Sunday Recap

Wow. What a week.  I thought the week before last was busy, but this week put it to shame.  First of all, an update on the topics discussed last week:

  • Meals
    • I DID make the Crockpot Coffee Ancho Chile Short Ribs.  I think they turned out fine, but I wasn’t blown away by them, which was really too bad because Tim has been knocked out by a severe stomach issue for the past 7-10 days, so I had to eat all 4 pounds of this by myself.  It was tasty at first, but after about the 5th meal of ribs and sauerkraut (which Tim made and which turned out SUPER awesome), I was very much over it.
    • I made Heavenly Paleo Meatloaf, leaving out the onions, red pepper, and cayenne to protect Teeeeeeem’s tummy.  It still turned out really good.  It seemed to sit well with Tim, too, who got all creative and made meatloaf and sauerkraut soup with some homemade chicken broth (recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman).  The meatloaf recipe can no longer be found online, but if you want a copy, let me know in the comments.
    • Paleo Fudgy Brownies.  A large portion of my favorite recipes are from Health-Bent; however, this one did not turn out well for me.  I baked the brownies for 18 minutes as indicated in the recipe.  They still looked very under-done when I took them out, but I didn’t take the time to really test them.  I waited for them to cool and realized that they were still completely doughy in the middle.  I refrigerated them and was then able to scoop out bars and microwave them for about a minute (they burn something fierce if you microwave them for 2 minutes, fyi).  They get a little more cooked that way.  The flavor is pretty good – but very nutty.  These won’t stay in my dessert rotation, especially since they call for 1 cup of almond butter.  These are some EXPENSIVE brownies.  In fact, after failing this recipe, I went through my recipe binder and tore out all the recipes calling for full cups of nut butter.  I’m trying to be more thrifty with my cooking.  More on that in a later blog post.
    • I didn’t get around to making the Cowboy Breakfast Skillet, but that’s on the docket for this week.  Since I’m trying to be more frugal, I didn’t plan many official meals this week; we are just going to scrounge around and eat what’s here.  That means we’ll have a lot of scrambles, stir fries, and tomato soup.  If I can get our monthly food spend below $700, I’ll be happy!

And to tie up some more loose ends from last week:

  • My water kefir turned out!!!  YAY!!!  I’m so excited.  I did a double ferment which means I fermented the water for 2 days, then transferred it to a flip-top bottle, added 1/4 cup of organic cherry juice, and let it sit for 6 days.  When I opened it up on Thursday, it shot carbonated water 6 inches into the air! Out came fizzy pink, delicious water kefir.  The flavor was great.  The only disappointment is that the kefir didn’t stay very carbonated after I transferred it to a regular mason jar.  Maybe I have to keep it in the flip-top bottle for it to stay carbonated.  I need to get some more of those bottles.  The single-fermented water kefir is way too sweet for me, so I’m going to have to double ferment everything.  I’m so excited that this turned out.
  • Yoga – We didn’t go on Monday, but we did make it on Wednesday.  There was a different teacher this time, and instead of telling you exactly what to do, she allowed you to make it “your workout.”  That meant that she described several variations of what you could be doing at any point in time.  It was very confusing to me.  I just want to be told to do one thing, so I can look at the teacher or the other students and figure out exactly what I should be doing.  We are trying a different class with a different teacher on Tuesday to see if we can find something more our style.
  • Swimming – We actually made it to the pool yesterday!  We went to the Y at 9AM, and had no trouble finding a lane.  The water was tortuously cold though!
  • CBRC Chili Chase – The 4 mile run last Sunday was an adventure!  The sun was out, but the temp was only about 20 degrees.  The course was damn hilly too!  The finish line is at the TOP of a hill, which is just so painful and cruel. I probably would have stopped and walked if there wouldn’t have been so many people watching the finish line.  As it was, out of 123 female runners, I came in 39th, which means I got a free CBRC coffee mug! It’s the first time I’ve won any award for a race, so that kind of made up for being extremely cold while simultaneously hot and sweaty and generally miserable.   This was our first CBRC run, and it was actually, all told, a really fun time.  The crowd was in good spirits, very supportive, and they gave us beer afterwards.  🙂

So there’s my update!  This week looks to be another busy week – yoga on Tuesday, drinks with coworkers on Wednesday, Wine & Art at the Figge on Thursday with my Mammacita, and then a trip to Monticello to visit the folks.  HOW do people regularly exercise and/or take exercise classes in the evening??  It seems impossible to get anything else done (like making supper).  I can’t wait until the weather warms up so I can start running in the AM again.  It makes me feel so much better all day, and then my evening is free.

Wow, this is kind of a long post.  Maybe I should start writing more than once/week.

