Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In the land of Firsts.

It's Wednesday, I have a paper due by 5:00 this afternoon, obviously this is the ample time to blog :)
 It's been a great week so far, consisting of a simple menu. A menu we conjured up Sunday night, in the car, on the way back from Auburn. Whole foods is on our way home and gas is expensive (remember it's a 45 min. drive one way for us) I just wish we had thought about that earlier, so I could have been a little more prepared. We spent the weekend in the woods, talking to turkey. Sadly, the turkey did not find our calling attractive enough to find us (in all reality, the south Alabama hunting was just really bad, turkeys aren't fans of fog & it was really foggy) Anyway, it was our first weekend away from our Paleo friendly kitchen and we had to get creative. Auburn has a grocery store called Earth Fare, which we had high hopes for, high hopes that were quickly muddled. In the past, Earth Fare served breakfast, lunch and dinner (much like whole foods) which was perfect for us, or so we thought. Apparently, they no longer serve breakfast and the meat we bought for lunch was tougher than the cheapest, driest meat you could buy at Wally World. It was such a disappointment.
After set back one, we decided we could do breakfast at a local deli where we could get batter free omelets (if you ever order an omelet, make sure to ask if they add any kind of batter to them. Pancake batter is added to most eggs to make them light, fluffy and look bigger) They had the perfect Paleo type (not everything was organic, but it was the better choice) options.  We both ordered a meat omelet, no cheese, no sour cream and add bacon. All was well, until we got our food and realized it was sopping in cheese (wonderful, delicious, pepper-jack cheese at that). Our waitress was awesome and took them back to fix it. The kitchen in this deli is an open air type, so we could hear everything. The cooks proceeded to loudly say "what do you mean, no cheese? These are omelets. Omelets have cheese, who are these people?" Wow.... Our wonderful waitress fired back with, "who cares how you normally make them, they don't want cheese, I wrote down no cheese, so you are going to make a new one, with NO cheese."  (I think this is how you get your food spit in) We eventually got our cheese free meal and I apologized to the girl a million more times (Not sure why, we didn't do anything wrong.) I guess she knew we heard everything and told us, the meal was on the house due to all the hassle.  As we sat there, eating our free, cheese free eggs, we realized this is going to happen again. We are too busy, and travel too much to realistically eat every meal at home. We have eaten at a steakhouse or two, where we got the funny looks when we asked them not to bring the bread, hold the cheese and croutons on the salad (with the oil and vinegar dressing) and ask for no butter on anything. But the deli was our first time having to deal with going against the American norm.  We made it through the first ordeal and nobody ended up disgruntled, but we also learned to be aware of what we eat when we are not the ones making it, be prepared for frustrations and stand your ground. You are a paying customer and if you want no batter and no cheese, you should get no batter and no cheese, regardless of your reasonings for asking for it that way. But while on the eating out topic, it is possible to make smart Paleo type decisions while away from home. Did you know that Moe's (tex-mex, not the BBQ) uses all grass fed meat and organic veggies? Yep, they do! And when you order a Moe's salad they even ask shell, or no shell? You can get a lettuce bowl filled with meats and mexican type toppings and stick to stricter Paleo in there! It can be done!
 After our little cheese debacle, I wanted to know more about why I needed to avoid dairy. There is so much literature out there on why dairy (more specific, lactose) is bad to consume after 2 years old. More people than not have a lactose sensitivity, even if it's not life altering. Think about it though, ever been bloated, gassy, cramped, constipated or nauseous after a meal? Did it have dairy? I would be willing to bet yes. We are the only mammals that drink other mammals milk. Digest that for a second. (animals eat other animals, but they do not drink their milk)
Dairy also causes a high insulin spike, has a high carb count and includes anything the cow was fed or injected with (hormones and antibiotics) If you want to read more into the anti dairy realm, here are two websites I found.
This is my Favorite, easiest to understand article. (click the link)

This website titled has way too many articles to read them all, and you can't believe everything you read online, but it can get you thinking. I like to see references and studies done to back up the reports and some of these articles have some credible sources. For this website Click Here

In the Martin house, we drink Almond milk (or as many call it "almond juice") I also really enjoy the chocolate flavor when I'm craving something sweet. We started out with the original, but I just bought the unsweetened one as we are trying to eliminate sugar. Drinking your calories is not ideal but, once again, this is the better alternative.

As far as a recipe with this post, we had wonderful kabobs Monday night. We used wild caught shrimp, (Whole foods had it on sale last friday!) peppers, tomatoes, red onion and zucchini. Threw it all on a stick (after soaking them in water) and grilled them to perfection. Easy, peasy! Speaking of shrimp though, am I the only one who just cannot eat them unless they are de-veined? Perry did not believe me when I told him what that little "vein" really was, but after googling it and finding words like "poop chute" "hershey track" and "doody vein" we took the time to de-vein our shrimp before we cooked them! :)

 If you have a quick minuet, give This article a read. It has nothing to do with today's post, but I found it this morning and could not agree more. Paleo women are PHAT!

