Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Psychedelic Tuna Salad & PARENCHYMA BALLS

Oh no. I did it. I incorporated my weird life into a recipe name. No, not the psychedelic tuna salad. What made you think that? My hippie tendencies confession yesterday? Noooo m'am, I'm talking about Parenchyma Balls. What the hell is parenchyma Emily? I'm not sure you want to know....

But I'm going to tell you anyway :) It's actually an anatomical term that can be applied to several organ systems. But here, on this blog, we're using it to refer to a layer of the testes. Yes, as in testicle.
Testicular parenchymathe basic cellular tissue substance comprising the testis, consisting of the seminiferous tubules and interstitial cells (Leydig and Sertoli cells) located within the lobules.
Just internal to the testicular parenchyma is this spongy connective tissue called the mediastinum. If you can grasp that the parenchyma is exterior to a spongy inside, you can follow along with how this recipe got its name. For all normal people (aka probably eeeeveryone except me) these little babies are called Lemon Coconut Melty Balls. And they're delicious. I ate several. By several I mean about half the batch. What inspired me to make this recipe? A. I can't have f*cking chocolate. B. I can't eat pizza, which our professor so graciously purchases for us during lab practicals. C. I need to preserve my sanity. D. Coconut flour has fiber in it. And I love fiber. Plus, we were administering the male portion of the practical so I obviously needed to make ball-shaped goodies. Puhhlease don't let me gross you out. These things are truly amaze-balls. I will wear out the word balls by the end of this post. This recipe will also give you a workout if you're like me and don't have an electric mixer. Or strong arms. Get ready for this coconutty WOD:

Parenchyma Balls or Lemon Coconut Melty Balls:
Makes about 30 1/2 tablespoon round balls.

Dry Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 big pinches of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 4 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest - I grated the f out of my thumb doing this, grrr
Additional Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Melted Coconut Oil
Buy In/Warm-up
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.

Slowly pour in the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix the hell out of it.

Beast Mode Time: 
Stream in the coconut oil slowly. The mixture is going to thicken rapidly as it mixes with the oil and as the oil starts to cool down. Get those arms pumpin'! I'm pretty sure I'm sore from this part. 

Cash Out: 
Preheat oven to its lowest setting, for example mine was 170*. While it's preheating, use a 1/2 tablespoon to form little balls and set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the oven is preheated, stick the balls in there, leave the oven door open a crack, and let them toast up for an hour. The end result will be yummy balls that are crunchy on the outside and melty and spongy on the inside. Hence, the name Parenchyma Balls. You can also eat those things raw. I did that too. 

I drive my professor's kids to their soccer practices during the week and I'm absolutely obsessed with them. They're so smart and hilarious and they help keep me sane. Their schedules have been off the walls recently due to our crazy, unpredictable weather, so I haven't gotten a chance to really see them for a while. Yesterday that changed. And they gave me a flower. At first when I saw it I was really confused. How the heck did they find a daffodil with a little purple flower growing on the inside? Is this some sort of new hybrid? Then I snapped out of being an idiot and realized it was placed in there. So cute. We joke around a lot, they think I'm funny and that makes my life. They also love Elle and play with her, which makes my life a lot easier because sometimes she's a brat and I don't feel like giving her any attention. She's cuddled up next to me right now, so at the moment she's cute. But when I woke up this morning she was kicking me again, sprawled out like a human, with her head at the wrong side of the bed. So she wasn't cute. Ok. I lied. She was. She just sucks at spooning sometimes. 

I finally bought more plain almond butter. I should make my own, considering I have like barrels of almonds from Costco. But honestly, I don't want to make my kitchen more of a nasty mess than it already is. Creating a batch of almond butter would just inspire me to go on a full cleaning rant and I can't do that again. Why? Last time I cleaned up after everyone in my apartment I had an allergic reaction thanks to a cocktail of cleaning supplies and nasty-ass, moldy gross sh*t growing in the side of my sink. I gagged so hard and almost vommed when I was cleaning it. Funny thing is? NO ONE CLAIMED IT. Like fo-real. Clean yo nasty sh*t up. Then my throat started to close up and I got hives ev.ry.where. Talk about attractive. Luckily I was able to make it to the grocery store where I looked no better than usual and I took an antihistamine and proceeded to pass out for like 32 hours. 

I took a break and went to CrossFit so my apologies if the next random bull sounds out of place. I am so freaking happy about my calluses. I know that's something weird to be happy about but I love them. Also, I read an article the other day on CrossFit Journal (I think...) on how to improve your double unders. Basically you start off doing single unders consecutively, unbroken for 2 minutes. Then you move up to 3, then 4, then 5, then you start getting the rhythm down for the doubles. So after the WOD today I did 2 minutes unbroken and peed my pants so much. Without fail I pee my pants every time I jump. Box jumps, jump rope, burpees, doesn't matter. Even if I pee milliseconds before. Pee. I think I just get really excited because I have no problem holding pee in. I'm gross. At least I don't toot. I think I would die if someone farted while we were working out. Die laughing that is. I have the maturity of a 6 year old boy. That's why I have a Hello Kitty stick on tattoo on my arm right now. She was right side up while I was doing handstand kick ups today. 

Alright, so the next recipe is my attempt to throw everything from my fridge together to create an amazing tuna salad. It's so colorful and beautiful that the only word I could think of to describe it was Psychedelic. I think it's fitting. This salad will not make you hallucinate or poop your pants or do something else that's super crazy. But it will fill ya up. And give you pretty hair and skin. Flax seeds will do that to ya. Oh and there are hemp seeds in there too. You may be rethinking my methodology for branding this salad as psychedelic but I'll reiterate once again: the only thing you'll experience is pure satisfaction. It's an awesome salad. And it looks SO pretty. Do I need to say that again?

Psychedelic Tuna Salad: 
Makes 2 servings if you're a big girl like me. 

  • 1 can Solid White Albacore Tuna, packed in water, dolphin safe and sustainable - skip this part, and I'll kill you, but first I'll force you to watch The Cove as I sob uncontrollably
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Red Cabbage - I bought the pre-shredded kind because I'm lazy. Feel free to use a mandoline, which I do not own yet, to shred into course strips
  • 1 cup chopped and halved Radishes
  • 1 1/4ish cups Kale, washed and torn into bite sized bits
  • 3 tablespoons Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 3 tablespoons Toasted Flax Seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Shelled Hemp Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard - omit if this doesn't fall under your paleo philosophy
SO. Pretty. There, I said it again. 

Combine all that sh*t up guuud. 

I'm an embarrassment. But this salad is amazing. I love cabbage so much. Red, green, heck I'd even eat neon orange cabbage if it existed. There you go Monsanto, that's what you can manipulate genetically next. Neon orange cabbage. Ya f*cks. I hate Monsanto. They'll probably send a hitman for me soon. 'Cause I register on their radar and all...

OK. So I'm going to get good at push-ups too. I've gotta do 3x 50% of max (aka few to none) every hour. I've spent like 8 dillydallying around on this post and perusing the food section of Amazon.com so I've got a lot of catching up today. 

And it's like stupid nice out again so Elle and I are going to go frolic in a field. PEACE OUT HOMIES. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hellish Eggs and Caprese Eggs, which came first?

