on the vine tomatoes in the bowl - and they are featured prominently in the following recipe. They've started carrying them at Costco and I am head-over-heels in love with them. Perfect blend of sweetness and acidity. Firm, not mealy at all. And they have the staying power of John Holmes! I'm serious! Those things will stay fresh, on my counter for almost two weeks (which only happens when I make Costco runs too close together and forget that I already had some). Plus, they're so damn cute! And quartering them is all you need to do for just about anything you use them in! So less prep also! And no, that picture isn't from tonight. That was a couple weeks ago. Caught Ian having thirds of the cucumber salad that night. I love my kids!

And without further ado....

Jen's 'Too Damn Hot' Salad



First off, I took a beautiful hunk of mahi mahi (the fish of the week here! I bought a bag of individually wrapped steaks at Costco and they are divine!) and patted freshly minced garlic, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and coarsely ground black pepper on one side. I heated up the skillet, threw in a little dab of coconut oil and seared that puppy good. Before I flipped the fillet, I put some all natural seasoning salt I had gotten as a gift from a Pampered Chef friend. Once it was flipped, I squeezed 1/2 a lemon over it and left it to get nice and brown on the second side. Then I turned down the heat and finished cooking it through.

While that was going on, I threw all this yummy veggie goodness in a bowl: about 5 of those beautiful tomatoes, quartered; 1/4 of a red bell pepper and some red onions, both thinly sliced; about 1/2 cucumber, chopped up nicely...let's see..some shredded napa cabbage, a crapload of cilantro (the only measurement of cilantro used in my kitchen), and 1/2 of a small avocado, diced.

In a separate bowl I mixed the juice of 1 lemon, more minced garlic, a dollop of dijon, and about 1/4 tsp each of chile powder (the Indian kind), tumeric, fenugreek, and cumin. Mixed well, poured over the veggies and mixed well. Threw the mahi on top and we were good to go!


There you have it. Less than ten minutes from conception to chewing! And I can't think of anything better than fresh veggies and lean meats and fishes when it's this hot outside, can you! All natural refreshment! And now that I've gotten it posted - I'm off to enjoy some raspberries for dessert. Enjoy you guys!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spiced Bindi

So...I was playing at the Asian Market the other day. Poking...prodding...smelling...mentally saying all the words in my head - undoubtedly very wrong! - and accosting the elderly women shopping with questions galore. All in all, a fun time was had by all! You wouldn't believe the plethora of new and exciting foods to try! More greens than you can shake a stick at and about six different types of eggplant alone! Total food porn! I have pictures too - but that will be another post!

******************One of the things I was attracted to this time was the okra. Had never really seen it fresh before. Bought some frozen once, to use in gumbo, I believe...and was not terribly impressed. Soggy and slimy are really the only things I remember. But fresh okra is very cute. Little and bullet shaped (if you have really pointy bullets!) and covered with little peach fuzz (okra fuzz, actually) - far enough removed from that sodden lump of veggie in a bag that I'd had before. So into my cart it went.


******************But what to do with it? Didn't want to immediately go to that old okra standby...the afore-mentioned gumbo. What's the point in experimenting if you play it safe? Half-ass! Not in my kitchen!~ So I figured I'd have to wait a couple days until I had time to find a recipe to use as a jumping off point. But then, lo and behold, Gavan Murphy, The Healthy (and Sexy!) Irishman (check out his blog at http://thehealthyirishman.com/), comes to my aid with a recipe for Spiced Bindi (Indian for okra)delivered into my inbox that very same day! Serendipity or Big Brother? hmmmmmm....we'll never know. But since I'm not one to look a gift Irishman in the mouth (especially a cute one!) - and because the recipe includes HOARDS of marvelous spices - I printed it out immediately! And since I had absolutely everything to make the recipe (oh the joys of a stocked kitchen!), it's been made and eaten tonight and I'm sharing with you now. And share I must, because it was TASTY! And ever-so-NOT-slimy! My boys tried it and liked it also. So that's three votes of approval! I had it with some quick napa cabbage slaw I threw together and a beautiful hunk of mahi mahi. My tummy is happy!

******************So here's the recipe. If you try it, let me know how you like it! And if you have a favorite okra recipe, share please!

Spiced Bindi


Serves 2.

