Zucchini FAIL

I had a brilliant idea with poor execution. Too bad, too, because I wasted 4 lovely zucchinis in the process! Bahhh. I thought I’d make some sort of zucchini latke, fried cake type thing. My mistake? Coconut flour. I thought I’d try it since I hadn’t been real pleased with the current batch of almond flour. I was concerned with the coarseness that it might not hold together right. It took 4 eggs to get the right texture. I should have known right then. They came out with this funky, almost pancake-like texture. And the flavor was boring. I could even see tweaking this recipe and making a breakfast out of it. Sadly, they ended up in the trash. The turkey meatloaf was good, though! It was a learning experience, to say the least.

I have a love affair with my dehydrator. I got the Good4U brand, just slightly cheaper than the beloved Excalibur and I liked the timer features and it came with a few extra nonstick sheets and screens for small items like seeds. I keep it downstairs because I really can’t squeeze another gadget in my kitchen upstairs (we have an extra kitchen downstairs that is my area for sewing/creativity/drying things!).  So far it’s been great! It’s quiet, and as you walk down the stairs, you get this wonderful smell (jerky or bananas, or whatever!). That’s another reason I’m glad it’s downstairs. It smells lovely, but I don’t want the whole house smelling like jerky for the 2 days it takes to make it. I’m planning on trying some fruit leathers soon. You have to do a puree, then spread it on the nonstick sheets. I’ll keep you posted!

We somehow became super busy here at PD Headquarters. Suddenly, I realized that we have nightly engagements Monday through Thursday. The boys have swim twice a week, and I have precalculus twice a week. This leaves very little time for cooking dinner! So, I’m working on devising a plan of making a few extra dinner items over the weekend, then we can just heat and eat during the week! Brilliant! I mean, I was doing crock pot or leftover dinners for the 2 nights I was in class, but now with swim, we can’t really get by on 4 days of leftovers and slow cooker dinners! I’m going to do simple things like chicken boobs and simple sauces like marinara, pesto, tzatziki, taco meat for taco salads (we always have some sort of lettuce/spinach in the fridge), maybe bake up some parmigiana, either eggplant or chicken. As the plan comes together I’ll give more of the gory details.

Lunches for the boys continue to be a source of guilt for me. I’m eyeballing some bento boxes. I saw a few that I “sorta” like, but somewhere recently I saw a stainless steel square bento lunchbox, and I cannot for the life of me find it anywhere!! So help a grrl out. If you see anything like that, please drop me a comment or email me! I’m getting so excited by the options. The only sad thing is that T-Lo is in a strictly nut-free class due to an allergy, and that drops a few things out of the picture. I’m thinking cheeses, leftover meats, eggs, fruit, whole milk yogurt (homemade!), puddings or custards, dried stuff….I’m getting so jazzed about it!! Can you tell?

I am feeling so positive about feeding my family good stuff. We are in the process of getting out the gak. This morning I noticed there is only one more bowl of Apple Jacks left. There’s only one more package of Top Ramen left. Slowly, it’s all going bye-bye and good riddance!!! Never to return! It’s funny, I’ve noticed the 2 refrigerators getting totally overstuffed as the cabinets get barer and barer. Love it!!! That means less processed stuff and more totally nourishing, fresh, PERISHABLE food!!

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say

I’ve been really down lately, and rather than bring it here and give it more attention, I’ve been quietly licking my wounds in private. I do not want to give this negativity energy, and just being at home, taking it easy, talking to Mr. Dawn and my therapist all helps.

So….back to the purpose of this blog, which is to share and spread the awesomeness of the primal lifestyle with everyone who’ll listen!!!

