Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness, Paleo

Primal Meal Extravaganza

Two of my coworkers have been doing the 21-Day Primal Challenge in January.  So to encourage them and to feed my need to be social, Tim and I hosted a Primal Meal on Saturday night.  We had 5 people over, and here was the menu:

Main course:

  • Garlic Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket – I used Mexican style chili powder, and instead of using sugar in the rub, I rubbed the brisket with honey and then rubbed the spice mixture into the meat on top of that.



I have to say, we had a great time!  While we may have perhaps have drank more than was primally-friendly, we all enjoyed the food, companionship, and Nerf guns immensely.  The result was well worth the effort.  It also showed me that our house, with a little rearranging, can comfortably fit more than 2 people at a time.  Perhaps we don’t need to spend $150 – $200,000 on a new place so that we can entertain more!

Here are some pictures from the evening.

Here is our living room.  We pulled the church pews out of the breakfast nook and used them for seating in the living room.  They aren’t the most comfortable seating option, but they will do in a pinch (and it was much cheaper than buying a new loveseat, which we are also contemplating).  Also note the beautiful coffee table built and designed by the Benny Boo (my little bro).


Rearranged living room

Here’s a picture of the Love You Long Time Cupcakes.  My bananas were not quite ripe enough, so I added in some honey.  They turned out pretty tasty – not too sweet, but nice and moist.

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Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness

Good recipes and general fitness

I tried a new recipe and rehashed an old favorite this week.

First of all, I took another go at this Quick and Easy Meatball Soup.  To make things go quicker, I made the meatballs and cut up the veggies the night before.  I also altered the meatball recipe a tad; since I was short on almond meal, I flushed out the requirement with some coconut flour.  In regards to the veggies, I had no onions, zucchini or squash, but I did have a green pepper, so I threw that in instead.  I cut up all the veggies, including the garlic, and stuffed it all in a ziploc baggie.  The next evening, I threw it all in a pot, and we had delicious soup 30 minutes later.  I don’t know if the herbs had time to soak into the meatballs or what, but the soup turned out fantastic.  The recipe also makes a ton.  We had it for supper, breakfast, lunch, breakfast, and lunch.  So good.  And yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat soup for breakfast.

I also tried a new recipe – Grain-Free Zucchini Pancakes.  Timmy Tee was sweet enough to  go to the Farmers Market for me on Saturday, so we were flush with zucchini, and I felt like trying something new for breakfast.  I have to say that I believe the name “pancakes” is a misnomer here.  These were more like omelettes than pancakes.  They were still tasty, but they were super runny.  I ended up scrambling a few of them because I tried to flip them before they truly set up.  Not sure I’ll make these again.  If I want paleo pancakes, I’ll make these Carrot Cake Pancakes again.  These are what I actually wanted to make, but we were all out of damned almond flour.  Greatest Grains was out in their bulk section, and HyVee’s was $11.99 per package, which I refused to pay.  I’ll have to get some one way or another before next weekend.

Overall, it was a good weekend, food-wise and life-wise.  I volunteered for a few hours at the Nahant Marsh Fall Festival, helping to gather seeds of the Partridge Pea and the False Aster. It was a COLD job, but at least I am 3 hours further into my 32 hour Master Conservationist volunteer commitment.  Plus, I was rewarded with hot cider and roasted chestnuts afterwards.  Well, I had to pay for them, but they were still tasty.  I had never had roasted chestnuts before.  They kind of taste like raw potatoes.  I really liked them, but Tim wasn’t a fan.  They do taste much better warm.

After that Tim and I ran 5 miles and then biked downtown to the Front Street Tasting Lounge, where we indulged in a a pint and watched the river.  Then we headed to  Great River where some Chatty Cathy talked our ears off while we had a Brown Pumpkin (Farmer Brown mixed with Pumpkin Ale) and a Pale Ale.  After supper at the real Front Street, we tackled the chilly ride home.  And here is where I get to the “general fitness” portion of my title.  It is so obvious to me biking home from downtown Davenport how much more fit I am this year than last.  Sure, the hills up the valley still tire me out, but I can OWN them.  I no longer feel like crying biking up them.  I love that feeling of strength.

It was a fun day, and it was great to be outside, but 3 pints is too much beer for 125 lb Hlo.  My throat hurt, and I slept horrible.  So, today I had to buy some whiskey so I wouldn’t be tempted to drink more harmful beer. 😉  I got Buffalo Trace whiskey.  It was only $1 more than Jack, and I thought it would be fun to try something new.  Plus, I liked the picture of a buffalo on the bottle.  Yes, I’m distracted by pretty pictures.  Anyway, it’s pretty good.  My boss picked me up some Templeton Rye from Fareway last week ($37 at Fareway – $47 at Target!!!), but I figured I should save the expensive stuff for something special.

Hope you had a great weekend!  Tim bought a duck at the Farmers Market, per my behest.  Now I need an awesome duck recipe!  The freaking bird was $25, so it better be damned delicious!!  Send me a recipe if you have a good one.

Take care! Hlo-out!

Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness

Four Days In

The “no eating out” thing is going well so far, no thanks to me.  I tried to convince the Timsy Tee to go out for supper on Friday night.  It just seemed wrong to stay at home on a Friday night!  He held firm, however, good man that he is, and we had a great supper at home.

I tried a few new recipes this week.  Here is a rundown:

Roasted Eggplant Stacks – This recipe actually turned out pretty tasty!  It was the first time I have cooked with eggplant.  Next time I think I will remove the skin before cooking the slices, as they were really tough.  I ended up cutting the skins off after the slices were cooked, and that was a hot, messy job.  I also found that fresh eggplant is very spongelike.  I poured olive oil (Tim is not a big fan of coconut oil, so I used olive oil instead) over all the slices and went back to rub it in, but it was all soaked in already!  You have to pour and spread each one individually.   I also put a fried egg (fried in copious amounts of ghee) on top instead of a poached egg, and that was delicious.  I did have a lot of eggplant leftover, however.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  It did not look very appetizing the next day.  I’m not sure I would make this recipe again, for that reason.

