Smiling when you fucking want to and also Protein Bars

 

Warning:  I’m pissed and I am going to say “Fuck“.  A lot.

Men need to stop telling women they see on the street to smile.

If they like smiling so much, then maybe they should walk down the street smiling for absolutely no fucking reason at all.  At least then women will know from a safe distance that the man is a lunatic and should be avoided because who else but a wack job would just be walking down the street with a smile on their face?

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smīl/e  verb

form one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.

So here is the breakdown of why  I am cracking down on this thing of men telling women they should smile:

  1. They don’t deserve it.

Okay so who in the hell are you that you think just because you are on the street at the same time that I am that I would be pleased and amused and want to express that toward you?  Unless you are Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig or David Beckham, who I also don’t personally know, then I am not going to smile at you as I walk down the street by myself just because you said so.  You  deserve a throat punch from me not a smile.

  1.  It is harassment.

Shouting to a stranger “You’re not even going to smile for me?!”  Is not less offensive than shouting, “You’re a bitch!”  because both make a woman feel that she is being attacked and unsafe.  

  1.  You don’t get to tell me what to do.

This is a command to perform something, a smile.  It is saying, “Show me you are pleased with me even though you don’t even know who the hell I am.”   No.   I smile when I want to.  

  1.  It’s rapey.  There I said it.  Do women ever do this?  Hell no! It is a domination thing, an intimidation thing.  We do not tell men to smile.  We do not randomly tell each other to smile. Men do not do this to other men.

Okay okay, so here’s what happened:  

When this happened to me recently,  my mind was on the spin training I was on my way to so of course I didn’t expect the shout directed at me, “What you’re not even going to smile for me?”  and I simply brushed it off and ignored the asshole but the more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off.   If this ever happens to me again,  Here is what they will get:   

TeethSo how do you like me now? Huh?  Am I prettier now?

I wonder how this will make him feel?  Maybe horrified?  Maybe a little bit attacked?  Maybe he will think twice before doing it again to another woman?  Maybe it will piss him off, I don’t know but I am not going to do what this person says and I am not going to give them the satisfaction of thinking that they intimidated me.  Also, fuck him.

I also hate that my daughters will have to deal with this.  In fact, they already do.  I also hate that much worse happens to women each and every day.  This one thing is enough to make my blood boil.

So for the record it is not okay when a man does this to a woman.  Just in case anyone thought so.  It is straight up harassment and it makes a woman feel unsafe.  Also, even if you know the person, it is still rude because you are actually just calling her a bitch whether you know her or not.

And now here is something to really smile about!  You may be walking down the street and remember you have one of these chocolaty satisfying snacks in your bag for later and then you won’t be able to help but smile!

Protein Bar

 

 

 

 

Protein Bars recipe

  • 2  1/4 cups whey protein
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup coconut unsweetened
  • 4 tbs raw honey
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt divided into 3/4 tsp and 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 of an 85% – 90% dark chocolate bar.

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend till combined.
  2. Pour and mold into a 7 x 5 x 1.5 inch glass container lined with wax paper
  3. Melt half a 85% or 95% dark chocolate bar in the microwave and spread all over the top and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours at least and then cut into ten pieces.  Wrap individually in wax lined foil paper and store in the refrigerator.

 

  • Total Protein   17.6
  • Total Carbs  15.82 
  • Total Fat 22.44
  • Total Calories  317.7
  • 7 grams of sugar 

People are Awesome!

NoActOfKindness

 

 

 

Sometimes someone you may not really know can totally make your day.

I freaking love that.

If you ever have the urge to say something kind and encouraging to someone or to give them a random compliment, I say do it.

You never know how much that will help someone with whatever it is that they are going through.

I have this tendency to hurt myself with little yet devastating injuries from working out.  I am not usually one you need to push to do more.  If you do push me, I will totally smash myself.  It isn’t smart but I will do it nonetheless.  I am on a journey to learn how to push myself without hurting myself.  To train smart and not just hard.  I just get into a sort of “beast mode” and will do things that maybe I shouldn’t do.  It is now my official quest to learn this delicate important balance.  