Made chocolate chip cookies last night from a gluten-free cookbook that shall remain nameless. Nameless cuz they kinda sucked. But I think it was the almond flour’s fault. I cheaped out and got a great deal on Amazon from some company I’ve never heard of, forsaking my beloved NutsOnline.com. Big mistake. The 5 pounds of flour arrived in a bluish-clearish sack with NO LABELING! I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, but I digress. The flour is much coarser than I’ve ever seen, even a little more coarse than cornmeal (regular cornmeal, not the chunky stuff). So I made these cookies, which didn’t even have egg in them to bind them, and they came out really crumbly. The flavor was good, though. So good, I found myself chowing 2 down at around 3 in the morning when I randomly woke up! It was not the best time to eat, but I felt less guilty knowing I hadn’t put gak in my bod. I will try another chocolate chip cookie, but this time I think I may tweak it some. I’m not a baker. I’ve never been. Give me the stove and I’m good, but the oven…not so much. So to wander away from the written recipe is pretty scary for me!

I got my glasses that I blogged about last week sometime (I think!). They are full of awesomitude. Yes that is a word. Look it up. No, don’t. I lied. Anyway, my glasses look great and I feel like I have superhero vision now, what with my updated prescription letting me see way better! So, I can thoroughly endorse Zenni Optical for cheap glasses. Perfect for someone like me, who only wears glasses a few times a month. I usually wear my contacts, so I can work out and wear sunglasses. And not have that weird condensation/fogging up thing happen every time I come in from the cold.

I’m continuing to get my kids off the junk over here. They aren’t putting up too much of a fight. That’s good. Some things are going to be harder than others. Like cereal. Oh boy. Not looking forward to that day, which is coming soon, since the box is almost empty. They are trying new things (the cookies), and enjoying new “favorites” like our gluten-free “Pizza Fridays”. I can do this! So can they!

Burger Basics, Some Cow Shopping, A Movie, and The Lipid Hypothesis

I love burgers. I just had one. I used ground beef, nothing added, just fry it on med-high sprinkle a little salt on, and (this is very important)…only flip once! Well, there are two schools of thought. One says flipping frequently distributes the juices more. I disagree. I don’t think it makes much difference with the juices. I like the one-flip method because you get that nice crust on the burger by doing that. I eat my burgers naked (no bun) with a sprinkle of cheddar and a little “Lazy Girl’s Guacamole”. Basically, mash an avocado with a few spoonfuls of salsa, sometimes a little garlic powder, and voila, guacamole!! Another favorite version involves bacon and blue cheese. But really, bacon and blue cheese on anything is pretty good, am I right?!

We are in the process of acquiring a chest freezer. Doing a little research, pricing. I think we’re gonna cheap out on the freezer. I don’t need anything fancy, I don’t need self-defrosting, blah blah blah. Just keep the food frozen. We are cheaping out on the freezer because DAMN! grass-fed beef is freaking pricey, y’all!!! I’m talking to 3 farms. We pretty much have decided. The farm is in upstate NY. That is as local as we can get. I tried and tried to find some beef on Long Island. Turns out, there’s not a lot of cattle on Long Island! Ha. So upstate we go. We are looking at a 1/4 steer, which they tell me will be around 70-100 pounds of meat, and will fit in a 7 cubic foot freezer. Of course, we are going to get some pork (bacon!!) and maybe some lamb. The “good” chicken is what we will be adding last. I want to purchase whole chickens to maximize food and minimize cost, and I need to bone up on my butchering skills. We are thinking maybe next year to add the chicken. I think I’ve found a place locally to get the chickens, as well. So that’s a plus.

Mr. Dawn and I watched Fat Head last night. It’s streaming on Netflix. I cannot urge you enough to watch it. Now. It’s definitely low budget and has cheesy animations and songs, but the message is right on point. We were getting a little bored through the first 1/3-1/2 of the film, I think only because we already knew a lot of what Tom Naughton was trying to tell us. He goes after Morgan Spurlock’s Super-Size Me pretty hard. He shows us some interesting math regarding that flick that is pretty eye-opening.

