It’s 6:10 AM, and I’ve destroyed the kitchen already

Teeeemsy Tee and I had a bit of excitement yesterday.  We has a super gorgeous snowstorm hit yesterday, complete with huge flakes of sopping wet snow.  Well, all the trees here in Iowa still have their leaves, and the trees are already stressed from a very dry summer. The branches of our neighbor’s soft maple could no longer sustain the weight of the snow, and down they came on top of our breakfast nook, ripping out our power on their way down.  Fortunately, the branches didn’t break any windows, and we don’t think they damaged the roof (still need to check that out today).  And our neighbor, who felt SUPER bad about the whole thing, stayed outside all night in the cold, wet snow and chopped down the branches that had fallen against our house.  We think we’ll just need to pay to get a gutter fixed.  It could have been much, much worse.

However, this all went down yesterday around lunch time, and I was planning on putting this in the Nesco roaster for supper:  Primal Beef Enchiladas.  I had all the ingredients chopped, the meat was already seasoned, my tastebuds were already watering.  But – no dice!  No power, no Nesco.  This particular roast was a 4 pounder I picked up at the Farmers Market for $25.  All afternoon at work I was worried about the state of the food in our fridge and freezer – we are primarily invested in the stock market and meat.  If it looked as if the power was going to be off for an extended period, I was prepared to co-opt the fridge at work to save my food.

Fortunately, when I got home at 5 the utility company was already working on our line. We went out for supper, and by the time we got home at 7, the power was back on.  The fridge seemed…coldish, so we deemed its contents safe.  The only disturbing thing we noticed was that the whole fridge smelled like the baggie of garlic & onions that I had chopped up the night before. Nothing some baking soda can’t rectify.

Well, work is insane this week, so I figured I better seize opportunity where I can, so I cooked up the enchilada sauce and seared the meat this morning and then tossed the works in the Nesco (which you can set at exactly 325).  Tim is going to check it around 10AM today.  Hopefully it turns out tasty.  Hopefully it won’t kill us with some weird warm-fridge food-born bacteria.  Wish us luck!

And if you feel like being annoyed at humanity, read the comments posted on the recipe I linked to above.  Mark provided this super tasty-sounding recipe, but many of the commentors choose to ignore that piece of kindness and focus on the fact that these are not true “enchiladas.”  Who cares???  Jesus, people!  Show some appreciation.  I, for one, don’t care what the recipe is called.  I just care that it’s delicious.  🙂

BTW, can you tell Tim and I have been re-watching Firefly?


So.  I burned the roast.  By the time Tim got home, the roast was already burnt all along the edges.  🙁  Super big bummer.  Fortunately he was able to salvage quite a bit of the meat.  But the sauce was a goner.  We had some of the meat for supper, and the flavor was great.  I think that this recipe is worth making again, but I will have to cook it in the oven next time.  Lesson learned. 🙂

My first rib foray

We got some country-style ribs with the hog that we had slaughtered, so I figured I better try my hand at cooking them up.  My friend makes ribs in the crockpot and says they are the bees knees, so I melded his advice with a paleo recipe:  Oven -Baked Paleo Pork Ribs.  I used the recipe as a guide for the rub, but instead of baking the ribs, I put them in the Nesco Roaster and let them slow cook all day at about 200 degrees.  When I got home around 5, the house smelled amazing, and the ribs were super tender.  I foolishly poured out all the liquid that had cooked out of them. That pork fat mixed with the spice rub would have tasted delicious poured over the ribs or added to some stir-fried rice!

While the ribs rested I set to work on the Paleo BBQ sauce.  It turned out horrible.  The recipe didn’t call for ANY sugar (or any paleoish subs like honey or maple syrup), which seemed odd for a BBQ sauce, so I added some coconut sugar.  I don’t know what I did wrong (did the sugar spoil it??), but the sauce was super tangy and bitter.  Bleh!

So, to get to the point.  The rub was fabulous, and I’ll definitely make it again.  The sauce was horrible, and I hope to never see it’s face again.

And suddenly it’s Fall

Last week was H O T.  On Sunday it turned C O L D.  As in, I think it might start snowing any minute.  The good thing about the drastic temperature swing, however, is that I’m in full-on cooking mode.  Tonight I prepped pork ribs for the crockpot tomorrow, a whole chicken to bake Wednesday night, and I’m currently baking the awesomest muffins ever:  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  I made a batch of them on Saturday, and they were obliterated by Sunday morning.  So I’m making batch #2.  These are awesome.  I really shouldn’t be making them because they have quite a bit of sugar in the form of maple syrup, and sugar often makes me inexplicably feel like crying.  But I’m so happy when I eat these – maybe it all evens out.

Tomorrow will be my first attempt at ribs!  I put the spice rub on them tonight, and I will put them in the Nesco Roaster all day tomorrow, and then when I get home from work tomorrow night I’ll make the paleo BBQ sauce to slather over them.  Hopefully they turn out well.

I tried a new recipe last week:  Greek-Style Lamb Meatballs.  These were good, but if I’m going to make lamb meatballs, I’m going to make these:  Ginger & Lemongrass meatballs.  They are AMAZING.  Like you can’t stop eating them.

I also made a tried and true recipe – Heavenly Paleo Meatloaf.  I can’t find the recipe online anymore, but if you want it, leave a message in the comments, and I’ll type it up for you.  Tim and I are both huge fans of this.  We ate the last of it for supper tonight -mashed up with Tim’s homemade sauerkraut and sliced Claussen Spicy Dill pickles.  So tasty.