I just spilled my eggs all over myself. Sweet. Great start to a Monday morning eh? Just kidding, I started a while ago at CrossFit. Monday isn't usually my day to go but I'm going home this week! Weeeee! So I gotta get em' in early! Still haven't done burpees. Don't judge me. If I'm going to do them to the max, I want them to be counted. So I've gotta do them at some point when I go in this week. Maybe for a WOD I hate. Do I hate any? Usually the ones with burpees, but whatever. I hate them so good.

Wanderlust is f*cking hilarious. For those of you that, like me, live under a rock and don't have a TV (no seriously, I don't) here's the trailer:

It is exactly my type of humor. The guy who did Role Models is responsible for this ridiculous movie and I freaking loved it. Maybe it was because I have weird hippie tendencies that tend to surface from time to time, maybe it's because I make fun of myself and other hippies, maybe it's because I actually know people who are as ridiculous as the people in the commune that they go live in. Either way, you should go see it. I laughed like a hyena the entire time. I have a cackle. It's gross. It scares people. I don't like Jennifer Aniston though. Sorry bout it. She annoys me and I think she looks like a mouse. Team Angelina all the way. Her character even pissed me off. But it's ok. It was still good. 

I went out Saturday night. It was funny. I can't drink beer anymore and I don't like hard liquor or spirits because they wreak havoc on my stomach, but I don't like asking for a glass of red wine at a college bar like a pretentious asshole. Solution? I drink wine out of a plastic cup. Then switch to water. I'm such a party animal. No but really, it was fun. I can make a fool out of myself even while I'm sober. Best part is I'm able to drive home and snuggle up with Elle when the night has run its course. 

Guess what todayyyy marks the start of! My 4th week of CrossFit. Guess what that means? By the end of this week I'm going to post a progress picture. Yikes. I don't weigh myself because I hate judging myself by a number so I don't know if I lose weight. I like to judge by how I feel and how I think I look, which of course isn't always the best standard to hold yourself to because you're your worst critic. But I'm hypothesizing that although I'm losing fattyness, I'm gaining muscle, so the scale would lie to me anyway. I've been living by this BroTip recently and I've been trying to work on my pull-ups. I hate pull-ups. Can't do one. Never really worked on them before when I was a gym-rat. But I'm determined to get there now. I scaled a lot on today's WOD and although I finished 7 rounds well under the time limit (10x 8# wall balls @ 10ft, 10x pull-ups, green band assisted) I felt as though I could have made it a lot rougher on myself. But we were told to scale scale scale if need be for this workout, so I did. But it's good because I'm gaining more confidence that I'll be able to not scale as much the next time. I could have done the rx 14# wall ball because the 8# was not challenging enough, so I'm going to do that next time. 

Look at those short, stubby legs of mine. I think I have cankles. Maybe my soleus is just abnormally long/wide. That's a muscle of your calf if ya didn't know. I love the calf muscles, they're so cool sounding. Gastrocnemius = cool. Tensor digitorum longus = cool. That's the one I always remembered for some reason. (Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Blacksburg) Speaking of anatomical features, tonight we have the first repro practical! The past couple of weeks we've been teaching male anatomy and tonight at 7 and 9pm, students will get a chance to show us what they've got. Or don't have. Either one. It's going to be a late night. Usually we don't get done grading until around midnight. That's super late for me. Elle gets to come though. Which is cool. Puppy party! One of the grad TA's has a little cutie mix named Lily and the other has a gorgeous greyhound named Dr. Pepper. I call him DoctorP. I've been making a comic-series on the inner-workings of the male reproductive system. It's absolutely ridiculous. I clearly have too much time on my hands. The male system works like a manufacturing plant though and so I'm leading people on a "tour" through the plant. It's called "Scrotal Bro's Manufacturing Corporation" the plant manager is Mr. Pee Body, a urea molecule that "works" in the bladder. The CEO and board members are up on Hypo-Pituitary Street (supposed to be Wall Street) in BrainHattan. And the comic features a variety of other characters like Mr. Leydig, who has a problem consuming too much LH at times and vomits (think of me and almond butter), and Mr. Sertoli who is a hippie and does yoga in the seminiferous tubules and complains about no corporate regulation, but still accepts handouts of FSH from the head honchos. He's a hypocrite. Doesn't this make you want to read the comic?? It's f*cking awesome. And informative. I'm a huge active-visual learner, which means I learn by drawing and diagramming things. Bonus points if the sh*t I'm drawing is funny. Luckily, that's not too hard when you're dealing with reproductive physiology. You laugh whenever I say penis. Don't lie. 

Today we're going to look at a few recipes for my favorite meal: breakfast. I live for breakfast. It comes with eggs - yum - hot sauce - double yum - and other really cool things like pepper! K that's only 3 things. But guess what, you can make breakfast fun! I'm usually lazy and fry up a couple eggs and some egg whites, but when I'm feeling ambitious I like to make Hellish Eggs. Originally modified from a recipe called "Eggs in Purgatory" from some website I don't remember, Hellish Eggs kick a$$. They're spicy, fiery, and poached in a devilish tomato sauce. Without further ado...

Hellish Eggs:

Enough sauce/space for about 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped (course or fine depending on your onion preferences - for example, Mark will not eat onions if he can feel their texture, so he'd go the finely chopped route, weirdo)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced - or more, obviously
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper - depending on how spicy you like things this may be too much or too little, as always, I guesstimate with spices
  • 1 tsp course ground pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted, no salt added diced tomatoes
  • large eggs
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and add chopped onions. Saute until somewhat translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
2. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and coarse ground pepper and sauté about a minute longer, or until the garlic is fragrant. 
3. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices and bring to a steady boil, reduce to a simmer and let it sit for about 5 minutes. You can wait longer if you want the tomato sauce to thicken a lot, but it's not necessary for the flavor/consistency. 
4. Bring the heat back up to medium and use the back of a wooden spoon to make little pockets in the tomato sauce for the eggs. Crack an egg into each slot (and don't worry if the slots are not super obvious, they weren't at all for me and it worked) and then cover the skillet. 
5. For runny yolks - cook, covered around 6 minutes. For set yolks, 3-4 minutes longer. Use your finger to push down on them every minute or so to get desired yolk-hardness. I'm so technical with all my timings/vocabulary.
6. Use a spatula without slots and serve the eggs with equal tomato sauce. Garnish with basil leaves and more pepper if you'd like. 

A note about these: don't forget to cover!!! I did the first time I made these and it took about 20 minutes for me to realize that my eggs weren't gettin' hard. Stooopid ET. This breakfast is the bomb though. I'm borderline obsessed with it and it's really easy to make too. I often scale it back and use half a can for 2-3 eggs. You can also store excess Hellish Eggs in the fridge and eat them cold for lunch. If your yolks are hard they kinda taste like hardboiled eggs. With spicy tomato sauce under them. 

Another take on breakfast that's super easy also includes tomato, basil, and my favorite: PINE NUTS. 
It's essentially a caprese egg white omelette.  