But the best part of this movie is the last half or so. This is where Tom brings in lots of doctors and they tell us all about how The Lipid Hypothesis is a load of crap. Lipid Hypothesis? What’s that? It’s how we got scammed into believing this low fat, low cholesterol, whole grain diet is good for us. It states that a diet high in saturated fat (animal fat) leads to high cholesterol, and in turn, high cholesterol causes heart disease. You can look up the controversy yourself, I can’t go into all the deets right at the moment (or you could take the easy way out and just stream the movie, ha). Here’s an article from the NY Times about the whole debacle: What If It’s All Been A Big Fat Lie?? A very funny part of the movie was when Tom (who was the guinea pig in his own experiment of eating fast food every day) goes back to his doctor and the doctor is stunned, absolutely stunned, to find that all of his numbers had improved. Fat loss, weight loss, blood work improved….it was amazing. What was great was watching the doctor chastise Naughton for eating so much junk and then telling him to step on the scale to see “what damage you’ve done”. Good stuff, I highly highly recommend it!!!

The movie also left me feeling very guilty for letting my kids have some of the junk they love. I don’t even eat the crap, but I’m willing to give it to my kids? Not anymore, I’m not!! Mr. Dawn and I discussed changing it NOW. We will be moving forward with getting the junk out and the good stuff in. If it’s not in the house, they can’t eat it, right?

Food for today (this is the plan, it could change):

-earl grey a la PD

-plenty of water

-burger with cheddar and guacamole

-either a smoothie or a spinach salad with DOTG (dressing of the gods, hee hee, see yesterday’s post)

-dinner tonight is leftovers since it’s school night: we have some ham, some beef, salad, avocados…

So wow, this post had lots of good stuff, huh? Check it out. Even if you disagree, it is all in the name of educating ourselves and becoming aware of everything we eat, whether you’re a die-hard vegan or a raw foodie, paleo, primal, or whatever!!

Coming soon: I want to address inflammation and omega-6 fatty acids.

Dressing of the Gods

Okay, maybe “Dressing of the Gods” is a little silly, maybe even exaggerating. Maybe. But not much! It’s the yummy Tahini Lemon Dressing out of Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. Yes, yes, it’s a raw food book. Get over it. I ate high raw (80-90%) for a bit last year. I’ve since moved on, but I still love incorporating some of the raw recipes because they are so delicious and healthy! There’s no reason to be primal/paleo and avoid raw food. A salad is raw, right? Just think of “raw food” as salad, version 2.0.

So here’s the recipe.

Tahini Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup tahini (recipe says raw, but I used regular)

1/3 cup water (I use hot to ‘melt’ the tahini)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic (1 clove)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (I’ve made this both with and without the parsley)

-Basically, just blend everything but the parsley in your processor or blender. Then add the parsley and pulse briefly. Tip: I don’t even bother with appliances. I just use an old glass jar and shake it up. Easy peasy, lemon squeezey!

This is soooo good on a pile of baby spinach leaves. I mean sooooo good. Really. I have made it with more lemon, more or less garlic, more or less cumin, and it’s great any which way. It’s great over a simple cucumber and tomato salad. Maybe toss some onion on that. Mmmmm.

Onto today’s eats:

-2 mugs earl grey a la PD

-1 mug white chai a la PD

-Jalapeno bacon poppers

-Baby spinach with “Dressing of the Gods” 🙂

-Dinner tonight is a spiral ham without the glaze, roasted asparagus, and possibly a salad or maybe some sauteed zucchini

I’m seeing my allergist and the rheumatologist next week. I’m looking forward, albeit nervously, to these visits. My hands continue to hurt almost every day. The right hand hurts more, but it’s both. The allergist visit is to go over my bloodwork, and I haven’t yet seen the rheumatologist so it’s the initial getting-to-know-you visit.

I’m concerned about inflammation, and I’m reading that nuts have a high amount of omega 6 in them. This could be a problem, since I eat almond flour at least twice a week. Having your omega 3 and 6 ratios off causes problems, mainly inflammation. I will be researching more. I have never claimed to know it all, nor will I ever. I am a work in progress, and being chronically ill makes for an eager student!

 

Pesto

I love pesto, and I’ve been craving it for about a week now. I picked up a big bunch of basil a few days ago and got to make some of that lovely sauce on Friday. It’s such a good basic sauce to have on hand. We had some over baked chicken breasts last night, and this morning the leftover pesto was spooned over some slightly soft scrambled eggs with a little whole milk mozzarella on top.