I want to thank the new subscribers to my blog – thank you for reading!  I’m used to my blog only being read by my Mom, husband, best friend, and occasionally one or two of my brothers.  While I’m sure they are always RIVETED by the content, I realize they are bound by love and duty to read this; whereas, you are not.  So thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the posts and find them useful.

Have a great week!

The Comfort of Home

Well, I’m back.  I can’t say, “and better than ever.”  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, or actually a crazy month, here in the Longoria household.  We returned from a monster road trip to AZ on January 2nd, finally got all settled in and reacclimated, only to head back out to AZ on January 11th.  We got a call on the 9th that Tim’s mom passed away unexpectedly, so we went down for a week to be with Tim’s brothers and their families and to help with all the arrangements.  We flew back home on the 17th.  We spent the weekend unpacking, cleaning up, spending time with my parents, and getting prepared for really going back to work.

The first week back to “normal” was anything but relaxing.  I caught up on the 3 programming classes I missed whilst in AZ, only to discover that I was in WAY over my head.  The first homework assignment almost had me in tears.  I’m not usually super emotional, but a week away from home handling stressful business had worn away my protective layer.  So I ended up dropping the class, which was hard on my ego and pocketbook, but relieving to my shoulders and mental state.  I also discovered I completed my benefits form incorrectly, so I have to spend $1500 on vision and dental in 2014.  I think I’m going to get all 4 front teeth capped with gold.  Or maybe I’ll get lasik.  Who knows??  Anyway, it was a stressful week.

But today starts a new week, and I have faith it’s going to be a good week.  It culminates in my birthday, so how could it be bad??  I’m trying to figure out what to do for my birthday.  I get a day off for it, and I’m trying to decide if I want to spend it with people or spend it just doing whatever the heck I want to do for a whole day.  The latter would probably mean watching Pride & Prejudice for the 33rd time, eating a pan of paleo cupcakes, and trying to resist the urge to get my nails shellaced and my hair dyed red.  I’m *trying* to be more fiscally responsible.  I guess I have 4 days to figure it all out.

In the vein of getting back to normal, we did a lot of grocery shopping this weekend, so we are fully stocked with healthy food.  The past month has been hell on my digestion (and energy), so I’m looking forward to getting back on track.

I tried a new recipe yesterday – Beef Stew.  I tried this recipe.  Wow.  That really says it all.  This turned out SO fantastic.  I followed the recipe except for I subbed a large sweet potato for the turnips, I used dried thyme instead of fresh, and I used button mushrooms instead of cremini.  Nom Nom wasn’t lying when she said this recipe is a lot of work. I swear I was chopping and sauteeing for 2 hours yesterday!  But the result was fabulous.  The sweet potatoes disappeared into the sauce, making it sweet, and the meat was ever so tender.  This recipe is  definitely a keeper.

It being winter, and me missing the AZ sun and all, led me to crave pancakes today. I have yet to find a paleo pancake recipe that I love, so I searched around and found this one.  The flavor was excellent!  Like all paleo pancakes, I struggled with getting the inside cooked while not burning the outside.  I powered through though, and we ended up with edible, tasty cakes.  I might experiment with baking them next time.  I just get so pissed when they won’t flip.  Dammit.

I tried a couple of new recipes last week too but didn’t get around to writing about them.

Crispy Coconut Kale:  I absolutely love coconut milk.  I love to put it in my coffee, but often I will open a can to use in coffee and not use most of it before it congeals and goes bad. This time I was smart and found a couple of recipes that use coconut milk before I cracked the can open.  This recipe turned out amazingly delicious.  I will definitely make this again.  I used the rest of the coconut milk in these cupcakes, which Tim and I ate up in 2 days.  That’s why I REALLY want a paleo bakery in Dport.  I want to spend $3.00 to get ONE cupcake instead of spending $3.00 to make 12 paleo cupcakes and then eating them all.  I can’t be the only one.  If no one else is going to do this, I’m going to have to quit my job and launch HloDeCello’s Paleo Bakery!  So help me!

Silky-Smooth Chicken Liver Pate:  Hmm.  I do like the taste of liver.  I do.  But pates just go so much better with something crunchy.  I tried to eat this with carrots, and it just wasn’t that fantastic.  I made almost 2 pounds of it, so I need to figure out a good way to eat it.  Tim had the brilliant idea of making hardboiled eggs and mixing the pate with the yolks for the centers.  I may just try that.  This pate had a whole stick of grassfed butter in it, so I  HAVE to use it.  Plus it created a ton of disgusting dishes that Tim bravely washed for me.  Oxidized chicken liver is pretty hideous.

This week I kind of lazed out and didn’t plan any meals.  I did make a list of all the food in the fridge and freezer, however, so at least we can quickly plan a meal with a quick glance. I see lots of sauteed veggies and scrambles in our future.  But that’s alright.  I’m just so glad to be home and eating our own food again.  I’m sick of eating out.  At least for awhile.