Caprese Egg White Omelette: 

All you need are:
Egg whites (about 1/2 a cup) - pour 'em in a pan sprayed with olive oil on medium heat and let them turn a little opaque.
Tomato slices - stick em on top of the egg whites.
Basil - shred it, stick flutter (new verb) the pieces around the tomatoes in the egg whites. 
Pine Nuts - crushed into little chunks, fluttered evenly around the tomatoes. 
Coarse Ground Pepper - sprinkled on top of everything
Garlic Powder - ditto to the above step.

Let the eggs set a bit, and this is where it get's tricky. You're going to have to flip to the other side. I recommend using lower heat than usual, letting the eggs set - a lot - and then either flipping with a wrist jerk or a big spatula (or 2). Get creative. Don't worry if you fail. I do all the time. 

I garnish with - you guessed it - more pine nuts. But you can do more basil as well!

I don't know why I just remembered this and why I feel compelled to tell you but I painted one hand of nails yesterday. Just the left side because I'm not skilled enough to do the right. I must have looked ridiculous today. Who paints only ONE side of their nails? This girl

The above photo is my advice to you for today. 

Also, check out this article on the toxicity of sugar sent to me by my Padre, to whom I owe credit for actually being somewhat decent on the rower.

TTFN - ta ta for now!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nutty Roasted Broccoli & PandaPaws

My apologies for the lack of post-age yesterday. Turns out that sickness had not run its course. Thursday night I tossed and turned for hours before finally falling asleep. I had a splitting headache, my throat was dry and crackly, and my feet kept getting hot despite having the fan on full blast and my window cracked open. I. Hate. Hot. Feet. I hate hot body parts when I'm trying to sleep, actually. Which is why I keep my room like an icebox. And probably why I'm sick in the first place. Whatever. Both Thursday and Friday were absolutely gorgeous here though. After my run with Elle, I organized a ginormous 3" binder full of consent forms and other papers I've been using to organize data. The 3" binder filled up pretty quickly, so it looks like I'll have to go bigger at some point. We did this outside though and I was in shorts and a sweatshirt. It was glooorious. My feet are really cute too, I know, you don't have to tell me twice. Bleh.

Because I'm a lone wolf in this whole Paleo-eating excursion, I had 19 meatballs to crush (17 when you factor in the ones I gave to Smells) in 2 days before I was willing to make anything else that could potentially go bad in our ginormous clusterf*ck of a fridge. Seriously, it's like play tetris in there. I want my own fridge built into some secret room so. bad. And a freezer. And a huge kitchen that's clean and pretty and has top-of-the-line appliances and cooking gear. Mom, can I move back home please? I digress (all the damn time), so I've been eating meatballs for like breakfast lunch and dinner so I don't have much to share. But I do have some awesome side dishes and the beautiful weather we had allowed Smells, Cecil (Allyson's dog, also called Sienna and a bunch of other names), Allyson, Anissa, and me to go for some adventures. Yay!

This "Nutty Roasted Broccoli" is the product of one of my many "I just don't wanna make another boring roasted vegetable" moments. What is awesome on roasted vegetables? Parmesan cheese. But I'm sticking to the little-to-no dairy guideline for this whole 40 day challenge thing, so that was a no. The next best thing in my mind was obviously nuts. The answer is always nuts. What would you like to eat? Nuts. What would you like to snack on? Nuts. What would you like to crush in your mouth? Nuts. What's your favorite thing about the opposite sex? Nut-waitaminute ew! Their ability to eat with the same voracity as me, obviously. Ok so the answer may not always be nuts. But you get the point. I'm really dependent on pine nuts as my go-to flavor enhancer for things. They're amazing, but some people don't like the taste as much as I do. I never even toast them when it calls for toasted pine nuts. They taste amaze without any toastiness. Made that word up. So I decided to broaden my nutty horizons and use Macadamia nuts. Also to honor the fact that in a month or so I will be in Hawaii, HULA! The Macadamia nuts I have are unfortunately salted. Costco you fail on the raw nut selection. But that's ok, because I don't salt the broccoli before I roast it, so I think I break even.

"Nutty Roasted Broccoli"

  • 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • Olive oil (I used 1 tbsp, you can use more, I'm still somewhat oil-averse)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Macadamia nuts
1. Preheat oven to 425*
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray lightly with olive oil, spread broccoli florets out on the pan so that they're in a single layer.
3. Add garlic slices to the pan, evenly distributed amongst the broccoli, toss with 1tbsp olive oil (or more) and course ground pepper. Redistribute the broccoli evenly. 
4. Roast for about 15-18 minutes.
While the broccoli is roasting...

5. Take the Macadamia nuts and grind into coarse, crushed pieces either with a mortar and pestle or in a plastic bag w/ a rolling pin. Or hammer. Or textbook. Get creative. The only reason I have a mortar and pestle is because my lovely sister knows how much I love guacamole and got me one for Christmas :)
6. When the broccoli has been roasting for 15-18 minutes, remove, sprinkle with the Macadamia nut crumbs, and stick back in the oven for 5 more minutes. That's it!

Pretty easy, huh? The Macadamia nuts give the broccoli a nice nutty, crunchy flavor and they taste really good toasted like that!

I'm starting to think that my night's sleep could have drastically been improved had my cuddle partner learned to share a bed. Look at that. She think's she's so cute and then she kicks me. Hard. Elle has violent dreams. Probably where she's chasing Blair (my cat), squirrels, lasers, ballies, squeaky toys, light reflections on walls...the list goes on. We are far too similar, that pup and me. Both neurotic, both weird, both antisocial at dog parks/large social gatherings, but we really like ya when we're in more intimate settings!

Elle does have a couple girlfriends though. She really likes Allyson's dog Sienna/Cecil/SiSi. So we go on puppy dates. Yesterday was absolutely beautiful so we went to Pandapas Pond in the Jefferson National Forest. I like calling it Panda-Paws, because that's just so much cuter that Pandapas.

Eleanor and Cecil getting dirty and having a freaking
grand ol' time together. Gotta love pups having fun.

Elle seriously thought she was going to be able to
catch one of those geese below too.
They were pissed.
She probably would get her ass kicked by a goose.

They wanted to play with the geese so badly. By the time we were done with our little excursion they were sooooo dirty. Elle's fur absorbs dirt and mud like it's nobody's business. The interior of my car now looks like it was smeared with poop. Thankfully it doesn't smell like that. I will be getting a full car wash at some point. My wheels are soopa dirty too. Bianca (car) is such a rugged individual.

Elle got a full puppy wash. Good. Lord. It was like pulling teeth from a T-Rex. I don't have a hose outside my house so I had to bathe her. Literally. In my bath tub. She HATES baths so much. And I hate giving her baths. Then I blew her dry with my hair-dryer. She loved that part even more.

That picture to the right? My friday night. Plus A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. And blackberry glazed salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, and asparagus from Gillie's. Minus the 4-pack mini bottles of wine, which I never got to. Some day. Gotta love being sick. Since I missed out on yesterday's WOD and because classes are cancelled today I'm going to do yesterdays which was 7 minutes of straight burpees. We're starting to do the CrossFit Games Open WODs, which you can find here. Obviously I'm in no state to ever qualify in the near future. But you gotta start somewhere. So with 7 minutes of burpees, I shall start. May or may not post tomorrow depending on whether or not I survive. Chow!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Home On the Range Bison Balls

Couple of updates - I added a tab up at the top labeled "Stalk-Worthy" or something along those lines. I have medium-term memory issues. Basically, they're websites I frequently peruse/stalk, whatever you want to call it. Most of them share my philosophy on the whole Paleo lifestyle and they're really well-designed and organized. Unlike this blog.