Too Easy Chicken Adobo – This recipe turned out OK.  I think I overcooked the chicken a bit.  It seemed dry.  I also used chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs (because that’s what I had in stock), so I’m sure that contributed to the dryness.  At $7/lb for chicken breasts, I was a little disappointed.  That’s crazy expensive for chicken.  I went to the Farmers Market yesterday and got a whole chicken instead of the breast, and that was only $2.50/lb!  Another thing – you cook this recipe with onions, and for some reason I do not like the smell of onions cooking in a sauce.  Overall, the chicken turned out good, and we ate it all, but I don’t think I would make this again.

Sweet Potato Salad – Again, I had to modify this recipe.  I have never seen purple Okinawan potatoes here in Davenport, IA, so I used regular old sweet potatoes.  I added in all the fixings he mentioned (jalapenos, pickles and green onions instead of chives), and it turned out delicious!  I struggled with the homemade mayo though.  I swear I’ve read you can make mayo in the food processor, so I tried it.  I added everything to the processor, less the oil, and then used the oil drizzler topper to pour in the oil.  I didn’t let the egg yolk come completely to room temperature, so that may have affected it too, but the mayo just wouldn’t thicken up!  I poured the whole, ultra-liquidy mess into a container and whisked the heck out of it, but I think it was too late.  It tasted OK, however, so I added it to the potato salad, and once it was in there, you couldn’t tell there was anything wrong with it.  I used 1/2 a cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of avocado oil.  I didn’t have any dijon mustard, so I used a little Boetjes.  I have a lot of oil left over though, which is the issue with making homemade mayo – it only lasts about 3 days.  Maybe I’ll make egg salad for lunch with it today.  Anyway, this salad was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

Grilled Eggs with Mexican Chorizo – To use an overused meme, NOM NOM!!  I had no idea that it is so easy to make your own chorizo!  This recipe turned out fantastic.  I have a huge bag of ancho chiles from my foray into carnitas territory, so I was all set on that front.  The chorizo turned out super tasty.  We are actually going to have the leftovers with eggs and avocado for breakfast this morning.  It was stormy, so we didn’t want to grill.  Instead, we turned on the Nesco roaster at 400 degrees, let it heat up, and then cooked the peppers/eggs/chorizo for about 13 minutes.  The peppers were perfectly cooked.  I would definitely make this again.  However, I cut the entire stem out of the peppers this time; whereas, next time I will leave it in, just cutting out the white parts of the ribs.  My eggs kept wanting to slide out the ends!

Overall, it was a good week for new recipes.  It am proud that we ate delicious food at home instead of mysterious food out.  This morning I need to make my list for next week, so we can keep up the momentum.  I hit up the Farmers Market yesterday and got a whole chicken, pork chops, 3 dozen eggs, kale, nectarines, and cherries, and we still have ground pork and beef in the freezer, so we are pretty well stocked.

Hope you had a great week too!

Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness

Primal Day 4

See now, doesn’t that look delicious?! It was delicious.  I couldn’t eat it all, though.  I think that eating primally has made my stomach smaller, which is yet another good thing I’ve experienced on this ‘”diet” in the four days I’ve been on it.

For lunch today, I had to get creative, as I went out to Azteca with my boss and our friend, Gus.  I ordered fajitas with chicken and steak.  I topped it with the lettuce & guacamole and left the rice, beans, and tortillas untouched.  Next time I’ll have to tell them to not even bring those things out.  Even though I only ate 1/3 of the food proffered, I was still full at the end of lunch.

For a snack I ate two kiwi, which from all accounts is a magic superfood, and a few macademia nuts to mellow out the sugar rush.

Marta and I were going a little stir crazy on account of the bad weather preventing us from taking our morning and afternoon walks, so instead we hit the stairs and did 5 loops from the east stairwell, down through the main floor atrium, and up the west stairwell.  We got a few queer looks, but it will be we who have the last laugh – what with our healthy bodies and toned calves and whatnot.

After our stairwell trek, we got back down to business, which this afternoon consisted of planning a bake sale fundraiser for our Junior Achievement bowling team.  It’s going to be a doozie of a bake sale.  One of our teammates makes these awesome gourmet cupcakes.  Once the cupcakes even had an Oreo in the bottom of it!  It was a delightful surprise.  Of course I won’t be able to eat any of them, but I can sure sell the heck out of them.  I will be making my world famous (at least family & work famous) chocolate chip cookies, and I’ll also be selling my hand-made crocheted coozies for $5.  The lighting in here sucks right now, but you get the idea.

They are delightful.  Hopefully people will buy them and give me tons of orders for more, so I can quit my job and start crocheting coozies for $10 an hour.

If you care to make a donation to my team, you can do it online here.  We need to raise at least $300, and we’re about 1/2 way there.  I have a feeling that our awesome bake sale will raise like $40.

Okay, I’m back from that tangent.  As I mentioned yesterday, I was going to cook a roast today.  And I did!  It didn’t turn out half-bad.  It may have been slightly overcooked, but it was still tasty.  I re-heated the leftover brussel sprouts from yesterday and steamed a head of broccoli.   It was a very good meal.  I may have to resort to have some chocolate for dessert tonight, though, because Tim is torturing me by making cookies.  I will have to substitute.

On to another tangent, it snowed today!  Look at poor Lucent.

And finally, in regards to exercise.  I was supposed to do 20 to 60 minutes of cardio today, but, well, it snowed, and I didn’t want to go to the gym.  So there.