My latest injury has been a hip flexor strain.  Long story short, I over did it with many fast v sits and jumped right into sprints and  found myself racing a man who is fast and fit and winning and getting really freakin pumped over it so yeah!  Go bitch go! A switch went off and well, 2 days later all the DOMS you can imagine but I kept on going because stupid.  A week later, I strained my right hip flexor.  So there I was with a stupid injury and a certification training in 2 weeks.  Needless to say, I was pissed at myself.  Ice, ibuprofen and total rest for a few days.  I got checked out by my physical therapist.  I love her.  I was good to go but not so fast.  Got back to a spin class on Friday and was feeling great.  Next day, however, a little sore and a little tight so I headed to Sunday yoga class.  

I realized that I was stressing about not going to my classes and if my girl crush instructors were going to be disappointed and think I was a slacker for not showing up to my 5:30 a.m. classes all week.  This has been causing me anxiety as silly as that may sound.  I know strong women are not supposed to care what other people think of them but I’m being completely honest here.  While I couldn’t give a flying frog about what a lot of people think about me, I do care about what the people who matter think and the people who matter in this situation are the ones that I either consider my mentors, coaches and role models or peers who have similar interests and values.  I read somewhere that this has something to do with my birth order.  I am the oldest child of six and they say that makes me a “pleaser”.  In my case it’s true.  I am not only dedicated to my own fitness, but I am dedicated to classes, the instructors, the group, the routine, the community of it all.  It’s a big part of my world and when I can’t do it I am not happy.  Now here’s the part where someone totally made my day today.

I saw one of my early bird classmates at yoga and she said that she missed me in pump.  I was so happy to hear that and to have an opportunity to explain why I wasn’t there all week and that I absolutely HATE to miss my classes.  She was super kind, compassionate and encouraging and it totally lifted a burden off of me.  She encouraged me to rest it and not further injure it, which I already know I should to.  Hearing it from a classmate gave me such a relief and made me feel supported.  It may seem like a little thing, but it made me feel like a huge weight had been lifted.  

My plan this week leading up to my training is going to be to not do early classes and get sleep to heal.  I will do upper body strength exercises such as push ups, planks, dips and chin ups and for cardio I will do jump rope.  I will get to another yoga class and maybe some Pilates.  I will spend my evenings studying my Spin manual and taking notes and come Saturday, I will be ready for that training.  I will schedule a massage for Sunday.

Now I am really feeling positive about the week ahead!  

So thank you gym friend!  You made my day!

People are awesome.

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Gym friend who made my day is 5th from left. I’m second from the right and one of my girl crush instructors is in front. I want to be just like her when I grow up.  And yeah, it was St. Patrick’s Day so that’s why the green.

This November There is Gratitude in Grief

FullSizeRender (12)You would think that a death in the family right in the middle of November, with the holidays just about to begin would send my spirit sinking like a stone to the bottom of the ocean but I had watched my husband and his sisters watch their mother suffer for a long time and I was relieved and grateful that all of this suffering could finally end and that she was finally at peace.  

It is amazing how when you make yourself look for the good and the positive you will find it and then if you continue in that way, you will find that there is more and more good coming to you.  I know that I am very fortunate and I do not know the loss of a parent.  I know that there is pain and that there will be grieving and that we need to go through all of that, but finding the good keeps us together and moving forward especially in hard times. There really is so much more good if you look for it.

When all of the people who came to Pat’s funeral got up to share about her, I was amazed at just how well we can do this.  Stubborn became strong and independent.   Mean became a hard protective exterior and that deep down she had a lot of love.  I knew that to be true.  She once told me how happy she was that her son and I found each other and  she thanked me for loving him.  It was a unique moment I remember with her and a rare glimpse into her true heart.

People all agreed that she was a strong remarkable woman who despite her major disabilities and having been dealt a shitty hand in life, still found some joy and happiness in it.  She took great pride in her beautiful family, and she was happy with simple things, like the chance to go to someone else’s house sometimes, the holidays and always keeping her mind sharp by reading and doing crosswords and playing games or facebook stalking her daughter in law and who knows who else?  She kept that dry wit and fiery competitive spirit that was Pat no matter what she was going through.   She was tenacious and fought hard for her life for 40 years!  And not only did she fight just to stay alive, but she fought to keep her life her own.   Amazing.  

