Saturday, February 18, 2012

Curried Shrimp with Cabbage

I'm sorta kinda pretty ritualistic and schedule-driven in all areas of my life. it what you will, but it's what I need to do to avoid twitching and worrying all the time.

The kitchen is not exempt either...I shop on Sunday, prep meats and marinades on Monday, cook on Wednesday for the next seven days. And on Saturday, I start concocting amazingly creative meals out of the odds and ends that have managed to survive a week in my house without being eaten by me or one of my hordes of children. Other people call this 'using up leftovers'. Other people are boring.

So, that brings us to today...Saturday...fridge cleaning day. Lunchtime rolls around and I start rummaging, pulling out things that need to get used up before they go bad. I hatedetestdespise throwing food away because it went bad sitting in the fridge too long...which has, admittedly, led to some rather bizarre combinations. But today is looking promising: the last two baby yellow squash from the farmer's market two weeks ago (I bought a LOT of them!), the last little chunk from a head of red cabbage. One big fat roma tomato, a piece of ginger, a jalapeno, the pound of 'broken' shrimp I hadn't ever gotten around to cooking yet, a lime,3/4 of a can of coconut milk and a bunch of cilantro. (and since I know you're all wondering...Winco sells 'broken' shrimp for $5.98 a pound. It's their big fat expensive shrimps that are deformed and not astethically pleasing a missing tail means I get shrimps that are bigger than a pea when cooked. Bam!)

It didn't take more than a second looking at the ingredients assembled on the counter to know that curry was on the menu for lunch!

And I was hungry...but I realized this would be amazingly good and I ran upstairs and grabbed the camera just for you guys. And then a pen and paper. Yep. I...ME!!!...wrote down a recipe as I made it up. And I even measured stuff. For reals. And I just checked The Weather Channel. The current temperature in Hell, Michagan is 23 degrees. Seriously! It really is! So yeah, Hell did freeze over.

So in my own unimitable style, the recipe:

Curried Shrimp with Red Cabbage

2 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 pound shrimp
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup yellow squash, sliced
1 cup tomato, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
1 jalapeno, finely diced (leave seeds and membranes in if you like more of a kick)
1 tsp each cumin seeds, ground tumeric, and cayenne pepper
1 Tbs coriander seeds (can substitute ground for either the cumin or coriander seeds)
juice and zest of 1 lime
3/4 can coconut milk
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves chopped
1 cups red cabbage, shredded

Head oil in a large pan , then add mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop, about a minute.

Add onion and cook for a minute or two until they start to soften.

Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute or so.

Add squash and tomatoes.

Grind the cumin seeds, tumeric, coriander seeds, and cayenne pepper and add to the pan, along with the garlic. (If you don't have seeds or a grinder, just add the same quantity of pre-ground spices to the pan.) Mix well and cook for another minute or two.

When shrimp are almost cooked all the way,add the lime zest and juice and coconut milk to the pan. Stir and let the fat solids from the coconut milk melt down. Add the cilantro, mix and cook for another minute or two.

Serve Curried Shrimp on a bed of red cabbage. Garnish with finely diced jalapeno for a little extra kick.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Better Farmers Market

The picture above, unbelievably enough, is $20 worth of produce that I bought today in about 3 minutes! Not only did I save a ton of money (today at Winco, spaghetti squash was $0.98 lb...that is almost 20 pounds of spaghetti squash alone. So basically, everything else was free!) but my money went to a very good cause!

I love vegetables! That's not a surprise! And, years ago, I used to love going to the Farmer's Market every Saturday and coming home with bags of fresh, unbelievably tasty produce for next to nothing. But now, going to the Farmer's Market is not necessarily pocketbook friendly. We live in a pretty affluent area, and prices reflect that. However, just because I live in an affluent area doesn't necessarily mean I'm all that affluent! So I was unbelievably excited to read in the paper about the Murrieta Temecula Rescue Mission selling produce at Rancho Community Church...a tiny little Farmer's Market that is held every Saturday in the church parking lot from 8 a.m. - noon with donations for the produce going to a wonderful cause!

