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!  

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