PORKIN!

Ha – gotchya! This post isn’t about what you thought it was about. You pervert.

One of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a whole hog is that you have tons of pork to eat.  I love pork, but we probably eat too much of it.  We need to widen our horizons as far as meat is concerned, but it’s hard to do when you have 100 pounds of pork chilling in the freezer.

I used a few pounds of it this week in a couple of new recipes:

1.  Beyond the Bite Hawaiian Pork Roast.  This recipe was very easy to make, and the flavor of the roast was delicious!  However, the cabbage got a little overcooked, so its texture and color were a little unappetizing; although, the actual taste of it was good.  Even though the recipe only calls for 3 T of ginger, the whole roast had a really nice ginger tone to it.

2. Easy Glazed Pork Chops.  This introduced me to a new way of cooking pork chops. We usually either grill them or fry them on the stove.  With this recipe, however, you cook them on the stove for 4 minutes on each side and then bake them for 6 minutes.   They end up cooked perfectly!  I would definitely make pork chops this way again, but I would not make the glaze.  Tim HATES vinegar, and this sauce was super vinegary and made the whole house smell like vinegar. I personally liked the flavor, but I won’t subject Tim to the vinegar scent again.

And today is Christmas.  Tim and I are going to head out for a run shortly, and then we’re going to play some cribbage, eat some homemade stew, draw, bake cookies, watch some Lord of the Rings, and crochet some slippers.  Sounds like a perfect Thursday in my opinion!

Oh!  And one more thing to note.  Some friends of mine and I decided to do another Primal Challenge in January. It’s kind of become a tradition at this point. I originally started the primal diet 3 years ago in January, and for the past 2 years, I have re-done the challenge to help myself get back on track and to help introduce some friends to the diet.  This year we are making it a little more official. I set up a Facebook Group here for us to communicate and encourage each other.  We are doing it 1/11 to 1/31.  If you are interested in joining up, hit me up on Facebook. I’m excited to see how it goes (and I’m excited to have a strong excuse to turn down delicious (but super unhealthy) treats at work!).

I hope you are enjoying your day off and can get outside and revel in the cold sunshine.  Thanks for reading!!

 

Swedish meatballs, yoga pants, and crocheted slippers.

Chris Kresser links to the best recipes!  I found this recipe for Paleo Swedish Meatballs last weekend in one of his posts.  Holy cow.  These turned out sooooo delicious!  They were a lot of work for a weeknight meal, as you need to cook the meatballs in batches on the stove top until they are all done.  But they are so worth the effort.  Here are a couple of notes – I used a 2 inch scoop for the first batch of meatballs, and I had a really hard time turning them without them falling apart. I scaled down to a 1.5″ scoop after that, and those meatballs were much easier to handle, and they cooked much more evenly.  Also, I was 85% sure that the “gravy” would not turn into gravy.  It was super runny all the way up until I added the 3rd tablespoon of tapioca starch. Then, magically, it started to firm up to gravy consistency.  So rich and tasty.

For a side dish I made roasted brussel sprouts because I found some local ones at The Food Hub for 2.99/lb.  I used this recipe as a guide; however, instead of making the glaze, we poured the gravy over the cooked sprouts.  I have to say, we were not super happy with how these turned out.  They were very dry (maybe I didn’t add enough oil?).  So, when we stored the leftovers, we mixed the sprouts and the meatballs and gravy together. The sprouts marinated in that rich gravy overnight and were super moist and tasty when re-heated.

I also tried this recipe last week: Crockpot Ropa Viega with Cuban Style Rice.  This turned out OK.  Tim and I both thought the dish was a little over-spiced, and the meat didn’t turn out as tender as I hoped.  Tim ate the leftovers with white rice, however, which cut down the spice level a bit, and he said that was really good. However, this recipe did provide us with supper and enough leftovers for two more meals.

So on to my next piece of news.  For our anniversary Tim got me an amazing pair of yoga capri leggings from Onzie.  I wore them to an hour and 15 minute yoga class, and they kept me very cool (the fabric is really thin). I also wore them running, and they were very comfortable.  He got me the Prizm print.  It a cacophony of patterns, and it gives you something really interesting to look at while in downward dog. I don’t know if yoga pants are the proper dristi for yoga, but looking at them made me happy, so I think Yoga would approve.