I’ve learned many things from her example.  I have been given so much and I am so grateful.  I will not take any single blessing for granted.  I will live the rest of my life giving love, support and encouragement to my family, working hard and being grateful that I can do the work, taking the best care of the healthy and whole body and mind I am so fortunate to have, and helping people in need whenever I am given the gift to do so.   I will not feel guilty about taking time for myself.  I will not hold on to grudges. I will not hold back love. I will let it out and express feelings of love and appreciation and give encouragement every day to my loved ones.  I will give them my trust.  If I am down, I will resist the temptation to bring others down with me.  Instead, I will reach out for love and support.  I will accept and feel my feelings.  All of them.  I will forgive others when they mess up. I will forgive myself when I mess up, learning and growing from mistakes and always striving for progress.  I will take responsibility for my own happiness.  I will be compassionate to myself and others.  Every single day that I wake up and breathe will be a gift and a blessing and will not be wasted dwelling in discontent, but will be lived to the fullest in gratitude.  

IMG_0659As difficult as it was for Pat, she absolutely loved the holidays.  She especially loved Christmas decorating with her lights and her tree and her Dickens Village and train set, so I think I can manage to at least put up my wreath tonight.   I will light it and remember her Christmas spirit.  A wonderful gift.  Thank you Pat!

 

 

Smug Cake

Here’s the best thing that ever happened to getting up at 4:30 a.m. in the cold to go work out before going to work:

Two words.  Mug.  Cake.
Mug Cake Chocolate Raspberry

So on my never ending quest for food and ways to make it be healthy and simple, I have come across this thing called the mug cake.  I did not invent the mug cake but if I did, I would have to call it Smug Cake because if I had invented a way to have yummy comfort food that is healthy and quick like this, I would be all sorts of full of myself.  I just came across this idea on Facebook but nevertheless, I have to share this awesomeness with you!

Also I really can’t be too smug because I wore not black pants to boot camp and then did lots and lots and lots of jump rope. If you don’t know why that was a bad idea then please read my workout tip below:  

Workout tip:  If you have ever given birth and you are over 40 and your workout will include lots of jump rope, and maybe you had a little too much coffee before, for the love of all things not embarrassing, do NOT wear any other color pants besides black!  You may not be able to stop nature as you pound your feet down a couple hundred times while your trainer in her amazing way of motivating you to go “faster!” “How many can you get in?!”  gets you to push yourself in ways you never thought possible.  Thank you Jean for being that trainer!  Cindarella Jump RopeBut alas, jump rope is not quite like it was when I was 8.  “Cinderella dressed in yellow….” I suppose maybe yellow was a good choice for jump rope? No. Not really.

In any event, if the same person who peed their pants at boot camp can make a mug cake then you know it is really that simple.  It should be called Duh Cake.

Here is the basic recipe:

  1. One mug
  2. One Banana
  3. One Egg
  4. One Tbsp Dark Cocoa

Instructions:

  1. Beat together.
  2. microwave 2 minutes.
  3. Eat.

For my pre-workout Mug Cake I like to add:

  1. 1 tbs brewed coffee
  2. dash cinnamon
  3. 1tbs maca
  4. dash Himalayan Salt
  5. 1tsp vanilla

This warm, cocoa-y cake definitely helps me to get up early in the morning and has the carbs, protein, caffeine and nutrients in it to get me ready to rock that workout!  This and some black pants and I am pretty much unstoppable.

You could play with the recipe and make it for dessert for your family in cute little Christmas mugs with some peppermint or if you are all about the pumpkin flavor, add a little pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices instead of the cocoa!  Top that shit with some nice cream, serve it with that smug cake look all over your face because you pushed a few buttons on the microwave and made cozy yummy magic happen and now everyone loves you.

Smug Face

Smug Face

Then sit back in your dry pants with your cozy cup of cake and smile because you have cake! And the only thing that got dirty is one mug and a fork.

 

 

Nice Cream

Nice cream:  another really easy recipe

  1. 3 frozen bananas
  2. 1 tsp vanilla
  3. dash of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Peel bananas.  Slice into 2 inch pieces.  Wrap in plastic.  Freeze rock hard (overnight)
  2. Put all ingredients in food processor.  Pulse a couple times then blend.  It will go from chunky, to gooey to creamy.  
  3. Spread into a glass container, cover with plastic wrap and then an air tight lid.
  4. Place in freezer.
  5. Wait at least 2 hours (for gelato type consistency)
  6. Now you can eat it.  

For chocolate – also add 3 tbs of cocoa and 1 tbs coconut oil.