I like my pesto with lemon juice and no pine nuts. You can really make this your own, maybe some sundried tomatoes or some fancy olives….or even use a different herb, like cilantro. I’ve never tried cilantro pesto, but it sounds great to me! Granted, my recipe for pesto isn’t any different than the myriad of pesto recipes you’ll find out there, but it’s good and it has my own tweaks, so here it is!

Primal Dawn Pesto

-1 1/2-2 cups basil leaves

-3-4 TB parmesan (I buy a chunk of the good stuff, and I don’t even grate it for the processor, just chunk it a little and throw it in)

-2 garlic cloves (personal preference, you could use more or less as you like)

-1/3-1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil

-Juice of 1 lemon

-salt

Whirl everything except the lemon juice and oil in your food processor (a blender might work). Stop a few times to scrape the sides of the processor bowl. Oh, and you definitely want to chop the parmesan up into smaller pieces, and you should rough up the garlic a little. Trust me. Whole cloves are a gamble. Every time I’ve just thrown a whole clove into whatever I’m making in the processor, someone inevitably gets a gnarly surprise. Not fun. Unless you like to just chomp on raw garlic. Then by all means go ahead. But if you have a significant other, you should make them eat some too, so you both stink!

Then just drizzle the oil and lemon juice in and salt to taste. You could skip the salt, the parmesan is a little salty. I just add a pinch.  The amount of oil you use will depend on how much basil you used and what consistency you prefer.

This recipe made about 1 1/2 cups of pesto. It was so nice to have in the depths of winter. The smell and taste of basil always reminds me of summer.

So let me know if you try this (and you should try this). Put a little summer on your plate!!!

Here’s my food plan for today:

-earl grey (the usual, honey and half and half)

-3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, topped with mozzarella and pesto

-1/2 an avocado

-few handfuls of baby spinach with tahini lemon dressing…..yes, the dressing is baaaack! Anyone who read my previous CRON blog knows I went through a phase of eating this dressing almost every day for a few months:)

-Dinner: italian meatballs with marinara sauce (over pasta for the kiddos, none for me or Mr. Dawn)…I may add another veggie, maybe some zucchini or something.

-More tea and lots of H20!

I missed boxing this morning. We all slept in! I will do yoga today. No biggie. I am not going to make a huge deal out of missing it. I have enough guilt in my noggin, I have no space or desire to beat myself up today. I did, however find these KICKASS WRAPS!!!

Do these not scream Primal Dawn or what?? I want to try elastic wraps, just to see how they fit compared to my regular wraps. These were on Amazon. I have them in my cart, I just have to finalize the deal. Probably tomorrow. Oh, and you should all know that yes, I punch like a girl, and I have pink gloves. I like to imagine myself serving up a beat-down with my pink gloves of fury!!!

 

 

Good Food on a Lazy Day

Today is super lazy. I haven’t done  much. Folded a load of laundry, studied precalculus, and just hung out with my boys.

Both of my sons are working on becoming the next boy band. They spent a good chunk of the morning playing the drums and guitar. Every 15 minutes or so they would trade instruments. It was like a rock and roll circuit!! J even said to me, before he went downstairs to play, “I gotta get my rock clothes on!!” and he ran off and put on a black shirt, black pants, and black and grey socks with skulls on them. Just now, T-Lo serenaded me with the electric guitar. He’s so little he has to sit and prop the guitar up. And it’s a child’s electric guitar, so it’s a smaller scale already. Sooooo cute. I’m a lucky mama to be sung to by my little rock star.

I’m off to boxing tomorrow morning. My knuckles have healed for the most part. You never really notice just how much your knuckles have to do with every day life until they are bloodied, sore, and scabby. Every little bump or brush ignites an explosion in the nerves.

My eating the past two days has left me feeling so much better. I don’t miss the junk at all!

