Food Shopping a la Primal Dawn

We’re broke, people. No way around it. I have a method for food shopping. And no, we don’t do the all organic, hippie happy meat, cruelty free stuff anymore. Cannot afford it. I do what I can do. And what I do is…..we have 4 grocery stores within a 4 mile radius (at least). One has such great prices on produce. Seriously. One store has red peppers on sale for 2.99 a pound, and this store has them for 99 cents a pound! And it’s like that for most of their produce. They also cater to the large hispanic and ethnic population in the area so you can find large bunches of herbs for great prices and exotic stuff too. The other store we like to shop at has great prices on all the other stuff. The sale flyers come in the mail on Thursday, and I circle the things I’m interested in or that we need. Then I write it all out, eliminating things here and there to shave down the budget. I don’t buy things if they aren’t a good price (on sale!). We dont’ NEED fruit snacks. I will by the good ones when they go on sale. End of story. We won’t die without that almond milk this week. Wait til next week. A few items I am brand picky about. Everything else, price wins over all! We’re having a bit of a struggle sticking to the budget (ahem….Slandur!!!), but we’re getting him trained. Stick to the list. That’s the mantra.Stick to the list.

Last night’s dinner: Roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots, and onions. I like to put the veggies in the oven in a separate dish, then drizzle the chicken fat over them as everything cooks. My secret for juicy meat and crispy skin: start the bird out at about 450f!! Yes! It may smoke a little as the fat starts to drip a bit, but then turn it down to about 350f after about 45 minutes, let it cook the rest of the way and you will have that yummy crispy skin that you will cut someone for. Seriously. Slandur and I stood over it, fresh out of the oven, and picked all the skin off. He had one side, I had the other. That’s the trick with skin. You have to eat that shit fast or it goes all mushy. So eat it as an appetizer at the counter in the kitchen like we do. The roasted veggies need to have lots of brown on them. Don’t take them out too soon. You want almost burnt. Almost.

Tonight’s dinner is probably going to be a crustless quiche/frittata type thing. I have some cheese here, and might do a caramelized leek in it too. So many good things to throw in a quiche. Leftovers like taco meat, broccoli and ham, cheddar and bacon…..get creative! I’ll let you know how it came out.

The diet is coming together, everyone. We’re all packing our lunches and taking portable breakfasts to work/school. I like leftovers for lunch. Cold gluten free spaghetti, string cheese, gluten free bars (I am currently liking a Caramel Apple one, I forget the brand), Activia yogurt…..all good stuff for lunches. I’m not even worrying too much about sugar right now. Just heading in the right direction. Breakfast can be leftovers too. I need to be able to eat it while driving. Thinking of making some egg muffins or a breakfst cookie. There are a lot of good recipes out there.

Next up after the diet is dialed in……Duh duh duh……exercise!!! I’m going to try DDP yoga maybe. Going to. Some day. I swear. I’m counting sex as a physical activity.If you’re doing it right, your heart rate should go up. Right? Right? Riiiiiight? Okay, maybe it doesn’t count. For now, I’ll take it!

Til next time, PD out.

Primal Dawn, the Re-Boot

Hello there, everyone!! *crickets*

Hmmm…..yes, there may be a few less reading now. Or none. I’m hoping all of you (and more) will join me again in this journey. What can I say? Where to start?

Maybe just jumping in to where I am now, then we can work our way back and explain some things. I’ve moved. I live in a big house with Slandur, my boyfriend, and T-Lo (who is about to turn 8, pinch me!!!) lives with me. J has moved in with his father because the school district is much better. It is good and bad all at once. I miss him terribly.

I have not kept up my hardcore paleo/primal diet for years now. A break up and mental issues will do that, not to mention that I lived alone in a studio apartment for a year and cooked mostly for myself. I gave up!! One of my many goals for this year included getting my diet back to a good place. And writing more. Well, what better way to keep  myself accountable AND get to write than to re-boot this blog!!!!

So here she is again, Primal D in all her glory. Join me. Point and laugh. Make suggestions. Try my recipes. Share yours. I can say that since I fell off the blogging planet, paleo and primal has become such a trend!! Who knew we all got in on that ground floor, huh?

I am so looking forward to reconnecting, sharing, and geeking out about science and food here with you guys. Hit me up and tell me what kinds of things you’d like to see,or to tell me what you’ve been up to while I was away. I bet there are tons of fun stories here.