You can add some nut butter while you are spreading it in the dish before you freeze it for chocolate nut butter swirl.  

Get creative!  the possibilities with this are endless!

Pee pants

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Mothers of girls… This one’s for you!

Parenting Advice for Mothers of Teenage Girls:

FullSizeRender (25)Drink.

Seriously, sometimes you just have to drink and hope for the best.

These bitches will wreck you!

They will take all of your advice and flush it down the toilet.

They will not understand that what they do to themselves hurts you.

They will not really understand how carrying them in your uterus and then constantly tending to their every need when they were utterly helpless little bundles of human flesh, makes you love them with the most powerful love in the entire universe. IMG_0336IMG_0707

Nope.  They will not understand how they are your everything.  And this is why they don’t really care how their bad choices cause you pain.  They obviously don’t do it for the purpose of hurting you.  It may seem like they are incredibly self-centered, but they are only working on their own independence.

You will want them to grow up and be the independent strong women you know they can be, but they will be dependent where they ought to be independent and attempt to be independent where they haven’t a clue.

They will mock your warnings for their safety because they know everything but they are about as ready for the world as a housebroken puppy is to go live in the wild.

They will not really understand what would drive you to go all “mama bear” on their behalf, and how your maternal instincts to protect them from the harm that young women can fall prey to would drive you to get right up in someone’s face and verbally emasculate them; but that’s another story for another time.   I will say this, however, “Mama Bear Mode”, it’s a real thing and you do not want to be on the receiving end of that.

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Other times you may lose your shit on them, feel terrible and have to apologize.  It happens.  You may lose your mind a little because of all this crazy mama love.FullSizeRender (21)

So drink!  Drink plenty of strong coffee in the morning, water throughout the day, green smoothies and maca in your workout smoothies, because you will need to be strong for this!  Then, at the end of the day, when you have given all you can and you still feel like you’re getting absolutely nowhere, it’s okay, have a glass of wine, even if it’s from a box.  FullSizeRender (22)Give yourself a break because after all, as much as you want to prevent your daughter from ruining her life, you have to let her make her own choices, fall down and learn from her own mistakes because that is the only way she will truly grow.

Remember how frustrating letting her tie her own shoes was when she was 4? Well it’s a lot like that except as she gets older the more damage “doing it by herself” can cause.  The frustration you felt letting her tie her own shoes and wipe her own butt was just practice for you for later.  You have to let her do it.  IMG_0292

That doesn’t mean you let her walk all over you or let her run wild. You need to set boundaries.  You do not have to put up with blatant disrespect or allowing something totally unacceptable to go on without consequence.

In the process of learning from mistakes, absent the “I told you so” from you, she will gain confidence knowing that she figured things out on her own. If you are hoping for a “You were right, Mom”, you may be waiting forever.  Get over it.  Some day she may realize it but right now her growth is what is important, so try to encourage her as much as possible.IMG_0425

Above all, even if you don’t always get along and your relationship suffers for a while, make sure to tell her that no matter what you will always love her for the person she is inside and out.   She may not fully comprehend what that means right now but some day she will.

Some day, when she is up at 2 a.m. and her nipples are bleeding but she could not be more in love with this screaming poopy baby, or 18 years later, and she is at once so proud of yet so sad for her own stubborn daughter, foolishly determined to head down the path to heartbreak, maybe then she will understand and maybe then she will feel the depth and strength of your love.

Coffee daughterFinally, remember to lead by example because even though we all become our own unique selves,  whether we like it or not,  we all become our mothers.

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Batch cooking and stuffed chicken thighs

Paleo Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Paleo Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Batch Cooking.  I have to admit that it intimidates me.  I spend a little too long getting ready to get ready to do it knowing that I’m going to be in the kitchen a looooong ass time but just like everything else, I have learned that you just have to get started and do one task at a time and get done what you get done and not get all stressy.  At least that’s what I tell myself to do.

This Sunday I spent 6 hours in my kitchen making a ton of food.  I am hoping that it will pay off and that I won’t have to do any cooking for at least the next 4 days.

Here’s what I made:

Cooked 3 boneless chicken breasts

Cooked 2 packages of chicken tenders

Butternut squash soup.

Roasted cauliflower

Cooked 2 pounds of ground turkey with an onion and then mixed some with bacon and mushrooms and tomato sauce and made 4 stuffed peppers ready to heat in the oven

Pesto

I peeled and cut up a bag of carrots

Zoodles.

