Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Fried Beef Taco Nuggets

What happens when you're 2 hours late for your scheduled feeding time? You go home and crushhhhh Tyrell's parsnip chips and super seed butter. Yup. That's happening as. we. speak.

I've decided that I'm more bear-like than sloth-like. I'm not AS lazy as I used to be, though still pretty lazy as we'll see later on in this post. But now I'm more like a bear. A bear in a zoo if zoo bears had to hunt for their food. A bear in a wildlife park. There. Perfect. How? Well I wake up, hunt for my food (crossfit), go home, eat a HUGE meal, and then 90% of the time after that I'll pass out aka hibernate. I also have scheduled feeding times, which is where the zoo bear part comes in. Does this make sense? Probably not. Point is, I eat lunch at like 12:30-1pm every day. Today, however, I was running errands - read: shopping. I needed a wallet and a bag big enough to hold school books because I'm sick of fishing out a billion cards from my change purse and because induction day for my masters is tomorrow. WHAaah I know. I'm scared. Anyway, that shopping experience took 40 stores and like 5 hours. Gross exaggeration, but whatevs. I'm also incredibly stubborn about eating out at places when I have perfectly good food at home. Spend money on bags, not lunch. Clearly I need to get my priorities straight. But this is technically my last day of freedom so I went a little buck-wild.

Y'all, I'm a genius for this recipe. An accidental, lazy genius. But a genius, nonetheless. I've been thinking a lot recently about how I make paleo work in my life in the hopes that I can advise people how to make paleo work for their lives as well (financially and with regards to time). One of my best kept secrets is eating a shit-ton of leftovers. But leftovers get boring. As a paleo eater you have to constantly be on your toes. Not as an oly lifter though. Especially not for squats. I'm totally lying to you, by the way. This recipe did not come from me contemplating how to make leftovers brilliant and prolong the use of your often expensive paleo ingredients. I was super effing lazy last night, super tired, and super hungry. I did not want to eat another microwaved coriander burger, but it was also too late to start prepping something else. So I decided I was going to chop up the beef and sprinkle homemade taco seasoning on it, throw it in the frying pan, and serve it alongside some steamed asparagus. THEN a sheer stroke of genius came to me as I spotted the coconut flour peering at me from high upon my shelves. Fried shit. Chicken fried beef nuggets.

Chicken Fried Beef Taco Nuggets
Makes 1 portion, may be doubled depending on the quantity of your leftovers.

  • Leftover Burger Patty - doesn't have to be a coriander burger
  • 1 Pastured Egg
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tbsp Mexican Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Powder
  • Red Pepper Flakes to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Slice your burger meat into 1/4 inch strips, such as shown below.

2. Combine your dry ingredients - flour & spices - in a small bowl
3. Crack your egg(s) into another small bowl and whisk.
4. Heat your coconut oil or fat of choice in a frying pan over low-medium heat.
5. Set up your dipping station, as shown below.

6. Individually dip a burger slice into the egg mixture, coat it generously, then dip it in the flour mixture, again coating generously, and into the hot oil.
7. Repeat with each burger slice.
8. Using tongs to flip, fry each burger slice for about 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Don't worry if your oil turns a brownish color.
9. Remove burger slices and place onto a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. 

**BONUS** - chop off the tips of some asparagus and throw them in the pan you used to fry up your chicken fried burger nuggets. Saute about 5-10 minutes or until soft. 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

I am pissed. All I want to do while I cook is watch Chopped. Specifically, the Chopped Grill Masters qualifiers and championship rounds. Why? Because I have no grill anymore. And I'm sad. I'd like to reminisce about the days when I'd get off work at 11pm and perfectly grill kielbasas, bangers, and grillers from my favorite, local farm-store in the world, The Home Farm Store. I worked across from it over the summer. I salivated constantly as I stared out through my jailhouse window in my glorified hostesses sandbox, as I lovingly called it, thinking about all the delicious, local, humanely raised, sustainable meat just begging to be consumed. By me. Anyway, I digress. I can't fucking find Chopped ANYWHERE on the internet. What is this shit, UK? I can't even torrent download it. Not that I'd ever do that sort of thing anyway...But if I did, when I searched for it all that would come up would be weird fetish porn or something.

GUESS WHAT! I had my intro session at my new box today!!!! Only a freak nerd would get excited about working out at a new gym. Continuing on with the no-friends trend. Y'all are going to hear me bitch about that non-stop until it changes. So get used to it. Or be my friend. So 5:30am is early. I think we can agree about that. I can't believe I used to do that session at CrossFit Blacksburg. In fact, I think I only did it once. Or maybe even never. Who knows. My memory is fleeting. Continuing on though, 5:30am is brutally early when you're waiting at a bus stop and sleet, or really fucking cold rain, is whooshing at your face. I thought I'd found a refuge when I got to the bus stop, but no. Some fucking genius decided to build a bus stop on a bridge. So regardless of where you stand, you get pelted with ice particles. Despite the nonsense weather (which I should just get used to now) and the time of day I had an awesome time and I'm ridiculously excited to get back in the gym after a, gasp, whole 10 days off!! I'm so happy with my box-choice, which is - drumroll please - Crossfit Mission Training Systems - visit their website. It's so well done, unlike my blog. AND they're featuring my website on their Facebook page. So a big hello from the Paleo Ground Sloth! I look forward to meeting all of you and forcing you to be my friends! :) And of course I will second the suggestion for a pre-paleo challenge tequila party. I like you all already if you like tequila.