Signing off again, not forever, (promise)


New Obsession and Toying With The Diet

The Elimination Diet has worked out nicely with T-Lo. His teachers and therapists have noticed a difference. I have noticed too. We have started to add back dairy, as that was the toughest to do without. I started out with some string cheese, and now we are doing some homemade yogurt a few times a week. I think we will stay with the almond milk, though, as straight milk seems to be a trigger for a lot of things and quite unnecessary anyway. We did get our ADHD diagnosis for him (insert sad face), but it is just a label to help him in the long run, as he needs to continue his physical and occupational therapy. I’ve been in touch with the principal of his kindergarten that he’ll go to next year, and he is ready to put him in a regular class with some concessions such as fidget toys or being able to stand or walk around when he needs to. I am very pleased with the whole process.

I have been reading about the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, and I made a half-assed attempt at it, but I don’t think I was realistic about how to do it. I made tons of bone broth (yum!) and I got up to about stage 3, and I just can’t get my butt together to do this 24/7. I am going to re-group and try again soon. I have hope that maybe it might help me with my mental health. I have bipolar, depression, and anxiety problems, and if I can get off of any of my meds by using food, I would do an “Oh So Happy Dance”!!! I will post links and more info on the appropriate page later. I’m once again stymied in my Android editing skills lol….

In other exciting news: I joined a roller derby team!!! Today was my first practice. 2 hours long! Ouch. I fell on my ass about 6 times. I’m sure I will have some lovely bruises there soon. I loved the comradery, the girls were friendly and welcoming, and I felt like I belonged. And hellooooo…’s an aggressive, ass-kicking sport!!! You know that Primal Dawn loves to kick her some ass! Can’t wait to knock some bitches down. And then celebrate with them later 😀 I am so out of shape. The 2 hours was very long for me. I think I will try to remedy this with nutrition next time. I have never been a big eater before exercise. I like to work out fasted. However, 2 hours of hardcore drills is a bit long, so I may need to figure out what will sustain and help me. And I have a cool derby name, but I can’t tell anyone until I can claim it as my own. I don’t want anyone to swipe it!!!

I made my first duck last week! It was soooo effing good. I only ate some of the meat. I’m a crispy skin girl. Mr. Dawn and I are like Jack Sprat and his wife in the nursery rhyme. He will eat no fat and I will eat no lean! I love crispy chicken skin, and so when I got hold of the duck skin, I was in heaven with a capital H. It was a great recipe. I did a very slow process. You roast at 300f for 4 hours! Score a diamond pattern just into the skin (not the meat). Salt. Poke with a knife into the fat, again not the meat. Roast for one hour. Then flip and poke again. Roast for one hour again. Then flip and poke. Repeat for the total of the 4 hours. Then make a glaze. I used a mixture of molasses, orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, and some other goodies. Brush on and crank the heat up to 400f for 20 minutes. I swear you will wanna smack yo mama it’s so good!! The glaze was a bit of a treat, but I’m sure next time I can work something else out. It was my first duck. I also got a whole jar of lovely duck fat to roast veggies in and use for eggs and stuff. So good!!!!

So that’s PD’s world. What’s new in yours? Oh, gosh, I completely forgot to tell you all about our garden and my birthday and my job and…..I got some work to do!!!!

Preoccupied As Of Late

So….once again, I’ve dropped off the face of the primal/bloggy planet.

I am in the midst of handling some things with T-Lo. We just had his last parent-teacher conference before kindergarten. Pros: he’s graduated from speech! No more speech therapy needed! Boy, I could have told you that, and I think honestly so could have most of his preschool. He talks to EVERYONE! And he’s articulate. He has a great vocabulary. He also scored very high cognitively. Which, again, I could have also told you. He is no dummy, that one! He can charm you and make you forget what you were trying to get him to do! Cons: they had cut back his physical therapy (PT) sessions at his last CPSE meeting from 3 to 1, and the scores/results show they made a mistake. What’s a CPSE meeting? Basically, it’s a big meeting where the district and parents and teachers get together and read the reports and decide what the plan is for your kid. So now, we have to push to resume his prior PT sessions. His OT is “meh”. He has made progress in some areas, and less in others.