By 8:30 I was ready to jump out of my kitchen window but at least now I don’t have to cook and I can just eat and relax the rest of the week. Well, I never relax but at least the food is cooked.

While I did all of that stuff, I also made a big batch of Paleo Stuffed Chicken Thighs.  It was enough for my family of 4 adult sized people for dinner for 2 nights and an extra for my lunch.

Now, a week later, I am glad that I invested the time.  However, the weather is absolutely gorgeous and I don’t want to spend all day in my kitchen today.  Now that I have it down, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get this all done in less time today.  We shall see.

Also, instead of making a dinner for tonight that is more complicated and time consuming, I will pan sear some lamb leg and serve with a couple of veggies.  You can look at this a couple of different ways.  Either you decide you are going to be making a huge mess in your kitchen anyway, so you may as well just make a big dinner too, or you can make a simpler dinner and save this one for when you have a little less going on.  Either way, these chicken thighs are delicious and definitely worth making!

Paleo Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

2 packages of boneless chicken thighs

1 lb of thinly sliced prosciutto

2 red bell peppers, roasted and sliced into 1/4 inch strips.  (Do this first).

2 eggs, beaten

Pesto*

24 sun dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cups almond meal

1 tbs nutritional yeast

dried oregano

Himalayan Salt

ground black pepper

garlic powder

Tapioca flour

Coconut oil for frying

Pasta sauce of choice

Pesto

2 cups or 2 hand fulls of baby spinach

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)

1 tbs nutritional yeast

¼ cup pine nuts

2 pinches of Himalayan Salt

ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add it all to your food processor except the olive oil and pulse till well-blended.

Slowly add the olive oil and pulse until a pesto paste like consistency.

Instructions

First mix together the almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a wide shallow bowl and set aside.

Next, open up and lightly pound the chicken thighs with a meat tenderizing mallet.

Set up your assembly line:  Chicken thighs, tapioca flour, pesto, prosciutto, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and dried oregano, beat eggs and almond meal mixture.

Assemble each chicken thigh by opening up, spreading a tablespoon of pesto on the inside of each, laying on a slice of prosciutto, topping that with about 2 or 3 tomatoes and a couple slices of pepper, sprinkle with oregano, roll up as tightly as possible without losing the goodies inside, and place in a baking dish.

Once they are all assembled, dust each with tapioca flour, dip in egg and roll in the almond meal mixture.

Then when they are all assembled, dusted, dipped and rolled, they are ready to brown.

Heat a tablespoon or more of coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat.  Place the chicken in the pan and lightly brown on each side.  Transfer back to the baking dish.FullSizeRender (4)

Bake covered on 350 degrees for 30 minutes or till chicken is no longer pink.

While that is baking you can heat up your sauce and prep a green salad. A dinner without some greens isn’t dinner as far as I’m concerned and it looks great next to the red sauce!

Serve with sauce and salad and enjoy!

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K.I.S.S. and Chicken Milanese

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.  You’re not stupid. It’s simple stupid, uncomplicated.  Oftentimes, the simpler something is, the better it is.

Chicken Milanese and tomato (2)Sometimes when we consider making healthy changes in our lives it can seem overwhelming.  It can be hard to wrap our brain around changing the routine that we have spent years doing, to a new one.  When “grass-fed”, “free-range” ,“organic” and “gluten-free” are all being thrown at you and you hear things like “Ghee”, “Maca”, “Chia”,  “Nutritional Yeast”, and “Grass-Fed Gelatin”, you may have no idea what any of that stuff is, where to buy it and what in the hell you would do with it anyway.   And smoothies?  What do you put in them?   You may feel you don’t know where to start.  You also know that it’s more expensive to buy all this fancy stuff and you know your kids will protest, so once again, you throw the Easy Mac and frozen chicken fingers, cereal, chips and soda into your shopping cart and call it a day.

So here it is straight and simple.  This is in no way meant to be condescending because I know from experience how changing your life can seem overwhelming, but if you just make one change at a time, you can improve your health and your life over time.image

All you have to do is go to the store.  When you are there, buy meat, vegetables and fruit.  Bring that shit home.  When you get home eat it. Don’t over think it.image

Take those chicken breasts you just bought, put some salt, pepper and maybe some butter on them, bake them or cut them up and cook them on the stove with some butter or olive oil.  Take that broccoli you just bought, steam it in the microwave.  Take the sweet potato you just bought and bake it.  Now eat those 3 things together.  Make a whole bunch of that simple meal at once so you have left overs to take for lunch.