The biggest perk of my job over the summer was that I had constant access to food. 90% of the time this meant sweet potato fries that deeeefinitely weren't strict paleo. They were effing amazing though and I was already eating dairy. Do as I say, not as I do. I cut out nuts, and anyone who knew me before knows that required a HUGE amount of willpower. So I could give a hoot about the whole sweet potato thing. I can only do so much. To be honest though I forgot about nuts after like a week. Even candied walnuts. And almond butter. The cravings go away people I promise! Back to the job, so the menu featured a ton of local meat & produce. I got a ridiculous discount and I was there the whole damn night, so a girl's gotta eat. Especially this chunker. They had this amazing side...wait for it...bacon brussels sprouts. Biggest faileo was...they cooked them in olive oil, used nitrate ridden bacon, AND added brown sugar, which in my opinion is a completely unnecessary ingredient. I tried them, fell in love with them, then started to hate them once I overcame my post-coital food-orgasm, then made my own version. Holla for a dolla honey boo boo child. You're welcome.

A snapshot of my nightly meals. The chefs were super great
about accommodating my demanding diet. Avocados all day erry day.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts
I ate 90% of this in one sitting.
For normal people, 3-4 servings.

  • 1/2 lb pastured, sugar-free, uncured Bacon
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Bacon Fat 
    • Optional - if your bacon fat doesn't render enough fatty goodness
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Chop that uncooked bacon using a sharp knife as coarsely or finely as you'd like. I went more on the coarse side because I like chunks of bacon in my mouth when I eat.

This was the size "chunk" I used
2. Trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and remove any nasty looking leaflets. Using a mandolin (or grater) shred the sprouts into fine, wispy threads. This takes for-fucking-ever. Also, be careful if you use a mandolin. Another option is to use a food processor with a grater attachment, which I just now though of, which would probably make your life super easy and make the process go a lot quicker.
3. If you took the long route, while you're shredding the sprouts, add your bacon to a cold frying pan and gradually heat on low-medium. Once your fat has started to render in the pan, give the bacon bits a good stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula. Let them get nice and golden colored.
4. Once your bacon has the midas touch, toss in the brussels sprouts and stir to coat the sprouts with the fat. 
5. Dust the cinnamon over the mixture then sprinkle to taste with coarse ground pepper and sea salt. Turn the heat up to medium, stir, and cover. Stir every 2-3 minutes or so. If you need to (or want to) add some more bacon fat. 
6. From the time you added the brussels sprouts, the whole thing should take about 10 minutes to cook. The sprouts will turn bright green and when they start to brown a little, the concoction is complete. 
7. Devour. And don't share. Eat on folks.


PaleOMG's Moist Chocolate Zucchini Baby Cakes

I need someone to make my blog pretty. I don't have the time or brain capacity to learn whatever coding this thing takes. I hate the fonts, spacing, recipe area, everything!!!!! I don't understand how people do it. Make pretty blogs that is. Mine looks like a child's diary. Or drawing book. Whatever.

I got plants today!! I've been really depressed about leaving Eleanor bean behind in the US of A. Really. Effing. Depressed. So depressed, I've turned to house plants to love and care for. No, succulents can't snuggle at night, and to be honest, they don't need a whole lot of attention, which is good for a noob green-thumber like myself, but it is a living thing. And they make me happy. I purchased a whole bunch of succulents and 2 gorgeous heather plants at this place I stumbled upon called Narcissus. I like mythology. I don't like not being able to find the CrossFit gym I'm supposed to be working out at tomorrow at 6am. But I'm SO EXCITED. It's a 2 hour introductory course noobs to the gym are required to take. I'm excited to work on the technique of all my lifts. And HOPEFULLY meet some friends who like to workout. And eat all things meat and no things grain.

I went out solo last night. What. An. Experience. Thankfully, it was just at a bar across the street from my flat. I must really smell or something because no one talked to me. I even made sure to put deodorant on, which I accidentally forgot the other day. Eeeeesh. No bueno. Granted, it was not a hoppin' place...and I sat at the bar and drank red wine out of a low ball glass. Umm yup, I was that girl. Anyway, it was a strange experience and it convinced me that I'm an ogre that's going to spend my time in Edinburgh devoid of human contact. So I'm just going to go workout all the time and get sweaty and uglier instead, oh and a bigger butt. Maybe people will overlook my social awkwardness and be my friend if I get a huge ass. MOAR SQUATS.

I reeeeally broke my magic bullet this morning. In the process of taking it off my kitchen counter, somehow I flung the attachment halfway across my room and the plastic shattered. If anything, my time alone has taught me that I am ridiculously clumsy. I dropped one of my new plants and scattered soil all over my bathroom. Now people are going to come to my flat (if I ever meet any friends), use the bathroom, and think I'm some nasty-hoe with poop particles lingering around her toilet. I tried sweeping, but sadly the domestic gene completely bypassed me. Fail.

The pre-cooked, eventually soggy zucchini chips. They showed so much promise.
But I have no patience. And zucchini cake called.
Today's post is not my recipe. I have a giant zucchini I bought from the farmer's market, as pictured above, and I've been absolutely dying to make Juli from PaleOMG's Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread. So I did. But I miniaturized them into ramekins and used a sunbutter/hemp seed butter blend. Holy crap it was so good. I ate an entire one. I needed to get my vegetables in for the day...duh. I'll post my shitty iPhone quality pictures, but follow the link above for the recipe! I essentially halved it, using more of some stuff at times and less in others. The ramekins still cooked through in about 30 minutes, so regardless of whether you use a loaf pan or a smaller baking apparatus you should be alright with guestimating the time. When in doubt, toothpick test. Or knife test if you're like me and don't own toothpicks yet. Add it to the to-do list.  

Oooh hello there! Hurry up now.

You're goddamn right I documented the entire process. These little things
are heaven. They deserve respect and several pictures.
So. Moist. Mmmmmm.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ground Sloth 2.0 - Coriander Beef Burgers

I'm baaaack! Did you miss me? Probably not. But let me tell you, you missed my food. Sike. Let's recap the past few months. 

Fondly known in my little head as the "Summer of Cheese", I let myself diverge from the paleo path a lot this summer. Gluten? Hell to the no. Dairy? Um. Yup. Fro-yo, cheese, more cheese, more fro-yo, more cheese. My body shows it. I've got a love tire buildin' around my haunches. I nicknamed her Michelin. I don't love her. It's time for us to go our separate ways.