2 cups fresh Okra - trimmed and sliced
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium veg or chicken broth
S&P

Preheat large saute pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil and saute onions for 30 seconds, stirring...do NOT brown. Add garlic and ginger adn saute for another 30 seconds, then add cumin seeds for an additional 30 seconds. Add in okra and broth and saute for a minute, stirring. Begin adding in the spices: turmeric, coriander and garam masala. Stir to combine all ingredients together. Heat 1 minute. Serve.

******************Jen's Notes: Let's see...I had coriander seeds also...so I threw about 1/2 tsp in when I threw the cumin seeds in - and still used the ground coriander at the end. Didn't use stock, since I had none made. Subbed water instead and it worked just fine. I love the smell of fresh ginger all the time! But the smell that arose from the pan when I added the seeds to the onions, garlic, and ginger was just about 2 steps shy of an orgasm! Delectable, people! Trust me on this one! They should make a room deodorizer fragrance that smells just like it! I'd like it! So would Earz - he's getting tired of eating the 'Fresh Linen' ones!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Best 12 Hours!

So - Melissa Byers posts this sleep-apalooza challenge over on her blog a few days ago and I join in immediately - verbally at least. I'm all down for more sleep. I work best on 8-9 hours a night, but seem lucky if I manage to get 6.5 - 7.5. A constant issue for me! But make it a challenge and I'm all over it like peanut butter on rye! But unlike the Paleo challenge, which I started the very day after hearing about it, this sleep one is throwing me for a loop. And you'd think it would be easier! But I had plans, people! Wonderfully amazing, cheesy, girl-bonding, then ass-kicking plans that I was not willing to give up just for some extra sleep! So my wild and crazy twelve hours are now done. I will tell you all about them, and then hit the hay for the first of my 30 day sleep challenge.

First up: last night me and my girls, Amanda and Sharan, rocked the HOB in San Diego! We went solely for Pyromania! The Def Leppard Tribute Band and were wholely and pleasantly surprised to be treated to an amazing AC/DC Tribute Band, Highway to Hell, as the opening act. Now, I do realize that it takes a very special kind of person to appreciate a tribute band, but both these ones jammed! And 'Angus' was spot-on! Awesome musicians, great tunes, a crapload of dancing, and maybe one too many drinks (for me) - all in all a first-rate, girl-power Friday night! Though a little late...got home around 1:30 a.m., still feeling a bit drunk (variations on long island ice teas are potent, potent beverages!), washed my face, brushed my teeth, and crawled into bed...setting the alarm for a measly 5 hours later...

And when that alarm rang I was up like a bunny, feeling relatively fine, all things considered. Another quick wash up, threw on my Crossfit duds, tossed down some Dino-chow and headed off to U.C. Riverside with Mike, a fellow CF'er, for a Saturday morning workout with Josh Everette. Yeah....JOSH EVERETT!!!...how frickin' cool is that? That is about the only thing that would have gotten me out of bed this morning!



Now Josh is the Head Strength and Conditioning coach at U.C.R., so he gets to train and torture high level athletes on a daily basis...he even has his own special area called 'The Patch'. But ever Saturday during July and August, he graciously allows CF'ers and others to join in the fun. An opportunity to get my ass whipped by Josh Everett is a no-brainer,but we had no idea what to expect. According to the email he sent when we asked for information '...For those unfamiliar with the patch the workout is a hybrid between military obstacle course & parkour'. Uhhhhh - PARKOUR?!?!?! Have you guys seen this stuff? Crazy! Still haven't had a chance to figure out how to post a link in here...next time, I promise. Until then, cut and paste and go watch this crazy stuff!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEeqHj3Nj2c