Now next time you need to cook, just take another meat you bought.  Ground beef perhaps, make burgers out of them.  Put them on top of lettuce.  Put a tomato and a slice of avocado on top.  Maybe fry some bacon too.  Eat it.  It’s freakin’ delicious!

If you know you won’t have time to cook but you are all out of leftovers, take a whole bunch of pork chops, or a pork shoulder and put it in your crock pot.  Stick a bunch of garlic in it and season it with salt and pepper. Let the crock pot do it’s thing for 8-10 hours.  When you get home, you can take that box of baby spinach you bought and put some on your plate.  Put the pork stuff on top of that.  Dinner is done.

After you eat all this good food, go for a walk.

And that’s how it starts.  Don’t over think it.  Just start.  You will be so glad you did!  As you do more of this, you will do less of the stuff you did before and it will not seem like a big deal at all.

Here’s a really easy and delicious recipe.  My family told me that this is their favorite and it really is the easiest one too.   There are a few extra things in it that you may not have on hand.  No worries.  Just make it with what you have.

Chicken Milanese

Here’s what you need:

4 or 5 Boneless Chicken Breasts

1 cup almond meal – Bob’s Red Mill is good and you can get it in the health food part of any store

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp dried basil

1 tbs Nutritional Yeast  (optional) nuritional yeast and almond flour (1)

1 tbs fresh chopped parsley

2 tbs coconut oil or bacon fat, You can use olive oil if that’s what you have

salt and pepper to taste

Arugula

Box of cherry tomatoes – sliced in half

Olive oil

1 whole lemon

Here’s what you do:

  1. Make a dressing by mixing together lemon juice from half of the lemon, 2 tbs olive oil, salt, pepper and ½ tsp onion powder

Pour it on top of your arugula and toss together.  Set aside.

Arugula Salad

  1. Take the chicken breasts and turn upright on the side, then slice them through the center widthwise but don’t slice all the way through so that you can open it up like a book.  Cover with plastic and pound out to ¼ inch thickness or a little bigger is fine.  If you don’t have time or don’t want to pound them out, that’s fine too, but I think it comes out better if you do.  Set aside.
  1. Make a coating for the chicken by putting the almond meal in a bowl, then add the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and nutritional yeast and mix together.
  1. Melt a tbs of coconut oil or fat in a large skillet over medium heat.
  1. Drag the chicken breasts through the almond meal mixture and fry in the skillet until lightly browned then turn and repeat on the other side about 2-3 mins on each side.  Reduce the heat slightly and continue to turn and cook them a couple more minutes until they are cooked through the meat is no longer pink inside.  The thinner you pound it out, the faster it will cook.

You may need to do one at a time or in a couple of pans at once if your pieces are very large and keep them warm in the oven on 200 degrees until all the chicken breasts are done.

  1. Set it up.  Place the chicken breasts on plates, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.  Then top it with the arugula salad and tomatoes, more salt and pepper and some fresh parsley.
  1. Eat and accept praise from your family!

Chicken Milanese

 

 

 

Lucky in Love Lamb Shoulder

 

Lamb ShoulderA very special day was approaching and I wanted to mark the occasion with a special dish.  I wanted to impress someone very special to me and make a meal that was elegant, savory and a little bit different than my usual.

The very special day was our seventh wedding anniversary and the someone very special was obviously my husband.   For some reason, our seventh anniversary seemed like a big one.  Why?  Well maybe because the number seven is supposed to be lucky, or because of that old movie with the seductive Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, about getting  all “itchy” after seven years of marriage.  Well, thanks to this freezing weather, I have been moisturizing like crazy and have avoided getting itchy.  I suspect that my husband has also been using my moisturizer, so thank goodness, we should not have to worry about either one of us getting the “itch”!

Each year we have been exchanging gifts pursuant to the traditional wedding anniversary gifts as set forth by those sentimental folks at Hallmark.  One year it was wood.  I quickly found a wooden handled spatula at a local discount store and he gave me diamond earrings.  I know.  He reaalllly messed that up big time.  How could he forget about our Hallmark tradition?! I don’t know what he was thinking buying me diamond earrings, but I’m pretty sure Marilyn would have forgiven him so I did too.  Lucky him.