I did not cook AT ALL this summer. Why? Well I have some exciting news that may seem to have absolutely nothing to do with cooking, but it's a very important detail in our upcoming culinary journey together: I MOVED TO SCOTLAND! WHAT?! I know. More on that later. When you move abroad, you tend to need money. When you move to a city, you definitely need money. So it went that in order to make money to travel, I needed to work. And work I did. I worked my little booty off all summer long. Basically, I did nothing but crossfit and work. You look shocked. Of course I continued crossfit. Every. Damn. Day. Well, 5 out of 7 days. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I never dipped below 4 times a week though. Proud. With my summer eating habits it was necessary for me to continue burpee-ing and squatting. If I hadn't, I'd be obese. True story. 

That brings me to CrossFit Reston. I can't say enough good things about this gym. Coaches: awesome, inspiring, challenging, pushed me to new levels I never knew possible. I'm obsessed. I miss them. I miss my Blacksburg family too. If it hadn't been for the coaches in Blacksburg, I'd have had terrible form, a lack of confidence - which is not only bad for the mind, but dangerous for the body as well! - and an inability to look at the WOD and say, "Ok. I'm going to need to scale myself down today."

And not that you can see it but in the above picture I pay homage to Crossfit Blacksburg on my bulletin board. A postcard mailed to me by Jesse when I first started up! That, my friends, is the famous new Ground Sloth 2.0 blogging area. Still in progress. As an aside, I had to get rid of a couch in order to fit a clothes rack. Clothes > comfort. Priorities people. Those are mine. Along with food. And sleep. And red wine. 

I FINALLY found Tyrrell's parsnip chips at my new favorite food store Real Foods. It's like Whole Foods but smaller. And awesome. Why? Because they have Tyrrell's. And a competent staff. And Raw Cacao and Cinnamon KALE CHIPS. They have cashews in them. And over the summer I swore off nuts because I kept getting really bloated when I ate them. But these nuggets are soaked first, which helps. And I wasn't going to pass them up.

The farmer's market here is ridiculous, by the way. I get amazing local meat and produce from farmers in the area who care about things like sustainability and welfare and making food that tastes good. The vegetables I purchased literally were dug up from the ground and brought over to the market. So. Cool. Best part is? It's every Saturday, year round, right down the street from me. Yipee!!!

Now, tonight I had my very first cooking experience in my new flat. Aaaaand I almost burnt the house down. RIP Magic Bullet. You were the cats pajamas. Sadly, you did not come with a converter. Almost starting an electrical fire is a SURE way to make friends. Idiot american, that's what I am. Fiasco numero 2: my microwave requires rocket science to operate. I had my meat 90% thawed. Thought I'd pop it in the micro just to get that last 10% down because my tummy was a rumblin. Select: defrost meat. Put in 0.3 lbs (because obviously that's 10% of 1 lb). Hit start. 2 minutes later - ding. Meat comes out lookin' all sorts of weirdly cooked around the edges. Fail. These burgers were still awesome. And if you're not a dumb dumb, they'll probably be even more so. 

Coriander Beef Burgers
Topped with Pork-Venison Salami and Caramelized Onions
Makes - 4 quarter pound burgers 
  • 1 lb. Local Ground Beef
  • 1 Pastured Egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
  • 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp dried Onion Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt

Directions - 
1. In a large mixing bowl combine all the above ingredients. 
    Mix well and let chill for about an hour in the fridge or form 
    4 even patties. 

2. Heat stove or grill and grease with a little coconut oil. 

3. Cook patties for about 5 minutes each side. 

4. Serve hot topped with pork-venison salami (if you can find 
    it you're one lucky person!!!), caramelized onions, and avocado. 


For the caramelized onions I took this onion above, cut it in half, mandolin-ed it (dangerous with the previous luck I was having), and sauteed it in the pan after the burgers had cooked with a tablespoon of coconut oil until they were golden. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Not to Do: A Lesson In Stupidity

Weekly post numero dos! Aren't you all lucky. Today I'm going to share with you what NOT to do, and if you DO decide to be estupido like Emilita, then what TO do after. Oh boy, here we go...

SO, how to start. Well, prior to being a dinosaur eater I enjoyed a nice micro/craft beer. Like a lot. It was one of the huge reasons I was so hesitant to give up gluten in the first place. Give up an IPA, hell to the no, said former Emily. Mark and I especially liked them together. Who doesn't like to get tipsy with their significant other and wake up with a humongous belly and equally huge belly ache. Ah, young love. Well at my absolute faaavorite restaurant in Blacksburg, 622 North (CHEAT with the cheese plate. You won't regret it), there was a Dogfish Head Brewery Tap Takeover. Aaaand they had 120 Minute IPA. For those of you who aren't "in the know" in the brewery scene, this is a beer that is super rare and tastes like the sweet, 18% ABV nectar of the gods. I'd only had it once, and honestly, it was a bit too sweet for me - I prefer Hopslam by Bell's Brewery - but it's so rare you HAVE to go try it when it comes around. And try it I did. I prepared for days in advance by taken "Gluten Sooth" Enzymes and taking Activated Charcoal when I started to drink. I got pretty tipsy but I didn't feel all that bad the next day. Or the day after. So what did I decide to do?? Here's where it gets bad...

High off my "oh I found the secret to LIFE" vibes, I decided to drink more beer. At the Rocktown Brewfest in Harrisonburg, VA. Now, let's not think I was being totally reckless. I knew well in advance that these two events fell within 2 days of each other. I also wasn't planning on drinking beer after for a very, very long time. Or possibly never as the following events transpired...

Saturday, circa 2:30pm - Gluten sooth and activated charcoal: swallowed. 
3:00pm - First beer, some amber ale, I honestly forget. Weather report: blue skies, shinin' at meeeee....
3:14pm - ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. WIND. RAIN. Weather goes from 0 to utter chaos in 3.2 seconds. Temperature also drops SIGNIFICANTLY. What was I dressed in? Oh just this...