So we get to U.C.R. and it's already in the 80's and climbing. There ended up being about 40 of us all together. And I don't want to give away any of Josh's secrets, so I'll err on the side of caution. But the warm ups had us all drenched in sweat and out of breathe and newly cognizant of the fact that bear crawls can apparently be performed forwards, backwards, sideways...hell, Josh could probably figure out a way to do them upside down! And then we get to the obstacle course, which is basically five different configurations of ginormous lincoln logs - all expressly designed to kick butt and take names! And in the course of the next hour, those logs were lunged under, leaped over, squatted through, walked on, crawled on, jumped on, and kicked off of. Ever went through a row of twelve stumps in the ground - probably about 20-24 inches off the ground by jumping up both feet, then jumping down into a full-on ass-to-the-ground squat, then right back onto the next in the line? We did and loved it! Though having never squatted from a high jump before, the first one landed me backwards on my hands. Definitely a core workout! Then more bearcrawls! This time across a single log raised in the air. Forward. Then backwards. So challenging! Then bearcrawl sideways across 2 logs set about 4 feet apart from each other and up in the air too...then crab walk sideways across them. Then inchworm across them, with a push up everytime you hit the plank position. It feels very weird doing that knowing if you slip, you're going to face plant a few feet below! Definitely gives you incentive to push UP! There were falls and slips and tumbles left and right...my big one was coming off a jump and not getting back far enough. I came down and my foot got caught between two logs and I continued to fall backwards. Luckily the two quick-thinking gentlemen on either side of me caught me before my ankle snapped and a third extricated my foot. Then we all finished the set! After about an hour, we then ran an obstacle course through them - which is where the parkour came in - it was all about jumping, leaping,and bounding over them. Or, as the coaches kept saying, do it 'in the most athletic way possible for you'. It was so frippin' fun! And now the hardest part: waiting until next July to do it again!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggs in a Nest

****************************
'Eggs in the Basket' is a fried egg in a hole in a slice of bread. Doesn't sound that appealing, but tastes pretty good! Especially if you add cheese to the whole package. This little, sort of plain-jane, meal has a thousand different nicknames: "frog in a log," "hen in a nest," "Rocky Mountain toast," "Soldier in a Boat," "moon egg," "cowboy egg," "egg-in-the-hole," "one-eyed monster breakfast," "hobo eggs", and "One-eyed Jack". My Paleo version has been dubbed 'eggs in a nest' because that's what it looks like to me. And branches, grasses, and twigs are certainly Paleo grub! But whatever you decide to call it, it's what's for breakfast at my house this morning!

And I've decided that I can sum up all my recipes as follows: chop veggies, cook if you want, add spices and protein. Eat. How easy is that? This specifically was chard, red onions, asparagus, and a little tomato all sauteed up until they were warm and snuggly...added some s&P and crushed red pepper for warmth. Cracked two eggs in the middle and flipped them oh-so-gently to ensure lots of warm, runny yolk to mix in. Then, of course, the whole kit-n-kaboodle was doused in a crapload of tabasco and summarily dispatched of! *licking her chops* Such a good start to a busy day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Morning Hodge Podge

Various interesting tid-bits gleaned from my reading this week. None of which alone are enough for a blog unless I pretend I'm back in college and am writing a research paper and spend three weeks studying and writing. Not gonna happen! But here's a quick run-down of some of them and my musings, which you know I hate keeping to myself!

~ According the the American College of Sports Medicine, fit girls get hungrier than guys who are just as active. Women experience a higher rise in ghrelin - the hunger hormone. Gnosh on protein-rich snacks between meals to satisfy that hunger without packing on pounds. (So just one more thing to add to the list of unfair advantages you guys have over us girls in the whole weigth loss/strength gain arena! But we still love you!)

~ In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating low-glycemic foods before a morning workout can help you burn more fat during exercise compared to eating high-glycemic foods like sugar-packed cereal. (Hmmmmm! Paleo anybody? Or at least no processed carbs or tons of fruit at breakfast?! Discover the joy of a veggie-packed omelete with yummy avocado!)

~ Having trouble gaining muscle? According to a recent study, it could be your birth control. 73 women were given a 10-week total-body workout program to follow, some took oral contraceptives, some did not. At the end of the 10-weeks, those not taking contraceptives gained 60 percent more muscle mass than those taking the pills. (That is a huge difference! A scarily huge one! I take birth control for my migraines. I'm now wondering if my Paleo diet would have enough of a positive effect on my migraines to give up the pills and maybe see a quicker muscle gain. My CF trainer who put me on probation for a day (love you!!!!) said that with my diet and the intensity and duration of my workouts everyday, I should be seeing more gains. She blamed it on overtraining, which I will say is probably true. But I'm wondering if these birth control pills might be playing a big role also. Something to ponder!)

~ Exercise can affect the placement of breast implants. How much so depends on the surgical techniques used to insert the implants and then on the actual forces appled to the muscle as it contracts during workouts. A lot of times, women will find their implants moving out to the side and might need further surgery to mitigate the implant migration. (Another reason why I'm determined to love these 40 year-old, nursed three kids, boobs in their natural state. But can I just say here that I have first hand knowledge of the actual physical changes in your breasts that pec exercises WILL make! When I first lost the last of my weight, it was all in my boobs. I would jokingly, and very sadly, say that I was a '36C Looooooooooong'. In the last 6 months, I've taken that 'loooooooong' part off? Hmmm - shall I credit Crossfit with a non-surgicial breast lift? Ha~!)