So our dilemma is that he needs to continue his OT and PT when he goes to kindergarten, and he also needs special consideration/concessions due to his fidgeting and inattentiveness. He has seen a developmental pediatrician about possible ADD/ADHD, but she wasn’t comfortable diagnosing him yet. WELL….he actually needs that paper diagnosis to continue to receive his therapies!!! Talk about having to play the game! *insert eye roll* So now I have to go back to the dev. ped and tell her what we discussed and get the diagnosis (if she’ll do it). He is very borderline.

Now I’ve included the principal of his future kindergarten in the loop and he feels that T-Lo will do well in a regular classroom with special concessions (fidget toys, standing for tests, allowed to get up occasionally and walk around, Lap Buddy). T-Lo is not an aggressive or angry child at all. He’s called The Mayor at his preschool, in fact. He just needs a good teacher who can handle his ants in his pants and not become frustrated with him. He is a sweet boy.

And in the midst of this, we decided to try an Elimination Diet with T-Lo to see if it helped the attention and fidgeting. We are on day 6, and I think I am seeing a little improvement. We give him coffee in the morning, and we’ve cut out soooooo much. Add that to the 3 allergies in his classroom (eggs, nuts, and fish), and he basically gets an acceptable meat and a whole lot of produce!! I can’t send almond milk, he can’t drink regular milk, I don’t want to give him soy milk….it’s been ……interesting. I have been in the middle of cooking dinner a few times and realized, “Oh shit, T-Lo can’t eat this!!!!” and had to scramble to make him something. It’s hard when you have your go-to meals and just go on auto-pilot. I make sure I have some sort of meat defrosted in the fridge at all times for those occasions when I make that mistake. I’ve discovered he actually likes coconut milk yogurt (ewwwww), and that ‘veggie’ cheese they have in the produce section actually has casein (milk protein) in it. Dammitallsomuch lol!!!

So, any ADD/ADHD/SID parents out there have any tips? I would appreciate any tips or tricks!! We’re all in this together, right?

TTFN, PD out!!!!


My ex, with whom I am very friendly and gave me my beautiful J, is Puerto Rican. So at various family gatherings I picked up a few things. I thought I’d share an authentic recipe for tostones, or fried green plantains (platanos). First, you will find 2 types of plantains at the store, yellow and green. For this dish, the greener, the better. The yellow ones are riper and have a sweet flavor, like a cross between a sweet potato and a banana. Plantains also look like bananas. But don’t use bananas. Yuck.


-green plantains (amount can vary, but for Mr. Dawn and I, I usually use 3)

-coconut oil (or whatever oil you like for high heat frying)


Peel plantains. This can be hard. I usually cut the ends off then make a lengthwise slit along the peel on the outer curve of the plantain.

Slice into about 1/2 inch slices.

On medium high heat, heat up enough coconut oil to make a level of about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. We’re not deep-frying, but be generous!

When it’s nice and hot, place slices in and let them sizzle until lightly toasted, then flip them with tongs and repeat.

Remove tostones from pan and place on cutting board. Use a thick drinking glass and lightly press each tostone into a flatter disk. I don’t really measure, but just smoosh ’em up! Don’t mash them like mashed potatoes, you want individual little lightly smooshed disks.

Place smooshed disks back into hot pan and refry on both sides until nice and crispy and golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain and salt lightly.

These have a flavor similar to a french fry. Mr. Dawn puts sriracha and ketchup on his, and I use a traditional mojo (“mo-ho”) sauce. Mojo is a blend of garlic, lemon or lime juice, and oil (and a pinch of sauce). It is delicious, and you can find many variations online.

We had vegetarian for dinner tonight and had tostones with big green salads. YUM.

Mostly Vegetarian Cauliflower Slow Cooker Curry

Here’s one of the ones I’ve had written down for a while, but I’ve yet to get to you guys! This is veggie, except for the fish sauce.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry

-1 head cauliflower, chunked up

-1/2 head of kale, washed and stemmed and cut up

-1 medium to large onion, chopped

-2 TB green curry paste

-2 TB fish sauce

-1 can coconut milk

—-Dump all in slow cooker, stir, and cook til tender, maybe 4-6 hours. Yum. Maybe add a little butter at the end for a nice finish.

Asian-ish Chicken Thighs

Recipe time!!!

Asian Chicken Thighs—

8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs

1 TB red curry paste

2 TB garlic chili paste (I used Roland brand)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

2 TB soy sauce (or tamari)

juice of 1 lemon

1 TB fish sauce

2 TB honey

2 TB oil (I used grapeseed because that’s all I have right now, but normally I would use coconut oil)

-Preheat oven to 400f. Place all ingredients except chicken in a jar and shake to combine. Pour over chicken thighs in a bowl and let marinate for 30-60 minutes. Place chicken, skin side up, on a baking sheet or roasting pan. I lined mine with foil for easier cleanup. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with a little salt, then place in oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until temperature reaches 180f.