Me hanging my head in shame over what I have done to myself.
It's only just begun........
My thoughts? Oh beer fest, oh nice spring weather, oh nice sundress, oh SHIT it's cold. Fast forward to the next day: throat closed, can't swallow, nostrils don't exist anymore - at least not that I knew of - head feels like a tractor trailer is constantly accelerating and decelerating through it. Fail, Emily, epic, epic fail. So what happened? Well if you don't get it by now, reexamine your life. No just kidding. Here, I'll break it down for you: 

Emily's Body: gluten approaching! >>>> immune response - All units respond to the small intestine! >>>>  Inflamation! >>>> Freezing Cold >>>> Sneaky, dormant virus - oooh it's my precious now >>>> immune system - muahah we defeated the gluten, wha- wait...AHH VIRUS >>>> epic chaos. 

I have such a way with words don't I. So you see, while my body was dealing with the sudden barrage of gluten, a sneaky virus capitalized on my stupidity and rose to power within my body. Emily, you idiot. So the next day I took it easy. Didn't get much sleep because I was on the worst futon known to man. Woke up, had some protein, drove back to Blacksburg, was diverted due to the freakin' blasts on 81 - like what even is that? - got in bed, took a 45 minute nap, drove my girls to soccer practice, stopped by Annie Kay's and loaded up to prepare for battle. An aside, I don't take conventional medicine unless it's necessary. This was not one of those times. I could break it down for you, but in the sake of time and so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour, I'll just list my weapons with a few notes. If you have any questions, as always, post to the comments! I'll be happy to respond!

Weapons of Mass Destruction:   
  • Water. Water. Water. and more Water.
  • Gingerade Kombucha - one a day
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract - 2x per day (THIS TASTES LIKE CAT VOMIT, but worse. Seriously, not to be f'd with)
  • Neti-stick with menthol, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender - whenever I could breathe any sort of air through my nose
  • Raw Green Bush Tea (plaintain coconut by Republic of Tea) - holy crap, when I could taste again (today) this stuff was amazing. But raw green bush tea is red tea that's raw. So it's still green because they lightly steam it at like 115* or something like that. Super antioxidant-y. Super yummy. And - no caffeine!
  • Elderberry & Zinc Lozenges - lifesavers. Zinc is awesome.
  • Acai Immunity Smoothie Pack - because I couldn't stomach real food and this felt awesome against my throat.
  • SLEEP - obviously my favorite part.  
Part of my arsenal.

Good, ol' bacon.
Today? I'm like a million times better. Take that conventional meds. I rock, you suck. But seriously. There are other ways around a cold. I tried so freakin' hard to get my hands on some bones/bone broth, but no dice :( I need to stock up on some beef knuckles next time I hit my butchers' shop. Or oxtail. Oxtail kinda creeps me out though, not gonna lie.

Oh and I've still been eating super boring - when I have been able to eat. I ate a ton of kale and sweet potatoes for the 2 days I was sick. And bacon. Bacon always makes me feel better. I'll post a recipe tomorrow for some awesome yumness the wonderful people over at CrossFit Blacksburg have already been privy too (lucky ducks, hopefully I won over some followers!). But tonight was my first cooking meal back (last night I had my tuna salad and sweet potate) and my plate was super boring, see:

2 mini bison sliders (pepper, salt, garlic powder, medium rare),
Bubbie's Saurkraut, sauteed spinach in the bison grease. 
That's my life. Do as I say, not as I do. This was an experiment and it sure taught me a lesson. I knew well in advance what I was getting myself into. I looked into that abyss and I jumped because I was staring back at myself, taunting myself to just try it (any philosophy nerds get the reference??). That my friends, is how people become addicted to drugs. And succumb to epic colds.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Apple Stuffed Turkey Roll Up

When did my life flip flop?
  • I get tagged in CrossFit pictures, rather than night-out pictures
  • I'd rather spend my money on good food and Lululemon, instead of pricey designer garb
  • I cook 99% of my meals, as opposed to frequenting local restaurants
  • I eat meat! And no more tofu and whole wheat pasta?!?
I think I'm living in the twilight zone, but it's okay. I've never felt better! I spent my whole day reading Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy, and you'd think that with a few hours dedicated to simply reading that I would have gotten through the whole thing. Well, you could not be further away from the truth. The Perennial Philosophy, or the divine, all-consuming, absolute truth of all that there is and shall ever be, is pretty dense stuff. I only got through the introduction and the first chapter! I take a lot of notes when I read and I look stuff up and so non-fiction books always take me 39203x longer than fiction books like The Hunger Games trilogy, all of which I read in a combined less than 72 hours. I'm a freak when it comes to reading fiction fast. Not so much when it concerns life/earth/mind shattering information like all of Huxley's work does... You need a minute to soak up the tidbits of truth he throws atcha. You'd think that proper grammar and the use of actual words in my blog posts would come with the reading of great authors, but let's be real: I'm lazy and I'm not trying to write an informative essay or dissertation on the epic properties of bacon when used in recipes. Bacon speaks for itself. Duh.

Speaking of bacon, I used it again. You're welcome. This time the bacon serves as a culinary accouterment rather than the star of the cuisine. But I'll get to that in a second.

A side note: I'm going to be posting less frequently for a little bit. About once or twice a week. I'm trying to lean out a bit so my intake has been pretty repetitive and boring. This means I'm not cooking/experimenting in the kitchen as much AND I'm not cooking paleo sweets or consuming my body weight in almond butter. Shocker. I know.

Mark and I ran the 3.2 for 32 Hokies tribute run this past Saturday and man oh man was I struggling. I need to shed some of this extra weight that was holding me back and start back up some 2-a-days with some interval running training and yoga. Mark is a freak runner/athlete (no one has been commenting to tell him to do Crossfit, C'MON NOW!). He does absolutely nothing for weeks and comes back stronger than ever. Rude. Not fair for us mortals. So I was struggling compared to him, but we still completed the run in 27:30. So about 9 minute miles. Not TOO bad, but I'd like to run 8 min miles consistently. Alright, enough jabbering, time for the recipe. This is more of a fall-season recipe, but it's still awesome.