I hope your 2014 is off to a better start than ours!  Take care, and I’ll write again soon.

The Week in Recipes

We had some more great meals this week.    I rehashed some old favorites – Asian Pork Meatballs with Dipping Sauce, Sweet Potato Salad, Grilled Eggs with Mexican Chorizo.  They were all absolutely delicious.  I also tried two new recipes:

Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread – This bread was super tasty.  I used 3/4 cup of almond butter, with a little smidge of macademia nut butter, since I didn’t have any sunbutter.  The title says it all – it was super moist and nice and chocolately.  I think you could even use less honey, and it would still taste great.

Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri Sauce – I used New York Strip steaks for this recipe (the recipe calls for “cowboy steaks.”  I have no idea what that is!!).  I used a fresh parsley and oregano from my garden, and the chimichurri sauce turned out delicious.  We don’t have high -quality olive oil in the house right now (just using the HyVee brand), but the sauce still turned out great.  Make this recipe!  You won’t be sorry!

And that was our week in food.  Now I need to jet to go by groceries for this week.  I think I’m going to try my hand at beet chips.  Wish me luck!

Week 4 of Meal Planning

So….here is another week of meals!

Leftover Sweet Potato Fries – As I mentioned in my last post, Tim added some tomatoes to the leftover chili, to help cut the spices.  While the chili tasted super good, it did NOT agree with the hlo belly!  My digestion was a little effed for like 3 days.  Evidently I cannot handle multiple tablespoons of hot spices in my food.  Lesson learned.

Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks with Turnip and Rutabega Fries (pg 159 of Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals) – These drumsticks were AWESOME!!  They were super easy, and they tasted like teriyaki chicken.  My only regret is that I bought a package of 5 drumsticks.  Next time I will buy a pack of 8 at least, so we’ll have some of these for leftovers.  Mark Sisson has the BEST recipes.  He puts a lot of pictures in his recipes, which is great for showing you how the food should look, but not so great for printing out a nice, concise recipe.  But I’ll take them however he wants to present them.  The fries were good too, I thought.  You basically cut the turnips and rutabegas into fry shape, microwave them for 8 minutes, and then bake them until they get crispy.  I chopped them up and sauteed them with other veggies for breakfast the next morning.  Super tasty.

Best Ever Chicken Wings -I’m not sure if I can agree with the name.  I mean, these were good, but they are not the “best ever.”  I think it boils down to, I just don’t really like sesame oil.  These were good, and we ate them all, but next time I might try to use a different oil.

Beef Brats – I picked up beef brats from Geest Farms at the Farmers Market weekend before last.  These were SUPER TASTY.  Would definitely buy, cook, and eat them again.

Another week of Paleo meals

We didn’t do quite as well on our week of meal planning this week.  On Sunday we neglected to go to the store, which got us off kilter for the whole week.  We learned our lesson this week, however, and went to both HyVee AND Target on Sunday, despite shopping the whole day in Iowa City and Tanger.  We really didn’t feel like going out again once we got home, but I knew if we didn’t we would regret it!

I also hit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and got lots of tasty stuff – chicken wings and thighs, ground pork, beef brats, a big, fat watermelon, peppers, and zucchini.  All of it is or will be delicious.

Despite our poor planning, we did make a few good meals this week.

Sweet Potato Chili Fries – I tweaked this recipe a little because the amount of spicy seasonings for the amount of meat seemed a little crazy to me.  I used a full pound of meat, and the chili was still as spicy as hell!  It still tasted good over the sweet potato fries, but it was intense.  We had the leftovers tonight.  Tim added a 28 ounce can of tomatoes to thin it out, and it was still spicy!  I didn’t feel like going to the work of making fries, so we just baked the sweet potatoes in the roaster oven, mashed them, poured the chili over them, and then garnished it with avocado.  I ate a HUGE bowl – my excuse being all I had for lunch was a wimpy lettuce wrap from Jimmy Johns.  Plus I’m in training for this week’s 5K!  Oh, by the way, I got a PR in the mile on Sunday – 8 minutes, 29 seconds!  My legs hurt like a mother today, but it was totally worth it.

Spicy Bison and Sausage Meat Muffins – This recipe made little, tiny meat loaves in the shape of muffins.  Tim really liked them.  I thought they tasted good, but they hurt my stomach for some reason.  I’m not a fan of garlic powder; I prefer to use fresh garlic.  Also, a meal that makes 2.5 pounds of meat for us is a little much.  If I were to make this recipe again, I think I would cut it in half and use fresh garlic.

And….that’s pretty much it for the week!  I told you – we slacked off this week.  BUT!  BUT!  We have tons of tasty recipes on tap for this week – lots of chicken, actually.  I’ll circle back with you all next week and let you know how they turned out.  I bought a new mandoline from Amazon, and I’m going to make beet chips.  I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!