In short, the produce has been assessed for freshness at the border and when it's determined that it might not possibly make it to, say,'s rejected and re-directed to landfills. Through a wonderful network of people, the food now comes here, to the parking lot of Rancho Community Church. I was a little leery about the quality of the produce, but a visit this morning more than allayed my worries! These vegetables are beautiful! At the peak of freshness and in better condition than at the local grocery stores.

The way is works is simple: you donate $5, $15, or $20 or whatever you're able to. $5 will get you a paper bag to fill, $15 will get you a standard size produce box, $20 will get you a large box. You fill it as high as you can, with whatever you want and that's that! This is what a $20 box looks haul from today:

All the proceeds donated at the new farmer's market support and feed local families and orphanages. Any produce left over at the end of the market is distributed to the needy in the area who come to the church to pick up food. Anything not quite sales worthy is given to local farmers to feed their animals. None of it ends up in a landfill. Lots of people are helped. It's a win-win-win situation!

Of course, the selection is not quite as expansive as at your more traditional farmer's markets. Today's offerings were beautiful red peppers, roma and regular tomatoes, tender little baby yellow squash, plump purple eggplants, mounds of spaghetti squash and piles of hubbard squash. A couple week's ago is was eggplants, green bell peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. If you don't like the total randomness of the experience, you can visit their website at and, if they know what's headed their way, they post it.

So, though I was a bit offput when I first saw the one small little pop up in the parking lot, I was more than happy with what I got for my $20 and will most definitely be making this a weekly stop!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dinner in Ten!

Yeah. It's been four months exactly since I last posted something. That really sucks! But I've been really busy. Life! I'm still really busy, but trying to be better. This is me being succinct. Let's see how it works:

Here's how to make this super delicious paleo meal in minutes flat, just like I just did!

Whenever you see an asterick, mentally insert the words 'or whatever the hell you want'.

Fish and Veggies (or * and *)

1) Heat pan. Add coconut oil. Season ahi tuna * with garlic, red clay sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper*. Put in pan and leave the hell alone for about two minutes.

2) cut up a yellow squash* and have ready to dump in the pan when you flip the *.

3) in food processor, dump 3 tomatoes, a red onion, a whole bunch of cilantro (seriously, the WHOLE bunch, stems and all), 3 deliciously fresh jalapenos (thank you to Debbie Bannock for the fresh jalapenos from her garden! fresh produce for your trainer means no burpees for you today!), some salt and pepper and the juice of one lime. Blend the heck out of it.

4) Flip fish *, add squash, stir squash briefly, then leave the hell alone for another minute. at least if you want pretty brown bits instead of mushy yucky looking bits.

5) when it's nearly done, dump copious amounts of spinach over the squash and mix and let wilt a bit. oh..and add * spice wise to your squash and spinach too.

6) Plate. Mix some salsa with the veggies and dump about a cupload on the side to eat with your fish or *. enjoy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pork and Apples

This is what my house smells like right now! Grilled pork and perfectly seasoned apples. I used to say I didn't like meat with fruit. I have so gotten over that! Fruit juices have long been used in marinades for meat, since the acid in fruits acts as a natural tenderizer. And the combination of sweet, juicy fruits with rich, savory, tender meats is absolutely to-die-for! And fried pork chops and sugar-laden applesauce has long been a Fall dinner table staple. This recipe yields all the great taste of a classic, but with less calories and no crap. A win-win!

Caveat...I made this tonight for six families. When cooking for that many people, I don't necessarily follow the same steps as when I'm cooking for myself. This is a case in point. To work with 15 pounds of pork, I seasoned them and grilled them outside. I cooked the apples in roasting pans, and then combined the two. Since this is how I cooked it, these are the pictures I have. But the recipe will be written as if I were cooking for one family...most importantly, all cooking is accomplished in one skillet.

Pork and Apples

Season pork with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. You can use pork loin or a nice chop, even pork steaks. Heat large skillet to very hot and then add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add pork, cook until nicely browned (about a minute or two), flip and repeat on other side. Remove meat to a plate.

Add chopped green onions and sliced apples to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of cinnamon. Cook for about two minutes, then add pork chops back in. At this point you can do a couple different things...

a) either put lid on skillet, decrease heat, and cook until pork is cooked through.

b) slip skillet (only if oven proof) into a 350 degree oven to finish cooking.

c) you can also add white wine to the pan before slipping the pork back in and finishing the cooking. It depends on how strictly paleo you want to keep things.