Enjoy the rest of the week & remember....
You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Hump Day!!!

 Well, it's the Wednesday of my Spring break and naturally I have spent the week studying for comps, working on the numerous group projects I have due soon and last night we took on the yard, I miss the days when spring break meant "forget everything school related for the week." Getting older is not near as fun as I had pictured it to be. Speaking of getting older and gaining responsibilities, apparently when you buy a house, you have to keep the yard pretty, and keeping the yard pretty is one of those responsibilities I would like to give back. Perry promises one day when we win the lottery (the lottery we don't have in the state of Alabama) we will have a yard crew, either that or astro turf. So, we turned yesterday's WOD (CrossFit Lingo for Work Out Of the Day) into "get the ugly running juniper that had taken over the front yard out of there" for time. O.MY.GOSH. that stuff is indestructible and we ran out of daylight. Apparently we get to continue the fun for the next few afternoons, then we have to somehow get grass to grow and pray that the retaining wall stays put.... I woke up this morning and felt like I had done 500 pull-ups, yard work is no joke. Unfortunately, after all that exhausting work we had to come in and make dinner, which was our first epic fail meal. The deer burgers fell apart & our blender did not puree the sauce like I needed. It just didn't work like I thought. Ugh... On the positive side, my food processor was ordered yesterday and I can not wait for it to arrive! If only I had done a crock pot dinner last night, I seriously don't know what I would do without my crock pot. It needed some love, so it is working away making our dinner for tonight!
On Monday we had a Texas Hash that turned out really well. It has eggs in it, so my thinking is that if you added 1-2 more eggs than we used, it would have more of a breakfasty (yes, another made up word) flavor and could be made on Sunday night, divided into little portions and heated up each morning! Once again, this recipe was not pretty and obviously my photo taking skills (or the fact that I am using a point & shoot camera) do not make it look any better. But, who cares what it looks like, as long as it tastes good, right?
We used ground deer for our hash, I know not everyone has a downstairs freezer filled to the brim with deer meat so you can substitute any ground beef!

Texas Hash Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
2 sweet potatoes, shredded
1 onion, diced
6 eggs, whisked & seasoned with garlic & pepper before adding them to the casserole
2 garlic cloves, minced
6oz. can of green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other kind of fat, like bacon grease)
14 oz. organic enchilada sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper to taste.
(I never actually measure my spices, I just sprinkle them on until I think it looks/smells pretty - so feel free to add more!)

You need to use an oven proof skillet for this (I used a calaphon oven safe saute pan because my cast iron skillet was not big enough)

1) Preheat the oven to 450 - shred your potatoes and dice your onion and garlic.

2) Place your skillet over med/high heat and add your fat. When the fat has melted, add the onion and garlic.

3) When the onion begins to soften, add the beef and spice away. (make sure to break up the beef as it browns. I love my handy Pampered Chef mix and stir for stuff like this)

4) Add some more spices :)

5) Pour the shredded sweet potatoes on top of the meat and pat down.

6) Pour Enchilada sauce on top

7) Cover & let simmer for 8-10 min.

8) When sweet potatoes begin to soften, remove from heat and add the whisked eggs. Stir it all together.

9) Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 min.

Be careful when taking the pan out of the oven & cutting your portion. I always put a pot holder over the handle so I don't accidentally grab the 450 degree handle and hate my life. Trust me on this one, those blisters hurt.....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recipe of the week...

Afternoon Everyone!
 First of all, I was SO surprised at how much feedback I received after my first post, now that I know there are more than just a handful of people reading this, I'll have a little more motivation and maybe I can make a difference in someone else's health also!
 Well, we are a whopping 4 days in, but so far it hasn't been bad and I feel great. This was (and will continue to be) a crazy week, but neither of us have "cheated"yet, that will come Saturday as I celebrate being another year older.
 I am a big advocate for a slow cooker. My Crock Pot is one of my favorite kitchen pieces, so naturally the first recipe I picked to post from this week slow cooked all day yesterday and made an amazing dinner before we headed out for our kickball game (yes, you read that right)
 Paleo Recipe number 1 is.....

Stuffed Pork Chops

2 large pork chops (100% grass-fed of course)
4 strips of bacon - cut into 1 inch pieces
1 granny smith apple - peeled & cut into large chunks
2 cloves of garlic - diced
1/2 of a large onion (or 1 small onion) sliced
lemon (optional)
spice of choice - I used paprika & pepper

You will also need toothpicks

1) Slice deep pockets into the SIDE of each pork chop (make sure you don't cut through to the side of back - you need a good, sharp knife to make this easy!)

2) Fry the bacon to almost done. Add the diced apple, garlic & spice of choice to the bacon & stir well. (You want the apple to absorb the bacon grease) When bacon is done remove the pan from the heat.