-Optional but totally worth it: Place chicken under broiler for a few minutes after cooking to crisp up the skin. Mmmmmm I LOVE crispy chicken skin!!! Mr. Dawn and I are like that old nursery rhyme: “Jack Sprat would eat no fat, his wife would eat no lean…” He hates any fatty meat, and I love it. T-Lo loves it too. He gobbled up 3 thighs with crispy skin and 2 helpings of braised cabbage from the Primal Blueprint cookbook.

Life Is Good

Life is good. No, really!!! I seem to have emerged from the sluggishness I was in. A lot of it has to do with starting my new job. I love the job. Of course I’m only 2 weeks in, but still, I really enjoy what I’m doing. I’m busy, the day flies by, and I’m nurturing little people with special needs. It’s a win-win.

I think I am a creature who needs habit and routine. I like to think of myself as a free spirit, so spontaneous and whatnot. However, when it comes to day to day living in general, I am doing so well with this new routine. I work Monday through Friday, I have a set wake up time, I have a set morning routine, I work, I get home and do the domestic thing and relax a bit, and the weekend is for play. I have been thriving. I’m sleeping better most nights and my mind is calmer. Good old-fashioned work, doing for others, has helped me a lot.

I’ve dropped 12 pounds in the last 3 weeks. I think most of them have been during the last 2 weeks of working! I don’t sit down much, I’m lifting little ones, I’m moving and singing and dancing and laughing and scolding (sometimes!). My diet is much much much better. I eat a hearty breakfast and my lunch is lighter, but 100% primal, and dinner of course is primal. We have a cheat meal on the weekends and don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty about it.

The children’s diets are being dialed in as well. I’ve gotten rid of the cereal and instant oatmeal crutch I was using in the morning. I make eggs and bacon or sausage. J likes whole milk yogurt with a little honey and wild blueberries. He still has the time at his dad’s and 2 lunches a week at school (due to being dropped off by his dad), but I think we are alright!! I will continue to explore breakfast options. For me, eggs are a good thing, but I also like leftovers.

I have two new recipes here on notecards that I have to get to you guys. I just haven’t been motivated to get on here much lately, and we’ve been busybusybusy!!! Soon, though.

That’s life from this end. How are you?

Massamun Curry Chicken Thighs

Okay, I’ve been trying to play more with my recipes. I’m feeling more confident going out and just inventing something. I mean, I’ve always been an intuitive cook. If something need a little more oomph, I could find what I wanted to add. Or if I saw that something in a recipe wasn’t going to work for my family, I could adjust to compensate for that and come out with something still edible and yummy (usually).

I find that when adapting some curries or stir-fries for the primal diet, that it can get overly saucy (like me!!) if you aren’t serving with some sort of faux rice like cauliflower or something. Now normally I don’t mind sauce, but when it feels as though you are eating stew every single day, it gets boring. This recipe came out a little saucy, but you can adjust it to your liking with using less coconut milk, or more if you want a stew consistency. I was also looking for a way to sneak more root veggies into my family’s gobs. They don’t care for parsnips and this recipe didn’t entirely win them over, but they didn’t haaaate it, so I’ll take it!!!


-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

-1 1/2-2 TB massamun curry paste

-1/2-1 can coconut milk

-1 lb parsnips, peeled and chunked

-2 TB black soy sauce (or regular if you can’t find black)

-1/2 tsp powdered ginger

-1 tsp curry powder

-1 large onion, chopped

-pinch or so of cayenne, hot sauce, or a chile of your choosing

-couple handfuls of spinach (optional)

-few TB of butter (optional)

I did this in the slow cooker. Basically throw everything in the slow cooker except for the optional spinach and butter. Let cook for about 4-5 hours on low, depending on your crock pot. Mine runs super hot so I always cut the time. About a half hour out, throw the spinach in, and at the very tail end, throw some butter in. Totally optional, but gives it that silky yummy finish. I recommend it!!!

I am not sure where you can find massamun curry paste, but I found mine in our local Best Yet Market. But it would probably be in maybe an Asian market or any smaller market where there maybe is an Indian community?

If you try this, let me know what you think!!