This is really quick, really easy, and super delicious. You can even swing this for non paleo company and they won't look askance at it! Enjoy!

SoCal Mojito!

So, all of us fun-loving Paleo peeps are familiar with Robb Wolf's NorCal Margaritas! Yeah, yeah, yeah...we know alcohol isn't paleo. However, we are human. And though we do indulge every now and then, we do attempt to keep it as clean as possible. And though the NorCal margaritas are damn tasty, tequila just is not usually my go-to hard alcohol of choice.

So, a couple weeks ago I had my first mojito and LOVED it! And last night, my friend, Lupita, gifted me with a wonderful mojito making kit at my housewarming party. Never one to let something sit and collect dust, I decided to test my mojito making skills right after I finished cooking tonight.

I started with fresh mint, since at one point I planted some in my garden and now have enough to keep a few continents in mojitos for the entire summer months.

Then, I simply followed the basic mojito recipe, leaving out and/or substituting any non-paleo ingredients. I left the sugar out completely, because I like tart better than sweet any day. And then I used club soda instead of lemon lime soda. The taste was still very refreshing and it will definitely be made again. Maybe in ten minutes.

SoCal Mojitos

Put in bottom of glass: 2 Tablespoons crushed ice, 10 mint leaves, juice of half a lime. Muddle. Muddle, muddle, muddle. The little muddler looks just like the one used for real Mexican hot chocolate. It is TRES cute!

THEN add 2 oz white rum and 1/2 oz of orange liquer and mix. Then strain into another glass filled with ice. Top off with club soda.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lose to Live!

So this week, I launched a new Facebook group, called Lose to Live. It's a closed forum where those looking to lose weight, and those of us who have, can come together and support and learn from each other. We have almost thirty people so far, which makes me so happy! The more of us there are, the more comments and interactions and relationships made. Which will just make us stronger and better! I have had some questions about what kind of content is there, so I figured I'd share two posts from today to give you an idea. Now, these are two notes from me. Everyone this week has been sharing stories and struggles and successes. And that camaraderie is what is going to make this work. This isn't MY group. It's not a platform for me to tout the paleolithic diet or Crossfit. It's for you guys. So here's two posts. If you like what you see, and think it might help you in some way, let me know and I'll add you to the group! Happy Saturday!

How It Works

I have intended to start this page for over a year. I remember how intimidating it was when I was first trying to lose weight. Sometimes (a lot of times) I wouldn't ask for help or ask a question, because I felt I was the only one who didn't know the answer. So I wanted a closed forum for my clients and friends who are trying to loss weight. A place you can come and ask questions and share hints and tips, and not feel embarrassed or uncomfortable or judged in any way.

I want to build a support group! I can attest that this support system is the vital little push that got me started on my successful 200 pounds weight loss. My tactics at the beginning weren't all that different from the umpteen other times I had tried unsuccessfully to lose weight. It was knowing that I had these friends out there, and that I would have to honestly tell them how I'd done that week, that made the ultimate difference.

So, if you want to be included, it's pretty darn easy! ...

First off, introduce yourself! I know some are shy, but we're all in this together! You can share whatever you're comfortable sharing...or nothing more than your name. But along with your name, share a goal or two or three! What are you trying to accomplish right now with weight loss and fitness?

Second, every Friday we're are going to report in. Like an official weigh in! numbers need to be shared! You can say give your starting weight or not. It's up to you. But even if you don't share a weight, you can report whether you've lost or gained, and how much, the past week. then we'll applaud or commiserate. Steal good ideas from you that worked, or brainstorm solutions to problems that were encountered. The more we connect and communicate and help others, the more we help ourselves!

Third, minimum posting to belong to this page is every Friday. This is accountability! Share your loss/gain, something that was a difficulty and how you overcame it, if you did. and at least one suggestion/tip/healthy recipe to share. Throughout the rest of the week, it'll be organized chaos. Have a question? POST IT! I can guarantee that SOMEONE else has had or has the same question. And I can answer it one time, in one place, and everyone gains knowledge! And if YOU have an answer, YOU can respond too! I want to build a community here!