Apple Stuffed Turkey Roll Up
Makes 4 servings

     - 1 lb Ground Turkey
     - 3/4 cup Almond Flour
     - 1 Egg
     - 3 tablespoons Avocado Oil, or fat of choice
     - 1/2 Granny Smith Apple, diced
     - 1/2 Gala Apple, diced
     - 1 cup Almonds, coarsely chopped
     - 1 cup Celery, coarsely chopped
     -1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
     - 2 sprigs Rosemary, minced
     - 3 sprigs Thyme, minced
     - 1 sprig Sage, minced
     - Coconut Oil Spray
     - 2 strips Bacon, halved (no nitrates!)
     - Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Crumble ground turkey into a medium bowl, add in almond flour and egg and mix together with your hands. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Heat up the avocado oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute apples, almonds, celery, and onion for 5 minutes or until the apples are tender.
4. Remove pan from heat and stir in the herbs.

5. Here comes the difficult part. Roll out some parchment paper. Spray generously with coconut oil. Spread out the turkey in a rectangular layer, ending about an inch from the edge of the parchment paper. The trick is getting the turkey to be about a centimeter thick. Mine was about 8 inches by 5 or 6 inches, if I had to guestimate.
6. Spoon the apple/herb mixture onto the turkey, leaving about 1/2 an inch of space from the edges. Don't worry if you have extra, this will go around the turkey roll!
7. Now, take the parchment paper and start rolling the turkey on top of itself like a jelly roll, peeling away the parchment paper as you roll. This took me a couple of tries. It doesn't have to be perfect, just do your best!
8. Place the turkey in a baking dish (I used my trusty ceramic Le Creuset) and place any extra apple mixture around the turkey. Take the halved strips of bacon and place on top of the roll. Top with a few sprigs of thyme if you'd like!
9. Stick in the oven for about 60-70 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 165*.
10. Let it cool down, slice, admire how pretty the roll looks, and consume!

BONUS: As a dessert, why not scoop half an avocado into a red bell pepper that was on sale at Kroger, top with a little cilantro, and a twist of some fresh sea salt? Mmmm.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Acai Protein Shake, Rattle, No Bowl

Alright, so here's the deal. I'm starting to get pissy with myself for no good reason. I want to be stronger. Like now. Never mind the fact that I've only been CrossFitting and, hence, lifting weights, for just over 2 months. Never mind that I took 2 weeks off and in reality only did body weight exercises. I want to be stronger now. It's irritating and I've been pushing myself perhaps more than I should be, and nearly crying out of frustration and anger when I've fallen short of my expectations since I've been back. I've never been good with patience. And it's been making me sloppy. Don't get sloppy. I need to go through a natural progression and not try to flat out kill myself. I'll get there eventually. There. That's my mini life rant. I'm trying to talk myself down. Thanks for bearin' with me.

I'm competitive. Which is strange for a person who never really did sports. But I like being the best. Maybe it's an attention thing, maybe it's the oldest child gimmick, I don't really know. It's also a fairly recently developed quality. I used to have an IDGAF attitude about a lot of things, including school and athletic prowess. Junior year of college sh*t did a 180. Someone or something (it was actually a class + the teacher who taught it) lit a fire under my butt and I started Needing. Craving. Success. My previously dormant competitive nature has turned into a quality that has made me excel in the classroom. Now it needs to get to work in the gym. I'll get there. You can too. Let's raise 'em up for being competitive against ourselves and constantly striving to do better than before. How 'bout it? Here, here!

Let's raise a glass of an Acai Protein shake, eh? This recipe was inspired by the amazing PULP: Organic Acai bowls I raved about in a previous post. I found the little packets of Acai at my local health food store, Annie Kay's. Unfortunately, I don't have 400+ dollars to be dishin' out on a Vitamix, so my crappy blender made the nice bowl more the consistency of a shake. No matta'! It still turned out to be a ballin' protein shake. For those of you that rag on shakes: IDGAF. I don't think one shake is going to debilitate me in a back squat.

Acai Protein Shake, Rattle, No Bowl
Makes 1 Shake

     - 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk (carton)
     - 1 Packet Frozen Acai Pulp
     - 1 Scoop Protein Powder
     - 1 Banana, broken into chunks
     - 2 tablespoons Almond Butter or Macadamia Nut Butter
     - 1/2 tablespoon Raw Honey (sometimes I omit)
     - 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
     - 1 teaspoon Bee Pollen

1. Combine all the ingredients through the raw honey in a blender.
2. Blend.
3. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and bee pollen.
4. Consume.
5. Die happy.

If I had a Vitamix, this spoonful probably wouldn't look like soup :|

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Curried Sweet Potato Bundles

In order to try to make amends with you fine readers for my absence yesterday I present to you this gift: bacon. And sweet potatoes. And heaven. I can't even explain how this recipe popped into my head. You know how all amazing things start off as accidents? Like saccharin? JUST KIDDING. That's so not amazing. Artificial sugar = bleghhh. But it was indeed an accidental discovery. Kind of a gross accidental discovery that makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would ever eat it. Read about it here. Well, this was concocted by accident. And it's amazing. Not like fake sugar amazing. Like dark chocolate amazing. Which I consumed waaaayyyy too much of this past weekend. Faiiiil.

Speaking of this past weekend let's do a recap! Because you all care so much about what I do and eat. Friday I drove home (Northern VA) from Blacksburg (Southwest VA). Most boring drive ever. Immediately when I got into the NOVA-ish area I stopped at a health food store I used to go to when I was studying at the Smithsonian in Front Royal. I grabbed some essentials (coconut oil, chocolate know) and headed to my house about 30 miles down the road where I then proceeded to make some of PaleOMG's Chocolate Chip Cupcakes. I tinkered with the recipe a little and the pictures came out beautifully (for once) so those will be in a post tomorrow. I bought a CrossFit Blacksburg sweatshirt before leaving - yay! I promised myself if I completed 2 months I'd start swaggin' out if I was addicted enough. Let's be real: I was addicted after the first WOD. Dunno why, I just was. It's so strange that I've only been CFing for 2 months. I'm SOOOO FREAKING CLOSE to my pull-up I can taste it. I want it so bad.