I'm too school to be cool.
This morning I noticed something after the WOD: I wasn't completely dead and immobile. I'm finishing up my 3rd week of CrossFit and today was the first day I actually felt....progress? Maybe not in terms of the actual workouts. I still have to scale like a motherf*cker. But I felt tired from the workout in all the right places, but still able to do more. Does that make sense? It's an absolutely gorgeous day out and I've been feeling like I've been neglecting Elle - despite taking her for a walk in the pouring rain yesterday and making sure she gets daily car rides - so I decided to go for a brisk jog with her. Get those old bones of hers movin'. So we hit the Huckleberry and ran about 2.5 miles.

She wasn't very happy, but hey, now at least I won't feel as bad for sitting and doing work for a while. I even stopped to do a couple of box jumps on a bench. Talk about strange looks from on-coming people. Elle is such a b*tchass too. I let her off the leash when we run cuz she likes to trail me and she's really good about staying right with me and not smelling other people. But other people get a little freaked out when they see a 75 lb. German Shepherd roaming free, ready to strike at any moment. Yeah. Right. Elle is the biggest pu$$y I know. So whenever I see people walking/running/biking alone I make her sit and we pause for a minute. Good dog. But, whenever I see people with other dogs, I put her on-leash and say "Quiet" because this b*tch loves to bark at other dogs. What makes things worse is when the leash goes on, she goes into "protect" mode. It's not that she's dog or leash aggressive, it's just she thinks she has to protect me or something. That's fine and all and she's good at staying quiet with big dogs. But when there are little yappy rat-dogs, all hell breaks loose. This is what I think goes on through her head:
Ohhhmygod. Is that a cat? WTF is that? What do I do? Mom? This thing looks weird. Must prepare for battle. It might morph and shift into a ginormous cat-monster. WAIT, WTFx2? It's barking?? Wait no that's not a bark, this is WOOOOF (sonic boom) yeaahh whatchu know about that cat-dog??
Then the woman/old lady walking the tiny fake-dog is all like oh my god, what a vicious German Shepherd. Those dogs are so dangerous. Puuuhhhlease. She's all bark, no bite. And you know what? I'm not going to apologize when your yappy dogs are clearrrrly instigating her. Get a real dog. Then we'll talk. I'm sorry to all you people who own small dogs. To be fair, I do like most of them. Like corgis - omg, so cute. They're like little limo dogs. But anything that Paris Hilton may have once owned - nuh uh. Not for me. I like dogs that can sniff bombs and eat criminals and detect cancer and provide emotional/physical support. Not your whiny wannabe cats.

Then again, look at this baby. Gotta love German Shepherd ear canals. And genetics. And auto-immune issues aka allergies. Poor Eleanor has recurring yeast infections in her right ear. No, they're not antibiotic resistant. In fact, the respond quite rapidly to treatment. Which she abhors. I clean out some of the superficial yeast, hence this picture and her look of pure terror. Grow up ya big baby. The poor thing though must be a breeding ground for yeast. It gets real nasty up in there. She cocks her head to the right and walks all funny, she scratches at her ears and then licks her foot, real nasty. But we're doin our best to fix it.

A couple more things before we get to the recipe. We listen to a diverse range of music in the box, but what really gets me pumped up is what I listen to beforehand. Recently I've been on a Dillon Francis kick. He makes "moombahton" which is "a sub-genre of electronic dance music" (thanks Wikipedia) that typically has a tempo of around 110bpm. PERFECT for running (because I'm slow as sh*t) and it's groovy. You can check out and buy his stuff here. His remix of Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close" is one of my fav's ATM, but he just came out with a new EP called "Something, Something, Awesome." which I should be becoming obsessed with soon.

Alright, so recipe time. Bison/Buffalo meat has been gaining a strong hold in the alternative meat market with consumers. Why? The meat you get from free-range bison typically resembles and is comparable to meat that one would expect to get from game animals or "paleo" meat animals. This paper from the Journal of Animal Science (2002) compares the muscle fatty acid profiles and cholesterol concentrations of bison, beef cattle, elk, and chicken. Nutritional benefits aside, bison tastes incredible. In my opinion, it's more tender than beef and has a more palatable flavor that blends well with a variety of ingredients, such as zucchini and carrots. Why do I know this? Because Elle is my taste tester. And I think I've said this before, but she will not eat anything that slightly resembles the taste of a vegetable. She got 2 baby meatballs last night and was so. freaking. excited.

Home On the Range Bison Balls w/ Spaghetti-Squash Pasta:
Makes about 19 meatballs

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • Low sugar marinara sauce of choice (I used Muir Glen)
  • 1 lb. ground bison meat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, chopped (about 1 medium zucchini - use it up)
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (or more), finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsely **
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon course ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
**When it comes to spices, I like to play by my own rules, but those are the measurements I based everything around**
1. Preheat the oven to 350*
2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half, vertically, and scoop out the seeds - as if it were a pumpkin. A yellow, oblong pumpkin. 
3. Spray the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil spray and place the spaghetti squash cut side down.
4. Bake for 40 minutes.
While the spaghetti squash is baking...
1. Combine the bison meat (separated by hand into little chunks into a large mixing bowl) with the zucchini, carrot, onion, and garlic cloves. Mix together before adding anything else. This makes it easier to combine everything in my opinion. You could also food-process the vegetables if you'd like a finer meatball instead of a "chunky" one. I like to see the vegetables though. 
2. Add the egg, almond meal, and spices and mix with a large spoon to combine. Then use your hands. Really get in there and massage the ingredients together. If you have a dog, they will be very happy about this step.
3. Grab another baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon sized balls and place them on the baking sheet (no spray needed!). 

4. Stick them in the oven (350* as well) for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Now, I timed this so that by the time I was finished making the meatballs, the spaghetti squash had about 12 minutes to go. I popped the meatballs in along side the squash and added 8 minutes when the squash was ready to come out. This allowed the squash to cool a bit before moving on to the next step...

5. When the squash has cooled, flip over and use a fork to rake the fleshy part. You should get nice spaghetti lookin' strands. Scoop them into a bowl. 
6. When the meatballs are done, flip the oven on to broil and get the tops of the balls to brown. Then you can either combine everything together with as much warmed up marinara sauce as you'd like, or separate them so you can enjoy the two (squash and meatballs) separately, if you so desire.

I chose to store the two separately so I could have some meatballs sans-pasta with my eggs this morning. YUM. Hot sauce - as always - is encouraged.

Going back to what I said yesterday, this is the brand of almond butter I'm not a fan of. Super sugary. Does that mean that I'm gonna let it go to waste? ....Do you know who you're talking to? If it's there - I will eat. Spoonfuls upon spoonfuls. Why, if I don't like it so much? Because I want it to be gone so I can buy more of the self-mushed kind. That's why. Jeeze.