Why This Group Will Work

From the introductions, you can quickly see that we’re all at different points in our odyssey to get fit and healthy and strong and happy. And that’s ok. Actually, that’s damn perfect! For each and every one of you in this group, there is SOMEONE who has ‘been there, done that’. There is at least ONE person, if not multiple, who has been exactly where you are and have managed to move beyond and grow. Demons have been conquered. Fears have been faced. Walls have been either climbed or simply torn down. Not only have we survived and learned, but knowing how hard it is, I think it’s an intrinsic quality in any good human, to WANT and NEED to help each other. We need to use our experiences to make it less painful or time consuming for others struggling with the same issues. I believe we’re called to do this. We’re all here to share and support and motivate and commiserate.

The reason I started this group is because a similar, though less Internet-savvy, group was the linchpin in my weight loss journey. This group of five or six woman, scattered across the United States were all different ages and all had very different lives and very different goals. But we all were trying to improve our health by losing extra, unhealthy weight. Some had ten pounds to lose, some had forty, and one had two hundred, but it didn’t matter. What mattered is that once a week, I knew that I would have to write an email and tell these ladies whether I had lost or gained weight over the last week. This was huge. This was major. This seemingly LITTLE detail…this public accountability… is the only difference I can find, when I compare my myriad previous weight loss attempts with what was ultimately my successful, two-hundred pound weight loss. Actually, it wasn't even the PUBLIC accountability, because weight watcher meetings were actually one of my failed attempts. I think what is was, was actually accountability to a group that I knew and liked and respected. Friends...though I only knew ONE of them to begin with. The meetings with groups of strangers didn't do it for me. I needed to be accountable to people who I had more of an intimate connection with. So I love that I'm already seeing connections being made and friendships being forged. Because I think this is what we need. It worked for me. And I hope and pray that it will be the same way for you.

Losing weight is a daunting prospect. And if you’re new to this, it’s going to involve making multiple changes. Face it, what you’re doing now isn’t working. And things you’ve tried in the past, didn’t work. So logically, to obtain a different result, you’re going to need to try DIFFERENT THINGS! Ah-ha! Can I just get a hand raise from anyone out there who has lost weight, gained it back, and then went straight back to the original plan when they decided to lose weight again. There’s a reason the weight came back…it could be that your plan was too restrictive to actual maintain…or you weren’t eating the right things…or you didn’t deal with WHY you are this heavy. Seriously, I’m pretty sure none of us made a conscious decision at any point in our lives to be miserable and feel ridiculed. Did we? There are countless reasons the weight comes back on. And they need to be addressed so we can keep moving forward.

Losing weight requires soul searching and honesty and commitment and self love. At some point you need to realize that YOU are more important than that damn bagel. That getting up in the morning and LOVING what you see in the mirror is so much more soul-satisfying than yet another plate of fettuccine alfredo at Olive Garden. That the ability to look forward to every day…to not dread something as simple as getting dressed in the morning…will have more of a positive impact on your life than you can even imagine. And not just your life. This impacts the lives of your spouse, your children, your friends. You come first. But they definitely will reap the rewards of your hard work too.

Weight loss isn’t just about eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising. It’s about fixing what’s broke…inside and out…so we don’t need to rely on food as a crutch or a solace or a safety net any longer. And it’s totally do-able. Especially since we have each other.

How The Hell Do You Get Started

OK….now on to the more pressing issue at hand. How the hell do you actually get started?

Honestly, I could throw a boatload of information and facts and statistics at you. And while I do think it’s important that you know the science and the reason behind things, so you can make informed decisions about what you put into your body, I also fully believe that overwhelming you right out of the gate is detrimental! Keep it simple! That’s my goal. And believe me, it took awhile to put the weight on, it’s going to take a while to get it off. We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. Let’s start by making a few major changes that can have the biggest impact and then taking it from there.

This week you have three assignments.


Clean up your diet.