Grainy picture, but thar she blow! My sweatshirt that is. Love it. I own a total of 0 sweatshirts I feel comfortable in. 
Now that number has been brought up to 1! Expect overuse, sweatshirt, expect it.

The large majority of this weekend (aka Saturday) was spent making bad decisions. It was 2 of my male friends' birthday celebrations so we went out during the day. I spent a few hours drinking shitty red wine and terrible imitations of NorCal margs - a drink that the bartenders FAILED at creating ('s so easy, go back to liquor school or whatever) and ended up super starving with a plate of BACON ON A STICK in front of me at some awesome restaurant I stumbled into with Mark that served local, in-house smoked bacon. Holy balls it was good. I've been developing a bacon addiction it seems. I apparently was too drunk off sugar to snap a pic of that deliciousness. Either that or I ate it in 3.2 seconds. That might be a possibile explanation as well. Long story short, bacon = not dinner. At least by itself. The recipe later on IS in fact an awesome dinner. I'm feeling a little contradictory. And confused. Ok anyway. 

SO after that nonsense we (Mark and I) went to a nasty smoke-filled bar to watch our friends' band Mothership play an awesome set. At least what I saw of it. Alcohol + lack of food + smoke filled bar = goodnight Emily. I was so freakin' tired I begged Mark to let me go sleep in the car so I could take a 30 minute "cat-nap". Yeah right, I slept for like 2 hours. Then woke up in a reeeeally pissy/confused mood. Poor Mark. He's the best for putting up with me. 

The devil and the saint. Guess which one I am!
Sunday we went to brunch with my momma, grandma, and cousin who was visiting from New York! And my mom gave me a ridiculously awesome Easter basket filled with dark chocolate covered coconut, dark chocolate covered cherries, dark chocolate covered dark chocolate, AND all the ingredients to make a real NorCal margarita. She's the best mom. I'll fight you on that. She threw in a whole bunch of non-dark chocolate candy too. Which I piled into a bag and gave to Mark to eat. Because he's skinny and doesn't get fat ever. Ever. Seriously, f him. Then we spent the rest of the day working on his car (him) and grillin' (me). I made delicious Almond Jalapeño burgers thought up by George over at Civilized Caveman and then we lifted Elle up and made her super uncomfortable. And I climbed trees.

Artsy fartsy. Elle snoozin' and Mark workin on his car.

Everyone tell Mark to CrossFit! He'd be so good! Aaaand backsquat that pup.
I don't even know what this is. She's a big girl. And hates me.
Told you I'm going to overuse that sweatshirt.
OK RECIPE TIME! I had originally planned on making this with leftover ham we froze from Christmas. But when I thawed it, it sketched me out. Like grey/brown color. No bueno. So next thought? Bacon! Then I had a bunch of cooked curry eggy junk on the pan. What to do, what to do - I thought. Make a coconut curry reduction. The recipe progressed onward from here. I'll let it speak for itself. It's the bomb dot com. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Curried Sweet Potato Bundles
w/ Coconut Curry Sauce

     - 1 medium Sweet Potato, cut into thick straws
     - Coconut Oil Spray
     - 2 small eggs or 1 medium egg
     - 1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
     - 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
     - 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
     - 1/4 teaspoon Cumin
     - 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
     - 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
     - 4 slices of uncured Bacon
     - 2 cups Coconut Milk from a can
     - Basil and chopped Pecans for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet with coconut oil, layer sweet potato straws on the pan, coat with more coconut oil spray.
2. In a small bowl whisk the eggs until they're nice and foamy. Add in the spices (curry powder through sea salt) and mix. Pour over the sweet potatoes and use your hands to evenly coat them.
3. Rearrange the sweet potatoes so that they're in a single layer in the pan and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
4. When the sweet potatoes are done baking, pull them out of the oven but leave the oven on. There should be a layer of cooked curried egg between the sweet potato slices. Using a knife or your hands separate the sweet potatoes from the egg mixture, leaving some rough edges of egg around the sweet potatoes.
5. Spread a layer of foil down on the counter and wrap a bundle of sweet potato wedges (5 to 8) with the bacon. Place the bundle with the loose bacon edge down. Repeat with the other sweet potatoes (my size sweet potato straws made 4 bundles).
6. Remove the curry egg mixture (I included 2 sweet potato fries in this) from the pan and place on a cutting board. Place the foil with the bundles on the pan and place into the oven for 15 minutes.
7. While the bundles are cooking, pour 2 cups of coconut milk into a sauce pan. Turn the heat on medium-high and chop up the curry/egg/sweet potato mixture. Pour into the coconut milk. Bring the milk/curry mixture to a slow boil and let it summer until it's reduced about half way. This takes about 20-25 minutes.
8. When your timer goes off for the bacon, roll the bundles over to the other side and let them bake for about 5 minutes longer. Remove them from the oven when they're done to sit for about 3 minutes. 
9. Strain the coconut milk/curry mixture into a small bowl to remove the large chunks of cooked egg and sweet potato.
10. Plate the bundles, drizzle with the coconut milk mixture, top with pecans and basil, and demolish :)

Basil + Pecans = Perfection

Mmmmm bacon. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spicy Basil Chicken

My alarm is about to go off in 2 minutes. I've been up for an hour. I have to set reminders to get out of bed. It is so comfortable right now I seriously don't want to move. So I'm writing this post. Elle doesn't want to move either. Win, win. 