Now go enjoy the day, if you're lucky to live 
somewhere where it is super beautiful out!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tomato Cup Eggz, Flu Tea, Sesame^3 Chicken & Roasted Cabbage

That's sesame cubed for those slow at math. Don't worry - I am among you. We are a sad, sad breed of Homo sapiens. I did the WOD at night today. Big. Mistake. I get it out of the way in the morning because every time I finish one, I'm WIRED for the rest of the day uuuntil I crash. At 9pm. At best. So now, instead of being pooped, I'm on an endorphin-induced crack-out. Hence the crazy eyes.
I've been having mayja rotator cuff issues putting weight overhead, which is a slight problem considering the fact that every other workout has some sort of overhead lift. But, alas, I've been doing mobility. Hardcore. So much so that my subscapularis and supraspinatus (maybe not so much that infraspinatus & teres minor but what do I know) are so freaking sore. Those are the muscles of the rotator cuff for those anatomically challenged. Man, I'm just callin people out left and right on their weaknesses tonight aren't I? Throw those muscles on an animal and I'm good. Humans? Ehhhhh. Maybe that's why I don't actually know which muscles are sore. I'm challenged with humans. In a scientific AND social way. We already knew the latter though.

Apparently, the penitential season started today following some sort of ash-smearing ritual instead of last night at midnight. I'm being facetious I know what the ash-Wednesday ceremony signifies. But I wasn't joking about forgetting that my whole giving-up shpeil/shpiel/shpeel (??) started later-ish today. Whatever. I stayed true anyway. So I'm going a FULL 40 days instead of just a measly 39 1/4. I even have proof that I'm being good. Kinda. Take my word for it though. See that snapshot of my so wonderfully labeled iPhone category "Socialite" - aka, all things social, 1/2 of which I never use - well, 2 very distinct apps are missing! Pinterest & Twitter. Now that they're not on my phone, they're not easily accessible by habit. I'm so good aren't I. I hope I was clear on the fact that milk chocolate is irrelevant when it comes to this whole, me giving up chocolate thing. Milk chocolate, simply stated, is not real chocolate. Give me the bitter, 90% dark chocolate ANY day. I don't eat milk chocolate in the first place, so therefore, I don't have to give it up.
You may be wondering. "But ET, without chocolate, what HAVE you been eating?" Well, I don't feel like writing a long post about my random experiences with random sh*t throughout my random days, so I'll just cut straight to the chase and post the goods.

Tomato, Spinach Egg Cups:
Makes 1 serving. Double or even quadruple if you'd like. It's an easy-to-manipulate recipe.

  • 2 tomatoes on the vine
  • Fresh spinach, about a cup-ish, but it all depends on how big your tomatoes are
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced. If you're a garlic-fiend like me, go big or go home with 2+, 1 clove should be sufficient if you're shy. Or a vampire.
  • 2 eggs
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375*, cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp. 
2. Stuff fresh spinach into the bottom of the tomato, leaving some room for an egg. I'm a big proponent of eye-balling things. Sorry I'm not sorry. 
3. Place half the garlic on top of the spinach in one cup and repeat with the other side.
4. Crack that sucker (the egg) into the cup. Repeat with the other. You CAN crack the eggs into a cup, individually if your cracking skills aren't up to par. And don't worry if some of the egg white/yolk dribbles over. Mine got all sorts of crazy and they were still good. 
5. Stick on a foil lined pan or baking dish, season with pepper, and bake 30 minutes for set yolks. 20-25 for runny yolks. I went for 35 and the yolks were too hard. You live and you learn.
6. Garnish with a basil leaf and dig in. (Note: don't try to eat pretty. I basically mashed everything up on my plate and scooped up as much recipe diversity as I could onto each forkful)

Usually the basil I buy is grown locally in Virginia. This past time, however, Kroger only had basil from some random part of the globe. What did I get? Franken-basil. Like WTF is that? That leaf is ginormous. Someone used some crazy herb-grow or whatever they spray on plants to make them freakishly large. On that note, I watched The World According to Monsanto last night.  I've never liked big-Ag, especially Monsanto. But MAN are they f*cked up. GMO's = sketch. I think they play a large part in the whole downfall of the honey bee's thing (google it) but that's just a hunch. I haven't followed up on it since I completed a semester-long project on it. Maybe my theories have been proven right. Wouldn't be the first time, heh heh. Just kidding. Usually, I am quite, quite wrong. 

Oh and I forgot I've been sick! That's the main reason I didn't do CrossFit this morning. I told myself I needed rest, but guess what? After tonight's workout I feel a million bucks better. Sweat that sucker out with Burpee Box Jumps YEAH. Yesterday sucked ass though. I nearly died after the WOD. Pounding headache, sore throat, achy cheeks/nasal cavities, shiver, fever sweats, the whole gamut of flu-like symptoms. I drank like 8 cups of cold-"tea", ate vegetarian chili - with CHICKPEAS RAH, it was my last day of no legumes, don't hurt me!, and watched documentaries. Oh and started re-reading textbooks. I'm going stir-crazy without a consistent job. My research position is great and all, but man, I get bored. I finish the work too quickly. It's data input, lezzbehonest: not the hardest thing in the world. 

Cold/Flu Paleo Tea:
Makes 1 cup.
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ~1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, no seeds!
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • Boiling water
1. Throw the ginger into a mug, then the lemon juice, then the honey, then the boiling water (however much will fit in your mug). Wait til it cools - drink. Enjoy. Relax. Heal. 

Seriously, that sh*t is a lifesaver. And it tastes amazing too. You could even add some garlic up in there or maybe even some cayenne powder. Get creative with that biz.

Now, to our right we have embryogenesis. Specifically, the formation of the lobes of the pituitary. Liiiiterally, I have no life. Or friends. I draw creepy embryos all day. And cook. And workout. And eat almond butter. So basically I get fat. Weee!

Speaking of almond butter. Maranatha sucks. I dunno if that's how you even spell it but that brand is poo. Way too sugary. I like the straight up ground stuff. I can feel the sugar kind goin to my love handles. I don't like that feeling.

ONE MORE RECIPE. The sesame cubed chicken I talked about so long ago. 
All shapes & sizes. NBD.

Sesame^3 Chicken w/ Roasted Cabbage:

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
  • Coarse ground pepper - lemon pepper if you have it works as well
1. Preheat oven to 450*.
2. Chop cabbage into wedges. Do this as best and as symmetrical as you can. I'm challenged and mine came out in all shapes and sizes, but it still worked. I go for taste, not photographability. Yes, that is now a word. 
3. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Spray cabbage wedges. Sprinkle lemon evenly over cabbage. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
4. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip, re-sprinkle the other side with lemon juice and pepper. Roast for 12-15 more minutes.

While the cabbage is roasting: 

  1. Cut chicken into strips. However big you'd like them. Mine came in all shapes and sizes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tahini, tamari/coconut aminos, and sesame oil. Whip that sh*t together. My first attempt failed miserably because tahini likes to chunk up. Make sure you whip it good. Like the song. About whipped cream. Which you shouldn't eat. Wait, it is about whipped cream right? Whatever.
  3. Add chicken to the bowl, coating with sauce. Slather it all up on there. Give the chicken a massage with tahini sauce. 
4.    Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours if possible. The first time I made this at Allyson's I didn't marinate, unless you count the 15 minute car ride. The second time I did and I honestly couldn't taste a significant difference. But I was hungry.