~Yet another reason to love how Paleo levels out your blood sugar levels: Looking at medical records for people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that a severe sugar crash was linked to a 26 percent increased likelihood of developing dementia in older age. (So if you are already a proponent of functional fitness, you probably already know that one of the goals is keeping our decrepit bums out of the nursing homes if at all possible. We want to live strong and die quickly at a ripe old age - though we will admit that feeling this terrific now isn't such a bad side effect - without having to have someone wipe those afore-mentioned bums for us. So here's a reason to make sure you diet regime is as functional as your exercise one! It would be very nice to know when exactly those afore-afore-mentioned bums needed wiping!)

~Drinking Pomegranate juice is actually healthier than eating the fresh fruit! Why? The heart-protecting antioxidants are packed in its inedible but juiceable rind. (SuperHealth by Steven Pratt, M.D.) (Now ya'll know I'm not a proponent of drinking juice at all. Even before I was Paleo,or had lost half of me, I didn't drink juice, neither did my kids. Total waste of calories, as far as I'm concerned! Drink water! Eat fruit! This is one mash-up that's a waste. Buuuuuuttttt....: -) If you happen to be having a treat and maybe enjoying a drink, if you HAD to mix it with something, pomegranate juice might be the way to go!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Paleo Pork Larb

So what the heck is Larb, you ask? Larb is the unofficial national dish of Laos and it is also popular in Northeastern Thailand. I discovered it at the Thai Kitchen a few years back, when I was attempting to steer clear of the more 'weighty' noodle dishes, while still fostering my love of all things Asian. You can get it with beef, chicken, pork, even fish...the main thing is the meat is ground. And mixed with those amazing flavors that I love SO SO MUCH that I sometimes wonder if I wasn't actually conceived when my parents were on vacation in Thailand!

When I was making that awesome Paleo chili last night, I browned both pounds of ground pork together, even though I only used half for the chili. When I do that I tend to use spices that will compliment most of what I eat. You can see exactly what I used in the chili recipe! So after it was cooked and cooled down, into a bag it went and I threw it out in the fridge with it's compatriots, bags of grilled pork, sirloin, and chicken. I could NOT survive without my prepped meat! I don't care if you're not even eating paleo...if you're super busy, especially if you have kids, and you want to eat healthy, make sure you have pre-cooked stuff at your beck and call so you always, always, always have something for dinner!

This is my version of Larb. Obviously no fish sauce or toasted rice (or the chopped peanuts that you sometimes see instead). But you won't miss it! I promise! I mean, it's so damn good that I'm sitting here writing the blog while I eat it, because I wanted to make sure to get it down while it's still fresh in my mind!

Paleo Pork Larb




If you're not lucky enough to have a bag of meat ready and waiting, you'll need to start by browning about 1 pound of ground pork (or chicken or hamburger or whatever you want!). Use the red onion and the spices just like when we made the chili here: http://andsomefruit.blogspot.com/2009/08/seven-alarm-paleo-chili-and-cooling.html. (I will figure out how to do links another day, when I have more time!) This will give you enough meat to make Larb for 4 people or 4 lunches...or get creative and find something else to do with it. I'd offer to share what I do with the rest of the meat, but this Larb is so unbelievably choice, that I believe it's what's for lunch tomorrow also! If you're going for the decorative element, read down a bit and make sure you mix up the dressing and dress the greens before making the top look pretty!

Then get a nice bowl and fill it up with shredded napa cabbage, shredded red cabbage, chopped mint, tons of chopped cilantro, thinly sliced red onions, tomato wedges and cucumber slices. If you want to impress company, take the minute it took to artistically arrange the cucs and tomatoes. Ridiculously easy, but has big crowd appeal! : -)

Whisk together lime juice, garlic, ground ginger, salt, tumeric (I just love it! it finds it's way into lots of recipes that don't necessarily call for it), and crushed red pepper. For my one salad, I used the juice of 1 lime, about 1 Tbs crushed garlic, 1 tsp each ginger, tumeric, and red pepper, and a couple turns of the salt mill.