I start my yoga teacher training class on 1/9, and I feel as if I really need at least one more pair of yoga pants for the class. Unfortunately the prints I really love at Onzie are all sold out of my size.  I’m going to keep my eye on it though.

And finally, the last topic of my post.  Ever since we were little, my mom has made us awesome crocheted slippers (the slippers are courtesy of Mom – the hair is courtesy of Lucent):

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Mom has shown me a couple of times how to make them, but once she is not next to me, I forget how.  So I found this YouTube video on granny squares (the slippers are basically 3 small granny squares stitched into one big granny square).  With his help and a few texts back and forth to Mom, I was able to successfully make all the pieces for a pair of slippers:

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And this is currently where I am stuck. Over the phone, Mom walked me through how to stitch the pieces together, but my first attempt ended very poorly. I was distracted by David Bowie’s hair and other things in The Labyrinth and didn’t have the pieces lined up well enough, so they didn’t connect where they should connect.  I’m going to try it one more time, and if that doesn’t work, make Mammacita sew them together for me. 🙂

So that’s my week in a nutshell.  Hope you are having a great Sunday and can get out and enjoy this 40 degree day.  Take some Vitamin D and eat some salmon, and you won’t even miss the sun!

 

How to get fat on the Paleo Diet

I’ve been paleo/primal for 3 years now. I initially lost 18 lbs when I started the paleo diet, and I’ve kept it off for the past 3 years.  I’ll gain a pound or two when I start to loosen up the diet too much, but as soon as I tighten it up, my weight goes back down to my “equilibrium” weight, which is right around 131 pounds.

What are the culprits of the subtle pound creepage?  For me, it’s beer (1 beer = 1 lb), cheese, paleo snacks (Nut Thin crackers and sweet potato chips) and too many paleo baked goods.  The beer and cheese obviously will cause issues, but I think the paleo snacks and baked goods are more insidious. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that since they are “paleo-ish” they are OK to eat.  Well, and I honestly think they are OK in moderation.  It’s just that for me, I have problems with self control.  If I buy a bag of Terra sweet potato chips. I will eat them all over a couple of days – not happy until they are gone.  Same thing with paleo baked goods – when you make a batch of them, you have at least 12 treats hanging around.  12/2 = 6 treats for Tim and 6 treats for me that just HAVE to be eaten over  the course of 2-3 days.  DANGEROUS.

But we had company yesterday, so I used that as an excuse to make these Paleo Pumpkin and Carrot Muffins.  They are kind of a lot of work – the recipe prints out on 3 pages!  However, they are definitely worth it.  They taste like delicious pumpkin pie.  Two notes, however – I had to cook mine 10 minutes longer than the recipe said. I had so much batter that I had to fill the muffin cups 100% instead of 3/4, so I’m sure that’s why they took longer to cook.  Also, I could not find Five Spice Powder anywhere here in Davenport.  So I used a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and added some turmeric and cayenne pepper. I didn’t even taste the turmeric (but we got all those anitoxidants), but you can taste the cayenne at the back of your throat as the bite goes down the gullet. It adds some interesting dimension to the muffins.

I made another Nomnompaleo recipe yesterday:  Oven-Braised Beef Stew with Carrot, Parsnip, and Lacinato Kale.  This recipe is a tremendous amount of work – you have to cut tons of veggies and then you have to sauté everything separately before adding it to the dutch oven for roasting.  The stew turned out super delicious, however, so it’s totally worth it.

And lastly, to the detriment of my waistline, I tried out this Paleo Pancakes recipe this morning.  I’ve never had great success with paleo pancakes. They are always too thick to cook properly.  Making them is an exercise is frustration.  But sometimes you just want a pancake with lots of butter and maple syrup.  So you keep trying and hoping.  Well, Chris Kresser linked to this recipe a few weeks ago, and I’m so glad he did.  These are by far the best paleo pancakes I’ve ever had. Tim even said you can’t tell they are paleo!  They are just good pancakes – not just good “paleo” pancakes.  This was my first attempt at using plantains, and based on these pancakes, I look forward to adding more of this safe starch to my diet.

I’m excited to have found some new recipes to add to my repertoire, but now I have a fridge full of honey-sweetened muffins and delicious pancakes.  It’s dangerous.  I better do some heavy aerobic exercise to burn off all these carbs today.

Hope you are having a great weekend!