Yesterday I had to modify the heck out of a WOD because I developed a splitting migraine on one side of my head and behind my eye and I thought if I had to run 400m 5 times I might just pass out. Guess what workout I did CFers. Not fun. Nancy. I have no idea what's going on. It was so painful I was close to tears but I didn't want to be. My eyes were really confused. So once I got home I sat in bed, made my room a dungeon, turned my computer brightness down to like 3 and wrote that long-a$$ post from yesterday. Then I felt fine. The second I got up and went outside? Migraine back. Migraines are such little b*tches. I honestly think it was from my brain sloshing around during box jumps. I've been on vacation for like 2 weeks, out of school for months, there's like nothin' up there anymore. Must. Read. Books.

I made this last night and I'm definitely eating the leftovers for breakfast after my workout. It is sooo yummy. And involves a lot of watching grass grow as we make the reduction because corn starch sucks. But we like our sau5 thick, am I right?

Spicy Basil Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Raw Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chili Garlic Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced Basil Leaves

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add yellow onion and cook for about a minute or until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. 
2. Add the chicken cubes and let cook for 13-14 minutes or until completely cooked through. 
3. While the chicken is cooking, combine the ingredients from fish sauce through sea salt in a small bowl and whisk together. 
4. Once the chicken is cooked through, pour the fish sauce mixture over the chicken/onion mixture in the pan and stir to combine. 
5. Bring the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick you want it. 
6. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil leaves. Don't be lazy like me and shred them with your fingers if you want your pictures to look good. Clearly I don't care.

Serve with a heaping pile of kale chips and enjoy! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Carmen San Diego's got NOTHIN on my food travels

This post is basically going to be a huge review of the amazing food I ate while away in New York, the Dominican Republic, and Hawaii. You might want to eat before this. It will make you hungry. I'm a huge foodie and with my diet + being a locavore it's exceptionally hard to find food that wows me AND that I'm allowed to eat in restaurants. Luckily for me, there seems to be a small movement of restaurants popping up that employ the use of grass-fed, sustainably raised, local meat products and seasonal and local produce. Let's keep that movement uh-comin' restaurants, k? I like to eat your food sometimes. Cooking all the time is quite taxing. I digress...

There's a lot to cover so I'm just going to jump right into everything. Starting with New York. I visited my friend, love, old college roommate Lindsay, who is now living the dream in New York City. It was Saint Patrick's Day weekend. My friend was playing a concert there the Friday before the festivities. Fun was had. Food was eaten. And boy was it good. I love New York City. There is such a plethora of food to be eaten. Good food, at that. I researched some food places beforehand while on the longest bus ride ever (I love the Acela train, but beggars can't be choosers..) and I stumbled upon Bareburger. Holy shit. Their menu is friggen awesome. That link will take you to their menu. Look at it. De-lish. We loved it so much we went back the next day. Albeit, a bit more intoxicated. I actually was very, very good that weekend. Yes, I imbibed my fair share of red wine, sue me. But that's about it. I did cheat with some bangin' sweet potato croq's that had parmesan in them and I ate the entire basket, but f it. If that was my only cheat during a weekend filled with booze and tempting deliciousness (Irish soda bread...although, apparently I'm one of few who enjoy this?) then I'm freakin' Wonder Woman. Cut me some slack.

Roadhouse burger with Elk - medium rare, lettuce "bun", avocado, blackened maple bacon, roasted red peppers, apple smoked onions, and tomatillo sauce. (Normally comes with pepper jack but I opted out)

Big Blue Bacon with Ostrich - medium rare, lettuce "bun", bourbon sautéed mushrooms, apple smoked onions, blackened maple bacon, lettuce, and apple chutney. (Comes with danish blue cheese, but no dice for me)

As you can see, this place is freakin' awesome. Their burgers are super creative and they have every kind of meat a carnivore could ever dream of from wild boar to bison to your regular, old grass-fed bovine. Next time you're in Chelsea or the East Village or any of their other locations Check. Them. Out. Do it. 

I honestly can't remember the name of the next place we went. I got minimal sleep. Paleo fail. I was hanging out with pole dancers all night. Which was awesome. I'm not lying to you all. They're actually better described as go-go girls. Or athletes. Dayuumm you shoulda seen their moves. And arms. And stomachs. Fit as f*ck gurls. I talked Crossfit with one. She was awesome and rides motocross. I wish I could do that. I'd fall over in a second though and my butt would probably be too bony to ever get comfortable. C'mon squats, gimme dat butt padding! Here's what I ate/drank though!

4 drinks. Let' start with water. Standard. Bloody mary. Wow, I hate vodka, but this place is famous for their bloody marys and I can attest to why they deserve that fame. So yummy. Chunks of horseradish. Mmm my fav. Yeah, it's a cheat. Shmeh. Grapefruit juice to curb some insulin spikes I probably had goin' on. Aaand a beautiful Americano. Yum. 
Oh I spooned heavy cream into my mouth too. DEAL WITH IT.

My breakfast. In-house smoked bacon. So thick. So awesome. 2 eggs over easy. Perfectly cooked. And a nice greens salad in place of hashbrowns. Paleo winning! Especially when you combined all of them together. Ughhhhh arugula and bacon are a match made in heaven. I wish I could remember the name of this place. The decor was so victorian New Orleans and absolutely gorgeous. Such a great atmosphere & staff. They deserve credit. I'll find out.

Last breakfast before I hopped on a bus back to DC. Herb, spinach, and onion omelette. Surprisingly really good for a sketchy diner. Sweet potato fries in place of regular potatoes. Yeah they're probably fried in all sorts of bad oils, but hey. I'm not perfect either.