Once the dressing is mixed, pour the majority over your greens and toss. Add about 4-6 oz of your cooked pork in a nice round mound smack dab in the middle of your greens. Surround with pretty tomatoes and cucumbers if they're not already mixed into your salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the meat. Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds.

TO. DIE. FOR. !!!!!! If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seven-Alarm Paleo Chili and a Cooling Chaser!

So today was a cool day here in Southern California. A brisk, refreshing 83 degrees that just begged for a bowl of warm, soul-satisfying chili! ; -) Now, I love chili. I adore chili. And what I used to adore about chili was filling it with a colorful array of beans - kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, those fun dalmation looking beans! - the more beans the better. But no more. No beans for this Paleo Goddess! So I challenged myself to make a chili that would seem as satisfying to me as the old bean-laden ones were. Game on!

First, I knew I didn't want to use chunks of meat...even though I have some amazing pork loins grilled up that could have been transformed into a tasty Chili Verde (making a mental note to try that next time I get a hankerin' for some chili)...because then I'd have mostly a bowl of veggies with some random meat chunks in it. I wanted something more 'chili-esque'...thick and with substance...that my spoon would stand up in. Luckily I have just been to the Asian market and bought my usual couple pounds of ground pork. I love the stuff - especially in Larb (an amazing Thai salad full of lime and cilantro and cabbage. Hmmmmm - I think I'm basically doing my next week's meal planning while I write this post!). And I've never seen it anywhere else, so I get a dorkish little bit of pleasure out of buying it because of it's slightly mysterious, out-of-the-ordinary, off the beaten path background. I'm sure it tastes much better than if I could have bought it at the grocery store also! Plus it's freshly ground! Yum! (Now if only I'd get over my squeamishness at the delicious looking squirming around blue crabs they have in a blue garage tote in the corner. I love crab! I don't think I could kill them myself. No matter how much of a cook or how Paleo I am!)

The veggies were the basics that I use in chili. And I will admit to adding the last 1/2 ear of grilled corn to the mix, which isn't Paleo, but is damn good. And honestly, 1/2 an ear over the three or four meals this will be is not going to send the paleo police to my door. I hope.

And if you're going to gnosh on something that leaves your taste buds trembling and smoke coming out of your ears, you need to make sure you have something cool and refreshing to chase it with. Enter my delicious Coconut Banana Walnut 'Ice Cream'. It was actually so good, that I will admit right up front that it wasn't the chaser to the chili. Nope. Ate it all up yum about thirty seconds after taking the picture. Because I totally deserved to eat dessert first today! Then I ate the chili. And chased it with some water instead!

Seven-Alarm Paleo Chili




****************Add 1/2 diced red onion and copious amounts of crushed garlic to a nice large pan that you've pre-heated. The pan needs to be big enough to hold all the ingredients for the chili, so err on the side of bigger if you're not sure how much room you'll need. Give the onion and garlic a little time to get to know each other. Once they've been stirred a few times, throw in 1 pound of ground pork (or hamburger or turkey or meatless soy crumbles...whatever floats your boat!...though you'll have to drain the whole mess once the meat is cooked because hamburger always has so much grease. That's another reason I like the pork - no grease!). Salt and pepper the meat. Add, based on your tastes, ample amounts of cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, ground coriander, lots of paprika, and ground cumin. Brown the meat. If need be, remove excess fat after meat is browned. Add approximately (you guys know how I cook! And honestly, a little (or a lot) more or less isn't going to screw anything up here!) 3 cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced celery, 1/2 ear grilled corn (removed from the cob!), 1 diced green pepper, 2 stalks of celery, also diced, 1 finely diced jalapeno (I include the seeds. If you're less ballsy, don't!) and a crapload of chopped cilantro. (Please remember, that in my recipes, there is no such thing as too much cilantro...or too many spices!) Stir it all up really nice and let it simmer away over a medium flame for a bit, stirring when you remember to. The tomatoes will start to break down and it will stop looking like salad in a pan, and start looking like chili. I promise. If you need to mash those tomatoes up a bit to speed up the process, go for it. You have my permission. And it's fun! Once it's all chilified, taste it and play with those same spices above, adding a little of one, a lot of the other, until you get that perfect taste. Then stir the last of those spice additions in real good, let cook another 5 minutes or so on low heat then serve up in a bowl. My personal favorite way to top this off is with lovely slices of avocado and a generous squirt of lime juice. It was definitely stick-to-your rib's filling too!