This year the traditional gift was wool.  Good grief!  Wouldn’t that exacerbate the whole itching thing!? Was Hallmark deliberately trying to sabotage my marriage?   A tradition is a tradition so I went ahead and bought him two wool sweaters that don’t fit and he gave me a wool scarf that doesn’t match my coat.  Fail.

Then we decided maybe we could try our luck on a Lucky 7’s scratch off game from the New York Lottery!   It seemed appropriate for the 7 years and to satisfy our supposed need to scratch something at this point in our marriage.  No luck there either.Lucky 7s game

Finally, we came to the conclusion that we did not need any of these things to feel lucky.  What is lucky is that we found each other in this world and fit so perfectly together.  And that our love for each other is so strong, so true and so unconditional that we have so far been able to make seven great years together! For that, we toasted to being lucky in love and not the least bit itchy!

This dish was a success and not very difficult to prepare.  It presented very nicely and my groom and I loved it.   It’s elegant, but it should only take at the most a couple of hours to totally prepare so you could make it for a special occasion or any night of the week.  If you made it during the week, I would suggest having your herbs and veggies cleaned and chopped up ahead of time.

Seventh Anniversary Lamb Shoulder with Rosemary Balsamic Reduction, Roasted Rosemary Carrots and Beets on Beet GreensLamb Shoulder

What you will need:

2 Lamb shoulders about .75 lbs each

½ yellow onion – sliced thin or about 4 small shallots ( I didn’t have any so I used a regular yellow onion but shallots would probably have been a nicer)

2 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and minced

2 tbs fresh rosemary finely chopped

1 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch of beets with greens – about 4-5 beets – thoroughly rinsed

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbs fat of choice (I used bacon, but coconut oil works too)

Himalayan Salt

Ground black pepper

1 cup balsamic vinegar

 

This is how you do it:

Take the lamb shoulders out about an hour or more before you start to cook so the meat is closer to room temperature.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

After rinsing the dirt off the beets, remove the stems and set aside. Then cut into 1 inch pieces

1.  Start with the veggies – Place cut-up beets, half of your prepared onion and the carrots in a shallow glass baking pan and generously salt and pepper them.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the rosemary on them. Drizzle about 2 tbs of olive oil on them and stir around to evenly coat.  Bake at 450 for ½ hour.

Then grab those beet greens and rinse off the leaves.   Carefully tear the leaves off from the hard stems and rinse well again.  Nothing grosser than taking a bite and getting some dirt!  I know cavemen inadvertently ate some dirt but my paleo approach is not about re-enacting the Paleolithic Era because that is obviously impossible and stupid.  It’s about emulating the basic diet of vegetables and meat with the goal to consume anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense food, but I digress… Okay, off my paleo soap-box and back to the beets.

Add a tablespoon of fat to a dutch oven on medium heat.  Once hot and melted, add the beet greens and stir and cook a few minutes.  Add some salt and pepper to season, stir and cook and then about a tablespoon or 2 of chicken broth.  Turn down the heat to low and keep covered.

After a half hour stir the veggies around and check to see if they are done.  They should need a few more minutes at that point.  Turn the heat down to 400 and give them another 10 minutes.  If they are done, take out and set aside.  You can pop them back in at the end to heat them up.

2.  For the Lamb – Heat half a tablespoon of fat in a cast iron pan on medium high heat.  Salt, Pepper and put a pinch of rosemary on each side of the lamb.  Once hot, sear the lamb on each side for about 3 minutes and then turn the heat down just a little and turn and cook on each side about 2 minutes.  Add a little olive oil on top and finish it in the oven on 400 degrees for up to 5 minutes for medium well.  If you want it more rare, after searing, give it one minute each side and finish in the oven for about 4 minutes.  Just keep the searing time the same.

3.  For the Balsamic Glaze – Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a new pan on medium low heat and the rest of your prepared onion or shallots.  Saute’ a minute or 2 and then add the garlic for another minute.  Keep it on low.  When your lamb is finishing in the oven, turn up the heat  on the onion and garlic.  Add the rosemary and parsley and the balsamic.  Bring to a boil and stir.  Cook it down to about ¼ less balsamic and simmer about 10 minutes.

Once the lamb is done take out to rest about 5 minutes.