–earl grey with half and half and honey

–4 slices of bacon and butternut squash hash

–honeydew melon (this was perfectly ripe, I don’t like too sweet or not sweet at all, and this was “just right”!)

–handful of sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed) and brie

–Dinner plan: pan-fried chicken boobs with homemade pesto and some veg….I haven’t thought past the protein yet!

I also forgot to mention Primal Dawn Headquarters has welcomed a new kitchen gadget! A dehydrator!! As we speak (we’re “speaking”, at least in my head) we are about 2 hours away from unveiling our first batch of beef jerky. It’s a very good thing we ran out of space in my upstairs kitchen and had to put “Hydra” in the downstairs kitchen/craft/sewing area. Why is it a good thing? The smell when you head downstairs is outrageous! Also, I would hate to throw my coat on and be smelling beef jerky all day while I’m out and about. That’s just wrong. I can just see myself being set upon by all the stray dogs in town the minute I step outside. Although, that whole scenario would be pretty primal…you know, being chased by animals.

 

 

Out From Under A Rock

I feel like I am gradually crawling out from under a big heavy boulder that smooshed me last week. Yes, I seem to have some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder going on. I have a new therapist and my belief, and the one that my Nurse Practitioner (in charge of my meds) has as well, is that I have jumped in and possibly pushed the work too far for now. I need baby steps. My NP actually suggested that if it continues I may need to take a leave from school. Wha??? I am not about to let that happen. Needless to say, I’ve been trying to be very gentle with myself. I don’t really want the focus of my blog to be about my mental illness, but since this is a mish-mash of my life in general, I do want to touch on it from time to time. And right now, it has pretty much been in the forefront of my day to day living. Everything from showering to getting to class takes enormous will.

However, along with the sadness is anger. Or even rage. Every time this particular issue from my past comes into my thoughts (which isn’t often) I feel re-victimized, and I seem to go back and feel everything from those days. And that pisses me off. The fact that now, 31 years later, with a good relationship and wonderful kids, I get hurt again, my life and my family’s life gets thrown into chaos. At any time!! Which I guess would piss anyone off. I can only stuff it down and ignore it for so long, then the floodgates open and I’m a living, breathing, open wound. I get so tired….so tired of dealing with being mentally ill. It looms over me like a cloud. Even in the good days, I am apprehensive, waiting for the tide to turn and drag me with it. For now, I’ve staved off the darkness and am back to at least taking care of myself and my home. I’m on the mend. And that’s a really really good feeling.

How am I taking care of myself? Well, I’m back to my usual eating patterns, no more gak. I’m also exercising again after missing a week. I’m getting more housework done. I’m showering. Yep, I’m showering. Alert the media. But some days, just showering is enough. And that’s okay!

What did I eat today?

-Earl Grey tea with honey and half and half

-roasted cauliflower with a mustard dressing…..omg…so good. I admit to making an entire head of the stuff, and then eating probably 3/4 of it. But it was a small head. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

-1/2 a pear with some brie

-lamb gyro burgers (ground lamb with spices) and homemade tzatziki sauce

-I made a salad for the family, and I really want some, but I don’t do well with too many raw veggies

-bottle of my homemade kombucha

-white chai tea with honey and half and half

And now I’m off to watch Jeopardy. Have a good night!!

Things That Suck….(and a few more that don’t)

I said in my last post that Mondays do not suck, but I can think of a few other things that do most definitely suck: (yep, the beginning of this post is a big ol’ pity party, skip about half way down if you’re over it)

-Falling on the stairs AGAIN, seeing the huge bruise and wondering if it will turn into another abscess and hospital visit.

-Screwing up in your motherly duties. Mom guilt.

-Eating gak. ‘Nuff said.

-Being lost in precalculus 2 class. Oh, and mistaking the class start time for a half hour later. (Gotta check that schedule!!)

-Cutting the corner to tightly and hitting the gas a little too hard and running into a snow bank on one side of the drive. And squashing the end of the ugly, almost-dead holly bush at the end of the drive.