5.    In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. 

6.    Add the chicken strips and saute until golden brown and cooked through (about 4 minutes per side). The sauce should sort of caramelize on the chicken. It's so freaking good this way, just wait. 

7.    Sprinkle with sesame seeds. The third sesame of the sesame cubed. Tahini is sesame paste for those that don't know. You can buy this at your local global or health foods store. Get ready for a pricey purchase though. It's awesome and you can make a ton of sh*t with it though so don't worry.

And that's about it! Sorry for the recipe dump. I've got some superb bison-meatballs comin your way for tomorrow. DE-lish. I had the little one begging incessantly after she tasted some of the thawing bison-juices that fell on the floor of the kitchen. Weirdo/carnivorous pup. 
Warning: the above recipe may come with a drooling pooch.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Catholicism-Inspired Will-Power

I'm not religious in an organized sense by any means. This is not to say I don't believe in a higher power, but it's a belief system that's far too complicated to delve into right now. Trust me, we don't want to have this conversation just yet. I DO like testing my will-power though. As some of you may know, unless you're living under a rock exempt from all social media, today is Fat Tuesday. If only my name were Tuesday, this holiday would be right up my alley. Tomorrow starts the major penitential season of the Christian/Catholic liturgical year: Lent.

Lent is like, my favorite 40 days ever. Why? Well, my mother has a slight cursing problem when she's at the office. I say f*ck at home and all hell breaks loose but in a professional setting it's totally okay, right mom? Anyway, every year during lent my sister and I get 2$ for every curse word she says. We. Make. Bank. It's awesome. I'm going to buy so many pairs of shoes and under armor crazy pants in 40 days. This year, I thought I'd make things interesting. You see, I have some addictions. Let's go through them, shall we?

  • Pinterest. Mother of god. This website is a vacuum of productivity. I am SO glad I didn't know much about it until my final semester last year or my GPA would have plummeted. What do I do on Pinterest? I make boards pertaining to all things interesting (in my eyes) and they're awesome. I also like to get creative on the names of my boards. For example we have: 
      1. Homeslice - decor ideas for my future, multi-billion dollar home. 
      2. Hilarity - nerd humor. bathroom humor. things I find hilarious. I'm probably alone on many of them..
      3. Fooood - self explanatory. because I like food so much, it gets several extra o's in the middle. kind of like the rolls around my mid-section. does that give a weird mental image? it kind of does. 
      4. Mother Nurture - animals. plants. nature. things the great mother makes beautiful. I'm soooo earthy. 
      5. Aaaand the rest aren't too interesting, but by golly I find some great stuff on there. It's where almost all of my recipes come from. And outfits. When I'm not wearing oversized sweaters, an infinity scarf, and leggings. My Go. To. Outfit. Or flannel. I'm a bum.
  • Twitter. You (I) think I'm funny here? Ooooh then check out my twitter. Hilarity is sure to ensue. I share way too much, with way too many, for way too little (read: nothing). Twitter seriously makes me wish I were a celebrity. I want people to think my jokes are funny, but in actuality I know they're not. 90% of the time. I gotta give myself a little credit. Twitter basically allows me to stalk people in a non-creepy way. Facebook got way too creepy and confusing and politically/meme-ily CRAZY. Twitter let's me selectively view people I care about. Like DJ's. And authors. And intellectuals. But I'm obsessed. I update way too often for not enough people who care way too little. MEH. Check it out in 40 days and maybe I'll have enough followers to make a difference! YEAH!
  • Dark Chocolate. I think this is pretty self explanatory as well. I finally crushed all the chocolate my mom sent me for Valentine's Day. Yes, Valentine's Day was last week. Yes, there was a lot of chocolate consumed. How could I not! It was from Whole Foods. A place I miss so dearly simply for the plethora of chocolate nuggets they have right before you check out. Evil. Strategic. You win, Whole Foods, you always do. I do, however, still have those little chocolate nuggety morsels that I used to make JB over at PaleOMG's Sweet Potato Brownies. That girl might like chocolate more than I do. And almond butter. But she also can lift more than my body weight (which is saying A LOT) and has like 0% fat from what I can see in pictures. So, all in all, she's winning and can afford to eat chocolate and nuts galore. I, sadly, cannot. 
  • Hot Sau5. See what I did there? Eh? Eh? Clever, I know. You could probably spell it like hot 5au5. But that gets confusing. This is an addiction I can stand to keep. In the picture above you can see a little bottle hiding in the corner. That sh*t is amazing. All the peppers are grown and bottled locally by Chinkapin Hill Forest Farms. I go through about a bottle a week. I told my hot sau5 guy this on Saturday at the Blacksburg Farmers' Market and he got so tickled pink. Yes, I have a hot sau5 guy. Yes, I just said tickled pink. But seriously, that's why I support community agriculture and local businesses. They truly, truly appreciate your business and you get direct customer interaction with the head honchos. When was the last time you talked to the CEO of Smithfield (bacon lovers, I'm calling you out) or Cargill? That's what I thought. 
That's actually pretty much it on major addictions. Excluding Mark and red wine of course. Aw, I'm such a sweet lush of a girlfriend. So yeah, I'm going cold turkey on Pinterest, Twitter, Dark Chocolate AND to add on to that, I'm going to be a good paleo girl and do a Whole9 inspired 40 day challenge. Yes, that means no more legumes. Nor can I have my beloved cheat days. I will, however, still be drinking red wine. Before you get all up in my face, I literally have 2 glasses at MOST on nights that I drink and those nights typically only fall twice a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays. So, if that's illegal, Whole9 nazis, shoot me. Oh that's right, cavemen didn't have guns. HA. 

You may be wondering about a few things: 
  1. But ET, how are you going to survive without Pinterest for recipes? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'll actually be going through all of my cookbooks and attempting to paleo-fy them. I'm actually really excited about that because most of the time I have no idea what the f*ck I'm doing in the kitchen, so this should be an experiment that will follow along those same lines. If it's good - I post. If it's bad - I post so you guys can vom too. I told you to always question things didn't I? Just kidding. I won't post. But I'll definitely fill you in on the experience!
  2. How are you going to survive without chocolate? I have no. f*cking. idea. But alas, I will share with you the triumphs and struggles of my journey. 
  3. What about almond butter? Isn't that an addiction too? Yes, asshole. It is. That's why this happened today: 
Fear not. I have another bottle. MUAAHAH. 

So yeah. I'll keep you all updated on my progress. I'm excited. I like testing my willpower. I'm also going to start re-reading all my old textbooks. Why? Because I'm bored as SH*T in the real-world and I miss studying so much. Like so. much. I'm a freak. I also made some bomb ass tahini chicken at my friends' place last night and ate it all up before I could snap a picture. I've got another breast (that makes 3!) so I'll post that recipe tonight at some point. It's so. good. 

K BYE. Time to go bat-sh*t crazy on Pinterest, Twitter, and CHOCOLATE. RAWRRRR.

Monday, February 20, 2012

SweetGreen Inspired Ensalada, Ole!