Coconut Banana Walnut 'Ice Cream'



*****************(Serves 4) Take 4 frozen bananas and throw them in your food processor (or blender, if you have to - though you'll have to stop and help stir the bananas if you use a blender) along with a can of coconut milk, some cinnamon and some nutmeg. Personally, when my bananas start to get brown, I throw the whole things into my freezer. When I need them, I take one, pop it into the microwave for 20-30 seconds and it peels very easily. Anyway, add the coconut milk and blend it all up. Throw in a handful of walnuts and pulse a few times to make them into nice little chunks. Then stir in by hand a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes. If it's a bit runnier than you want, put it in a freezer safe bowl and chill it down a bit. Then eat. Yum! I even used a green spoon from white lime to make the whole dessert experience more complete!

Friday, August 14, 2009

An Ode to Aubergines






So this week I'm in lust with Eggplants...or Aubergines, as they're known in Europe. Full, unbridled, intense, I want to spend every minute in its company, and do lots and lots of things to it, LUST. *sigh* It's so glossy and purple and smooth (though they used to be white...hence 'egg'plant!) - you just want to stroke it! And it's as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside...high in dietary fiber, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper. They are an excellent food to aid in weight loss, since they're low in calories and fat. Eggplant is a nutrient dense food, which will help you feel full, and there are almost no calories in eggplants. And though you can peel it, like most fruits and vegetables many of the health benefits of eggplant are contained in its dark purple skin. The skin contains a high amount of phytonutrients that helps protect the lipids in your brain cell membranes. Eggplant also contains tons of antioxidants.


So why wouldn't you eat it?


Well, a lot of people are still under the impression that you need to slice, salt, let sit, then rinse eggplant to reduce it's bitterness (an act that's called 'degorging'). This is an old practice, however, and it is not as necessary these days because modern eggplants are less bitter. And honestly, that's a lot of work for a vegetable that has been mis-cooked for so long that in some minds, eggplant is synonymous with slimy, squishy, brown, and icky. But how about if it wasn't gross and took only 5 minutes. Come on - you know you want to try it now! And just an FYI ...though not necessary for taste, salting eggplant will reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking - but I'm only telling you that in the interest of full disclosure. I'm hoping none of you are going to be deep frying your eggplant. Even for eggplant parmesian, try prepping the eggplant this way!






Saffron Eggplant Chips





1. Preheat your grill.


2. Mix 1 TBS olive oil, sea salt, crushed black pepper, Mexican Saffron, and Cumin in a small bowl.


3. Thinly slice an eggplant, and lightly brush one side with the oil mixture.


4. Lay oil side down on heated grill. Brush other side with oil mixture, if desired. I never do, but it won't hurt anything.


5. Flip when you've got some nice little grill marks on the one side. Remove from grill when done cooking. Watch closely, because the thin slices will burn easily, but they'll also crunch up the best!



Easy-peasy, huh!? I find myself eating them as I take them off the grill, they're that good! I layered them with lemony cucumber salad and scallops last night (recipe to come!) and it was super-delicious! Today I wanted them AGAIN! So I grabbed my other eggplant, which was much wider in diameter and sliced some slightly thicker slices this time. Same olive oil treatment as last night, grilled them up, and used them as the 'bread' in a flank steak sandwich. The concept of eggplant 'bread'...solid. The reality...not so! I ended up rolling the steak, greens, and pepper in the eggplant slices like little summer rolls! Super tasty and fun to eat! What more could you want in a food?


So there you have it...all the reason's to eat eggplant and a quick, no muss no fuss way of cooking it. What more could you ask for? Give it a try and let me know what you think. And if you have a favorite eggplant recipe (that doesn't involve frying) shoot it my way. I need to go to the store and buy more eggplants - then I'm going to test run the baba ganoush recipe I got from another amazing blogger named Melicious. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm thinking eggplant chips with baba ganoush? Too much of a good thing? Never!





Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming Up Next...


...Saffron Eggplant Chips, Lemony Cucumber Salad, Paleo Blueberry Crumble, and Sweet Creamed Red Bananas. It's what's for dinner tonight here at Chez Clements...along with some tasty, tasty scallops. I'll share the recipes with you tomorrow! Aren't I a tease?! For now...off to spend some time with the family...