Makin Bacon

It’s Memorial Day, which calls for something special on the breakfast table in the Longoria household. Typically breakfast consists of steel cut oats for Tim and eggs and veggies for me.  But today we had PANCAKES! and JALAPENO BACON!

I’ve tried at least 5 paleo pancake recipes and have yet to fall in love with any of them.  They always get burnt on the outside and mushy on the inside.  The flavor is usually OK, but the presentation is absolutely horrid.  Today’s venture was no different. I tried these protein pancakes from paleomg.com.  I didn’t have the protein powder she recommended, so I used our Trader Joe’s hemp protein powder.  Which is dark green.  Yep – I made dark green pancakes for breakfast.  They were actually pretty tasty. I still had the same issue with them not cooking right, but I think that’s more my fault than the recipe’s fault.

We also tried some new bacon from HyVee (we were forced to because they were out of our normal bacon).  It’s jalapeno bacon!  Since my stove top was full of pans of pancakes and scramby eggs, I decided to try the whole baking bacon thing again.  We tried it once, and the bacon didn’t get crispy, but I keep hearing people say how awesome it is, so I figured I would give it another go. I followed the instructions here.  It turned out PERFECT and oh so easy.  You put the bacon on a foil-lined sheet and cook it for 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  It turned out crispy, delicious, and very jalapenoey.  If you take a look at my Instagram feed to the right, you can see a pic of the bacon and pancakes.

And now breakfast is done, Tim is doing the dishes, and I’m trying to figure out what all from the list of things I want to get done today I can actually do:  put down mulch, plant garlic and dill, clean the house, do the laundry, plan meals & go grocery shopping, do a 3 mile run, work on a watercolor painting for the bedroom, watch some of the Criterium, update the checkbook, take a bath, lay in the sun, and I’m sure I am forgetting something.  I need every weekend to be a 3-day weekend!!

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.

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!