Oh man, our house smells so good right now.  I wonder how long it will be before we get sensory blogs – where you can *smell* the food people write about?

And with Fall comes more time for reading!  I’m almost done with A Guide to the Good Life:  The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.  This book is so good that I got overdue library fines on it and then went out and bought it anyway.  The book is an explanation of the philosophy of stoicism, and stoicism is not what you think it is.  Stoicism is not about being reserved and controlled, it’s about learning to be happy with what you already have.  It helps you break free from the cycle of consumerism and from constantly chasing your insatiable desires.  Once I finish it, I’m going to re-read it and then make everyone I know read it.

I also just bought a book (for $1.07!) by Margaret Atwood at the used book store.  I ran across an article about her on Lifehacker, and it piqued my interest.  She is friends with Ursula K. Le Guin, who I really like, so I figured I would try her out.  My brainy Facebook friends highly recommend her as well, so I’m excited to start the book.

And despite the shorter days, coolers temps, and copious amounts of food, I’m still trying to stay on top of my fitness regime.  Our biking has definitely slaked off, but we’ve had some nice, long runs.  Our next race is the 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  My bros are doing with us, so I am really looking forward to it. I need to start swimming again too, lest I forget how.  Tim wants to do at least 1 tri next summer, so I need to keep working on my swimming skilz.

And, now it’s time to r e l a x.  Have a great evening.  And go buy A Guide to the Good Life. I command thee!  And read it post haste.

Tastiest Supper Ever and Festmasters and Their Slutty Wives

I made this tried and true Garlic Pulled Pork recipe yesterday in the Nesco Roaster.  As usual, it turned out fantastic, albeit a little on the dry side.  I think I cooked it a little too long, which is what I get for going out for drinks after work.  To moisten it up a bit, Teeeembits had the brilliant idea to mix the pork with his homemade sauerkraut.  Brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  This will definitely be one of the signature dishes when we decide to quit our lame jobs and open up the Sleepy Choo Paleo Palace of Deliciousness.

Perhaps we were inspired by our trek to the Wisconsin Territory for the Lacrosse Oktoberfest last weekend.  Admittedly, the trip got off to a rough start.  We arrived in Lacrosse at about 12:30 or so, checked into the hotel, and tried to figure out where, exactly, the Oktoberfest was.  No where on the website could we find the specific address of the Fest grounds.  We found a map of the grounds and deduced the location from the cross streets.  We then piled our road-weary, starving selves into the Fusion and headed downtown.  Unbeknownst to us, we were hitting downtown right as the parade was ending.  The streets we planned to use to get to the grounds were all blocked for the parade.  The other streets were all full of extremely drunk individuals with no regard for traffic signals or multi-ton vehicles who could squash them into smithereens.  We kept driving around, expecting to see signs directing us to the Fest and/or a parking area.  They were no where to be found!!!  We eventually, after 45 minutes, found a parking area, paid our $5 and finally unfolded our weary limbs in search of beer and brats.  Of course, it began pouring rain.  And we had no umbrellas.  Tim didn’t even have a hat.  We wandered off in the direction of the crowds, only to find more drunk people camped up along side the road.  We didn’t see a “Fest” anywhere!  We decided to just find food in a restaurant somewhere downtown.  Of course, thousands of other people had the same idea.  It was hopeless.  Hungry, cranky, wet, and extremely frustrated, we returned to the car and began the arduous task of winding our way out of the area, trying not to hit any toasted pedestrians.  We finally broke free and headed to the hotel area for food.

We used Yelp to find a good Mexican restaurant, and after some guacamole and margaritas, we were feeling much more sanguine.  We hit up the local Woodmans to stock up on beer and cucumber vodka and then returned to the hotel.  We relaxed in the hot-tub, watched horrible cable, and then worked up the energy to take the shuttle (which started at 4PM) from the hotel back down the the so-called Oktoberfest.

THAT was definitely the better way to experience the Oktoberfest.  The bus dumped us out at the entrance to grounds, and after paying $20 for our buttons, we were soon in line for some tasty local brews, listening to some cheerful Bluegrass music. We supplemented the beer with some brats and potato salad and really started to enjoy the evening.  We wandered over to another area of the Fest grounds, intrigued by the flashing neon promising FRIED CHEESE CURDS.  We got another beer and ate up the delicious, salty curds, while listening to an extremely talented polka band/family.  We were soon joined by a random gentlemen, keen on describing his maltreatment in the other beer tent.  It appears that some of the Festers were not respectful of his age.  We distracted him with cheese curds and questions about cycling (he was wearing his version of “drinking gloves” – bicycling gloves).  He repaid our attentions by introducing Tim to the Festmaster, whose wife bestows Festmaster buttons on to Festers.  He promised Tim that the Festmaster’s wife would slip him the tongue when she gave him a button.  Tim was not interested in the tongue (or so he said), but he WAS interested in meeting Festival royalty, and so he did.  I have pictures to prove it.

All-in-all, it was a really great, fun day – good music, good food, good beer, good people-watching.  And the drive to and from Lacrosse was absolutely beautiful.  We went up 61 on the way there and came home along the Mississippi on the way home.  Both routes were gorgeous.  I would travel to Lacrosse again just for the scenery, but probably not for the Fest.  Now, if they had a vodka or whiskey Fest, I would be there in a heartbeat.

Well, it’s bed time, and I have a long, arduous day tomorrow, so I better sign off.  Hope you have a wonderful evening.  🙂