-Feeling socially awkward, anxious, and leaning towards becoming a hermit again. I wanted to go to a geocaching event tomorrow, but I’m feeling scared about not knowing anyone, so I’m not going. I hate doing that, because I KNOW that I would be fine and nobody would think I was a weirdo, but when I’m feeling that way, I just cannot talk myself out of it. Poor timing.

It seems as though I’m not myself lately. I’ve been sad, unmotivated, feeling like a shitty mom. I know that I’m not a bad mom, but that mom guilt when you mess up things can hit you pretty hard. I’m trying to shake it. I’ve been talking to Mr. Dawn about it. He’s been encouraging. I find just talking honestly about what I’m feeling/thinking is great to do. Maybe my meds are off? But see, that’s where it gets tricky. Do I really need a med adjustment every time the blues strike? No. However, it is scary when you know you have a mental disorder to ride it out. Because it can get bad fast. And it’s always in the back of your head. Is it just a few days of feeling down, or is it a bipolar cycle/depression developing?

Getting it out in writing really helps. I don’t much think about who specifically is reading, I think it’s more cathartic. Maybe I should start a journal so you lovely readers aren’t subjected to every up and down my mood takes!

Anyway, on to some things that don’t suck so I can shake the depressing thoughts:

-Bacon

-Bloody, scabby knuckles from going balls out in kickboxing. Must remember to put gloves on even in kickboxing!! I had my hands wrapped, but I skipped the gloves because I thought it wouldn’t be so much punching work. Regardless, I was quite proud to show them off to anyone who would listen/look!!

-Coupons for free eggs at the grocery store. We eat a LOT of eggs here at Primal Dawn Headquarters.

-Spiffy new glasses from Zenni Optical:

-Having a friend tell you what an amazing, strong woman they think you are, and how they look up to you. At. Just. The. Right. Time.

-Watching your 8 year old bust your chops and get quite a kick out of exchanging verbal jabs with you. It may have ended in, “Mom. You suck.” But I still felt the love. He seems to be inheriting my sarcastic, teasing sense of humor.

-Having same 8 year old tell you that when they read Charlotte’s Web in class, he cried really hard when Charlotte died. And that he was the only one. He’s also inherited mama’s soft heart. I hope he keeps it, but guards it well.

 

 

 

 

 

Mondays Do Not Suck

So many people hate Mondays, but not me. Why? First, everyone goes back to work and school  today and I get some quiet time to myself. Second, it’s like a fresh start. Another day to treat yourself well by eating nourishing real food, exercising, and working on “things”. I guess those “things” are different for everyone. It could be biting your tongue before you let cruel or hurtful words fly. It might be meditating for 15 minutes before your days starts. It could be becoming gentler with your kids or spouse. Whatever it is, we should all have goals in mind for how we want our lives to be. The only way to get to that life that you picture in your head is to DO THE WORK! Yes, it actually takes conscious effort on your part. Sorry, there are no shortcuts.

On to the food for Super Bowl Sunday:

-earl grey with honey and half and half

-smoothie: blueberries, peaches, kefir, spinach, honey, and acai powder…a POWER SMOOTHIE!!!

-leftover pot roast with roasted carrots and a slice of homemade primal bread with butter

-spaghetti squash faux “baked ziti”

We had some snacks to eat during the game, but honestly neither of us were hungry.

Today here’s what I’m planning:

-tea

-green smoothie of some variety

-leftover spaghetti squash casserole

-“breaded” chicken cutlets with steamed broccoli (I put oil and garlic in too)

I am considering packing the boys’ lunches next year. I’m seeing a lot of awesome stuff out there (bento boxes, bamboo utensils, BPA free items).  I discussed it with J yesterday. He didn’t seem too happy about it, but he was open to it. I explained the what and why of it all, and he could still buy lunch at school a few times a week when he stays with his dad. I told him I wanted him to be super healthy and strong for swimming. He LOVES swimming, so I incorporated that in to the discussion. It will mean more work for me in the morning and will also take quite a bit of planning, but I’m tentatively optimistic about it!