Today has been quite uneventful. It's like 40+ degrees and as sunny as my side-up eggs were this morning. Does that make sense? I don't know. IDGAF.OS. I'm a lucky girl in that my "job" allows me to work from home. What do I do? Basically assemble a sh*t ton of random data on Excel spreadsheets for my professor to one day use in a study on students and GPA's and freshmen and our Capstone Experience. What is a capstone experience, might you ask? Well it's this thing tech started doing when I came here where you complete a project - be it undergraduate research, a formal, high-level course, study abroad, independent studies, internships, etc. - and that project has to apply to the "real world" and it's supposed to better suit you for life after graduation. Clearly mine had a profound effect since I now sit in my bed, behind my computer, and blog while trying to organize data. 
Nah but actually mine was really awesome. I went to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to take 16 credits (granted by George Mason University) in Conservation Biology. 
Baaaasically it was amazing. Life changing. Stellar - if you will. And it really got me set on the grad-school, exotic animal track instead of the vet-school pups and kitty cats track. Not that dogs and cats and vets suck. I just cry like a baby when anything dies. I'm a weak human being damnit. Anyway at SCBI I did some pretty cool stuff. Like tackle a deer. It's for science people. I don't feel like explaining. PETA will probably come after me and be like "WTF Y U NO humanely weigh and measure deer body length with yo EYESSSS" and I'll be all like STFU. On mention of PETA, I just gotta preach for a minute. Maybe you don't care about critical thinking and live inside your own brain and listen to whatever anyone tells you and don't question anything you can skip ahead. Actually, you can stop reading this blog. Cuz you'll probably be a jerk. BUT for those of you that DO care about the intellectual integrity of our world I ask you this: PLEASE question everything - not to a paranoid, the government is controlling/watching our every move extent - but in a do your homework kind of way. How do you do your homework? Why I'm glad you asked! Read. Cautiously. Get both sides of an opinion. I read books on biology and God from a religious point of view in addition to an atheist point of view. For example: Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller - he's a believer. Or The Greatest Show on Earth by DEFINITE atheist Richard Dawkins. The same goes for Paleo and ALL other diets. Everyone thinks they have the right answer. Just make sure you get both sides of an argument and fact check. 

So now for a bit on what I've been eating. Last night I had a Barramundi filet seasoned with white and black sesame seeds and pepper. Barramundi is a rad white fish. Also known as the Asian Sea Bass, this little sucker is from the waters of Australia. It's sustainable, and, nutritionally, it's like a tilapia-salmon hybrid. You can learn more about it here if you'd like! All you do for this guy is season, wrap him up in foil, and bake at 400*F for 20 minutes. Literally - so. easy. 

 My lil' barramundi - is it weird that I'm affectionately addressing my food now? - was accompanied by a salad inspired by what I'm obsessed with at this place called "SweetGreen". It's back home though in Northern VA and so I can't have it here :( wah. Basically, SweetGreen can make anyone love a salad. Even Mark who gets this ah-mazing chicken caesar - definitely not paleo. But a ton of their salad add-ins are local, sustainable, DELICIOUS, and did I say delicious already? I always "build-my-own" so I decided I might as well try to replicate it at my apartment because it can't be that hard right? I always get this carrot chili vinaigrette that is aahhhmazing but they don't post their recipes ANYWHERE. Fail. So I made my own. It's spicy - if you're a little b*tch, which I can be - and you don't need much at all. I made a ginormous salad and used waaaay too much and I still have a significant amount left. 

Carrot-Beet-Radish-Sprouty Salad w/ Jalepeno Carrot Vinaigrette

  • As much Salad base as your heart desires (I used some crazy spring-mix but usually use baby arugula)
  • 1/4 cup beets, quartered (raw or cooked)
  • 1/4 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup radishes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup kidney beans (if you're strict paleo you can omit this. I won't be offended)
  • A few to several basil leaves, sliced vertically
  • Handful of sprouts (I used alfalfa/radish)
  • Pine nuts (or other nuts) - to taste aka 7 handfulls for ET
Directions: Combine. Got it? Good. 

Jalepeno Carrot Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup hemp oil (or other oil, probably not olive oil though)
  • 1/4 cup carrot juice (100% - make your own or purchase)
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 jalepeno, finely chopped (more if you're a BEAST, less if you're a baby)
  • Powdered ginger, garlic powder, & chili powder to taste
    • I did about 2 pinches each
Directions: Combine & whisk. Think you can handle that? I think so too. 

Peeking behind the salad is a pile of TERRA brand sweet potato chips. Not shown to actual scale. I def ate like 4-7 more handfuls of those than I should have. That Synergy purple drank? Kombucha. Fermented mushroom vinegary tea drink with raw chia seeds in it. I'm addicted. I have been ever since I learned of the mother during my Mysterious Mushrooms & Magical Molds class. No, we did not trip on mushrooms for extra credit. Yes, it was one of the best classes I've taken at tech AND the professor I've just learned is a fellow CrossFitter!! How cool? I always thought Kombucha sounded Asian, but it's actually a Russian drink. It boasts of how it's the "elixer of life and longevity" or some hippie bullsh*t on the back. I just love the taste and the chia seeds are like a freaking party in your mouth. Ever had bubble tea and sloshed those tapioca balls around in your mouth? Chia seeds are 109257012984x more fun to play with.

Time to go play in the melting snow. Until later!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rear-Wheel Stranded

Mark was here this weekend. Well not true, he was here for Saturday/Sunday morning, which I naturally gave him shit about. I don't know why I still have a boyfriend considering how much of a b*tch I can be and how much I eat. Maybe it's because we look like this and we're all each other can get.

We were in a rather classy establishment too. No class.
He got all nervous when it started snowing because apparently front-wheel (his) and rear-wheel (mine) cars suck in the snow. Especially when you have track/summer tires on, which he does. Now, considering the winter we've had - read: lack thereof - those tires wouldn't be problematic. Cue 50+ degree weather yesterday (yay!) and butt-loads of snow today (boo) and now we have a problem. Only in Blacksburg. Thanks global warming, you're turning out to be more bipolar than I am! So I kept being like bro it's not gonna stick. Then it started snowing like an angel's coke habit fell out of her stash spot in the sky for like 7 minutes and it started sticking. Then the "I told you so's" began. I hate being told "I told you so". So after a ginormous breakfast of snacking on this delicious "pumpkin cookie dough dip" which I made for my cheat day while we waited for our eggs + egg whites combo to cook, he left and so began mine and Elle's adventure.

A quick note on my "cheat days" - they keep me sane. Now I don't go and down gluten like it's national toast day or anything (lamest joke ever? Does that even exist???) in fact the only gluten I've had on my cheat days so far was a sip of a beer and last night a full beer. Did I pay for it? A bit. I didn't overdo it. And it was a Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. It just wanted to be imbibed. I follow Timothy Ferriss's advice for cheat days, which he details in The 4-Hour Body < which you can buy or "preview" there. It's good stuff. Maybe not strictly paleo - he LOVES legumes a love of which I share - but the 2 ideologies can be combined. That's what I practice. A Robb Wolf + Timothy Ferriss combo. I read both The Paleo Solution and The 4-Hour Body over winter break in Phoenix, Arizona. They're both science-y and nerdy like me, and I like what they both had to say. Sorry if you're a die-hard caveman/woman. There are plenty of blogs out there for ya. I really like what Juli Bauer has to say on Paleo. You can check it out on her blog PaleOMG which is a. Hilarious, b. Inspirational, and c. Awesome. She's basically who I aspire to be. Maybe my little wimpy arms will someday be able to lift not only my large-and-in-charge body, but some heavy duty barbells as well. Now that I've creepily confessed my girl crush, here's that pumpkin dip. Recipe here thanks to Chocolate-Covered Katie. She sounds like fun eh? 
Addicting I tell you. Cheat day be damned.
Now that I've totally digressed from my story, let's get back. So this is what the snow originally looked like after Mark had left and I'd spent a ridiculous amount of time meal planning, stalking blogs, and making a weird, color-coded grocery list. Normally, I just write sh*t down. This time? I doodled and made it all pretty on a sheet of loose-leaf paper. I'm cute right? 