3) Spoon the stuffing into a separate bowl (leaving as much grease as possible in the pan)

4) Toss the onions in the left over bacon grease (no heat, just tossing) & I seasoned them with a little bit of Italian seasoning & pepper

5) Stuff the pork chops with as much stuffing as you can fit in them. Use the toothpicks to seal the opening.

6 )Cover the bottom of the crock pot with half of the raw onions, place the pork chops - stuffing side up - on top of the onions, then finish it off by topping the meat with the rest of the onions & any left over stuffing. (Side note - the apples taste amazing. You have to try at least 1!)

7) Cook on low for 6-7 hours. When done, zest with lemon if desired.

I'm still new to this whole blogging idea, and I forgot to take a picture of the final product. It was just so delicious we got all excited and dug right in :) 
I made balsamic acorn squash chips as our side dish, they were DELISH! Kind of ugly (of course I forgot to take a picture) but tasted great! I will post that recipe soon!

These past few days have been filled with lots of googling and research on "can I eat ___?" We have learned a lot, and still have a lot of road to cover, but so far, so good! The meals have been awesome and it hasn't been too hard to avoid the no no's, let's just hope it stays that way! 
Hope everyone has a great weekend and a fun & safe St. Patrick's Day!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Start of Something Good!

Welcome to my new obsession and a step into our crazy, busy, ever changing world~
 Since that December afternoon in 2010, when Perry & I joined CrossFit on the Plains, deep down, we knew this day was the inevitable. We have decided to further our lifestyle change; we have made the decision to go Paleo.
 For those that do not know what the Paleolithic lifestyle consists of, think caveman. No refined sugar, no dairy, grains or legumes (a peanut is a legume) nothing FAKE! This is a meat and veggies kind of life! 
 We work so hard with our WOD (Work out of the day) not to replenish our bodies with the fuel it needs. For years now, I have always tried to cook on the healthier side (struggling with delicious deserts) but.... there is still much room for improvement. Some of that improvement will come in the form of eating CLEAN. Do you know how much junk is in the meat, vegetables and fruit you buy at the local supermarket? You may have seen the rage lately about the “pink slime” in McDonalds (ewe!) burgers, but take that fakeness (yes, I made that a new word) and pertain it in some way, to everything you ingest. YUCK!
 So, why blog about it you ask? Well, I have a couple reasons for an added box on my checklist. The first being the sense of accountability, even if I only have 1 or 2 readers, somewhere in my mind, this blog will keep me going and deter me from the Oh, so delicious cupcakes. The cupcakes deliciousness that I am well aware will be my downfall. It’s almost like a, No turning back now, we made it public!! My second reason involves our friends who have already, and are either considering or planning on going Paleo. Of all of these friends, not one of them has the time to turn their kitchen into a Paleo lab and construct Paleo meals that suite our “real life” taste. Nor do they have time (or the desire) to have to cipher through all the hundreds and hundreds of websites with recipes and tips plastered all over the web. So, this blog can act as a central location, where we can all compile beneficial articles and I will attempt to post at least 1 good (kitchen tested) recipe a week!
 With all of that being said, if you have stumbled upon this blog and are one of those people who make fun (AKA can’t handle the heat) of CrossFit, or you are a PETA follower, I suggest you leave quickly and never look back, you will be offended by every single one of my posts. We workout hard, we hunt, and we eat meat, lots and lots of meat.
 If you are still reading, and know this lifestyle is for you, it’s time for step one. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Find your closest Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Trader Joes, or farmers market and start all over. We did this yesterday; we bought the staple necessities and will add to our stash each week. Buy clean, fresh meats and organic fruits and vegetables. Start with some coconut oil, coconut flour and almond flour. Remember nothing fake, no sugar, no regular flour, no gluten or wheat, no sweeteners (to start with) and no dairy (cheese is in a lot of the fresh, premade meat patties and goodies you find at the meat counter, so make sure you read the ingredients first!!)
 Yes, this shopping list will equal a higher grocery bill, hence our “replenish the stash weekly,” but, I am determined to do this on a budget. Whole Foods does accept manufacture coupons & puts out a newsletter containing their own. They also have weekly sales and specials on meats etc.  Given our quaint, small town, we are limited with our grocery shopping to the Whole Foods that is about 40 minuets away or being extra picky with the Greenwise line available at Publix. I have full intentions on shopping the sales and will let everyone know when a steal is available at one of those 2 stores.
 As you read my posts, please keep in mind, I am NOT a writer. My Paulding County education only got me so far before I struggled with grammatical mechanics at Auburn and now in Graduate school.
 If you know of any helpful tips, websites or recipes, PLEASE share them! We can make this a group effort and do this together! We will think of this as a lifestyle change, not a diet! We are already one step closer to healthier, happier, better operating bodies! :)