Place some beet greens on your plate, put the carrots and beets on top and the lamb shoulder along side it.

Pour the balsamic on top of the lamb.  Give it a little bit more salt and pepper if you like.  In my photo above I did not drown the lamb in the balsamic but after the shot I totally did and I suggest that you do too because it’s freakin’ delicious!

Enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast for Dinner Party for Two

FullSizeRender (8)When I’m not sure what’s going on with the gang, I’ll plan some meals for the week and then have one or 2 “back-up” ideas.  Breakfast for dinner is one such back-up plan.  One night this past week, it was just me and my youngest daughter Claire, so we had breakfast for dinner.

Declaring Breakfast for Dinner to Claire is the equivalent of declaring this night a party night!  We both get excited and do a little pre-food food dance that involves a little hip swerve followed by 2 fist pumps, repeated three times, with or without biting the lower lip and ending with a high-five.

It’s fun to do things backwards sometimes and we get to be a little naughty and have some maple syrup, and maybe a liiiiiittle more syrup and maybe just a drop more. And Okay stop it already with the syrup!  The shit is expensive, not to mention it’s sugar and we already know that sugar is a huge jerk.  An expensive delicious jerk.

We had pancakes topped with strawberries, maple syrup and some breakfast sausage that I bought from a local grass-fed farm.  I didn’t include any pictures of the sausage though, sorry.  I took some but ya know, sausage just isn’t very photogenic.  This is true even on other blogs, good blogs, much more sophisticated food blogs.  I think it just ends up looking like poo or like um well, like something else unmentionable and this is not that kind of party.  So you will have to take my word for it, the sausage was really good even if it looked like, whatever.

Nevertheless, Claire and I had ourselves a paleo pancake breakfast-for-dinner partay!  I made sure to text pictures of it to my husband and oldest daughter just to rub it in that we were having a party without them because I’m a jerk.  A big fat paleo jerk.  FullSizeRender (9)

Paleo Pancakes

Ingredients:

3 bananas

3 eggs

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup cashew or almond butter

½ cup of finely chopped walnuts

fresh or frozen strawberries

 

How to make them:

In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, mash the bananas

add in the eggs and blend together

next blend in the nut butter

add in the baking powder, cinnamon and blend and

last the vanilla, blending together till completely blended

Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and melt some fat (coconut oil or bacon fat works)

pour by ladle fulls as many as will fit in you pan without them touching and allowing for even distribution of the heat.

Once they are thicker looking and starting to bubble, and the ends appear to be done, carefully flip with a thin flat spatula.  This is tricky and takes some practice and it’s okay if they break.  I find paleo pancakes are harder to flip than traditional ones but you’ll get the hang of it and if they break, who cares?  You’re going to eat them anyway.

Lower the heat a little after flipping them and when done, keep warm in the oven on 200 degrees until the rest of the pancakes are done.

Serve topped with ghee, strawberries and a little maple syrup.  Enjoy!

You can also get really nutty and top with more nut butter and nuts with apples and cinnamon.  In this recipe, I substituted one banana with 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin.

 

Paleo banana pancakes with sweet potato and almond butter

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

IMG_0137The first time I made this for my family, I made them try and guess what was in it.  They knew that it wasn’t going to be the traditional refined sugar and heavy dairy cream but they had no idea.  They knew it was rich and creamy and chocolately and wonderful, but they were totally stumped.  When I finally told them it was avocado, they were all like, “Whaaaaa ?? Avocados?  Really?!  Yup. Really.  Avocados.  Amazing Avocados and some other good stuff.

 

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

1 ripe banana- the riper the sweeter

9 pitted medjool dates

1 cup full fat coconut milk

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 big pinches Himalayan salt (or sea salt)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup of cocoa

 

Instructions

Place pitted dates in a mason jar and add water so it is just covering them  Put on the lid and let them soak for about up to 12 hours or if you can’t deal and you want them NOW let them soak about half an hour, take the lid off and pop them in the microwave for about 25 seconds so they get soft but not hot.  Drain some of the water out, leaving up to a quarter cup.

Put all of the ingredients into your blender, except for the vanilla, and blend to incorporate.   Last, add the vanilla and keep blending until it reaches a pudding consistency.

Serve topped with coconut, nuts and berries.  For added sweetness and texture, you can mix in raisins.Pudding