Let's migrate over to the Dominican Republic where I was such an awkward sea-turtle snorkeling. I'm not pro-snorkeler or anything, but the ridiculous poofy life-vest belts they made you wear were nottttt my thing. So I took it off and it trailed behind me for a while. Then I threw it on the boat and completely said fuggit. I was a swimmer for years, if I drowned it was my own stupid fault. I saw so many pretty fishies and corals! People were bitchin about how they couldn't see any fish. That's why you learn to swim, take your extra love handle balloon belt off, and paddle under. The coral reefs are dyin' people! Don't let your lack of aquatic sport prowess hold you back from seein' what's left of them!
Oh. And don't touch them. Or break them. Or I'll hunt you down. :)

Our flight into Punta Cana was an effing nightmare. It was rainy and their airport is....well, it's not Dulles. So we flew around in circles for 2 hours. Had to land in Santa Domingo. Refuel. They weren't equipped for our landing so it took us like another hour there. Finally got in to Punta Cana 3 hours later than we were supposed to. Along with 87 other planes. Customs was a mess. You had to buy a ticket to go through line after line after line. Long story short: ME WANT FOOOOOOD. Let me tell you. When my blood sugar is low and I haven't eaten in a while I become a b*tch. Like the biggest. Ask Mark. Or my mom. I was practically on the verge of tears I was so hungry. My stomach was distended. My biochemistry was. not. happy. So I don't have a picture of my first meal. But my mom was awesome, my Spanish skills thankfully came into action and we got a huge plate of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Best meal we had that whole time. Except for maybe an awesome steak I got at a steakhouse there on the island. I barely photographed meals there. I was usually too hungry because the hotel couldn't get their sh*t straight. They'd just opened and we were their first big party. Faiiiiil maximum. Language barrier didn't help. 

The menu for the awards ceremony. As close to food photography as I got that weekend. And my awesome TOMs sunglasses. Get some & help out Service for Sight and those in need of glasses!

This post is going to take 8 days to read if I keep at the pace I am now. So I'll just fast forward to Hawaii. Which was awesome. We stayed in Waikiki but traveled around the whole island. I'll explain more in pictures. 

Wow. There's not much else to say besides that. This was from a restaurant in Kaimuki called Town. Their motto is "Local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always." Um. Hello. My life. Add on to this the fact that every single dish's ingredients could be winners on Chopped - and I was in love. I had the above: Pan roasted chicken, tatsoi, grapes, and pancetta. It usually comes with torn bread, but they were so accommodating. It was delectable. GO HERE if you are EVER in Oahu. 

My mom got the above at Town. Tombo (Pacific tuna), dandelion greens, curry potatoes, and tomato vinaigrette. Gahhhh I want to go back. If I could eat there every day I would. Check out their menu. I had to google so many things to find out what they were, so don't feel bad if you're clueless when looking at the word tatsoi either. It's some sort of bok-choy like green. It was awesome. 

Who loves Food Network? Emily loves Food Network. GUESS WHAT. Iron Chef Morimoto has a restaurant in Waikiki at this cute lil boutique hotel. GUESS WHAT PART 2. It was right next to our hotel. GUESS WHAT PART 3. MORIMOTO HIMSELF WAS IN WAIKIKI AT THE SAME TIME AS ME! Booyah. I accidentally saw him after this meal. Didn't recognize his cute lil self in his workout attire. Thus, I failed to get a pic. Went back and stalked. Failed to get a pic AGAIN because he showed up super late and we all know I'm in bed before 10. Fail. He was still there. And we started off with the amazing King Crab legs. Those fries. I tried some. F off. Only a few. Promise.

My meal. Tiiiiiiny lil wagyu beef burgers with spicy mustard and a mixed greens salad. Holy crap the burgers were amazing. I ordered seconds. Then I ordered dessert. You only eat at Morimoto's once right? Wrong. I went back. Oh well. 

Dessert. Holy motherf*cking sh*t. Peanut butter mousse, meringue crust, dark chocolate swirl stick thing, peanut butter ice cream egg. This was the cheat to beat out all cheats. No gluten but I may as well have just eaten a cow's udder. Ew. So gross. Never wanna eat dairy again.

No but really, I don't. I re-read some of The Paleo Solution while I was bored as sh*t eating massive amounts of jerky on the plane and he throws in the little "Try gluten after 30 days and see how it makes you feel. Do it for you. Not for me." piece of sh*t sentence. To give a little intro: when I got home from the Dominican I was starving. Typical. We stopped at a place near our house that thank g was open and I ordered ahi tuna. It came over salad. The salad had ranch. I ate the tuna and the parts of the salad that weren't drenched. Cue. Gut. Wrenching. Miserable. Pain. F*ck gluten. It was in the dressing. I will never, ever eat it again. I couldn't move for the whole night and a large part of the next day. That sh*t is NOT okay. No more gluten cheats.

So then dairy comes along at the end of my Hawaii trip and was like hey Emily want some froyo? Sh*t yes I do. No, Emily. This is hindsight speaking and you don't. I don't think I noticed the effect that the peanut butter ice cream had on me because I only ate about a bite of it and I was active, but the froyo in the airport was another story. Wowwwww. Stomach pains galore. I had no appetite, I was super nauseated, I learned my lesson. So yeah. I've become pretty strict now. A bit of advice for new paleo-ers, I was just like you a few weeks ago. Figured that gluten, dairy, and legumes were bad, but probably not destructive. HEED MY WARNING: they are. And do what Robb tells ya. Because you, like me, need to learn your lesson the hard way. Good luck to ya.

Bein the lone ranger at a table, creepin
on the other guests. Failing at being
a YP: young professional.
Best workout machine ever! This is me
prepping to do an overhead squat.
Balance = key.

My plate at the luau. The pork. OMG.
Amazing. Steak? Meh. So I got seconds
of the pork. :) I'm on a huge pig kick...
My typical plate at breakfast. A sh*t ton of
bacon, omlette, annnnd grapefruit.

My new inov8's! I'm obsessed with them. I figured it was finally time for me to snag a pair because my other shoes were pissing me off and I'm addicted to Crossfit. So they'll get their fair share of use.

Here's a recipe for y'all. My girl crush, Juli, over at PaleOMG has an awesome recipe for ketchup. Don't be like me and have it explode all over your stove. She even warned me. Faiiiiil. 

The end. Hope you ate before :) I warned ya about that too!