You don’t need me spouting off about paleo or telling you why you shouldn’t eat xyz. Deep down, you know what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t. Take some responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your actions. No one can make you eat crap. No one is ramming burritos down your throat. It's all you, baby! lol! So stop. It makes you feel like crap. So why in the world would keep doing it? You will be amazed at how simply making one good choice will make you feel like a million bucks! It's self rewarding. I promise. And yes, down the line, fine tuning your diet will be vital. And soon, I will give you more information and links and recommended reading. For now, you just need to start. You know you shouldn’t eat donuts. You know frosted flakes have no inherent nutritional value. So don’t eat them. Eat natural food, as close to the way nature made them, as possible. How simple is that? I tell people, that if they eliminate stuff that comes in boxes, cans, or bags, they’re 80% of the way there, in terms of healthy eating. Of course, there are considerations to be made…but if you start questioning whether canned salmon is ok, you’re missing the point and I will bop you on the head. Don’t be argumentative and don’t whine. If it’s ever a true question, ask it…but also don’t nitpick. This isn’t rocket science. Don’t make it harder than it is. Obviously this will be more of a change for some of you, then for others. Don’t kill yourself if it’s not perfect this week. Even two or three a week will add up…so this week, you might cut out soda, drink more water, eat at least one veggie at each meal. Great start! Next week, you’ll keep doing those three, and add something else. Obviously, the faster you start making positive changes, the faster you’ll see results. But it is much better, in the long run, to start slow and FINISH, then to go balls to the wall right out the gate and be so miserable that you stop.


Weigh yourself once a week.

Now, I’m no longer a scale whore. Yes, for years I weighed myself multiple times a day. And it was a very hard habit to break, and if you’re one of my students or clients, you hear me talk about how weight is actual such an ineffectual measure of our progress. Especially if you are doing strength training. That being said, it is still the easiest and most universal form of documenting our progress. I highly recommend having someone take your measurements too, and I will write something up soon about how to do that. But for now, the scale will be a gauge. If you didn’t weigh yourself yesterday, do it today. AND THEN PUT THE SCALE AWAY until next Friday. Yep…you heard me. Don’t obsess. Weigh once a week. First thing in the morning. Me…I weigh myself the instant I wake up, butt naked, before I’ve even had water or coffee, right after a trip to the bathroom. Whatever works for you, just be consistent. Weight varies too much throughout the course of even a single day…so if you start off weighing in the morning, stick with it.



If you’ve never exercised, make a goal to walk around your block ten minutes three times this week. If you’re already taking classes or working with a trainer, go ten minutes more than usual or up the intensity or try something new. The goal is to move MORE than you did last week.

Next week we’ll talk about goal setting, priorities, and food journaling! This week, just focus on these things!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meaghan's Famous Mac-n-Cheese

My sister, Meaghan, makes the best macaroni and cheese in the world! So, of course, her recipe was instantly bogarted! This is total comfort food. NOT paleo, NOT healthy, NOT anything except damn good and thoroughly filling! And no...the recipe won't be a metric crap-ton of mac-n-cheese, as in the picture below. That's the recipe times eight because I was cooking for 16 families that week.

Meaghan's Famous Mac-n-Cheese

- 1 pound pasta (a heavy shape with nice nooks and crannies to hold the VERY THICK sauce!)
-1/2 cup butter (BUTTER! not margarine! nomz!!!!!)
-1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
-4 1/2 cups milk
-1 pound grated cheese (I tend to use the pre-grated ones from costco... half the cheddar/jack mix and half the mozzarrella. I've made it all white before, all cheddar other times. honestly, you can't screw it up. cheese is just good.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9X13" Pyrex

Cook and drain pasta according to directions. once drained, stir in a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking...unless your sauce is ready and you can just mix that in immediately.

While pasta cooks, melt butter (in a BIG pot!) and then remove pan from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings until smooth. Put back on heat. Stir milk in gradually. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly (honestly...CONSTANTLY!). It will take a while to bring to a boil too! making a good roux (which is what this is), is akin to beating egg whites, as far as forearm development! and do follow the steps above exactly or you will have lumps!

Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 3 cups of the cheese and all the noodles (see why the BIG POT!). If you're going to add ham or bacon or something equally yummy, do so now. Pour into the pyrex. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

***at this point you can refrigerate for days!***

Bake 15-25 minutes are until brown and bubbly. If cooking from refrigerated, bring to room temperature to retain cooking time stated. If popping straight into the oven from the fridge, then of course it's going to take much longer to cook! In that case, cover with foil for the first half hour or so, then remove for last ten or fifteen minutes. that way your cheese won't burn!