I think my drawing of kale is probably my favorite. Like WTF was I thinking? Oh and JOOSE for grapefruit juice? Really? I thought I was really clever and funny when I drew this. Now it's embarrassing. You'll notice that my produce section is FILLED TO THE BRIM. How you like dem apples? Or carrots. Or tomatoes? I've got a ton of meat stocked up in my freezer, so that's like last priority. And isn't that light dusting of snow cute? Elle and I thought so. We were gonna have some fun traipsing around Heritage Park. Which we did. Elle goes bat-sh*t cray in the snow. She sprints and tries to eat the ground (freak) and then coughs because she gets water down the wrong pipe then randomly voms in the middle of the path near the children that are sledding. Whoops. Didn't bring a sh*t bag for that one. And she bites my arm. Home girl comes from a line of Schutzhund champs. Basically Schutzhund is like CrossFit for dogs. Actually, that's an amazing comparison. I'm so damn smart sometimes. So yeah, Schutzhund literally means "Protection Dog" and so she's got a natural inclination to bite your forearm. Naturally, I didn't train her not to when she was a pup, so now my 6 year old old lady still greets me mouth open (better than legs!) and does it a bit harder when she's all riled up. Not cool. Also she bites and hangs on to her leash. Cute - but not when I'm trying to film her, she gets REAL rambunctious, whips the metal clasp at me, leading to me dropping my iPhone. I have it on film. Pretty sure you can hear me say F*CK real loud and you definitely see my sausage thighs bendin over to rescue it before you can say "Water-Damage".

Heritage Park - Pre-Blizzard
I love the mountains. Heritage Park used to be a beef-cow place. Farm. Whatever. And then they converted it to a park when it went under is my guess. It's awesome. There's old beat-up barns and tractor pieces and a bunch of other sh*t I don't know how to describe. Like silos. And A LATRINE. Or outhouse. Not sure which is the proper term.

Notice the difference in sky coloration. Maybe? Now they kind of look the same. But shit got real. I was drenched in snow. It was wet snow. Although I'm not sure what dry snow is. But whatever, you know what I mean. Maybe.

I love that hat. It's so fluffy, not very stable, but so bright. I love bright things. Especially bright green. Oh and those boots - uhhh-maze. They used to piss me off because the liner would get all bunched and I'd get frustrated and rip them, but then I realized I have to put them on like tights. Now, we love each other. They're made by Hunter. You know, that brand that USED to make rain boots for us barn-folks but now it's like for all the gurlz in every color and hue of the mother-f*cking rainbow. Who am I kidding. I say barn-folks like I get down and dirty at 5am feeding cows. No. I go out and play with our horses and make Elle do some agility work on the jumps. 

So then we continue walking (back to Heritage) and Elle sees a snowman and FREAKS out. She's all like WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WHITE THING. I feel like people probably say that about me a lot. Especially during the painful, pale winter months. Her loud booming bark scares the sh*t out of anyone in a 2 mile radius - I'm being realistic here for once - and so I'm all like alright b*tch. Enough of your chatter, let's gopher. Yes, gopher. My intelligent, cunning German Shepherd has figured out that "Go for a ride in the car" can be shortened to "Gopher". Actually, Mark and I figured this out. Scratch that, Mark figured this out. And now every time you say "Elle want gophers?" She FREAKS out. Freaks. She gets this head tilt and barks and runs around the house and looks at you like CMON MOM LET'S GOPHER ALREADY. And so we go.

We had a decently long walk. Elle was pulling me like a sled dog for some of it. I was actually quite impressed with her stamina. Coming from a lazy-ass dog who sleeps in MY spot on MY bed all day while I'm slaving away behind a bullsh*t computer screen on my ass, she packed some serious energy today. BEAST MODE ENGAGE Eleanor. 

We get in the car and immediately I'm like "oh sh*t" I think it snowed a good 235 inches since I was last in the car. Leave it to a Northern Virginia-er to completely over-react about ANY sort of inclement weather. And I did. I seriously went like 2 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone. So. Bad. Ass. Usually it's like 27 if I'm feeling dangerous. Yeah right. Who am I kidding, I have more speeding tickets than a cheetah. If cheetah's got clocked for speed infractions. I have like 40 points on my license. Unfortunately, the DMV plays the whole golf-score game where the lowest is best. I call bullsh*t. 

So I'm going granny slow in my rear-wheel drive car. Luckily I have new tires and I'm PRETTY sure they're all season, so I definitely could have gone faster, but I was over-reacting. And I had my baby in the car. I didn't wanna chance anything. I get on 460, which is like a highway-esque thing and I'm goin 35 in a 55. Pickin it up a little now. But it's comin down. Then I remember not only do I live at the bottom of a HUGE hill, but I have a HUGE driveway to go up. How does that make sense? Bottom of the hill, top of the driveway? Whatever. Just try to picture it. Now I really freak out. I'm already plotting how I'm going to get to CrossFit in the morning - by walking - and Kroger - of course freaking out about food - also by walking. Then I remember - wait, I'll be dead after the WOD and I'll have to carry home so. many. bags. Naturally, because I eat like a whale. I decide to put it out of my mind, turn onto the street (with the massive downward sloping hill) and I see this: 

And I'm all like OH HELL NO. I'm either a. Going to DIE. or b. Going to get in a crippling accident. Never mind that while I was thinking this, I was also brilliantly trying to capture the moment with my f*cking camera phone but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures and this CLEARLY needed to be documented. I had to send it to Mark in case he thought I just sucked at driving and smashed my car into a tree or fence or horse or cow in a light dusting of snow. This was no light dusting folks. 

Long story short, I MADE IT. Bianca (my car) was slip sliding all the way up the driveway but she got me there safe. I swear that car loves me to death despite how bad I treat her sometimes. She carries me to the gas station WELL after the "miles to go" meter has reached - - - - which is a step past 0000. AND she gets me home in blizzard-like conditions.

And for that, Bianca, I thank you.

Once I got home, I realized I wasn't going anywhere, probably not for 27 days. So I did what any person would do and started building up my fat stores by eating pecan and almond butter sandwiches. Then I cried because I was going to get charged another $1.26 or whatever it is because I couldn't get to Redbox to return Drive. SWOON, Ryan Gosling. DAYUM. Wish me luck on leaving the house and not starving. I've got enough dark chocolate and almond butter (2 jars and Mom's Valentine's day present [read: death/chunk wish]) to last me a few days or so, so there may be hope for me after all. 
Check out those beautiful nails and creamy goodness. YUM.